Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

859
Banjo Lovers Online


Nov 30, 2020 - 2:47:06 PM

QldPicker

Australia

192 posts since 4/17/2020
Online Now

If people were were custom ordering an open back banjo that would have a more 'traditional appearance', what are opinions on the finish of the visible metal (brass) components?
Nickel or chrome plate the hooks, shoes and tension hoop OR leave them in their raw brass state. I'm not a fan of antiquing the brass.

Nov 30, 2020 - 3:21:33 PM
likes this

2257 posts since 2/7/2008

I'm a big fan of the raw brass look (or better yet, bronze) and. like you, I don't like the "antiqued" look made by using chemicals, but I do like the look of the natural aging which will eventually happen on its own, including uneven sheen from where your arm touches or doesn't touch various parts. I love that, but I recognize I'm weird.

A while back, I found a nickel plated bronze flange and actually paid to have the nickel removed so I'd have raw bronze. 15 years ago, I got a lockset for my front door and special ordered it unplaced. After 15 years of being touched in different ways and exposure, it looks like it's a hundred years old - just like I wanted.

Dec 1, 2020 - 2:06:07 PM
likes this

151 posts since 12/21/2012

I agree. Love natural aged brass. Not a fan of "Antiqued".

More old banjos were plated, so...yeah, I guess that's more traditional. But to me raw aged brass "looks" more traditional and old timey to me.

Hopefully you get the gist. I seem to have lost the ability to verbalize my mind today LOL

Dec 1, 2020 - 6:12:42 PM
likes this

8051 posts since 8/28/2013

I never could figure why people think brass banjo metal is traditional. Makers have been nickle plating parts for well over 100 years now. If that's not traditional, I don't know what is.

Dec 2, 2020 - 8:09:23 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13294 posts since 8/30/2006

Here’s a picture of what you are talking about
I don’t do pickling because it is concentrating on form
All content formless is my goal

I concentrate on how everything sounds as it leaves my care

Pickling makes little sonic contribution
Brass kicks a**


 

Dec 2, 2020 - 9:13:54 PM

2257 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

Here’s a picture of what you are talking about
I don’t do pickling because it is concentrating on form
All content formless is my goal

I concentrate on how everything sounds as it leaves my care

Pickling makes little sonic contribution
Brass kicks a**


Larry,

When you refer to "pickling" are you talking about the brass aging process that uses salt and vinegar? 

Dec 3, 2020 - 5:38:02 AM
likes this

13342 posts since 6/29/2005

All brass will oxidize when left alone unless it's lacquered, like they do with brass instruments like trumpets. 

The oxidation is a chemical change.  The places where you rub against it will change differently than those where you don't because of oils etc on your skin—The reason for nickel plating is to keep every part of the instrument looking the same. Many people don't easily embrace the idea of different metal colors (nickel, brass, bronze, aluminum) together (I do).

I personally like plain brass a lot, and certainly that's an option for finish, but the majority of my customers usually like some kind of patina with a different color.

Brass finishes are not necessarily meant to look "old" or be "antiqued"—they are just a finish like staining wood—most people want curly maple to be stained; not to make it look "old" like a flintlock rifle, but because they like that color better than blonde—the same is true with metal. sculptors don't put patinas on metal sculptures to make them look "old"—it's a finish they are doing as part of the art.

Many colors can be done with brass—left to right: plain brass, slight patina, statuary, plum, gun metal.

Second from the left would be the closest to an "aged" finish, and brass will get like this after a while if untreated.

Here are some "rainbow" patinas over a copper pickle, and each alloy of brass changes in a different way

Below is a banjo with a plain brass tension hoop and bracket band, satin finish, an aluminum flange, aluminum tone ring skirt which matches the aluminum flesh hoop on the head, and black oxide bolts.

 

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 12/03/2020 05:40:18

Dec 3, 2020 - 6:13:37 AM

5852 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I never could figure why people think brass banjo metal is traditional. Makers have been nickle plating parts for well over 100 years now. If that's not traditional, I don't know what is.


I think most banjo "tradition" has more to do with nostalgia than history.

I see these unplated banjos as the Cracker Barrel of banjo history.   It is more "old timey" than old time.

Presented as Ken does, just another finish, is honest.

Dec 3, 2020 - 8:03:01 AM

1904 posts since 2/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I never could figure why people think brass banjo metal is traditional. Makers have been nickle plating parts for well over 100 years now. If that's not traditional, I don't know what is.


I concur entirely , nothing wrong with Nickle plating on a banjo, I have several 100+ year old banjos with nickle plating and they look great ! eventually it gets rubbed anyway so, just let it happen naturally. Aging an instrument deliberately looks to me rather like those pre faded Levis people buy or , worse, Fender relic guitars !

Dec 3, 2020 - 8:55:38 AM

8051 posts since 8/28/2013

I was not intending to demean brass or its various patinas. However, the O.P stated it as a "traditional appearance" option.

Had he stated it as something other than "traditional" I would never have commented.

Dec 3, 2020 - 6:09:21 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13294 posts since 8/30/2006

Quickstep192 No, I'm just showing new brass that will color by degree with handling.

The 11 examples above are all you need to know.

I don't spend time on it.

Dec 4, 2020 - 6:10:37 AM

3933 posts since 5/12/2010

At the 2017 Vandalia Gathering I developed painful blisters on both my forearms. On my left arm the blisters were under my watch where the buckle was against the skin, and on my right arm the blisters were where my arm contacted the rest on my banjo. After your odometer turns over past 60 things start to change and I had developed an allergy to nickel, which was confirmed by my doctor the next week.

So, that influenced my choice to using only raw brass hardware on the banjos I play, and I want a wooden arm rest because I don't like the smell brass leaves on the skin. I like the look of the brass as it ages.

I actually prefer the look of aged nickel over any other, but I don't like bright shinny nickel, it looks too much like chrome (read cheap) plating to me.

Edited by - OldPappy on 12/04/2020 06:12:40

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1914063