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Oct 25, 2020 - 1:16:27 PM

heavy5

USA

1363 posts since 11/3/2016

I've been collecting for quite a few years but not so much anymore I think due to age & other interests but am amazed at what people will pay for some prewar parts . I can't argue that there may be some tonal improvement using an early aged rim . a zamak flange or tension hoop plus of course the ring plus value influence , but does a pre war Presto tail piece , other than satisfying an ego improve sound ?
I've never taken the time to measure the gauge of the brass between a Prucha Presto & a prewar & that , as near as I can guess might be the only difference between the two , well maybe a hundred bucks also . As I get older , it is amusing to see values change for collectable banjo parts .
What say ye , are pre war parts , (other than a flat ring) that more valuable for the ultimate sound ?
i realize there are a ton of variables that can govern "THE SOUND" , possibly most important to some is price paid for specific parts ?

Edited by - heavy5 on 10/25/2020 13:36:59

Oct 25, 2020 - 1:28:35 PM
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2720 posts since 11/15/2003

Short answer

NO!

Warp!

Oct 25, 2020 - 1:35:48 PM

heavy5

USA

1363 posts since 11/3/2016

Hey , thanks Warp , I'm w/ you !

Oct 25, 2020 - 1:40:31 PM
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391 posts since 5/29/2015

Maybe originality of old instruments is worth more than simple functional value?

Oct 25, 2020 - 3:36:10 PM

2079 posts since 4/18/2006

Personally I do notice a difference in the sound and feel of the prewar prestos compared to the new ones. The prewar prestos, to me, are cleaner and darker sounding and make the banjo more responsive than the newer copies (with the Prucha presto being the best new one.)

As for parts like flanges or tension hoops, I’ve never experimented much with that, but the previous owner of my old Gibson replaced the pot metal tension hoop with an E2 brass hoop because he thought it sounded better. He had a really good ear, so I’d believe it.

Oct 25, 2020 - 3:50:58 PM

1150 posts since 5/19/2018

It depends.

If I find a prewar presto tailpiece and it’s under say 150.00$, yes, it absolutely improves the sound considerably.

When I try and hunt down a specific tailpiece and I start finding they are 350-400$, they then seem to not really improve the sound and I buy a nice repro.

Oct 25, 2020 - 4:01:27 PM
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492 posts since 2/21/2005

If I’m not mistaken, Scruggs had a cheap tailpiece on his Granada when he recorded Foggy Mountain Breakdown. It didn’t sound too bad.

Oct 25, 2020 - 5:13:01 PM

2313 posts since 10/17/2013

quote:
Originally posted by warpdrive

Short answer

NO!

Warp!


We can always count on good old Kevin to set things straight. 

Oct 25, 2020 - 5:17:18 PM

2313 posts since 10/17/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Bronx banjo

If I’m not mistaken, Scruggs had a cheap tailpiece on his Granada when he recorded Foggy Mountain Breakdown. It didn’t sound too bad.


 

I have had Presto-style tailpieces on nearly all my prewar conversions that I owned, and the absence of a prewar tailpiece didn’t seem to make that big a difference. 

I don’t know about you, but I’d have to be mighty desperate before hopping on the $500+ prewar tailpiece bandwagon.

Oct 25, 2020 - 5:41:07 PM
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2720 posts since 11/15/2003

Gang,
The biggest pre war parts factor on Earl's banjo were attached to his wrist...they were his

" original pre war factory issued hands!"

Warp!

Oct 25, 2020 - 7:23:41 PM

13465 posts since 10/30/2008

I am willing to agree, that to the sharpest "ear", there may be discernble difference in sound between an E2 brass tension hoop and a Zamac hoop. I won't even get into which one is "better".

In the one piece flange world there is also a Zamac camp and a "brass/bronze" camp.

If some can hear a difference between a $500 original FIVE STRING Presto tailpiece and a Prucha or even Asian Presto, who am I to argue? I mostly don't want my Presto to break in half at the bend, like the ones Gibson put on the Blackjacks, etc.

It's not much different from those who restore classic cars. Huge value difference (and market size difference) between ORIGINAL parts and restoration parts. Has little or nothing to do with how the car performs.

Oct 26, 2020 - 4:16:06 AM
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1510 posts since 11/27/2005

Hoops and flanges make a huge difference in tone. Back in the late 70's I was the repair man at the 5th string in the SF Bay area Working in Richard Keldsen's store. I had a pre war flat head at the time and bought a hearts and flowers Gold Star. I bought the Gold Star because I was amazed at the sound and quality of the banjo. I tinkered around with is and was trying to get it to sound more like my 3 and wanted to get rid of the over tones and sizzle that the Gold Star had. I had an old OPF from a pre war TB4 in my shop and swapped it out. Low and behold the banjo had the dry complex tone it was missing and the volume went up. This was a huge change.

Joe

Oct 26, 2020 - 4:54:35 AM

GStump

USA

393 posts since 9/12/2006

After hearing, examining, and playing some mighty fine prewar flatheads that were basically unchanged since the "good ole' days," (as in all original prewar parts) I am convinced that IF you must have the sound and tone of an original flathead, then that is what you must acquire to satisfy yourself. Is there a difference in tone? Well of course there is. Is it better than a new banjo? Well of course it is. Is it BETTER? THAT my friends, is totally subjective, and as the old saying goes, "is in the ear of the beholder." Naturally one can carry the argument of difference and being "better" to a point that it becomes comical. Can most folks tell the difference between a very good prewar conversion, and a very good new banjo? Possibly, possibly not. Can one tell the difference between a very good prewar flathead and most any newer flathead banjo? Probably. If you can't, then you don't need or subscribe to the difference that old instrument can give you. When one begins swapping out parts on any banjo, does it change the tone? Well, that depends upon the part, and THEN only you can decide whether or not you detect any difference. Chances are, most often it does in fact change the tone; BUT AGAIN, is it better, or worse? TRY to get away from those two words. No doubt, usually it is different. That little something extra that a really good prewar flathead gives you simply can not be duplicated in any new banjo. However, I must admit that as time goes by, many are getting "much closer." The science of tone and setup has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several decades, and it truly is a nice thing to see new banjos that are really good, not only in craftsmanship, but also how much closer the banjo gets to sounding more like what many can only describe as, as close as one can get in a new banjo to what an old banjo sounds like. There is in fact intrinsic value to something as rare as the prewar flathead, but that is NOT the only thing that endears them to their owners and to those who really "get it." As many folks have said over the years, IF you want to sound like Earl, JD, Sonny, then it only makes sense that you have to use the same tools those guys used. Just sayin'!!!!! YES - one simply has to learn how to play the instrument properly, and as close to what those guys did - and it probably is 95% in the hands, but one must have the proper tools to accomplish the job!!

Oct 26, 2020 - 8:59:08 AM

bill53

USA

348 posts since 3/26/2004
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my 27 gibson original tail piece snapped into , quite loud now it has a prucha

Oct 29, 2020 - 3:15:30 PM

2704 posts since 12/4/2009

Hello,

I am curious to the fit of the pre-war flange to the Gold Star. One would be a looser fit. They are as different as different can be as far as manufacturing. Could it be a too tight a fit issue? Usually a retrofit is required with a Lathe to get one manufacturer's flange to fit another.

Nov 8, 2020 - 11:33:13 AM

278 posts since 8/30/2005

I don't mean to hijack the subject, But the flange fit on all the Japanese Gold Star's I set up have been so tight that I couldn't have possibly taken them off without heat. Perhaps the PW flange was not as tight and that was a bigger factor than it's composition.
Who else thinks a flange should be slip fit?

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