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Jan 23, 2021 - 10:36:58 AM
127 posts since 1/7/2019

Hi All,

I have a TPF banjo that I was thinking about trying as an openback. When I remove the flange, do I need to put anything between the nuts and the tube? Currently each hook has a lock washer on it that goes up against the flange. I would assume that I can still use these at a minimum. Just wondering if I should try to find very little flat washers to go between the lock washer and the tube.


Jan 23, 2021 - 12:17:18 PM
like this

13720 posts since 10/30/2008

TPF Gibsons did NOT have washers on the tension hooks from the factory.

I have 4 TPF Gibsons and none have lock washers. Just something else to get loose and rattle! I say go ahead without them.

Jan 23, 2021 - 4:44:15 PM
Players Union Member



13430 posts since 8/30/2006

With respect
The 6mm nuts might dig into the tube plating
I get these in my shop
I would use a flat washer and lock to match the thickness of the plate so the threads don’t stick out and scratch your clothes
The best tube was Aida’s which was flattened on the bottom, an additional mfg step. I still have one, but they are sloppy oversized
Keep your resonator hdw handy
You are allowed to use various methods of resonator clip on like magnets or such
It’s the best sounding open back with no holes in the rim and full contact with the tube
No lecture. I like ’em

Jan 23, 2021 - 5:15:15 PM
likes this

208 posts since 4/17/2015

I have always thought that the tube "band" was one of the cleanest and nicest designs in many ways. Fewer parts, and smoother contact. I am much more oriented to "open back" or similar instruments, with shoes (even with a bracket band as on Fairbanks Whyte Laydies and TuBaPhones).

The earlier, pre 1925 era, Gibsons of the "trap-door" period often used a tube, never intended for a flange plate.
These tubes are actually flattened at each individual hook/hole to accommodate the nut.

I suppose that it might be a good idea, and certainly no harm, in using a small washer to protect the tube, and accommodate any excess length created by removal of the flange if the hooks protrude through the nuts. But I am uncertain about the desirability of lock washers- seems like they would have the capacity to chew things up a bit.

Edited by - Jarvie on 01/23/2021 17:18:16

Jan 24, 2021 - 2:47:39 AM
Players Union Member



13430 posts since 8/30/2006

I'm glad somebody like tubes.
I really like the Gibson info about flattening each hole. The import standard would be flattening the whole bottom like Aida.

It's a great idea to check your hooks after travel. As banjos change daily dimension, that can definitely loosen things.

I toured in Germany in 2003. Just before going on stage in Rodolstadt, I checked the nut on my tailpiece and it was almost lost in a foreign country without a passport. I suppose the American embassy carries banjo parts.

Jan 24, 2021 - 5:08:08 AM

13389 posts since 6/29/2005

The tube-and-plate is indeed an elegant design, probably abandoned by Gibson because the brass plate part is expensive and wasteful to produce (what do you do with the 9 1/2" brass disk left over after you punch out the plate?), and Gibson started casting tone rings, the one-piece flange and even tension hoops.

The tube itself was the elegant part of it.  I made a number of banjos with tubes in the 1970s using red brass tubing with a pretty thick wall, but never really embraced the look, and Deering's flangeless banjo model with the "pop-off resonator" used a tube over which spring-like doo-dads on the resonator would snap to attach it—a good design.  One advantage of a tube, which it shares with bracket bands and the one-piece flange, is that it's not necessary to drill 24 holes through the rim.  

The tube on my 1927 Granada has a .2" flat all the way around the bottom so that the plate part sits flat against it, and every third hole on the plate is large enough to pass the nuts so you can remove the flange without undoing every nut.  I played that banjo for 15 years without the resonator or flange plate.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 01/24/2021 05:14:27

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:27:23 AM

11072 posts since 10/27/2006

Count me among TPF fan. Unless the hole is large enough to allow wiggle room, I consider washers redundant but, if they make you happy, no harm in using them.

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:14:26 PM
Players Union Member



13430 posts since 8/30/2006

the helium arrived  Sorry, I would stamp a two piece with a  press that has a swing arm and rotating die

Like crescent  moons

Edited by - Helix on 01/25/2021 13:15:23

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