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Nov 27, 2021 - 8:02:02 PM
1024 posts since 3/4/2008

I figure if anyone can help this community would be it..

Recently a 1920's Ludgwig Bellevue tenor banjo was added to my banjo collection. Nice enough with some repair problems. Poor finish, super dry wood, some splits and cracks in the peghead area along with the neck delaminating. Sounds far worse than it is.

I need to find a 10 3/4" Ren head. evidently I'm asking for something that is nearly to impossible to find these days. Does anybody know where I can get one?

Thank you for your help and or suggestions.

Nov 27, 2021 - 9:16:39 PM
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4074 posts since 5/29/2011

Check with Bob Smakula. He is a member here and has Renaissance heads in your size.

Nov 28, 2021 - 11:50:41 AM

2825 posts since 4/7/2010

I have that size in high, medium and low crown. My website has instructions on how to order.

Bob Smakula

Nov 28, 2021 - 11:56:59 AM

1024 posts since 3/4/2008

Thank you very much. The link to contact him did not work properly. He says there are problems with the link. I will call him tomorrow, Monday. Thank you very much.

Nov 28, 2021 - 11:58:16 AM

1024 posts since 3/4/2008

Bob - I will call tomorrow, Monday..

Nov 28, 2021 - 5:33:34 PM

2825 posts since 4/7/2010

Originally posted by Hedge Hog

Thank you very much. The link to contact him did not work properly. He says there are problems with the link. I will call him tomorrow, Monday. Thank you very much.

Occasionally some people have issues with the  contact link of my website, but the address to go to is on the page. And using the contact member feature of Banjo Hangout always works.


Bob Smakula

Nov 29, 2021 - 2:58:50 PM



1105 posts since 11/30/2015

I have a Bellevue as a future restoration project. I love the black and gold plating with this model and they are great banjos. I had 2 Capitols recently, both fitted with a 1012M head from Bob. That is 10-3/4" medium crown. I'd love to know more about your Bellevue, shoot me a message.

Dec 4, 2021 - 10:57:47 AM
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1024 posts since 3/4/2008

Banjo Hangout has done it again! I contacted Bob Smakula's business and ordered a head from a very nice lady on his staff. She even allowed a short banjo conversation with someone she didn't know from Adam. The head arrived quickly and I installed it the very same day with no problems at all. There couldn't' have been a more pleasant buying experience. Thank you all!

Dec 4, 2021 - 11:36:49 AM

1024 posts since 3/4/2008

Dan - I have said this many times. I wish I were a musician, I honestly have no real musical skill, but I very much enjoy trying to play. Mostly my real skill is in repairing instruments in need. Apparently I have modest skills in that area. ....... This Bellevie came with more problems than expected, but nothing I couldn't handle. Mainly the neck/peghead area. I knew the peghead overlay was dry and showed some cracking. I attributed that to the cheap replacement tuners that relied on pressure from a top nut/bushing to hold it in place without spinning. Also the cheap gold plate was far to bright for this age instrument.

On further inspection, With the tuners removed it became clear that the multi piece neck was separating in the peghead area. The peghead was becoming sort of a cloven hoof. This reflected in a center crack starting but not completely through the center line of the head. It was easy enough to flex the head enough to work a good amount of hide glue in the seam and clamp it up tight to dry. A large chip was also reset with no sign of the damage after the glue dried. :( of course the neck needed refinishing after repairs. The neck itself took a string lacquer spray beautifully. Unfortunately I sanded a little to aggressively on the peghead overlay and removed some of but not all the MOP engraving on part of the Belleveu banner. I guess now is as good a time as any to learn about engraving.

Stewmac supplied an engraving tool for the job. I also got a set of gold 5-Star pegs with smooth Iveroid buttons. I am so very impressed with them. The gold has an old time look and the knobs are incredibly like Ivory. These tuners are a VAST improvement over the ones that were on the instrument. I will say this though. I have replace dozens of tuner set on banjo's, guitars and electric instruments so I know what they cost. OMG what has happened to the price of instrument tuners!!!! Not long ago Weaverly's were about the top of the line at StewMac, now they are middling pricewise.

I got the Ren head, 10 3/4" medium, with the intention of calming this thing down a little. It came with a Weatherking head and I read that Ludwig's sounded best with the original skin heads. Besides I like the sound and look of a Ren. head. It will do nothing but improve the appearance of an already very attractive banjo. The inlays, walnut neck/ resonator, gold hooks, brass tone ring and gun metal blue pot make a very interesting and in my eye a beautiful Tenor banjo. Tenors particularly in that era tended towards gaudy and over done sparkle, this one is Just right. Decorative without being over done....

Edited by - Hedge Hog on 12/04/2021 11:45:07

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