Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

495
Banjo Lovers Online


Feb 23, 2021 - 5:43:30 AM
245 posts since 1/26/2020

I once had a neglected, beat up old fretless Dobson 1867 which I’d repaired, and it had a very VERY old head, possibly original. I made it a very wide set maple bridge, with deep crow spaced slots to lower the action a little, used Nylgut Minstrel strings, and set the bridge near the middle to match the original intended scale. It was a very thumpy, subdued, and hollow minstrel sound, similar to a gourde banjo, which I absolutely loved. I sold it to a friend to buy another Dobson 1867 that felt even better to hold, has all of its original parts, and an even thicker neck. It’s only drawback was someone added nickel Silver frets to it at some point (likely the 1890s-1900s), preventing me from being able to place the bridge in the middle of the head. It has much more sustain, and a brighter more airy sound to it. I’ve put on a new very thin goat skin head, it has a solid normal space ebony bridge, and the head actually sits a little lower relative to the neck. Eventually I want to remove the frets and replace the ruined rosewood veneer to return it to its original fretless setup. Realizing that none of these instruments were made the same, how to I get back that tubby minstrel sound of my previous Dobson 1867?

 Blaine

Edited by - tbchappe on 02/23/2021 05:44:00

Feb 23, 2021 - 5:45:38 AM

245 posts since 1/26/2020

Also, I sold the other one because I personally find it a bit brash to own two of the same banjo, or anything for that matter unless it's necessity, while not giving others a chance to own one. I knew someone that had been searching for one for a very long time, so I sold it to him, and he couldn’t be happier.

Blaine

Edited by - tbchappe on 02/23/2021 05:46:29

Feb 23, 2021 - 6:44:52 AM
likes this

beegee

USA

22205 posts since 7/6/2005

You can use a thicker head adjusted slightly looser, a heavier 2-legged bridge. Once you remove the frets and re-surface the fingerboard, you have more options.

Feb 23, 2021 - 7:09:12 AM

8203 posts since 8/28/2013

I would suspect that the sound of your original fretless Dobson was due almost entirely to the positin of the bridge nearer the center of the head. If you remove the frets from the one you have now, you can once again place the bridge where it needs to be to get that "tubby" tone.

Feb 23, 2021 - 7:42:29 AM
likes this

11 posts since 11/22/2008

You could try moving the bridge to any position you want. The intonation will be off, but you could still hear how the tone is changed.

Feb 23, 2021 - 8:38:04 AM
likes this

5983 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

Are you certain the frets were added later?

The Dobson family promoted frets (raised and inlaid) early on and even insulated that they invented the concept.

Of course, it is possible that they would sell smooth arm banjos and then upsell the installation of frets as a way to extract more money from their marks... I mean students.

Feb 23, 2021 - 8:41:36 AM

245 posts since 1/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Are you certain the frets were added later?

The Dobson family promoted frets (raised and inlaid) early on and even insulated that they invented the concept.

Of course, it is possible that they would sell smooth arm banjos and then upsell the installation of frets as a way to extract more money from their marks... I mean students.


Yes, I'm certain. It has the position mark tacks in the neck and they don't line up with the frets. The tacks show marks for a shorter scale.

 Blaine 

Edited by - tbchappe on 02/23/2021 08:42:42

Feb 23, 2021 - 9:08:36 AM
likes this

staceyz

Canada

125 posts since 5/30/2010

Also, I wouldn't use a maple bridge with Nylagut, make one out of spruce, you will hear a BIG change! (2 leg version)

Feb 23, 2021 - 9:32:42 AM
likes this

1391 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by staceyz

Also, I wouldn't use a maple bridge with Nylagut, make one out of spruce, you will hear a BIG change! (2 leg version)


For a low pitch banjo, a softwood bridge is my usual choice, too, and I'm sure one would change the sound of that Dobson in a way you'd like, though it's not going to get real close to that other banjo until you've got the bridge moved to a similar location.

Edited by - Dan Gellert on 02/23/2021 09:41:59

Feb 23, 2021 - 10:08:38 AM
likes this

5983 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by tbchappe
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Are you certain the frets were added later?

The Dobson family promoted frets (raised and inlaid) early on and even insulated that they invented the concept.

Of course, it is possible that they would sell smooth arm banjos and then upsell the installation of frets as a way to extract more money from their marks... I mean students.


Yes, I'm certain. It has the position mark tacks in the neck and they don't line up with the frets. The tacks show marks for a shorter scale.

 Blaine 


Very good then.

Feb 23, 2021 - 5:36:55 PM

245 posts since 1/26/2020

Something else I just remembered. This banjos head assembly isn’t screwed to the neck dowel like my old one, it’s just floating over the dowel and attached to the resonator by the 45 brackets as usual. I’m wondering if that subdued the sound much?
Also, I took Jammin Jim suggestion of moving the bridge to the center and it did soften it a bit but it still maintains a lot of sustain. And the intonation was horrible as expected.
I’m wondering if a shorter softwood bridge will create less tension on the strings and make it even more plunky?

Blaine

Edited by - tbchappe on 02/23/2021 17:37:57

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1865234