Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

670
Banjo Lovers Online


Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Nov 14, 2020 - 4:53:19 AM
4822 posts since 3/22/2008

I've owned a couple of banjos with factory designed neck angle adjusters made before the truss rod era. One manufacturer was Kay with the patented shim concept ca. 1931 (attached). Another was a 1924 Gretsch Orchestrella (attached). Were there other manufacturers that tackled the neck adjustment issue and how did they do it?


Nov 14, 2020 - 5:28:31 AM
likes this

1506 posts since 4/25/2007

Attached photo of the Windsor (UK) adjuster.


 

Nov 14, 2020 - 5:52:44 AM

rmcdow

USA

881 posts since 11/8/2014

Nechville banjos

Nov 14, 2020 - 6:09:40 AM

227 posts since 2/11/2009
Online Now

That Kay system was actually used on guitars and mandolins starting around 1928. While it does nothing to keep the necks straight, it's one of the few angle adjustment systems for guitar that still works nearly a century later.

Leedy had a system that didn't provide a huge range of movement but did actually move the neck a bit and keep it in place. It used a clock-key mechanism with the key inserted through the heel and there was a pivot bearing running through the neck:
 

Epiphone used a variety of neck attachment systems ranging from no dowell at all to a true coordinator rod. Most appear to be slightly adjustible if you add shims in the right places:

Nov 14, 2020 - 6:31:42 AM
likes this

1681 posts since 6/2/2010
Online Now

Even though I don't care for Kay banjos I think their neck adjustment was probably the best one ever made. Might be one of the only adjusters that doesn't also require some type of shim. I am surprised it isn't copied more today.

Nov 14, 2020 - 6:51:48 AM

8032 posts since 8/28/2013

Paramount used a neck adjuster.

As for Kay, they did, in fact, use what could be called a shim: the curved plate between neck and rim. While a good idea, I think the Kay adjuster could have stood some improvement in the way the rim rod was connected to the neck heel (a wood screw through an eye bolt doesn't cut the mustard in my opinion, and that screw almost always bends). At least it maintained a close fit between the neck and rim and put no strain on either. Most of the other systems adjusted one end only, di nothing to maintain the fit of the neck to the rim, and could put undue strain on parts if adjusted too aggressively. That's one of the reasons for so many split heels on Paramount banjos.

Nov 14, 2020 - 6:56:47 AM

8032 posts since 8/28/2013

One should also not forget the adjuster proposed by former Hangout member Rudy, which was not a flush heel contacting the rim, but more like a through-the-rim set-up that pivoted on the edge of a cutout in said rim.

Nov 14, 2020 - 7:08:39 AM

4822 posts since 3/22/2008

Yes, I found a Paramount Style 1 ca. 1930 with a neck adjustment design.


Nov 14, 2020 - 7:12 AM

mbanza

USA

2271 posts since 9/16/2007

Middlebrooke instruments, for instance the Lion Banjo: banjohangout.org/archive/28929...ve/289292

Nov 14, 2020 - 7:23:51 AM

4822 posts since 3/22/2008

Also, the attached Van Eps but I don't know how this is supposed to work.


Nov 14, 2020 - 8:10:13 AM

1506 posts since 4/25/2007

I seem to remember I had a Ludwig which had an adjustment by means of a screw in the heel.

Nov 14, 2020 - 8:32:41 AM

4822 posts since 3/22/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

I seem to remember I had a Ludwig which had an adjustment by means of a screw in the heel.


Is this the Ludwig adjustment heel screw?


Nov 14, 2020 - 8:40:59 AM

1012 posts since 12/8/2006

'60s Vega could adjust neck angle up, down, side-to-side. Framuses (Frami) had a great adjuster. I think Tom got his idea from the Kays.

Nov 14, 2020 - 9:06:05 AM
likes this

13597 posts since 10/30/2008

Yeah, like Paul said, the 1960s Vegas had a cutaway at the bottom inner face of the heel, and a thin metal plate. Two little Allen screws protruded from the inside of the rim to press on this metal plate and let the neck rock out or in (and side to side adjustment too, if you adjusted the two screws differently). The bottom coord. rod held the neck tightly in place. I've never adjusted mine, but there are instructions printed right in side the rim on the yellow tape. The disadvantage, as some have pointed out, is that the contact of the wood of the heel, with the outside of the rim, is kind of minimalistic, and not great for getting all possible tone and volume the banjo would otherwise be capable of.

Nov 14, 2020 - 9:07:32 AM

13597 posts since 10/30/2008

Also, I've noticed on old Cole banjos that they had a neck adjuster as in the photos above inside the rim under the tailpiece area.  Like the Paramount, Windsor, metal rimmed banjo, etc.

Edited by - The Old Timer on 11/14/2020 09:08:26

Nov 14, 2020 - 9:36:19 AM

5835 posts since 9/21/2007

The Richard Kuenstler “turn buckle” brace that Stewart used was supposed to do this. We know how well they worked...

Fred Van Eps used a version of the Kuenstler on his banjos. I use them just snug enough not to rattle, no pressure either way.

Weymann banjos used a more massive concept that flexed the dowel rod. Those seemed to work better than the Kuenstler version.

In all these cases, I suspect that they were designed to be used for very tiny adjustments. I doubt the inventors could have guessed that at some point people would try to use wire strings and 5/8” bridges. The result is “pop goes the heel”.

Nov 14, 2020 - 9:38:58 AM

5835 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by beezaboy

Also, the attached Van Eps but I don't know how this is supposed to work.


He used these on his non resonator banjos built with a straight dowel rod and Farmer tone ring as well. 


Nov 14, 2020 - 10:58:21 AM

2501 posts since 3/30/2008

The Ludwig adjuster system had a screw on each side of the heel. Each screw moved a bolt out of the back of the neck to push the neck into a proper angle. The bolts could also be set independently to center the neck.

Nov 14, 2020 - 11:18:01 AM

1506 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by beezaboy
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

I seem to remember I had a Ludwig which had an adjustment by means of a screw in the heel.


Is this the Ludwig adjustment heel screw?


Thanks John that is indeed the mechanism.

Nov 14, 2020 - 11:44:02 AM
likes this

273 posts since 6/23/2013

Gatcomb also provided a means to adjust the neck angle. A small screw on one side of the heel was used to adjust a cam that pressed against the rim.

Nov 14, 2020 - 12:14:43 PM

4822 posts since 3/22/2008

Thanks for your replies. There sure were a lot of different manufacturer ideas for adjusting the neck angle on their banjos. I'm kind of surprised because in all of the old banjo literature I've read I don't recall seeing an article about neck angle or string action.

Nov 14, 2020 - 1:23:42 PM

wtalley

USA

263 posts since 7/2/2010

The Daynor by Gretsch had one. It allowed you to adjust the neck angle; and, as well, adjust the neck sideways to center the strings over the fingerboard. One big screw held the neck to the pot.




Nov 14, 2020 - 2:06:19 PM

273 posts since 6/23/2013

Another interesting one....


Nov 15, 2020 - 1:57:41 AM

1672 posts since 1/13/2012
Online Now

Kraske and Waldo banjos (both built by Schall, or with Schall parts) had patented neck adjusters. Later J. French banjos had one that was quite similar to the Cole "Little Giant" mentioned above.

Most of these mechanisms, at least the ones from the pre-tenor-banjo era, were only intended to change the neck angle a very small amount to compensate for head and string variances. That's why, as Joel says, they will often break parts when cranked to the max under steel string tension.

Nov 15, 2020 - 2:46:30 AM
likes this

1596 posts since 12/26/2007

Here are a dowel-end adjuster and a dowel-to-neck tensioner (yoke) for a Waldo (Schall) banjo. Previous owner added a wooden shim to the dowel-end adjuster.






Nov 15, 2020 - 3:51:50 AM

DSmoke

USA

902 posts since 11/30/2015

The later model Paramounts had a neck angle adjuster attached to the end of the neck. There were two screws used to push a metal plate against the tension hoop. And you can't forget the Weymann adjuster/brace.




Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.578125