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Nov 28, 2020 - 6:41:48 PM
5 posts since 11/28/2020

I'm new on here so bear with me please. I have my grandma's silverstone 5 string that has a wood resenator. She said she bought in 1948. I'm getting ready to set it up so I can learn how to play claw hamer style. The action on the neck is kind of high close up to the body, how can I adjust it.


Nov 28, 2020 - 6:53:36 PM

1572 posts since 4/13/2017

I'm not sure about that banjo, but I am curious about that neck attachment design.

Doesn't Nechville use a similar design for neck attachment?

Nov 28, 2020 - 6:58:57 PM
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406 posts since 5/29/2015

Your Silvertone banjo was made by Kay. Fortunately for you Kay used a simple and clever method for adjusting neck angle. The neck slides up and down on the metal piece between the neck and the body. Loosen the rod inside the banjo so that the neck can move up and down. Adjust the neck so it drops 3 degrees backwards off of the horizontal. Then tighten up the rim. Since you are new to this, it will take some fiddling.

Nov 28, 2020 - 7:25:24 PM

5 posts since 11/28/2020

thanks for the info I'll be working on it tomorrow. I also need to get a tail peace for it, I think the one on it is wrong. any advise for that?


Nov 29, 2020 - 7:14:40 AM
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8050 posts since 8/28/2013

That's the correct tailpiece, with the strings properly installed, although many people do replace this type with something easier to use. It can be difficult to install the strings correctly with these models, unless one uses ball end strings.

Nov 29, 2020 - 9:06:41 AM

5 posts since 11/28/2020

but it has 6 spots for strings instead of 5, is that right?
I also have trouble not breaking the 1st and 5th strings, and it's rusting.

Nov 29, 2020 - 10:10:49 AM

3156 posts since 4/29/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by gibsonL50

but it has 6 spots for strings instead of 5, is that right?
I also have trouble not breaking the 1st and 5th strings, and it's rusting.


It looks like it has 6 hooks for loop ends. But it actually has 5 spaces for ball ends. I'd change it.  

Nov 29, 2020 - 10:45:53 AM

3551 posts since 5/29/2011

quote:
Originally posted by gibsonL50

but it has 6 spots for strings instead of 5, is that right?
I also have trouble not breaking the 1st and 5th strings, and it's rusting.


A banjo that old is not supposed to look brand new. The rusting tailpiece gives it patina. I have several banjos with those old tailpieces. Strung with ball end strings they work just fine.  BTW the reason the tailpiece has six holes is supposed to be a one size fits all solution instead of making tailpieces with four, five, and six holes.


 

Edited by - Culloden on 11/29/2020 10:55:55

Nov 29, 2020 - 12:16:12 PM
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8050 posts since 8/28/2013

As Mark says, these were a one-size-fits-all tailpiece, and rust is a fairly normal thing on an old banjo. Changing it is up to you; this Kay-made instyrument has no collector value, so if you don't like the way it looks or the idea of using ball end strings, it's no sin to get something you might like more.

There might be other reasons why you seem to be breaking strings. It's important to keep notice exactly where they break, so that the problem can be better diagnosed and better advice can be given.

Nov 29, 2020 - 12:18:45 PM

5 posts since 11/28/2020

ok that makes since about the holes.
thanks

Nov 29, 2020 - 3:42:38 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13294 posts since 8/30/2006

There are newer, nicer Nickel plated tailpieces
I have some nicer used ones contact me off forum if you like

The hide head might still be playable
Get a gig bag for a banjo and put a humidifier or half a potato in there to freshen her up

The zinc based pot metal looks white with corrosion
I have a cloth buffing wheel on my bench grinder to clean this up with some polishing compound.

That means there is some kind of like metal hoop hidden underneath the head , a flesh hoop that can be corroded too

You can take it apart
I would clean with a damp microfiber cloth and
Wipe it down with boiled Linseed oil
Polish with a linen cloth til hot
The metal hardware can be cleaned in a solution and brought back a little

A new head and other parts are still available new
Use the old parts as long as you can

Way to go. She’s a great banjo to bring back to fighting form


 

Nov 30, 2020 - 9:04:12 PM

11012 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by gibsonL50

but it has 6 spots for strings instead of 5, is that right?
I also have trouble not breaking the 1st and 5th strings, and it's rusting.


Frank Ford has a step-by-step page on how to set up and adjust the neck on a Kay banjo

Frets.com Kay Banjo set up

 

The vintage tailpieces have holes and hooks for 6 strings. Didn't matter if it was a 4, 5 or 6 string banjo. Kay used that 6-string 'piece on their high end (high end for a Kay, that is) banjos till the company liquidated in 1968.

Reproduction tailpieces are readily available with the correct number of holes but they're a pain to string. 

This Waverly (now known as the Old Style) repro is a correct tailpiece for an old Kay.

Waverly P-117

It looks like this and was common in the 1930s. Many places carry it. 

Edited by - mikehalloran on 11/30/2020 21:09:36

Dec 1, 2020 - 6:56:48 AM

8050 posts since 8/28/2013

Thanks, Mike, for posting that link. While I don't need it, because I already know the process, there are others who don't. I'm not good at either explaining the process, nor of posting links, so it's always good that you continue to help with this specific informatuion.

Your tailpiece information should also be an aid to those who deem their current tailpieces to be miserable, rusted hulks, but wish to keep things basically original.

Dec 1, 2020 - 7:12:48 AM

5 posts since 11/28/2020

yes thanks Mike I have saved your post into my drive, and have also add FRETS.COM to my home page
so much good info.
and again thanks for all the info.

Dec 1, 2020 - 9:36:16 AM

11012 posts since 10/27/2006

No problem. There are a couple of bits of info missing from Frank's page:

If the neck doesn't rock in the curved cradle, back the big nut off till you can remove the neck. Either the spacer is stuck to the heel or you will see a couple of nails or screws attaching the curved spacer to the neck. Remove them and discard — not part of the original design and keep it from working properly. The neck heel needs to be free to rock against the spacer.

Tighten the big nut till snug and the assembly feels solid, then stop. It's really easy to over-tighten with the large wrench that fits the nut. Doing so will bend the retaining bolt and can tear it out of the heel.

If the new angle isn't right, loosen the strings, back the nut back just enough so you can change the angle a little, tighten the nut, then bring the strings to tension. You may have to take a few passes before you get it right.

Dec 1, 2020 - 9:56:07 AM

5852 posts since 9/21/2007

FWIW the Waverly Extension tailpiece that mikehalloran posted was announced (I believe) in October of 1925.

mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1925-81-16/44/

Advertisements show up thereafter.

mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1926...ION-2/16/

Notice in the advertisement that the posts have the Fred Bacon "no knot" notches in them. This was to allow people to use spool wire (without loops) and twist the strings on the post like they would a gut string.

Notice that it is for a 4 string tenor banjo.

A later version included a cover...

mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1928...ION-2/18/

Still for a 4 string banjo.

Did Waverly even make a 5 string version of this pattern before WW2. When did Waverly go out of business? Is this a fantasy tailpiece that came from the Japan era?

From what I can tell, by 1926 regular banjos had been dropped from most catalogs and if mentioned were special order only.

Dec 1, 2020 - 11:37:18 AM

11012 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

FWIW the Waverly Extension tailpiece that mikehalloran posted was announced (I believe) in October of 1925.

mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1925-81-16/44/

Advertisements show up thereafter.

mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1926...ION-2/16/

Notice in the advertisement that the posts have the Fred Bacon "no knot" notches in them. This was to allow people to use spool wire (without loops) and twist the strings on the post like they would a gut string.

Notice that it is for a 4 string tenor banjo.

A later version included a cover...

mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1928...ION-2/18/

Still for a 4 string banjo.

Did Waverly even make a 5 string version of this pattern before WW2. When did Waverly go out of business? Is this a fantasy tailpiece that came from the Japan era?

From what I can tell, by 1926 regular banjos had been dropped from most catalogs and if mentioned were special order only.


Waverly came into existance 1915. At that time, they began making the metal for Vega. It would surprise me if David Day didn't have his hand in this.

They were pretty much gone by 1970 or so. Martin had to outsource new Tubaphone rings around 1972 as Waverly was out of business by then. Tubaphone and Electric rings aside, CFM had plenty of Waverly hardware when they sold to Galaxy and Deering was still using it till they ran out in the late 1990s.

Perhaps Stew-Mac has the records but they threw out so much after they bought the company, no one is making book that these still exist.

 

Great links on Waverly. The 5 string tailpiece did exist with posts for gut but are quite rare — I've seen a few on banjos into the early 1950s. I suspect that those may have been old stock since Kay, Gibson and Vega were using others post War.

You could get these in chrome plate with a stamped cover in the early days of Stew-Mac. Old stock or Japanese — I don't know. I don't remember a MIJ sticker on the ones I bought in the mid-'70s for banjos I since sold. 45 years is a long time to remember such things.

When Mike Holmes revived a number of early tailpieces in the 1970s, the Asian repro you see today came into being. Not exactly like the originals but much closer than the current Asian Kershner which is 5 strings on the small 4-string body. The late Mr. Holmes always claimed that as an original variation and not a repro of any extant vintage 'piece.

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