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Jul 28, 2021 - 1:30:08 PM
10 posts since 5/13/2020

I’m contemplating a new neck for a short upgrade to my Deering Goodtime Americana. I have thought that a radiused fingerboard could be more comfortable, and possibly set a little wider for my wide fingers. Any thoughts or advice from those that have, or have tried?

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:00:26 PM

Alex Z

USA

4479 posts since 12/7/2006

Have you priced out new necks?  and whether there is an extra charge for a radiused fingerboard?

My main banjo has a radiused fingerboard, and to me it's a little more comfortable and ergonomic than a flat fingerboard.  But there is nothing about a flat fingerboard that bothers me.  The shape of the neck is the main feel, to me, whether the fingerboard is flat or radiused.

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:01:56 PM
like this

15314 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Woody421

I’m contemplating a new neck for a short upgrade to my Deering Goodtime Americana. I have thought that a radiused fingerboard could be more comfortable, and possibly set a little wider for my wide fingers. Any thoughts or advice from those that have, or have tried?


I like radiused fingerboards personally, but unless you're planning to build it yourself, a new neck made by someone who knows what they're doing will cost anywhere from $800 on up. Do you really want to put that much money into a Goodtime?

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:22:24 PM

2649 posts since 12/31/2005

Radius and width are not related. Are you thinking of having a custom neck made for it? That would be a lot to invest into a Goodtime. What style of playing? I associate radiused necks more with Scruggs or melodic, three-fingered playing. An Americana is a 12" open back, which more often is played in a clawhammer style, although there is certainly no rule on that. If you play clawhammer style, may want to see if many players like radius for that style.

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:22:35 PM
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55 posts since 5/8/2021

quote:
Originally posted by eagleisland
quote:
Originally posted by Woody421

I’m contemplating a new neck for a short upgrade to my Deering Goodtime Americana. I have thought that a radiused fingerboard could be more comfortable, and possibly set a little wider for my wide fingers. Any thoughts or advice from those that have, or have tried?


I like radiused fingerboards personally, but unless you're planning to build it yourself, a new neck made by someone who knows what they're doing will cost anywhere from $800 on up. Do you really want to put that much money into a Goodtime?


I was thinking the same thing. I wouldn't put near that amount of money into a Goodtime. 

Jul 28, 2021 - 10:51:55 PM
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1525 posts since 1/28/2013

You would be better off just buying a new banjo with a radiused fingerboard. Quality necks are close to a $1000 and that does'nt include shipping the pot and returning the pot with the neck attached, with new bridge. If you are really into radiused they work better with 1-5/16th nutwidth neck. You could also look for a early 60's Vega for around $900 and have a new neck made for it. They are quality banjos that you can pickup relatively cheap, especially one that has a damaged neck or needs refret, since you are not going to keep the neck anyway.

Edited by - jan dupree on 07/28/2021 22:58:33

Jul 28, 2021 - 10:54:59 PM
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114 posts since 2/16/2008

Buy a Nechville

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:20:27 AM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

I’m definitely not planning to spend that much. I have a local builder nearby (BHO advertiser that is well respected and reviewed)that will build a neck for $4-500. Anything more than that and I would wait and save my pennies for something else.
To me, the weakest point of the Goodtime is the neck.

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:25:46 AM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

I’m thinking $4-500 is a reasonable amount to try something out that I can’t put my hands on any other way than to spend $1500-2500. Spending that much seems foolish just to see if I like a radiused neck.

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:40:21 AM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

There’s been a lot of talk about cost, etc., but what about radiused in general? Yes? No? Maybe?

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:42:49 AM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

And yes, I play clawhammer style.

Jul 29, 2021 - 8:24:38 AM

Alex Z

USA

4479 posts since 12/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Alex Z

Have you priced out new necks?  and whether there is an extra charge for a radiused fingerboard?

My main banjo has a radiused fingerboard, and to me it's a little more comfortable and ergonomic than a flat fingerboard.  But there is nothing about a flat fingerboard that bothers me.  The shape of the neck is the main feel, to me, whether the fingerboard is flat or radiused.


Thanks for the information on cost.  (Many responders assumed the cost and gave you advice you didn't ask for. smiley )

As mentioned before, my preference is a radiused fingerboard.  Go ahead and give it a try, since it seems reasonable to you to do that before investing in a much more expensive banjo.  One thing to be aware of is the amount of "radius"  -- it is expressed as the radius of a circle the arc of which would be the fingerboard.  My Prucha is about 11".  Fender electric guitar might be around 8" or so.  Acoustic Martin guitar might be in the 14-16" range.

Hope this helps.

Jul 29, 2021 - 8:49:14 AM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

Thanks Alex, good info., I appreciate it!

Jul 29, 2021 - 10:01:56 AM

1525 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Woody421

There’s been a lot of talk about cost, etc., but what about radiused in general? Yes? No? Maybe?


I got the slight 20' radius and I could'nt really tell a difference, With the pronounced radius I guess you could.

Jul 29, 2021 - 10:24:07 AM

5610 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by jan dupree

You would be better off just buying a new banjo with a radiused fingerboard. Quality necks are close to a $1000 and that does'nt include shipping the pot and returning the pot with the neck attached, with new bridge. If you are really into radiused they work better with 1-5/16th nutwidth neck. You could also look for a early 60's Vega for around $900 and have a new neck made for it. They are quality banjos that you can pickup relatively cheap, especially one that has a damaged neck or needs refret, since you are not going to keep the neck anyway.


I agree with Jan; your money is better spent on a quality new or used banjo with the required radiused fretboard. Let the Goodtime banjo be just that: a Goodtime banjo. Having both an entry level banjo and a high quality professional grade instrument can be beneficial in that your inexpensive instrument can be used for practice and as a campfire player. Each will each hold a certain amount of resale value if in original condition. 
A non-original beginner level banjo has very little resale value.

Be aware that there are two types of fretboard radius: 1) Standard radius fretboards have the same curvature all along the string. 2) Compound Radius fretboards have a smaller (rounder) radius ar the nut and a larger (flatter) radius at the neck body joint and bridge. Two completely different things in my book. Most guitar boards are radiused (not classical) and as a guitar player of over 50 years I can decent the difference between standard and compound radius while playing. 
FWIW, I prefer compound radius fretboards as found on Nechville banjos and offered as an option by other makers. 
 

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 07/29/2021 10:26:59

Jul 29, 2021 - 10:38:08 AM

Alex Z

USA

4479 posts since 12/7/2006

Can keep the original Goodtime neck.  Put it back on the banjo if and when the banjo is sold.

Jul 29, 2021 - 10:45:44 AM

11042 posts since 6/17/2003

I play clawhammer and 3 finger styles and prefer a compound radiused fretboard, but I'm of the thinking that you will get used to whichever design you play. I find many flat fretboards are built with closer string spacing than I prefer. I agree that purchasing another banjo of your desired design is the way to go rather than spend more than the banjo is worth on a replacement neck. Good luck with your hunt for what's best for you.

Jul 30, 2021 - 3:13:10 AM

Bill H

USA

1693 posts since 11/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by 2749guitars

Buy a Nechville


If you are thinking of ordering a custom neck you are halfway there. Go all the way and get really great banjo like a Nechville. Super fun to play.

Jul 30, 2021 - 3:43:47 AM

banjoy

USA

9795 posts since 7/1/2006

I also advocate for getting a different banjo instead of having a neck made. If you do have a neck made for this 12" pot, the heel cut will not fit a standard 11" pot on most other banjos. Something to consider if you go that route.

Regarding your interest in radiussed fingerboards, my personal experience is, once I tried playing one, I was hooked. Both my banjos I own now (a custom top tension and a Nechville) both have compound radiussed boards. For me, they just feel better. Also, both banjos have a slightly wider neck.

So, if you do jump through all these hoops and cost of converting your banjo with a new radiussed neck, my opinion is, you'll like it. At that point, you HAVE to like it :)

All the best in your pursuit. It's all good.

Jul 30, 2021 - 4:57:13 AM

868 posts since 2/19/2012

I can't find it now, but 2-3 years ago I posted a my adventures in adding a truss rod to a Goodtime tenor that had a little too much relief due to someone installing really heavy strings on it. I made a simple guide rail setup to use a router to plane the neck down flat, then grooved it for the truss rod, and installed a persimmon fretboard.

You may want to consider something like this. The fretboard I installed was a little thicker than what I removed, which adds strength and could easily accommodate radiusing. If you're into scoops, that would help keep the scoop up level with the tension hoop. An added bonus is a little thicker neck, which I prefer over the original.

I left as much stock as possible over the finger joint at the peghead, and with the persimmon fretboard overlapping, I have no worries about it. Looking back, I probably didn't need to add the heel-adjustable truss rod as the new fretboard adds lots of stiffness.

I can send photos if you're interested.

Edited by - Parker135 on 07/30/2021 04:57:46

Jul 30, 2021 - 1:09:03 PM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

I have actually kicked a similar idea around previously, but on of the things I really dislike about the Goodtime neck is the finger jointed headpiece. That said, it still might be a reasonable alternative. I would definitely like to see pictures, thanks!

Jul 30, 2021 - 6:57:50 PM

868 posts since 2/19/2012

Here are a few photos that should give you a general idea of what I did. If I were to do this again, I'd use the router table I have since built to groove the neck for the truss rod. The hand router did fine, though.




 

Jul 30, 2021 - 7:01 PM

868 posts since 2/19/2012

Three more if I can get them to load.




 

Jul 31, 2021 - 7:40:18 AM

10 posts since 5/13/2020

Thanks! Any photos of the finished product?

Jul 31, 2021 - 10:14:45 AM

868 posts since 2/19/2012

Here's one of the fully assembled banjo. I still have it if there is something in particular you'd like to see. I'm also including a shot of where I plugged and re-drilled the hanger screws, one of which was at a crazy angle.

I chose persimmon because it's fairly light in color, which goes well with the light maple Goodtime.  It's also really hard stuff and makes a great fretboard, as used by Zach Hoyt and Pisgah.  




Edited by - Parker135 on 07/31/2021 10:16:59

Jul 31, 2021 - 12:02:23 PM

11670 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Woody421

There’s been a lot of talk about cost, etc., but what about radiused in general? Yes? No? Maybe?


The correct answer: It depends. Some like 'em, others love 'em, many can't really tell the difference (me) while there are players who, having tried them, would never consider buying one.

Gibson tried them in the 1930s with the RB-7/12/18 but there was no popular demand for that feature so it was dropped.

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