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Aug 5, 2020 - 8:02:29 PM
1345 posts since 4/13/2017

I wanted to share that I recently converted a Flinthill banjo. It is the model that looks just like a Recording King RKR80. It originally had an archtop ring and 3 ply rim. It sounded hollow and thin. I put a block rim and small diameter brass hoop in it, and now it sounds SO good. It sounds nearly identical to my 59 RB100. I'll upload pictures and a video tomorrow.

As another topic, would it be feasible to buy these "drug store" banjos for like $250 and build a new rim for them and make them sound pretty daggon good and sell them for like double or more?

Aug 5, 2020 - 9:10:42 PM
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11067 posts since 6/2/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by Blue20Boy17

. . . would it be feasible to buy these "drug store" banjos for like $250 and build a new rim for them and make them sound pretty daggon good and sell them for like double or more?


Yes, it is feasible to upgrade beginner instruments with new rims to improve the sound.

But it is not realistic to expect to sell them for $500 or more, because they would still have the cheap brand name on the peghead and the lowest quality hardware. And at $500, buyers have other options in used instruments.

This is not to say your upgraded entry-level instrument wouldn't sound as good as anything else available at the same price. It's just that upgrades don't return their full value.

I could be wrong.

Aug 5, 2020 - 9:35:33 PM
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3270 posts since 5/29/2011

I agree with Ken on this one. I took an old Kay tenor banjo with a broken neck and put a 1/4" brass hoop ring in it. I took a Saga kit neck and drilled out the plastic inlays, replacing them with real pearl dots. After working over the frets, sanding and finishing the neck, replacing the nut and pip with bone, adding a nicer overlay, and adding a nice set of tuners it played and sounded as well as a banjo three times as expensive. I put the original metal Kay logo on the peghead just to keep it honest. It made a fine player but it was still a Kay. I wound up getting $300 out of it so I didn't make anything when I sold it but the fellow who bought it is very happy. I probably couldn't have gotten any more for it because it is still a Kay no matter how good it sounds.

Aug 6, 2020 - 3:33:34 AM

Emiel

Austria

9559 posts since 1/22/2003

This Flinthill banjo is actually a high-level Recording King Mastertone-type banjo, sold under a different name…

Aug 6, 2020 - 5:52:30 AM
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1345 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

This Flinthill banjo is actually a high-level Recording King Mastertone-type banjo, sold under a different name…


Ironic enough, the fellow I converted it for bought the banjo on Ebay for $400! I charged him about $95 for the new rim and all the work. Cant hardly beat that deal!

Aug 6, 2020 - 8:23:09 AM
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11067 posts since 6/2/2008
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It's great that the owner is happy with such an inexpensive change. But seems to me a 3-ply rim and archtop tone ring sounding hollow and thin is more a matter of setup than the need for a new rim and ring.

But can't argue with the improved  sound and lower weight.

Aug 6, 2020 - 12:06:42 PM

1345 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

It's great that the owner is happy with such an inexpensive change. But seems to me a 3-ply rim and archtop tone ring sounding hollow and thin is more a matter of setup than the need for a new rim and ring.

But can't argue with the improved  sound and lower weight.


Well, the original 3 ply rim appears to be 1 ply maple and 2 plys poplar. It seems odd to me, but the inner two layers have a greenish tint that I know maple doesnt have. The ring is a no hole ring.

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