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Sep 24, 2020 - 6:44:56 PM
1456 posts since 4/13/2017

This is the story of how I came across the design of my own woodie, the LR-54™.

When I decided to build my first banjo, the Lemon 1, I wanted to build a woodie because, in my experience, they sounded just as good as any metal tone ring banjo. So, I began researching types of woodies. Due to my limited tools, I couldn't create the typical flathead or archtop woodie, at which point I was stuck.

However, I finally came across Tony Pass's Almost Flathead design (for more information on the Almost Flathead, read here). Even though I still couldn't make this design precisely as Tony did, I was able to gain inspiration from it and altered the original design so that I could build one.

As I was finishing up this build, a friend of mine converted one of my old banjos to a true Almost Flathead style banjo (using the same design as Tony). When I got to hear how it sounded, I was absolutely blown away.

When I finally finished my modified design, I could tell right away that it had a familiar sound. So I then grabbed this Almost Flathead conversion, thinking that was why it sounded familiar. However, that just wasn't the case. The only other banjo I had was my 1959 Gibson RB-100. I played it, and it had the same tone as the Lemon 1 using the modified woodie.

After this initial discovery, I thought I was on to something. Luckily, another friend asked me to build him one of these, but using mahogany rather than the maple like the Lemon 1. When I finished this mahogany banjo with the modified woodie, it had the exact same tone as the Lemon 1 and my RB-100. At this point, I knew I was on to something spectacular.

That is when I decided to name this design the LR-54™. This name means "Lemon Ring-sounds from the 1950's."

At the time this was written, the only way the LR-54™ is available is in the integrated form (built into a block rim). However, I plan to soon advertise them in a slip-on form (so it can be swapped with a Mastertone-style metal tone ring).

If you're looking for that 50's sound without using a 3-pound tone ring, the LR-54™ is exactly what you're looking for!

Edited by - Lemon Banjos on 09/24/2020 18:45:57

Sep 24, 2020 - 7:22:43 PM

Turpen1

USA

69 posts since 2/5/2011

How about a conversion ring?

Sep 24, 2020 - 7:29:06 PM

1456 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Turpen1

How about a conversion ring?


By conversion, do you mean Archtop to Flathead? 

If so, this territory is covered by "slip on tone rings". The LR-54 looks basically like a traditional flathead by just looking at the head surface. 

If not, please explain, because I want to offer as much as I am capable of for potential customers.

Sep 24, 2020 - 8:21:47 PM

Turpen1

USA

69 posts since 2/5/2011

Yes, arch top to flat head. Every time one is listed for sale, it sells! Seems like a good prospect. I’m certainly curious!

Sep 25, 2020 - 4:18:58 AM

1456 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Turpen1

Yes, arch top to flat head. Every time one is listed for sale, it sells! Seems like a good prospect. I’m certainly curious!


I'm very glad there's a market for this! I will try to speed up creating this slip on form of the LR54 Woodem Tone Ring!

Sep 25, 2020 - 5:23:50 AM

5623 posts since 9/21/2007

How long ago did you file your trademark application? It is not showing up in a TESS search and I tried with and without hyphen.

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:36:34 AM

1456 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

How long ago did you file your trademark application? It is not showing up in a TESS search and I tried with and without hyphen.


I did not file. I was under the impression that you can put TM on a word or phrase without filing.

https://www.upcounsel.com/trademark-vs-registered

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:38:54 AM

5623 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

How long ago did you file your trademark application? It is not showing up in a TESS search and I tried with and without hyphen.


I did not file. I was under the impression that you can put TM on a word or phrase without filing.

https://www.upcounsel.com/trademark-vs-registered


Okay, I am a weirdo and like to read stuff like trademark applications. 

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:48:48 AM

5623 posts since 9/21/2007

Oh, funny story. While one might be able to add "TM" to their brand name without filing (I am not a lawyer and don't really know how this works), the company I work for ran into a problem with this (I had just started working for them at the time).

We had an entire container seized and held by customs at port in the US. During an inspection, one of the customs officers decided to check the status of filing on all the names we had "TM" on. They found one that we had not filed and decided to hold the container until we could prove we had submitted an application. They charged us a substantial "storage fee" in addition to fines and inspection fees.

I'm sure we could have lawyered up and tried to fight it. But attorney fees, delays, and court costs are much more than the application fee. We applied for the trademark and then took "TM" off for the next printing.

While you will likely never run into something like this, I personally don't take chances.

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:52:39 AM

1456 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Oh, funny story. While one might be able to add "TM" to their brand name without filing (I am not a lawyer and don't really know how this works), the company I work for ran into a problem with this (I had just started working for them at the time).

We had an entire container seized and held by customs at port in the US. During an inspection, one of the customs officers decided to check the status of filing on all the names we had "TM" on. They found one that we had not filed and decided to hold the container until we could prove we had submitted an application. They charged us a substantial "storage fee" in addition to fines and inspection fees.

I'm sure we could have lawyered up and tried to fight it. But attorney fees, delays, and court costs are much more than the application fee. We applied for the trademark and then took "TM" off for the next printing.

While you will likely never run into something like this, I personally don't take chances.


Woah. That's crazy!

For the time being, I'm keeping my little business within the 48 states. Even once I get a larger reputation, I probably won't go out of the 50 states. But if I decide to go international some day, I will definitely apply for that trademark first!

Sep 25, 2020 - 8:41:55 AM

172 posts since 4/5/2016

Photos...Website...?

Sep 25, 2020 - 8:50:28 AM

1456 posts since 4/13/2017

Sep 26, 2020 - 10:15:31 AM
Players Union Member

zz4350

USA

25 posts since 6/8/2010

Could you make a LR-54 without the bead and the top level set so I could use an 11 inch OD round brass tone hoop from a pre war Gibson or a new one from Stumac?

Sep 26, 2020 - 10:28:54 AM

1456 posts since 4/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by zz4350

Could you make a LR-54 without the bead and the top level set so I could use an 11 inch OD round brass tone hoop from a pre war Gibson or a new one from Stumac?


The LR-54 is a woodie tone ring, and the ones I make now are integrated into a rim. I can, however, build a rim like you describe from hard or soft maple, ash, walnut, cherry, mahogany, and birch, as you can see in my classified ad "Taking orders for block rims". My prices start at $60.

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