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Feb 22, 2020 - 1:37:51 PM
8 posts since 2/21/2020

Hey folks,

I've been messing with guitars for a bit but have never had a banjo on my bench. A friend brought me a Harmony Reso Tone to set up. Other than slightly high action and a stripped tuner button it was pretty straight forward. But, I don't understand what the hardware on the dowel stick is for. I searched and can't find any info on it so here I am. Can someone please enlighten me?

And, there is a part came with the banjo that I have no clue about. Is it even banjo related?

Thanks in advance,
John




Edited by - JSMac on 02/22/2020 13:40:08

Feb 22, 2020 - 1:43:57 PM
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1332 posts since 4/13/2009

The neck brace secures to neck to the rim. The other object is a mute - which fits on the bridge.

Feb 22, 2020 - 1:51:03 PM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

Thanks for the reply. I don't understand the function of the angled slots. It seemed like it would be for some type of adjustment but apparently not.

I'll learn about mutes.

Another issue for me is tuning the 5th string with the press in friction peg. Seems tricky to get it tuned then pressed in to hold without the pitch changing. Any tips?

Edited by - JSMac on 02/22/2020 13:54:07

Feb 22, 2020 - 2:29:26 PM
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6876 posts since 8/28/2013

The angled slots allow the neck tightening bracket to be puished against the inside of the rim when the screw is tightened.

You should not have to push in the 5th string tuner; it's not like a violin peg. If the string won't stay in tune, try tightening the small screw on the end of the tuner.

Feb 22, 2020 - 2:33:25 PM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

So the peg should be pushed in then tuned?

Feb 22, 2020 - 2:51:44 PM

6876 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by JSMac

So the peg should be pushed in then tuned?


The peg should not be pushed in either before or after, unless the entire tuner is turning in the neck. Check very carefully. There should be two parts; the tuner mechanism itself, which the knob is screwed onto and the string passes through, and a metal sleeve into which that tuner mechanism fits. if that sleeve stays put, then just tighten the screw. If the sleeve turns along with the tuner mechanism, then you will need to pull the whole thing out and shim the hole in the neck so it fits back more tightly.

Pushing on the tuner at any time will cause more damage. 

Feb 22, 2020 - 3:02:06 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12362 posts since 8/30/2006

I recommend removing the tuner. Step over to your back door and throw it away. Then replace with a new geared 5th string tuner.
The old hole may need reaming, but reamers are available.

Feb 22, 2020 - 3:11:22 PM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

That may be the best advice. The hole is pretty egged out. And the screw was so tight that the button wouldn't turn at all. Can I get a new tuner with a slightly larger diameter or will I need to shim it some how?

Edited by - JSMac on 02/22/2020 15:22:24

Feb 22, 2020 - 5:07:35 PM

1332 posts since 4/13/2009

It is likely that a new geared tuner will be larger than the hole - thus the need for reaming. Search for "fifth string tuner replacement" here in the archives or google it. There are instructional videos on youtube.

Feb 22, 2020 - 6:35:36 PM

10532 posts since 6/2/2008

Read and learn.

Gotoh 5th string tuner only $12 plus low shipping from Smakula. You may want to file down the stabilizing fin.

For a Harmony, a Golden Gate or generic Chinese-made 5th string tuner on eBay will good enough.

Feb 23, 2020 - 5:12:11 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12362 posts since 8/30/2006

I sand the fin off with a 2" drum in the drill press.

You can shim with toothpicks if the hole is too big. I bought my reamer 12 years ago, it's totally worth it.

White glue on the fluted body of the tuner will stabilize the installation. No superglue.

Then you remove the tuner button and washer. I use a 5/16" SAE deep socket to put over the shaft of the tuner so you can tap the body of the tuner into the reamed hole. NEVER tap the shaft, it'll break the tuner. Tap it in far enough to almost hide the flutes. Resinstall the washer and knob. Wa La.

Feb 23, 2020 - 9:22:30 AM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

Thanks for all the info folks. I'll see what the owner wants to do and go from there. Given what the the instrument is he may just want me to make the original tuner work, which I can probably do with some toothpicks, sawdust and wood glue. If He wants to put a little more into it I'll look into an upgrade tuner. I don't have a reamer and it looks like a cheaper hardware store one would need to be modified so I'll see if he wants me to go to the trouble.

Feb 24, 2020 - 5:48:11 AM

66 posts since 5/25/2015

quote:
Originally posted by JSMac

Thanks for all the info folks. I'll see what the owner wants to do and go from there. Given what the the instrument is he may just want me to make the original tuner work, which I can probably do with some toothpicks, sawdust and wood glue. If He wants to put a little more into it I'll look into an upgrade tuner. I don't have a reamer and it looks like a cheaper hardware store one would need to be modified so I'll see if he wants me to go to the trouble.


If you are going to try to keep the old tuner, you can try some advice I was given recently on BHO. Take the screw out and try filing the end down a little. These tuners can get so that there is no more depth left in the hole for the screw to tighten down into. If you shorten it a little, it may give you a bit more room to tighten it up. I tried this recently on an old 5th string friction tuner and its holding tuning fine now.

Feb 24, 2020 - 5:56:48 AM

6876 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by JSMac

Thanks for all the info folks. I'll see what the owner wants to do and go from there. Given what the the instrument is he may just want me to make the original tuner work, which I can probably do with some toothpicks, sawdust and wood glue. If He wants to put a little more into it I'll look into an upgrade tuner. I don't have a reamer and it looks like a cheaper hardware store one would need to be modified so I'll see if he wants me to go to the trouble.


Hardware store reamers have the wrong taper and therefore can't be modified for banjo work. You'll have to buy the proper reamer from Stew-Mac or another supplier. It's a good investment even if you only do a few 5th string tuner replacements.

Feb 24, 2020 - 7:13:28 AM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

My friend doesn't want to put much into this banjo so we're going to use the original tuner. I made a mixture of sawdust and wood glue and wedged a toothpick in the ovaled out side. It felt pretty snug when I pressed it in so we'll see.

The button tightens down fine. When tuning that string, do you slightly loosen the screw, tune then tighten it up? Or keep the screw just tight enough to keep some friction on the tuner?

Edited by - JSMac on 02/24/2020 07:24:30

Feb 24, 2020 - 10:45:09 AM

6876 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by JSMac

My friend doesn't want to put much into this banjo so we're going to use the original tuner. I made a mixture of sawdust and wood glue and wedged a toothpick in the ovaled out side. It felt pretty snug when I pressed it in so we'll see.

The button tightens down fine. When tuning that string, do you slightly loosen the screw, tune then tighten it up? Or keep the screw just tight enough to keep some friction on the tuner?


Keep the screw just tight enough to keep some friction on the tuner. If the tuned note slips, the screw isn't tight enough; if the tuner is too hard to turn, the screw is too tight. You just have to find the happy medium.

Feb 24, 2020 - 10:48:55 AM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

Sounds good. Pretty rudimentary but, as long as it works...

Feb 24, 2020 - 2:30:33 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12362 posts since 8/30/2006

I have read many times here on the hangout of people using the hardware store reamer after cutting it to length

You’ll do fine if you are patient

Feb 26, 2020 - 11:23:09 AM

8 posts since 2/21/2020

It looks like the repair job on the original 5th string tuner will hold, for now anyway. I don't know much about banjos but it's playable. Working on Amazing Grace for starters. It ain't no Stratocaster.

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