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Jun 17, 2021 - 9:30:04 AM
2595 posts since 12/31/2005

Cleaning and setting up banjos for YAM program. This bottlecap had fairly low action, a very short bridge (I'm guessing sanded down at one point), and cardboard shims in front and one in back. Thought I would take it all apart and see if I could get action right without shims, etc. There is a set screw (?) in back of heel (I have not encountered this before) that apparently feeds into the co-rod. My big concern is that the head of the screw appears to be stripped. Before I make matters worse, I was wondering if anyone has dealt with this and, if so, how. Banjo is playable as is. I can clean, put fresh strings on and experiment with bridges. Tuners hold nicely.

Any advice would be appreciated.




Jun 17, 2021 - 9:44:01 AM

Alex Z

USA

4376 posts since 12/7/2006

"Banjo is playable as is. I can clean, put fresh strings on and experiment with bridges. Tuners hold nicely. "

That's all that's need for the program -- playable, tunable, decent strings.

Jun 17, 2021 - 9:45:20 AM

BobbyE

USA

2863 posts since 11/29/2007
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Since I can't come up with any reason for that screw being there I would leave it alone in case it did do something. If I were a betting person I would bet that the screw was non-existent when that banjo rolled off the factory floor.

Bobby

Jun 17, 2021 - 10:02:07 AM
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1845 posts since 2/4/2013

I have a tale of woe with this sort of neck connection although it's probably best called "You don't know what you're doing".

These neck connections are common on cheaper banjos. When I bought a better cheaper banjo I decided to take apart my existing cheapie to gain a better understanding of banjos. The main thing I discovered is that that sort of connection is weak. The co-ordinator rod pulls against the screw to hold the neck tight. Clearly a decent screw is required. My screw broke in the middle when putting it back together. I believe this was probably also partly my fault. However I've seen another broken cheapie banjo with exactly the same broken screw.

I agree that it's best left alone unless absolutely necessary. If absolutely necessary have a replacement super duper strength replacement screw to hand.

Jun 17, 2021 - 10:09:33 AM
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3840 posts since 5/29/2011

The screw is a throwback to the old system that Kay used. The single rod screwed into the hex nut which screwed onto a bolt in the heel which was kept from turning by an anchor screw that went in from the bottom.(I hope that made sense.)
The banjo, even though it's not expensive, is going to suffer soundwise from having a piece of cardboard for a shim. While I would not normally mess with a banjo that plays well enough, I would try to remove that cardboard shim. If it can't live without a shim then a piece of thin wood would be a better option.

Jun 17, 2021 - 10:33:41 AM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5515 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by BobbyE

Since I can't come up with any reason for that screw being there I would leave it alone in case it did do something. If I were a betting person I would bet that the screw was non-existent when that banjo rolled off the factory floor.

Bobby


You'd lose that bet....every bottle-cap banjo (which is what is being discussed here) has that screw in the heel.

Jun 17, 2021 - 10:59:39 AM
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57698 posts since 12/14/2005
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I learned, early on, that the screw in the heel of a low-end banjo is just there to keep the neck rod from turning.
They are often badly bent by the pull of the neck bolt, and will not turn when trying to remove them.
It was probably stripped because it IS bent, and someone who didn't know any better, thought that turning it one way or the other might improve the neck angle.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it".... but in THIS case, because it IS broke, don't even TRY to fix it.
The broken piece will keep the rod from turning, just fine.

Jun 17, 2021 - 11:03:19 AM
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8722 posts since 8/28/2013

Don't mess with the screw. Somebody already did, and that's why the Phillips head is messed up. I just hope that in doing so, the foll didn't break the screw or the bolt it holds in place.

That screw fits through an "eye bolt" inside the neck heel, and that eye bolt thens the heel to the with the short nut inside. In your photo, that nut appears to be quite loose; it needs to be snugged up to the rim.

I'd remove the shim. There is a (limited) amount of action adjustment that can be made using the long nut on the rim rod, but be very careful and don't over do it. If the action is way too high with the usual half inch bridge usually found on these, a wooden shim (cardboard just won't cut it) could be re-inserted. Any shim, however, should never contact the tension hoop on one of these. Those metal hoops are generally cheap and very flimsy, and will distort with any added pressure from a shim.

Jun 17, 2021 - 12:06:29 PM
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BobbyE

USA

2863 posts since 11/29/2007
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"You'd lose that bet....every bottle-cap banjo (which is what is being discussed here) has that screw in the heel."

Doesn't surprise me; I was wrong one time before. :>)

Bobby

Jun 21, 2021 - 4:05:56 AM
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57698 posts since 12/14/2005
Online Now

Here ya go!

 

Jun 21, 2021 - 5:45:31 AM

8722 posts since 8/28/2013

It's no longer a matter of leaving well enough alone when an item isn't well to begin with. From what I see in the first photo, the neck is not bolted tightly to the pot, which will cause wobbling of the neck, constantly changing intonation, and rattling of the washer at the neck attachment nut (not the screw in the heel). I'm surprised, actaully, that the shims haven't fallen out yet.

It's no longer a matter of leaving well enough alone when an item isn't well to begin with.

Jun 21, 2021 - 6:27:27 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14221 posts since 8/30/2006

You have a small chance.  What brand of bottlecap???  just please mention.  Some people know these really well, I have 3 different ones with me now, like orphans. One is the fine quality Madiera by Guild.  Iida and Washburn, 

The new Recording Kings use a right-handed screw that simply attaches to the rim rod, easy and simple.

The one you are lookin at is very likely left-handed hook bolt, spec. banjo bull crap.
That's why the phillips head is boogered.

Why are there shims?

To do the shims right, you need to remove the neck. they had lossened the neck to shim.  But aluminum banjos still adjust by using the turnbuckle, you can watch it happen with a 9/16" or 14mm end wrench.  Same. 

So if you have to drill a new hole along side the old one, it can be patched, if you need a series of small holes to get a grip on the screw head, then do it.

A small chance you have to do this correctly, then replace the old hook bolt with a new right-handed screw ala RK and you have solved their spec problem.

It was damaged before you got it, easy to see.  Of course you would tighten the rod nut, loosen the little back nut to adjust the action.

I did this years ago without knowledge nor experience, after fighting the left-handed, I tried to loosen it the other way and it came right off.  

You shouldn't leave it alone, you should fix the darn thing and enjoy a new banjo for someone who needs it. 

And thank you for getting in there and doing something for someone else.  

Edited by - Helix on 06/21/2021 06:37:35

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