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Mar 20, 2020 - 7:29:37 PM
304 posts since 2/23/2005

Some years ago I bought a tailpiece from Elderly Instruments that "clamped" nylon or Nylgut strings with a pivoting clamp on each string, with pressure applied by the string itself. It kept strings from slipping "no matter what" and no knots were required (sort of a "Cadillac" version of a no-knot tailpiece but more mechanical and foolproof). I sold the banjo, but now have another one and apparently Elderly no longer sells the tailpiece.

Problem is, I can't remember the tailpiece name so that I can search for a new supplier or advertise for a used one. Can anyone help? IIRC the tailpiece was a bit pricey at the time, over $50 if memory serves.

Mar 20, 2020 - 8:07:32 PM



67 posts since 10/23/2017

This sounds like what is generally referred to as a "cammed no-knot".

Bob Smakula sells originals and reproductions. They also show up on ebay now and again.

Mar 24, 2020 - 6:25:19 PM

304 posts since 2/23/2005

Yes, that's it. I contacted Bob and ordered a repro one, got it in two days and it's on my openback, works great as I remembered. Very nice handiwork and lots cheaper than an old original (as low as half the price of some of the originals out there). It's a snap to put plain-end nylon strings on now.

I also ordered a 2nd one to use in converting a Kerschner from no-knot posts to a cammed no-knot. This will required some surgery to remove the regular no-knot posts and mount the cammed no-knot assembly to the back of the Kerschner, which I will document as I do it (with pix).

FWIW, Bob Smakula has fewer than 10 of the repro cammed no-knots available and, in his words, "When they're gone, they're gone."

Mar 24, 2020 - 7:00:48 PM
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54489 posts since 12/14/2005

If I figured it right, the one in the middle is the cammed one.

(From Bob Smakula's website)

Mar 25, 2020 - 4:39:52 PM
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12898 posts since 6/29/2005

Very clever!!

It's always amazing to me that whatever you think of in terms of a banjo part was probably already done 100 years ago.

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