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Mar 29, 2020 - 9:41:29 PM
23 posts since 10/9/2019

I have an old, OLD fretless Buckbee and the brass fifth string nut that's on it is chewing up nylon strings like they're licorice. Would like to swap the brass out for ebony but can't find one online. Anybody got a source for this?

Mar 30, 2020 - 2:47:24 AM
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1551 posts since 12/26/2007

1. you should be able to sand the brass pip so that it doesn't fray nylon strings. It may take come creative sanding, but it's do-able. I bought some abrasive thread to do this, but elbow grease & folded-over 200 - 300 grit sandpaper should also work.

2. if you want to do away with the brass pip, I use deer antler for 5th string pips on non-steel-strung banjos. I cut them from antlers with a plug saw, they're 1/8" dia. by approx. 1/4" long, and they're ivoroid (bone)-colored. If you want to try one, PM me with your address and I'll send you one.


 

Mar 30, 2020 - 5:22:53 AM

3877 posts since 5/12/2010

Brass will work fine for nylon strings, it is what I use but the slot must me smooth, no burrs or sharp edges, especially at each end of the slot. I use a round edge nut file of appropriate gauge for this, and pull downward as the file goes over the end of the slot.

I have used Ebony for the main nut, but not for a pip, but it should work fine too. I have made small dowels out of Ebony for various repairs by cutting a square piece of wood a little larger in diameter than the desired size and a couple of inches long. I chuck that into my drill press so I can round it down to the desired size using a sanding block, and small files. Same thing would work to made a pip.

Mar 30, 2020 - 5:37:21 AM

2040 posts since 2/7/2008

StewMac has a 5th string pip made of bone.

stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supp..._Nut.html

Mar 30, 2020 - 5:51:12 AM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5183 posts since 10/12/2009

You could buy a violin endpin, nut, or a single violin tuning peg, more than enough ebony there to work with. 

Know any fiddle players? Ask them......lots of broken, ebony, violin tuning pegs out there.....

Mar 30, 2020 - 6:04:13 AM
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3819 posts since 10/13/2005

I have made nails into pips for nylon strings quite a few times. No problems whatsoever if you smooth them out. Nails are great because you can get the right size nail to fit the pip hole. Have hacksaw will travel! banjered

Mar 30, 2020 - 6:08:42 AM
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2851 posts since 2/18/2009

I'm not sure if ebony is the ideal material for a pip since it would have to be oriented with the string sitting on the end grain, but if you are sure you want ebony I can make you an ebony pip in just a couple of minutes, or I can mail you a piece of ebony to make your own. I have lots of ebony scraps from fretboard offcuts and such, and they're just sitting around. I'd just need your address to mail it, you can send me a PM if you'd like.

Mar 30, 2020 - 6:37:51 AM

3029 posts since 5/29/2011

Scott brought up a good idea. The cut off tip of a fiddle peg should be the right size to start with. Know anybody who works on fiddles?

Mar 30, 2020 - 6:45:27 AM

csacwp

USA

2643 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Hoyt

I'm not sure if ebony is the ideal material for a pip since it would have to be oriented with the string sitting on the end grain, but if you are sure you want ebony I can make you an ebony pip in just a couple of minutes, or I can mail you a piece of ebony to make your own. I have lots of ebony scraps from fretboard offcuts and such, and they're just sitting around. I'd just need your address to mail it, you can send me a PM if you'd like.


Ebony was historically used by many banjo makers for pips. Bone and ivory were also common. Go check out the square and triangular ebony pips that Alfred Weaver made for his banjos.

Mar 30, 2020 - 12:58:36 PM

23 posts since 10/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Hoyt

I'm not sure if ebony is the ideal material for a pip since it would have to be oriented with the string sitting on the end grain, but if you are sure you want ebony I can make you an ebony pip in just a couple of minutes, or I can mail you a piece of ebony to make your own. I have lots of ebony scraps from fretboard offcuts and such, and they're just sitting around. I'd just need your address to mail it, you can send me a PM if you'd like.



Ha, thanks everybody, these are all  amazing ideas -- I should have mentioned in my post that I'm not handy and don't have many tools. Zachery, I'd love it if you could bang out an ebony pip for me. Send me a private message and let me know what you want for it. Thanks!

Mar 30, 2020 - 2:36:01 PM
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2851 posts since 2/18/2009

No charge, just send me your address and I'll get it out in tomorrow's mail. I'll make it 1/8" in diameter and leave it extra tall so you can cut it to the needed height.

Mar 30, 2020 - 7:15:33 PM

42 posts since 8/13/2013

You can also buy rosewood knitting needles and cut pips out of those. I bought a 4.5 mm set of knitting needles and a matching metric drill bit several years ago. I made a bunch of pips and I still have stock left over for more,

Apr 2, 2020 - 7:32:42 PM

136 posts since 5/16/2016

They are easy to make. Take a small rectangular piece of ebony and put it in a drill chuck. Shave it round with a file until it fits in the size hole you like. It how I do it. Something else I do is taper the nut. That way it fits tightly in the hole. File it, sand it, polish it, slot it, done.

Apr 3, 2020 - 5:35:25 AM

3877 posts since 5/12/2010

I most often use brass for pips for my banjos which are specifically for a style of Clawhammer where the 5th string gets a lot more pressure on the down stroke, and gets popped pretty hard on the up stroke. Brass can take the stress, wood sometimes not.

With these frailers the 5th string is set at same level of the other strings, so I make my pips with a base to keep the height where I want it.

A few years ago I bought a 48" X 1/8" brass rod for making these, and probably still have enough for a few years worth of pips.

When I need pips, I simply cut a section of rod about 3" long, chuck it into the drill press start at the end and "turn" pips using files to shape them like tiny chess pawns, with a 1/16" pin under the flared base, cut the first off by holding a saw blade against it until it falls into the box below, then cut the next, until I work my way up to the chuck, so get about 2" worth of pips from a 3" piece, about half a dozen or so.

I do the same thing when I want to make one out of another material. I don't have small ebony dowels, but as I said I have made ebony, and rosewood plugs for repairs in much the same way and like Zack by using fretboard scraps.

Edited by - OldPappy on 04/03/2020 05:37:10

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