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Should I buy a long neck an put it on an old pot? Is that Possible? How do?

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Jul 26, 2021 - 2:12:38 PM

21 posts since 6/11/2021

I don't know if I have a friend with any of those things but I do hav a brother in law who makes bat houses, brid houses and stables :)

I will have to speak with him about his tools and capabilities and maybe this can be a project for us to do when the family get together over the holidays.

Jul 26, 2021 - 2:34:41 PM

58212 posts since 12/14/2005

Photo of a neck I made, and a used bass neck I bought.
I forgot that you'd have to pull the frets and suchlike, but, hey, an almost finished neck is a lot less work than a pile of boards.


Jul 26, 2021 - 2:39:39 PM

21 posts since 6/11/2021

it looks like your neck is longer than the Bass. A very interesting comparison.

This has been a very intersting thread and given me a lot to think about.

Jul 26, 2021 - 2:50:29 PM

58212 posts since 12/14/2005

Camera angle SEEMS to have offset.
Banjo is 24 & 1/2, bass is 23 & 3/4 (Yankee inches, not metric)
Not a whole lot of diff.

Jul 26, 2021 - 4:18:49 PM

11749 posts since 10/27/2006

I have an old Bay State or Gatcomb pot fitted to an early ODE lefty long neck. It's not pretty but does work. It's at Gryphon having some neck work done or I'd show a few more pictures. The ones I'm attaching are before any work was done by them or me.

You can buy long necks or have them made. Helix and Gold Tone offer them. Like others, I'm not a fan of the ones on eBay.

Bob Smakula offers a Schaller left handed 5th string geared tuner (he also had some hooks and nuts that matched my originals).

Smakula Fretted Instruments
 


Edited by - mikehalloran on 07/26/2021 16:25:14

Jul 26, 2021 - 5:20:57 PM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14566 posts since 8/30/2006

Peggy Seeger lives in the UK, she plays longneck, seek her out

Brilliant Mike and Mike


 

Edited by - Helix on 07/26/2021 17:23:41

Jul 26, 2021 - 8:00:11 PM
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58212 posts since 12/14/2005

I don't know what the shipping and import fees would be, but I have a banjo, part of which was made by HELIX, and he does excellent work.
Ask him what he'd charge.

Jul 27, 2021 - 4:16:54 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14566 posts since 8/30/2006

We use bass fingerboards and truss rods for a longneck.
Flipping and rotating the pieces like cabinet fronts and table tops is standard cabinetmaking 101 = basic.
If you do it right like Mike Halloran's Ode neck then the heel should look like this with an "A" tree pattern where the pieces push against each other for a century, literally.

Some of us use flooring planks of bamboo to get 45 laminations as shown.
Hickory flooring comes @ 5/8" thick without veneers.
Thus your choice of materials widens as you get more information.

Because of the length and weight of the longneck, the other two pots mentioned would not be ideal and cobbling is not your goal.

Something substantial in the 7 pound range would be my goal.


Edited by - Helix on 07/27/2021 04:22:54

Jul 28, 2021 - 1:56:46 PM
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1043 posts since 1/30/2019

Here are some photos of mine.
The Asian neck was set up to be fitted with co rods.
The previous owner paid for a banjo luthier to make and fit a dowel stick at his desired back angle. You can see on one of these pictures how much it's angled back, and how big the bridge is.
All of that is too specialist for me to do. Also, notice the inlays. The rectangular ones were added by the same luthier, cos the original owner never played with a capo. Long-neck dot inlay patterns are usually in the position required if you capo at the 3rd fret. Weird but usually true.
Also very important to note that the owner who paid for the luthier sold it eventually, after nearly 18 months on eBay, to me at a very significant loss.
This cost in total less than the pot would be worth on its own. The pot is an 11 and 13/16ths.
All I did was fit the fifth string tuner, and the pip. The pip is a screw that holds the wire in place from inside a plug.
It sounds brilliant, and it is definitely worth going for a long-neck in my view.
Your biggest problem is the lefty thing. And you might have to get one made. A custom neck built for a pot would probably cost £700-£1000, if you can get a good old pot with a tone ring, it would keep its value and maybe pay back. Not so much on a not such good quality pot .
You quite often see John Grey long necks, they have a sound good quality neck, but a pretty rubbish plywood pot. They sound fine, and they're not pricey, but I've never seen a lefty.
Good luck!


Jul 28, 2021 - 3:21:56 PM

21 posts since 6/11/2021

That's brilliant! bet you were really chuffed to get that at a bargain. Thanks for the lovely pics and ecouragment. I will have to keep my eyes open and see what I can find.

I wonder if there are any kits for making one myself.

thats a interesting tail piece you've got Andrew. I cant tell what its made of from the picture but it looks pretty substancial.

Jul 29, 2021 - 12:45:09 AM

1043 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

That's brilliant! bet you were really chuffed to get that at a bargain. Thanks for the lovely pics and ecouragment. I will have to keep my eyes open and see what I can find.

I wonder if there are any kits for making one myself.

thats a interesting tail piece you've got Andrew. I cant tell what its made of from the picture but it looks pretty substancial.


The guy I bought it from had a long reach, 4 string tailpiece, so I made a long reach 5 string tailpiece out of brass. (So I have a 4 string Framus "oetinger" type tailpiece for sale soon.....)

TBH, it's nice, I'm pleased with it, but it's not necessary! Any tailpiece would have done, though I guess the sound would be different.

All the best,

Andy


Jul 29, 2021 - 8:36:05 AM

21 posts since 6/11/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

That's brilliant! bet you were really chuffed to get that at a bargain. Thanks for the lovely pics and ecouragment. I will have to keep my eyes open and see what I can find.

I wonder if there are any kits for making one myself.

thats a interesting tail piece you've got Andrew. I cant tell what its made of from the picture but it looks pretty substancial.


The guy I bought it from had a long reach, 4 string tailpiece, so I made a long reach 5 string tailpiece out of brass. (So I have a 4 string Framus "oetinger" type tailpiece for sale soon.....)

TBH, it's nice, I'm pleased with it, but it's not necessary! Any tailpiece would have done, though I guess the sound would be different.

All the best,

Andy


I understand. I love the look of brass hardware but I don't know how much it actually brings for the price beyond looking very nice.

I'm sure one of the Tenor players will snap up your old one pretty quick if its as nice as that one.

Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/29/2021 08:36:54

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:09:10 PM

11749 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

We use bass fingerboards and truss rods for a longneck.

Something substantial in the 7 pound range would be my goal.


Hmmmmmm?

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:14:45 PM
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11749 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory



Another cheap trick:
I have been told that a bass guitar neck is pretty much the same length as a Seeger neck.
 


Most Fender basses are 34", some are 30" but a few are 32"

Most long neck banjos have a 32" scale. Any neck or fretboard supplier with a CNC (nearly all nowadays) can knock out a 32" scale neck or fretboard.

Even if you whittle a neck out of a block of basswood, having a properly slotted fretboard will save tons of time and help ensure playable results.

Jul 29, 2021 - 7:38:20 PM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14566 posts since 8/30/2006

mikehalloran: Bob Weir and a good bass.

Jul 30, 2021 - 3:45:14 PM

16 posts since 11/28/2017

Re: long neck banjos: here's another perspective, perhaps not a popular one.

Having had and played a long neck banjo years ago, I found that its extra three frets were not very useful, and I eventually sold it. Unless you plan to consistently sing in a lowered key, probably E, the extra three frets just seem to get in the way. An easier solution is to use medium gauge (rather than light gauge) strings on a standard neck banjo, and simply tune down to E when you want to play uncapoed in E. Or just play standard chords in the key of E, to sing along.

Long neck banjos are often unbalanced and need careful attention to strap placement to keep the instrument steady as you play. Also, playing on the first three frets used to put a real strain on my left shoulder. And the extra length makes them a bit harder to keep in tune than a standard banjo. They can also be a bit more susceptible to humidity-related shifts in the wood.

If you do decide to get a long neck, I would encourage you to be sure that it has a truss rod and ideally some level of lamination in the neck, to prevent warping.

If you watch players who use long necks, you'll observe that many of them keep a capo almost permanently on the third fret. I've always suspected that if it wasn't for Pete Seeger's use of one, and the fascinating origin story of his first long neck, these banjos would have been just a cul de sac in the highway of banjo history.

But, that's just my opinion, and I know that devoted long neck players will offer strong countervailing arguments in favor of long neck banjos. I'm not trying to start a conflict, but I thought it would be worthwhile to weigh in on this.

Jul 30, 2021 - 4:12:10 PM

21 posts since 6/11/2021

quote:
Originally posted by calicoplayer

Re: long neck banjos: here's another perspective, perhaps not a popular one.

Having had and played a long neck banjo years ago, I found that its extra three frets were not very useful, and I eventually sold it. Unless you plan to consistently sing in a lowered key, probably E, the extra three frets just seem to get in the way. An easier solution is to use medium gauge (rather than light gauge) strings on a standard neck banjo, and simply tune down to E when you want to play uncapoed in E. Or just play standard chords in the key of E, to sing along.

Long neck banjos are often unbalanced and need careful attention to strap placement to keep the instrument steady as you play. Also, playing on the first three frets used to put a real strain on my left shoulder. And the extra length makes them a bit harder to keep in tune than a standard banjo. They can also be a bit more susceptible to humidity-related shifts in the wood.

If you do decide to get a long neck, I would encourage you to be sure that it has a truss rod and ideally some level of lamination in the neck, to prevent warping.

If you watch players who use long necks, you'll observe that many of them keep a capo almost permanently on the third fret. I've always suspected that if it wasn't for Pete Seeger's use of one, and the fascinating origin story of his first long neck, these banjos would have been just a cul de sac in the highway of banjo history.

But, that's just my opinion, and I know that devoted long neck players will offer strong countervailing arguments in favor of long neck banjos. I'm not trying to start a conflict, but I thought it would be worthwhile to weigh in on this.


Thanks for the honest opinion. It's usually to hear someone who's had one and not kept it tell us what brought them to that conclusion and be given a chance to see if the issues they found will be ones we're willing to deal with. 

Personally my reason for wanting one is a bit to do with limited vocal range and alot more to do with aesthetics and romanticism. Pretty much what you said and I'm happy to laugh at myself for that. 

Thank you for offering the alternatives though. Those sound a lot more reasonable for someone at my skill level who doesn't own the tools nor have the skills to make one or have the money to buy a custom one at the moment (reaslised after looking into prices a little more).

To be honest at the moment I'm thinking I'm going to self impose a cool off period of a couple months before I let myself start looking properly again and then see where I am financially / if my brother in law is willing to help me build. Currently I'm moving homes and I've realised that maybe the money from the sale of my current home would be better spent on a new boiler or furniture rather than commissioning my own banjosaurus.

Again, thanks for the honest opinion. I appreciate hearing your perspective. 

Edited by - Rebecca With a P H on 07/30/2021 16:13:38

Jul 30, 2021 - 5:30:42 PM

37 posts since 7/8/2014
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My experience with Asian necks has been quite good. I’ve converted 5 tenor pots (Vega, Washburn, Paramount & 2 Majestics) into 5 string open backs and they are all great sounding and looking. I will be doing an Orpheum soon. That said, unless you are into woodworking and have a good selection of tools and experience using them, I wouldn’t advise undertaking this task. To do the job right also requires creating fixturing to hold the neck in order to get the proper setback angle and arcing to accommodate the 2 or 3 radii the neck must fit up to. It’s also nerve wracking since one simple miss-cut will ruin the neck for good.

I usually get a kick out of photos of long neck banjos being played. They are invariably capo’d up to standard tuning, and still, none of them look like Mr. Seeger.

Jul 30, 2021 - 5:47:33 PM
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549 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Rebecca With a P H

How Do indeed...

Hi,

I'm currently (more like constantly) thinking about upgrading to a long neck banjo and being left handed and in the UK has left me with limited options.

To my knowledge, I can either buy a rarely sold pre owned, pay big bucks for a custom, import one from US, or buy the parts and put it together myself.

currently I am looking into the building it myself option and have come across this listing for a neck on ebay.
 

Can anyone with experience in this area take a look and let me know if its a good buy or not? I understand the 5th strings machine head hasn't been installed and this has made me hesitant but maybe that is easier then i imagine? 

What do we think gang? Buy this for about £200 including shipping and start buying the other parts or do i just accept that i'm better off just saving up £1000+ and looking for something not put together on my kitchen table?

 


Hi! I might not be as experienced as some other members here (definitely, for sure!), but you may find this helpful.

I recently, also, wanted a long-neck (Seeger style) banjo, and because I am a high-schooler living in USA, I did not have many options for saving up or buying a long-neck (which are super pricey nowadays!). I only have one banjo, which I am alright with, but a long-neck will give me a few more key options, and I also just wanted the experience.

So, I decided to build my own long neck, using whatever I had (wood, hand-saws, pocket knife). While it did take some careful planning and thoughts (this is my first time doing this!), I just recently about wrapped up my neck completion (still touching it up though)! I used a fresh piece of white pine wood from my backyard to make the neck, and a regular pocket knife to shave out the main design and get rid of the bark, sap, cambium, living layers, etc...

I posted a discussion on my banjo build: https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/376502/1

While you might not like to do this, or don't have the time to carve a neck out, here are a few photos of the results so far with the neck. Note that the photos from today are titled, "Entire Neck, just about fully carved out, but still needs some shaving on sides", and, "Holding the neck, showing the frets"

Anyway, hope this helps!

Russ


Jul 30, 2021 - 7:16:48 PM
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15 posts since 2/27/2015

Rebecca- I have one of those Asian-made necks, and for the price, it's not that bad, and I've not had any problems with it warping. Besides, it's REALLY the cheapest and easiest way to go while you decide if you really want to play a long-neck (I didn't really find it that helpful to have those extra frets and my arms are a little too short to play it comfortably). Despite what these guys are telling you, it's NOT really that big a deal to stick a neck on a pot, it's just a matter of lining up your hanger bolts. If the action is too high, you can just put a shim in. To do it perfectly (like a luthier would) IS a real art, and if you decide that the long-neck is the way you want to go, that's another story, but unless you're playing professionally (and a lot of stuff way up the neck), there's really a LOT of leeway when it comes to banjo adjustment, and it's pretty easy to learn as you go. I played right-handed for about thirty-five years until I go a neurological condition that affects the fingers of my right hand, and now I'm re-learning to play left-handed on a left-handed neck-and having a lot of fun. Though they're a bit harder to find, there ARE good left-handed banjos out there , so if that's what you're comfortable with, stick with it. Building a neck is a pretty big deal, so don't let these guys talk you into it yet-if you haven't figured it out yet, most of us banjo players have a bracket or two missing -in our brains. Best, emily

Jul 30, 2021 - 8:32:21 PM

Enfield1858

England

128 posts since 8/1/2020

@Rebecca With a P H - I've only just picked up on this thread, but I'd second Andrew Taylor's suggestion of contacting Andy Perkins, whose company - andybanjo.com - builds banjos in Faversham - so no hassle with customs, as there would be if you buy one from the Czech Republic (or any EU member state at the moment).  I've had first hand accounts of some real horror stories of tens of thousands of pounds worth of brand new rifles from CZ being scrapped because the English customer didn't get the Customs invoice in time to pay the Customs duties within three days (and it's the shippers who scrapped the goods, not Customs!)

Last year, when I started on banjo, I ignored the suggestions of people to "just learn to play on a right hand banjo - it won't take long".  Though I was born left-handed, my superstitious dad forced me to use my right hand before I was even old enough to sit up. I spent two years trying to play guitar right-handed - and got nowhere.  It was only last year that I was doodling on a friend's (RH) bass guitar that I swapped it across as if it was a left-hander, and BAM!! - it felt so right!  I know there are plenty of left-handers who can and do adapt to playing RH banjos - but I'm not one of them.  Within a matter of weeks, I was playing banjo better than I managed on RH guitar after two years;  admittedly, I've been fortunate enough to find a damn fine teacher, but even so . . .

The one I got was a LH open-back Grafton Gem - and I'm delighted with the way it plays and the way it sounds.  Though they don't list a LH long neck banjo on their website, they do RH long necks and LH standard necks - as well as replacing broken necks and adjusting and correcting the fit of necks to pots.  As far as out of the ordinary requests goes, they say this;

"In addition to set-ups, repairs and restorations, the Banjo Works also carries out conversions and modifications (please see the list below for some examples). Whatever sort of job you want done, contact the Banjo Works for an estimate.
New 5-string necks fitted to classic period tenor banjo rims;
New 5-string necks fitted to period spun-over banjo rims to replace a failed original neck (our rescue banjo line);
New rims fitted to older banjos to improve tone & stability;
Various type of tone rings fitted to existing or new rims;
Resonators added to open-back banjos; resonator banjos converted to open-back;
Fingerboard scoops installed.

Just to point out; I've no connection with the company, except as a very satisfied customer - but I do think it would be worthwhile contacting them to check out the possible options.
Tel: 01795 590 374

HTH, and best regards,
Jack

Edited by - Enfield1858 on 07/30/2021 20:35:23

Jul 31, 2021 - 2:55:24 AM
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7 posts since 10/29/2010

Just before the pandemic began I bought one of the long necks from the Taiwanese ebay site you mentioned in your original post.
It came completely finished with a nice lacquer polish and only needed tuners and lag screws for the coordinator rods and is fitted to a
Stew/Mac 'old time' pot. I am very pleased with the final result and have had no problems with it at all.
One thing I have noticed is the shipping cost seems to have doubled since I ordered mine.
Richard.

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