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GT Parlor Issue - tension hoop thinks it's a fret

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Feb 26, 2020 - 8:13:14 PM
2090 posts since 12/31/2005

So I picked one of these up and played it for the first time tonight for real. Noticed a serious issue up the neck with the top three notes on each string all sounding the same (and nothing like a note we would want). I think I've identified the problem as the tension hoop riding higher than the frets. Prior owner did not play this much (looks new). Stock head seems to be on correctly. Bridge in proper place (although I don't think it would matter as to this problem). How to fix? Does the hoop need to be grounded down?

Clicking on photo will open a more high res version.

Thanks for any thoughts.


 

Feb 26, 2020 - 8:24:53 PM

1176 posts since 7/12/2004

If the banjo is actually in factory condition, I'd contact Deering customer service. They are among the best in the business for dealing with problems with their instruments.

Judging by the photo you are exactly right in your diagnosis. Either the factory put on a head with the wrong crown height, or the tension hoop should have been notched at the factory and wasn't. I don't own a Goodtime so I don't know if the hoop is generally notched - maybe check pictures on the Deering web site. Either way, Deering will almost certainly send you the parts to fix it.

One other thought - the banjo could have been disassembled by the previous owner and put back together wrong. Is there a notch somewhere else on the top edge of the hoop?

Is the notch somewhere on the bottom edge? The hoop could have been replaced upside down. If that happened, the notch could be hidden inside the neck joint. You'd have to remove the neck to see it.

Feb 26, 2020 - 8:29:05 PM

1176 posts since 7/12/2004

I just looked at the Goodtime pictures on the Deering site. There is no notch in any of the hoop pictures.

If you want to fix the problem yourself, you'll need to buy a banjo head with a higher crown. That's a better solution than grinding a notch in the tension hoop. But I'd give Customer Service a call first.

Edited by - waystation on 02/26/2020 20:29:40

Feb 26, 2020 - 9:29:42 PM
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902 posts since 1/9/2012

Are the head and tension ring on straight and level? I.e., is the distance between the top of the tension ring and the top of the head equal all the way around? Or is the ring higher at the neck?

Also, many Goodtimes feature slightly elongated holes in the rim for the neck attaching hardware. That allows a range of neck heights as it attaches to the rim. Maybe your neck can be raised a bit. Loosen it up and try.

Feb 27, 2020 - 1:33:39 AM

4481 posts since 9/7/2009

It looks like your neck attachment to the rim is out of whack.  The neck is mounted to low to the rim at the heal joint .  When it is remounted, the neck angle most likely will need to be readjusted to get the proper string height from the frets. 

Edited by - BNJOMAKR on 02/27/2020 01:34:31

Feb 27, 2020 - 2:41:15 AM

calfskin

England

23 posts since 5/30/2011

try tightening the head at the neck end then all round to balance tension this might pull the rim down so the fouling does not occur or it might burst !

Feb 27, 2020 - 3:19:14 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12348 posts since 8/30/2006

It's Deering, they know how to make banjos.

Flat hooks mean a beveled tension hoop. That's correct. Beveled have no notch, nor need one.

Yes, the holes are ovalized to allow adjustment of the neck up and down. The neck is just too low.

1. Loosen the strangs
2. Loosen the neck just a little
3. The heel can then be tapped with the palm of your hand to line up with whichever is higher, the hoop or the head, ideally level..
4. retighten the neck. My opinion is that the heel angle won't need to be changed. Adjustment of the one rim rod is totally ok, but just a little. 
5. Tune the little bugger up.

These banjos have helped a lot of people get going. I've heard higher level players use them on stage. I mean people go looking for performance with heavier strings.  Personally, allegorically, I like to let the girls dance with light strings.  When the parlors are in G, they can ensemble.  Depends on the enthusiasm.

Get in there, dive, dive. 

Edited by - Helix on 02/27/2020 03:24:06

Feb 27, 2020 - 5:10:07 AM

2090 posts since 12/31/2005

I really appreciate all the replies. I emailed Deering. I have a lot of trust in them and their quality. I was hoping it was some easy or obvious thing that didn't involve a takedown, but that's ok.

In my experience, when you see one problem it is possible that it shows a correction to another problem. For example, the neck may be too low right now, but raise it up and where do you get the clearance needed for correct action? In other words, neck may have been lowered before to get action correct (in open and 2nd positions). So I might have a bigger issue on my hands. We'll see.

Again, thanks everyone. This is such a great section of the site.

Feb 27, 2020 - 5:40:18 AM

2584 posts since 12/4/2009

Hello,

Thank you for the pictures. Prior owners are the root of this problem. We owners always have ideas to tinker a banjo with.

Banjo heads come in High, Medium and low. Look at the notch of the neck. The picture shows that a head change didn’t drive this down.

Given the string action, I would investigate the bridge height first. This looks to be less than a 1/2”.

If the bridge is taller, look at the dimple around the bridge. If sunken, change the banjo head. 5-star heads a few years back would fail this way.

Glad to see you online.

Edited by - Aradobanjo on 02/27/2020 05:42:18

Feb 27, 2020 - 6:23:53 AM
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Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy

I really appreciate all the replies. I emailed Deering. I have a lot of trust in them and their quality. I was hoping it was some easy or obvious thing that didn't involve a takedown, but that's ok.

In my experience, when you see one problem it is possible that it shows a correction to another problem. For example, the neck may be too low right now, but raise it up and where do you get the clearance needed for correct action? In other words, neck may have been lowered before to get action correct (in open and 2nd positions). So I might have a bigger issue on my hands. We'll see.

Again, thanks everyone. This is such a great section of the site.


You are correct about causing another problem by "simply raising the neck".

All that's wrong with your banjo is that the previous owner tensioned the head in a way that pulled the tension band down more on the tailpiece end then at the neck side.

If you evaluate the problem you'll see you can loosen the tailpiece side and tighten the neck side, shifting the tension band down where it's supposed to be.  You may need to loosen all of the nuts to get the head and tension band to pull down in the correct orientation, but that's not particularly difficult.

In some cases it might be necessary to start the tensioning process with the band slightly lower at the neck side to get the notch to end up low enough.

It's good that you understand the relationship of the components well enough to know that raising or lowering the neck sometimes simply creates another problem in the process.

The need for or presence of a tension hoop notch has absolutely nothing to do with "flat or round hooks".  That's a function of how the banjo is designed. 

Edited by - rudy on 02/27/2020 06:38:44

Feb 27, 2020 - 6:58:21 AM

2090 posts since 12/31/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Aradobanjo

Hello,

Thank you for the pictures. Prior owners are the root of this problem. We owners always have ideas to tinker a banjo with.

Banjo heads come in High, Medium and low. Look at the notch of the neck. The picture shows that a head change didn’t drive this down.

Given the string action, I would investigate the bridge height first. This looks to be less than a 1/2”.

If the bridge is taller, look at the dimple around the bridge. If sunken, change the banjo head. 5-star heads a few years back would fail this way.

Glad to see you online.


Bridge is 5/8 and head is tight.   (Bridge on these are very close to tailpiece because of the scale length of a 19 fret banjo tuned to G).

In terms of evenness - at 12:00 and 6:00 (neck and tailpiece), it looks even.  at 3:00 and 9:00 it appears the tension hoop is pulled down more. 

Seems like path of least resistance and first thing to try is to remove and replace head as suggested above.  If that does not work then I guess tinkering with the neck adjustment might be necessary.  

Again, appreciate all the input.

Feb 27, 2020 - 11:39:52 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12348 posts since 8/30/2006

I still agree with Marvin

Snarking won’t help the guy

with a one rod set up, a person can use the rod to raise and lower the action with an end wrench

well, let’s say I don’t usually use flat hooks at all, but the maker of this Banjo specs them with a beveled tension hoop because they can. I just had a Boston in my shop

so I suggest lining the neck up first and See if other changes are needed

the Sun is greater than the parts. Sum saying 

I’m  curious about your solution. Let us know

he already uses 5/8” bridge

Edited by - Helix on 02/27/2020 11:50:14

Feb 27, 2020 - 11:47:23 AM

71253 posts since 5/9/2007

Put on a 5/8 bridge.

Feb 27, 2020 - 12:59:33 PM

2090 posts since 12/31/2005

It is 5/8. After I try other fixes, I might go 11/16. One thing about Deerings that does not thrill me is the lack of a pip and the lower 5th string. This was an issue with my Clawgrass 2 as well. Remedied it with a Schwimbo and a spillway bridge with elevated 5th slot. So might do that here too.

Feb 27, 2020 - 2:42:54 PM

2090 posts since 12/31/2005

This is getting frustrating. As you can see from pic 1, head won't even come off (even with twisting).

First, I tried to remount head, but no amount of pressure would bring tension hoop down near fret level. Can't find any kind of product number on head in case crown height is an issue. Can anyone tell from pic 1 if that is it? The hoop (internal band at base of head) to the top of the head is consistent all around. I don't see where hoop has pulled apart.

Deering said that I could loosen up Co--rod and bolt that holds the hangar and push the neck down. Well, I loosened the top nut (where top co-rod would be) (pic 2) and the nuts on the co-rod itself (pic 3). Neck does not move up or down. I could do a co-rod adjustment as one would do to raise action, but that would not solve my problem as the tension hoop is still going to be higher than frets.

Any observations or ideas? Thanks again




 

Feb 27, 2020 - 3:20:20 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

If the head won't easily slip off then do whatever it takes to get it to come off the rim.  It sounds like the tolerances were a bit too tight when it was assembled, but once you get it to break free then put it back on and re-tension as I related in my post.  It only needs to ge down something like 1/16" or 3/32" to correct the problem.

It's an inexpensive banjo and Deering missed the mark a bit on this one, but not enough that it won't work.  You don't need a notched tension band, a different bridge height, futzing around with coordinator rods to change angle, or a big hammer to beat the neck into a different position.  You just need to re-assemble it correctly.

You can measure the height of the head surface above the top level of the head bead to determine crown height, but it appears that it has the original Deering branded head, so it should work.  It's obviously not an ideal fit, but that's the nature of the beast.

You might do a search and read up on Bob Smakula's method of heating a mylar head with a heat gun as it is installed to allow  too-high tension band to pull down on banjos that are close to fitting but need just a bit more crown.

Edited by - rudy on 02/27/2020 15:24:40

Feb 27, 2020 - 3:35:39 PM

71253 posts since 5/9/2007

According to the picture the top of the hoop is already below the flush line of the head.
The neck looks like it could be up against the hoop.
I would start over as in removing the head and seeing if I could get some up movement of the neck with nothing else involved.

Might the hoop be on upside down?

Edited by - steve davis on 02/27/2020 15:37:34

Feb 27, 2020 - 3:41:30 PM

2090 posts since 12/31/2005

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

If the head won't easily slip off then do whatever it takes to get it to come off the rim.  It sounds like the tolerances were a bit too tight when it was assembled, but once you get it to break free then put it back on and re-tension as I related in my post.  It only needs to ge down something like 1/16" or 3/32" to correct the problem.

It's an inexpensive banjo and Deering missed the mark a bit on this one, but not enough that it won't work.  You don't need a notched tension band, a different bridge height, futzing around with coordinator rods to change angle, or a big hammer to beat the neck into a different position.  You just need to re-assemble it correctly.

You can measure the height of the head surface above the top level of the head bead to determine crown height, but it appears that it has the original Deering branded head, so it should work.  It's obviously not an ideal fit, but that's the nature of the beast.

You might do a search and read up on Bob Smakula's method of heating a mylar head with a heat gun as it is installed to allow  too-high tension band to pull down on banjos that are close to fitting but need just a bit more crown.


You are the man!   Convinced me to disassemble and, like you said, it went back together correctly.  Hoop is now at wood level, below fret.  Thank you, Rudy.  And thanks to all of you who helped out.  

Feb 27, 2020 - 3:48:32 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy
quote:
Originally posted by rudy

If the head won't easily slip off then do whatever it takes to get it to come off the rim.  It sounds like the tolerances were a bit too tight when it was assembled, but once you get it to break free then put it back on and re-tension as I related in my post.  It only needs to ge down something like 1/16" or 3/32" to correct the problem.

It's an inexpensive banjo and Deering missed the mark a bit on this one, but not enough that it won't work.  You don't need a notched tension band, a different bridge height, futzing around with coordinator rods to change angle, or a big hammer to beat the neck into a different position.  You just need to re-assemble it correctly.

You can measure the height of the head surface above the top level of the head bead to determine crown height, but it appears that it has the original Deering branded head, so it should work.  It's obviously not an ideal fit, but that's the nature of the beast.

You might do a search and read up on Bob Smakula's method of heating a mylar head with a heat gun as it is installed to allow  too-high tension band to pull down on banjos that are close to fitting but need just a bit more crown.


You are the man!   Convinced me to disassemble and, like you said, it went back together correctly.  Hoop is now at wood level, below fret.  Thank you, Rudy.  And thanks to all of you who helped out.  


You're entirely welcome, Brian.

Feb 27, 2020 - 4:29:06 PM
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2090 posts since 12/31/2005

The "after" picture. As discussed in another thread, a thicker set of strings really helps these as well. (The neck is actually seated better than it appears - weird shadow makes it look like neck to pot fit is not as good as it is)


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