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Oct 25, 2021 - 6:00:20 AM
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6551 posts since 9/21/2007

... keep in mind that one generation thought this was "modernizing".


Oct 25, 2021 - 6:38:05 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1339 posts since 10/15/2019

The thing about those long necks is you hardly ever see a picture, contemporary or not, without a capo on the 3rd fret. The whole concept seems to have always been more conceptual than practical.

Oct 25, 2021 - 6:53:55 AM

1 posts since 10/25/2021

With extreme "neck dive" to boot . . .

Oct 25, 2021 - 7:17:09 AM

4770 posts since 5/9/2007

I rather like Gene's resultant bridge placement.
Bet it was good and plunky.

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:04:42 AM
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1595 posts since 5/19/2018

I have seen this done to one or two really nice old Fairbanks/Vega instruments. In both cases it looked like the job was done in the early 60’s by a luthier who knew what he was doing, so based on the time frame I kind of get why it was done. Good enough for Pete and the Kingston Trio, it must be the right thing to do...

Thankfully, I have never seen it done to a Pre-WWII Gibson.

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:06:39 AM
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hbick2

USA

465 posts since 6/26/2004

I want the name of the repairman who will do this for $15-30. I have a few necks that need to be reset.

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:06:46 AM
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Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2688 posts since 3/10/2008

I have an RB175 longneck that I really like. Still, I have to admit that the whole issue could have been resolved with heavy gauge strings and down tuning--far simpler than cutting your banjo apart.

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:29:37 AM
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530 posts since 2/21/2005

I never understood the idea behind having a longer neck in order to play in the keys of E or F. If you want to play in those keys, make the effort to learn how to do so using standard tuning.

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:49:08 AM

694 posts since 8/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Bronx banjo

I never understood the idea behind having a longer neck in order to play in the keys of E or F. If you want to play in those keys, make the effort to learn how to do so using standard tuning.


That doesn't help you get to a lower register. But yeah, using a setup that allowed you to down-tune two steps would be more less the same (except at the higher end, I suppose).

Edited by - MacCruiskeen on 10/25/2021 08:50:28

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:52:59 AM

rmcdow

USA

1032 posts since 11/8/2014

I never heard of Negrosene Jet oil stain, and didn't know that they had jets back then.

Just found a reference for it, Behlen's jet black stain.

Edited by - rmcdow on 10/25/2021 09:00:47

Oct 25, 2021 - 9:21:27 AM

2374 posts since 9/25/2006

I love my Helix longneck. Although you can tune down and use heavier strings I think the longneck just imparts a very full and loud bark--at least the Helix does. Sometimes you just need to sing in E or F.

Oct 25, 2021 - 9:24:19 AM

130 posts since 1/11/2020

Before i knew different i bought a long neck as to play low tuning with heavy gauge metal strings. Well it did work and it sounded just fine but my lord it was a pain to play. After less than 5 minutes holding the neck up and playing my arms were tired enough that putting the banjo down was all i could do.
A cool concept but as someone else mentioned above seems like most long neck players capo on 3 practically at all times... seems to ruin the point to me but i understand because its such a pain to play ha ha

Oct 25, 2021 - 10:18:13 AM
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Bawheid

Scotland

104 posts since 3/20/2019

Every thread I read about long neck banjos on here, lots of archived threads included, involves the exact same person going out their way to bemoan people that like and utilize these long neck banjos. It's like a personal vendetta, or trauma from when the PS5 wielding folkie got the girl...

I love my long neck and use the extra 3 frets often. Probably about 25% of the time I'm below G.

Edited by - Bawheid on 10/25/2021 10:19:56

Oct 25, 2021 - 10:45:45 AM
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9088 posts since 8/28/2013

I have no qualms about those who choose to play long neck banjos.

What I find amusing in these modification instructions, though, is the admonishment that you shouldn't do this yourself unless you are "sure of your abilities." I have seen far too many mistakes and even total destruction of things done by people who were absolutely positive about their abilties. After all, it's the person himself who decides on his or her qualifications and there are far too many arrogant know-it-alls in this world. It's the reason why one sees signs in repair shops that say:

Labor rates--$20 per hour.
If you watch--$25 per hour.
If you help--$50 per hour.

Oct 25, 2021 - 11:04:49 AM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

437 posts since 5/11/2021

If I ever become a millionaire one of the first things I'm going to do is buy a prewar flathead original RB. Then I'll have the fretboard scooped out, the neck elongated 3 frets, and cut the rim to take an archtop ring.

devil

Oct 25, 2021 - 11:04:57 AM
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6551 posts since 9/21/2007

In case it was missed, the banjo is a Bacon Silver Bell. There is no way to know from the photo if it started life as a regular 5 string banjo or plectrum, but I am guessing it was a 5 string. And there were not many of those made.

Oct 25, 2021 - 11:42:05 AM

banjonz

New Zealand

11272 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

The thing about those long necks is you hardly ever see a picture, contemporary or not, without a capo on the 3rd fret. The whole concept seems to have always been more conceptual than practical.


Pete Seeger lengthened the neck on his banjo because being a baritone in voice range, he wanted to be able to have a banjo with a lower tuning. It became popular during the 'folk music boom' of the 50's and 60's.

Oct 25, 2021 - 11:42:39 AM
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csacwp

USA

2937 posts since 1/15/2014

Yeah, the banjo in the photo looks to have been a rare 5-string B&D Silver Bell before the neck was "extended" to turn it into a longneck. It's really maddening to see beautiful, historic instruments wrecked like this.

Oct 25, 2021 - 11:57:51 AM

251 posts since 8/25/2009

I have always wondered whether the phallic symbolism of the long neck contributed to its popularity (outside the Seeger family, of course) smiley    I had a friend who purchased a dreadnought to learn guitar.  When it became apparent that it was too big for her physique, and her teacher recommended a child's guitar as more suitable, she got insulted and gave her guitar to a local high school,  

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:05:37 PM
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58448 posts since 12/14/2005

While it may be infuriating to see beautiful instruments wrecked, or even only slightly upfucculated, the fact remains that the owner of a physical object has the right to modify or use or dispose of it as the mood strikes.

A few years back, somebody wanted to be buried with his favorite electric guitar.
If memory serves, it was a classic '50's FENDER Stratocaster.
An employee of the funeral home Sincerely Believed that it was a CRIME to bury such a beautiful and historically significant instrument, so he removed it before the coffin was sealed.

Turns out that removing valuables from a coffin really IS a crime.

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:10:37 PM

58448 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by hbick2

I want the name of the repairman who will do this for $15-30. I have a few necks that need to be reset.


His name is JIM, and his address is  February, 1964

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:13:02 PM

2175 posts since 2/12/2009

Players of all genres have been "improving" instruments for years in an attempt to reinvent the wheel, I have been a working guitar player for over forty years and have lost count of the number of lovely old Fender guitars "improved" with added humbuckers, brass hardware and horror of horrors, scalloped frets ! Hairbrained ideas are seen every few years, how much of an improvement was Fred Van Eps hole in the head and metal dogs bowl in the pot ? How about those electric guitars in the 80s with slanted frets to improve intonation ? I wonder how future players will view scoops on banjo necks ? Like I said , somebody will always try to reinvent the wheel.

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:14:54 PM
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1374 posts since 11/15/2010

I wonder if Pete ever regretted including those instructions in his book because you have to wonder how many banjo necks were destroyed by amateurs getting in over their heads. Even Pete, who had some carpentry skills, went to John D'Angelico to get the neck extended on his banjo.

Since the second edition of Pete's book was published in 1954, he may have included those instructions only because neither Vega nor anyone else was making longnecks at the time.

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:41:25 PM
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6551 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

Players of all genres have been "improving" instruments for years in an attempt to reinvent the wheel, I have been a working guitar player for over forty years and have lost count of the number of lovely old Fender guitars "improved" with added humbuckers, brass hardware and horror of horrors, scalloped frets ! Hairbrained ideas are seen every few years, how much of an improvement was Fred Van Eps hole in the head and metal dogs bowl in the pot ? How about those electric guitars in the 80s with slanted frets to improve intonation ? I wonder how future players will view scoops on banjo necks ? Like I said , somebody will always try to reinvent the wheel.


Newly built longnecks are fine (complete with capo d'Astro clamp).

I suppose I was not clear.  long necks were pretty much a one generation fad.  Consider scoops, neck resets, and reaming for gears and how those will be viewed when we are gone.

Newly built banjos with scoops are fine-- that is progress based on modern tastes.

One could argue that classic era banjos were a three generation fad, and they would be correct. 

I'm not recommending cutting down Vega built (or Gibson.. or Christy, or Merlin or...) long necks to turn them into regular banjos.  I feel the same way, let people who what to play them have them.  If you don't want a long neck, sell it to someone who does.

If you don't want to play a banjo with a fully fretted fingerboard and nylon strings.. sell it to someone who does.  Or don't buy it in the first place. 

I agree that people can do with their property as they please.  I just hope that before they take their fingerboard to a belt sander they think of the longneck.

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:46:45 PM

2175 posts since 2/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

Players of all genres have been "improving" instruments for years in an attempt to reinvent the wheel, I have been a working guitar player for over forty years and have lost count of the number of lovely old Fender guitars "improved" with added humbuckers, brass hardware and horror of horrors, scalloped frets ! Hairbrained ideas are seen every few years, how much of an improvement was Fred Van Eps hole in the head and metal dogs bowl in the pot ? How about those electric guitars in the 80s with slanted frets to improve intonation ? I wonder how future players will view scoops on banjo necks ? Like I said , somebody will always try to reinvent the wheel.


Newly built longnecks are fine (complete with capo d'Astro clamp).

I suppose I was not clear.  long necks were pretty much a one generation fad.  Consider scoops, neck resets, and reaming for gears and how those will be viewed when we are gone.

Newly built banjos with scoops are fine-- that is progress based on modern tastes.

One could argue that classic era banjos were a three generation fad, and they would be correct. 

I'm not recommending cutting down Vega built (or Gibson.. or Christy, or Merlin or...) long necks to turn them into regular banjos.  I feel the same way, let people who what to play them have them.  If you don't want a long neck, sell it to someone who does.

If you don't want to play a banjo with a fully fretted fingerboard and nylon strings.. sell it to someone who does.  Or don't buy it in the first place. 

I agree that people can do with their property as they please.  I just hope that before they take their fingerboard to a belt sander they think of the longneck.

 

 

 


I absolutely agree, do what you wish with your own property, I do however still wince when I see a beautiful vintage instrument that a previous owner has "improved" this too shall pass !

Oct 25, 2021 - 1:16:37 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25388 posts since 6/25/2005

Of course far more damage has been done by “improving” classic era banjos with steel strings and pretzelizing the necks than was done by long-neck conversions…. I have no problem putting planetary gears on old banjos made to take steel strings. I would not so modify a pristine and original pre-WW2 banjo that way, however.

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