Hi! First time posting here, long time lurker.
I bought a Gold Tone CC-OT a while ago online and got it shipped from the UK to Sweden, and while it plays well enough (for me, I'm not very experienced) I just noticed that it's pretty skewed. I.e the pot doesn't feel symmetrical, the coordinator rod isn't going in line with the neck and the tailpiece isn't really straight.
I don't know, it feels like the more I look at it the more it looks normal and weird at the same time.. If you know what I mean..
I tried getting photos of it but I only have a laptop camera available at the moment. I attached the photos anyway.
Basically, I know that the shop that I bought it from sets the instruments up before they ship out, but maybe it got damaged during shipping? Or maybe it's just to be expected at this price range.
Any thoughts, please?
You should be able to level the tail piece bracket with your fingers and then center the tailpiece between the brackets. I'd loosen the stings to make it easier to move. You may have to recenter the bridge. So I'd mark the head with pencil marks where the bridge is sitting, so you have a reference where it goes.
As for the co-rods, they don't look to bad. My guess is that the heel cut may be a tad off so it gives it that look. The lags look to be centered in the heel as the co-rods are centered with the neck.
Personally it not a game changer to me, but its your banjo and your money spent.
Are the strings running off the edge of the fretboard ? looks like they would be to me, I think it is as poor an example of how to build a banjo as I have ever seen ! since returning it is a bit of a chore for you I would take more detailed photos and try for some partial refund from the dealer to spend on getting it fixed up by somebody knowledgeable where you are . I would find that totally unacceptable !
You're right, things don't look right. The coordinator rod does not look lined up with the neck. If the pot is out-of-round, not symmetrical, then I would suspect the coordinator rod, but knowing and fixing that is above my level of banjo set up knowledge. Can you take a close up picture of where the neck meets the pot? I'm guessing there is a gap there. The no-knot tailpiece just kind of sits there on the pot, so it's easily adjustable, but I'm guessing the string tension is pulling it out of place. Same with the bridge, as it seems to be in the wrong place to my eyes. Gold Tone advertises that it sets it's banjos up before they leave the factory, so I doubt if it left Gold Tone in this condition. Perhaps something happened in shipping? A GT CC-OT was my first banjo and, no, this is NOT what I would have expected from GT at this price range. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised it stays in tune and plays well. Was the banjo like this when you bought it?
I amend my previous post. I just looked at the photo of the head and you can see the strings are way to the treble side. This is why they pushed the tail piece and bracket to the side. This severely changes my answer. No, this banjo is not right. If you can return that would be best but due to being in a different country it may not be an option. Contact Gold Tone and the shop and see what they will do for you. It may still be under warranty and they may send a new banjo. Doesn't hurt to ask.
Edited by - buckholler on 07/14/2020 07:52:46
The more I think about it. It may be that the lag bolts (screwed into the heel of the neck were mounted off set. It may be an easier fix, that is if the company won't help. One could take out the lags glue in dowels in the holes, and reposition the lags so that the neck sits correctly. Sounds scary but it really isn't that bad. All you need is some simple tools and its fixed.
Thank you for the replies.
spoonfed : Yes, the strings are running off the fretboard a bit. After I had had the banjo for a few days I tried moving the bridge a touch to see if I could fix it but it didn't do a whole lot. There's no luthier near me that I could get to so I think that's out of the question. I might have to send it back.
thisoldman : I attached a photo of where the neck meets the pot, is this where you meant? And yes, the banjo was like this when I got it. I thought it felt a bit off having the tailpiece attachment all crooked but I was just so happy to have finally gotten the banjo so I didn't think too much of it. I've been keeping it standing in the case in the closet when not using it ever since I got it.
buckholler : I will take some photos and explain the problem to the shop. But since I was over the moon receiving it I sent them an e-mail thanking them for setting it up beautifully and for adding a railroad spike on the 7th fret... I'm not sure what that's gonna do for my chances of getting a replacement banjo
I think it's hard to tell from the photos. Except the tailpiece and bridge. Get the tailpiece and tailpiece bracket correct and the bridge set right and it might be OK.
Thanks for the new pictures. It's kind of hard to tell, but appears that the there is no significant gap between the neck and the tension hoop and pot, which is a good thing unless the neck wasn't cut right. Loosen the strings, get the tailpiece upright (not angled), move the bridge so it is in line between the tailpiece and neck and take a look at how the strings are lined up on the neck. Like Scott suggests, the 1st string might be off the fretboard. If the strings are line up so the 1st and 5th strings are on the fretboard, that takes care of the problem, great. If not, I'm beginning to think Scott may be on the right track, that the connection at the neck was drilled at an angle, instead of (straight) inline with the neck. There had to be a few people doing quality control at the factory and shop that you bought it from that missed this. Sorry that it had to happen to you.
Remember this is a factory spec Banjo, with +\- tolerances
The neck heels are done with a shaper going about 100k rpm, the person producing them has a stack to produce today
It looks to me that either the neck or studs or both are out of alignment
We all could fix this in our shops in about an hour
I sympathize that you have few tools
These banjos are easy to work on, and you can learn to “dial it in” to your personal preferences.
I’ve had to correct by plugging holes and redrilling
Use of shims is allowed. Credit cards are .023 thick and work perfectly. I punch a hole and hang them on the studs
The studs should be at a 3 degree angle to the fingerboard
Yup, I just straightened up the tailpiece and moved the bridge so that it's in line with the tailpiece and as you could probably guess from looking at the photos, it's not at all in line with the neck and the 1st string hangs off the fretboard...
I'm pretty sure that at least one of the people that assembled this particular banjo noticed the issue but still sent it out (after adjusting the tailpiece and bridge). It's just frustrating because now I'm sitting here with a messed up banjo and while it does play OK, ideally I do want a banjo that doesn't have this problem and I'll need to sort this out while it's still under warranty. I'll probably need to send it out before I get a replacement sent to me.. Damn it.
Thanks to all of you for your comments, replies and your help.
We all need to bear in mind that this is a brand new banjo bought from a dealer, I think it totally unreasonable to ask the buyer who, by his own admission owns no tools to dismantle and try to repair faults that should not have left the factory ! screwing around with co rods and shims will surely invalidate the warranty as well. Make the seller put it right and if they refuse , return it as unsuitable for purpose, as a banjo this much out of kilter certainly is !
Spoonfed is quite correct about any warranty work and you will incur additional shipping charges
Please let us know how you solve this
be careful that you don't pay additional unnecessary duties
Edited by - Helix on 07/14/2020 12:28:00
I will send the shop an e-mail tomorrow after I've slept on it and see if we can figure out a solution. I for sure will not be paying any extra money to send/return it if I can help it... I appreciate the input. I will update once I've been in contact with the shop etc.
Edited by - trampagne on 07/14/2020 13:02:11
Then if you can’t get some recourse from the seller
Locate a music shop with a luthier repair person
Or locate the local cabinet shop. Sweep up their shop for services, they have all the tools
You should not have to do this when buying a banjo
Originally posted by thisoldman
trampagne Once you have resolved your problem, please share what you did and how it worked out.
I e-mailed the shop and sent photos along with explaining the issue. He said he could sort of see the mis-alignment and gave me the option of returning it and choosing something else or wait for them to get new ones in stock in mid august. I said that I could wait.
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