Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

514
Banjo Lovers Online


Jan 14, 2021 - 4:43 AM
86 posts since 7/26/2020

Currently, I have my 85 Scruggs Standard Listed in the classifieds.

My question is, is it worthwhile to try a Kulesh tone ring in this banjo? I’m not sure how much of a difference it’d actually make.

Also, will the ring fit without having to shave down the rim?

Jan 14, 2021 - 5:16:24 AM

4603 posts since 11/20/2004
Online Now

What is your goal? How are you wanting the sound to change? I expect the answer to both questions is "maybe", but probably not. In my experience, most banjos still sound similar after a ring swap. Not the same,but similar. Occasionally, a certain rim likes a certain ring and makes magic, but not the norm.

Jan 14, 2021 - 6:08:42 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5448 posts since 10/12/2009

What ring is in it now?.....from the pictures in your Classifieds ad, it appears to a "no-hole", which I never knew to be "standard equipment" on an ESS.

See the photo of the "Gibson Mastertone" rim label

https://www.banjohangout.org/classified/85245

Edited by - RioStat on 01/14/2021 06:11:16

Jan 14, 2021 - 6:41:16 AM

86 posts since 7/26/2020

Scott,

From what I remember when I had it apart it didn’t have holes in the tone ring.

With that being the case, it seems inevitable that a ring with holes would change the sound

Jan 14, 2021 - 8:28:43 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5448 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by RoCopickin20

Scott,

From what I remember when I had it apart it didn’t have holes in the tone ring.

With that being the case, it seems inevitable that a ring with holes would change the sound


It will change the sound, probably still won't make a world of difference, as mentioned by Bobby in the post above.

A lot of folks like no-hole rings, and the Gibson, pre-war, no-hole flathead tone rings are rare, and sought after, but, I can almost guarantee that no one stuck a pre-war tone ring into this ESS. However, considering the way Gibson operated over the years, the no-hole ring in your banjo could be original 1985 equipment.

Various manufacturers have offered no-hole rings over the years, Stew-Mac, Blaylock, Sullivan, etc.... even Recording King used a no-hole in their RK 30, Madison "Bluegrass Machine" banjos a few years ago.

Jan 14, 2021 - 9:25:09 AM

Alex Z

USA

4190 posts since 12/7/2006

"From what I remember when I had it apart it didn’t have holes in the tone ring."

The holes would be on the interior angled surface of the ring, between where the ring meets the head and the ring meets the interior top of the rim.  These holes would be readily visible when the resonator is removed.

From the posted pictures that I see, taken with the resonator off, that portion of the ring is not visible.  So no telling from the pictures if there are holes or not.

But easy enough to check when the resonator is removed.  Don't have to disassemble the banjo.  What do you see there?

Hope this helps.

Jan 14, 2021 - 9:44:49 AM

86 posts since 7/26/2020

Thanks everyone for the input. I like the banjo, I just like the sound of the 90s Scruggs better.

Alex, I’ll check it this evening and Find out for sure.

Probably won’t change the ring from what I’m hearing.

Jan 14, 2021 - 9:54:16 AM

13849 posts since 10/30/2008

I would imagine the key thing to know about changing rings is if your banjo's tone ring is currently "long skirt" or "short skirt". You must buy the correct skirt to fit how your rim was cut.

Good quality tone rings come up for sale all the time. Once you know the correct skirt, there should be nothing standing in your way to spend what you like to get another one to swap in.

I believe these early Scruggses had Stew Mac tone rings, if I remember right. They're not "bad" tone rings. If your current tone ring has no holes, some previous owner perhaps has already done a swap.

Jan 14, 2021 - 9:54:53 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5448 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Alex Z

"From what I remember when I had it apart it didn’t have holes in the tone ring."

The holes would be on the interior angled surface of the ring, between where the ring meets the head and the ring meets the interior top of the rim.  These holes would be readily visible when the resonator is removed.

From the posted pictures that I see, taken with the resonator off, that portion of the ring is not visible.  So no telling from the pictures if there are holes or not.

But easy enough to check when the resonator is removed.  Don't have to disassemble the banjo.  What do you see there?

Hope this helps.


As I stated in my earlier post, look at the photo of the Mastertone rim label, in the Classifieds ad for this ESS. It's not perfect, but you get a pretty good look at about 20%  of the tone rings angled face.m No holes visible. 

It helps to enlarge the photo.

Edited by - RioStat on 01/14/2021 09:55:24

Jan 14, 2021 - 12:36:49 PM

650 posts since 11/21/2018

I have a Stew Mac no hole ring from the '70s that's "killer" in punch and volume. I don't know how the new ones compare.
I can "usually" hear a difference between the punch of no hole rings over holed rings but not always. Usually the holed rings seem to have a bit more of a "delicate" "lighter" sound for me. Really I never found the Stew Mac rings back in the day wanting. Did a lot of recording studio work and festival performances with that ring.

Once the Covid times pass, It would be easiest/best if you would like to try several rings/holed/no hole, etc. to go to a builder or luthier who can plop several in for you while you wait over the course of a day or two. It could be money well spent IF you hear a drastic and very obvious difference towards something you'd like better.  

Edited by - northernbelle on 01/14/2021 12:46:04

Jan 14, 2021 - 3:48:07 PM
like this

692 posts since 12/28/2003

You can't beat a good tone ring coupled with a good rim, resonator and neck. Changing just one of these will make a difference but maybe not the difference that you want. A great tone ring does not make a great banjo. I have been building for years and the right combination is more of an art than a science.

Jan 14, 2021 - 7:45:27 PM

kubie

Canada

5 posts since 5/3/2008

If you look closely you can see the reflection from the head you can see the holes in the tone ring in one of photos.So more then likely it's a 20 hole tone ring.

Jan 14, 2021 - 9:16:30 PM

Alex Z

USA

4190 posts since 12/7/2006

Yes, now I can see the reflection of the holes in a couple of the pictures.

Some rings have a thicker vertical portion where the inside meets the inside of the rim.  In the pictures, looks like the vertical portion is about 1/8" high.  That can be mistaken for the slanted part of the rim, in a two-dimensional photo.  That's why the Mastertone label extends above the rim, but not above the vertical portion of the ring.

Here is a drawing of the Stew Mac Five-Star ring, showing a vertical inside portion:  https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-hardware/all-hardware-and-parts-by-instrument/banjo-parts/banjo-tone-rings/five-star-flathead-banjo-tone-ring.html

Other tone rings may not have such a vertial portion, but rather the slant of the tone ring comes almost to a point where it meets the rim.

Anyone recognize the tone ring?  Would it have been from Stew Mac?

Edited by - Alex Z on 01/14/2021 21:17:08

Jan 15, 2021 - 8:26:10 AM

86 posts since 7/26/2020

Here are photos of the tone ring.




 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.203125