Hi. I have an iida 235. I think that is the model number. It has a 5/8 rim which is 3 ply. 2 thick ones, and the outer one quite thin. A 20 hole flathead tonering.
How do I tell the difference between a zinc, an aluminium and a bell bronze tone ring?
It has factory (?) d-tuners.
Take the tone ring off, suspend it on your index finger and hit it with a wooden spoon. If it rings like a bell, it's probably a bell brass/bronze ring. If it rings like a skillet, it's something else.
If you like the way the banjo sounds, I would not take it apart unless you understand banjo setup and have done it before. The tone ring is likely not a slip fit and may not come off easy. They sometimes really jammed them on during that era. This is probably an 11-12 ply rim that might "exhale" once you relieve some pressure. So if you do get it off (you don't want to pry or do anything to damage the rim) there is also no guarantee that the rim accepts the ring back easily. If you're good at setup and working with banjos, then tinker away. If you don't like the sound and are thinking about another ring, you're going to need a good luthier anyway to fit a new one on (they are not interchangeable - need to modify the rim at least somewhat).
Edited by - Brian Murphy on 01/23/2021 05:24:49
If you are willing to disassemble, take a sharp file and file off some metal in an inconspicuous place. It it shows yellow under the plating, it's some kind of brass alloy. If it shows white or silver it's likely pot metal(white metal, Zamac, etc). If it is lightweight it's probably aluminum, but I have never seen an aluminum ring in one of these. They are advertised as having a "cast tone ring." whereas they advertise the model 237 as having a "bell-brass" tone ring, so I 'd suspect the 235 has a pot-metal ring.
Edited by - beegee on 01/23/2021 07:47:22
That's helpful. Thanks. You can see a consistent metal right through the 20 sound holes. Looks a lot like aluminium. Cast makes sense except that I wouldn't think the holes would be so clean. The metal would look grainier??
Just curious. Sounds great. I'll just leave well enough alone.
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