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Jul 7, 2020 - 2:20:29 PM
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849 posts since 11/26/2012

I bought this Deering Eagle used a couple of years ago and it didn't have any kind of scoop. I like to play over the neck occasionally and I was having trouble doing that with this banjo because the action is low (which I like) and the frets were getting in the way. Instead of making a full-on scoop, which I'm not sure could have been done because of the existing inlays, I removed the top five frets, filled the gaps with maple, flush to the fingerboard, and carved a small , 45 degree bevel on the drone string side so that my thumb could slide right into the string.

To be clear, I should say that I had this done by a luthier, I didn't do it myself. I know that some don't like to use the term luthier with regards to banjo repair, but this guy is an actual luthier whom I talked into working on my banjo. He actually got his start working on banjo necks, so the terrain was not unfamiliar to him.

It's working well, there's plenty of room to frail now, and if I ever decide that I don't like it, everything but the bevel could be quickly reversed. I was thinking of removing more frets, five is barely enough, but I wanted to leave that 17th fret so I could still make the fretted, closed position G way up there.

banjohangout.org/forum/attachm...ID=263528


 

Edited by - doryman on 07/07/2020 14:21:11

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:35:31 PM
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rcc56

USA

2975 posts since 2/20/2016

I've been an advocate for maple strips as an alternative to scoops on banjos and mandolins for a long time.
Less disruption to the instrument.

As long as it gives you enough room to play the way you like, it's a good solution. And it would be a shame to mess up those inlays.

The bevel is reversible also, but it's not quick and easy to do.

Jul 8, 2020 - 4:05:15 AM
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755 posts since 2/19/2012

Nice job. You've preserved the look, made it work for you, and it's reversible. And it's really well executed.

Jul 8, 2020 - 4:10:21 AM
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13070 posts since 6/29/2005

It's a very nice job!

Jul 8, 2020 - 9:17:54 AM
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3196 posts since 5/29/2011
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Why do some people object to the term luthier when it applies to banjo repair? Do they not consider the banjo a musical instrument?

Jul 8, 2020 - 9:42:51 AM
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13070 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Why do some people object to the term luthier when it applies to banjo repair? Do they not consider the banjo a musical instrument?


I don't think the objection is limited to banjo repair or building—I'm sure the same thing exists in the guitar world, maybe more so, but particularly pertaining to the idea that if you can fix, say, a guitar, you will naturally be able to fix a banjo, or a violin, or a cello—whatever.

There is also a general skepticism about those who tout to themselves as belonging to a profession or craft they know very little about—there are "luthiers" and luthiers—you don't need a license or any kind of training to say you are a luthier.

Jul 8, 2020 - 11:03:21 AM
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3196 posts since 5/29/2011
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Actually, my comment was meant to be facetious rather than serious but I can understand the reasoning.
Building and repair work take two entirely different sets of skills and a true luthier should be able to do either one. I am not good at repair work so I consider myself a "jackleg" luthier.

Jul 8, 2020 - 11:29:12 AM

doryman

USA

849 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

I've been an advocate for maple strips as an alternative to scoops on banjos and mandolins for a long time.
Less disruption to the instrument.

As long as it gives you enough room to play the way you like, it's a good solution. And it would be a shame to mess up those inlays.

The bevel is reversible also, but it's not quick and easy to do.


I first considered filling in the fret gaps with a wood that would match the fingerboard but, right at the very last second, I decided to go with contrasting maple.  I'm glad I did.  

Jul 8, 2020 - 2:06:05 PM

13070 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Actually, my comment was meant to be facetious rather than serious but I can understand the reasoning.
Building and repair work take two entirely different sets of skills and a true luthier should be able to do either one. I am not good at repair work so I consider myself a "jackleg" luthier.


I am with you on this—I build banjos, which requires a certain set of skills.  I can also repair instruments, and, very well, but I could not do that in a way where I could ever make it into a profitable venture— I would just spend way too much time doing everything, and worry about ethical issues, and never charge enough, so I just don't do it.  I also avoid selling the handmade parts I make despite numerous requests—maybe some day, I say to myself.

If someone came to my shop with a banjo, I would fix, help them with, or set up their instrument right then and there, on the spot to the extent that I could, but only one person has ever come to my shop with a banjo, and I fixed their problem, but that's not something that's going to happen very often, and I don't advertise.

I really don't refer to myself as a "luthier", even on my website, despite the fact that I have been doing this for 55 years, and learned from the likes of John D'Angelico,  as I consider it to have become a grossly abused term like "graphic designer".

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