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Feb 23, 2021 - 11:58:42 AM
100 posts since 12/6/2019

I'm curious why guitar style neck joints aren't used on banjos. Or if they are, I'd love to see some examples. I understand that it would be a complicated joint; having both a dovetail tenon and radius on either side of the tenon to fit snugly against the rim. But it would eliminate compression on the rim, and unless I'm way off base, would allow for a more solid and freely vibrating rim if done correctly. Thoughts?

Feb 23, 2021 - 12:03:30 PM

mbanza

USA

2300 posts since 9/16/2007

Please explain how it would eliminate compression on the rim caused by string tension between the tailpiece and pegs.

Feb 23, 2021 - 12:17:25 PM

100 posts since 12/6/2019

I meant not having a dowel/coordinator rods would eliminate some compression from pressure across the center of the rim. I could certainly be wrong. Still curious about if this is done and what the results are

Feb 23, 2021 - 12:24:38 PM
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beegee

USA

22205 posts since 7/6/2005

Banjos are machines. Many guitar manufacturers are discovering the assembly/maintenance advantage of a bolt-on neck. Why re-invent the wheel , especially when it would only complicate the issue?

In the evolution of banjos, we have seen the shift from a through-neck to a dowel-stick to various bolt-on neck systems. A dovetail would be a regression.

Edited by - beegee on 02/23/2021 12:25:04

Feb 23, 2021 - 1:05:52 PM
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13408 posts since 6/29/2005

What Beegee said.

Many guitar makers—acoustical, archtop, and classical are attaching their necks like banjo necks with bolts; electric guitars were the pioneers in this (I think).  It has a number of advantages and no disadvantages I can think of.  Of course there are purists who will never embrace the idea, and that's as it should be.

I am an old-school purist in many regards, but also a realist, and will never again make a guitar with a dovetail neck joint (I have one right now I wish was easier to remove), and certainly wouldn't attempt to do it with a banjo—just for starters, it would seriously compromise the integrity of the rim.

Feb 23, 2021 - 1:50:51 PM
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10870 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Strewthday47

I'm curious why guitar style neck joints aren't used on banjos. Or if they are, I'd love to see some examples. I understand that it would be a complicated joint; having both a dovetail tenon and radius on either side of the tenon to fit snugly against the rim. But it would eliminate compression on the rim, and unless I'm way off base, would allow for a more solid and freely vibrating rim if done correctly. Thoughts?


Back in the 1870s, a couple of makers from the Troy, NY area specialized in banjos with no dowelstick. The neck was bolted to the rim, done. They also set the standard for the 'silver rim' banjo but that's a different matter.

The resultant banjos were indeed very different than other banjos of the time. They were touted as being better, etc., when they were actually difficult to keep in tune (rim flexture) and very quickly went out-of-round due to string tension. Easy to fix, of course: add a dowelstick and you have the way most banjos have been built ever since.

The idea was floated time and time again...almost always a failure (check out Nechville banjos, they don't have a dowelstick). Basically, you're looking at making a guitar without a top or back. No bracing to keep the sides from wobbling, etc. If you made the wooden sides thick enough to resist string tension, you've lost the lightness of a thin rim. Nechville compensates by having the rim be structurally strong enough (it's metal) to resist string tension.

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 02/23/2021 13:51:57

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