I’m working on setting up my 29 tb1 conversion and i am just curious on how much the coordinating rods have to do with finding the sound I want I have the action and loudness I want I just can’t get the sound I want out of it
Edited by - poppy style 1 on 09/18/2021 00:38:56
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
Best advice on adjusting co-rods is: don"t. They work by warping the shell. If there is a problem, they may be of use, but the aren't needed for routine setup, imo.
Warren Yates had a good video showing Donnie Little adjusting the inner top rod, at the tailpiece, which can affect sound. You may try Yates website to find it.
Generally speaking, good and snug at the neck and slightly past finger tight on tailpiece end, before tightening strings is considered neutral.
I have found that the co-rods do have an impact on the sounds of the banjo. I like to snug the nut just past hand tight, then play it, give it the slightest turn tighter and play it. Repeat until you hear the sound drop off, then loosen just a bit. With that said, I don’t feel it impacts the tone of the banjo. That comes more from the woods used to make the banjo, the type of head and the tension. and the type bridge. Maybe you want to try a different bridge?
Adjusting the inner top rod has my curiousity.
The top rod only holds the neck on.
The bottom rod does any adjusting.
Both nuts at the rear of both rods needs to be loosened before adjusting the lower or bottom rod in any way, If you don't do that, you are risking harm to the rim.
Both rods are left tight against the front of the rim, just loosen the back nuts.
The lower rod only adjusts the height of the strings at the neck/rim junction and then only 1/8"+/-
That is why the suggestion to leave them alone.
Personally, I have not found the rim rods contribute that much to the sound.
I do rim change outs, so I've found big washers embedded into the rim when people get frustrated with the rim rods, I've found pulled studs, too.
a '29TB1? Is slinky the word for your action? As low as possible? Higher action gives a louder banjo. We see this at the jams:
A perfectly good banjo gets hobbled by the need for slinky, it's in the sound, they get choked by the owners' quest.
As Helix said, the top rod is not adjustable, but holds the neck on tightly, same as a hollow wood dowel with a tension rod (rudy rod). The nut on the tailpiece end of this rod is only to snug it up against the inside of the rim, not to push out the rim (although it could do that). The top rod was originally called the "tension rod" in Gibson literature—the bottom one was the "coordinator rod".
I understand that some people "tune" the coordinator rod, and you can certainly do that. It's not clear what they tune it to, but using a note would be a way to judge the tension, much like tuning a head to G# or A.
Despite Gibson's ad above, which erroneously says the rods "strengthen the rim" (they don't), it's a dangerous business to attempt to alter the action with the coordinator rod. Many old Gibson rims have been egged and in some cases delaminated by the shear forces of squeezing the rim. This shear stress would really play havoc with the glue joints on a block rim and should be avoided.
Edited by - Ken LeVan on 09/18/2021 05:22:09
Thanks for posting this Ken.
" . . . I just can’t get the sound I want out of it"
And I don't think that "adjusting" the co-ods will get you where you want to end up. There can be a small difference in tone and response, but "just can't get the sound I want" seems like there is a larger difference to make up.
The pressure that the co-rods exert against the rim either outward -- or possibly inward for the lower rod -- does affect the tone a bit, in my experience. As a test on a particular banjo, loosen the upper and lower nuts at the tailpiece end, and compare the tone with the tone with the nuts snugged up.
The pressure can be altered a little more. This might be around 1/8 turn or 1/4 turn after finger tight. Don't take "adjusting" to mean cranking the wrench half a turn or turning until there is a difference in the action height. Only a tiny bit of more pressure, if any, is needed. That's all Mr. Yates and Mr. Little are doing.
I think the difference in tone is due to a more rigid connection of the string between nut and tailpiece ends. Same principle, but opposite effect, as putting something soft between the neck and pot, like a piece of cardboard, even if tightening the neck the same.
Thank you to everyone who helped with this I found your all’s knowledge to be very helpful.
I have found the sound that I wanted I tightened the head to g# and lowered my tailpiece and set co rods to neutral and put a Curtis mcpeake bridge on it and now it sounds like a brand new banjo has that dry sound I was wanting to get out of it
Edited by - poppy style 1 on 09/18/2021 22:20:26
Congratulations on your success !
'2004 Gibson RB-250' 3 hrs
'2004 Gibson Granada FE' 5 hrs
'Lyre brand banjo' 7 hrs