I have just acquired somewhat of an iconic banjo that belonged to a very talented and well known banjo player in the southwest. It has been in a closet for 20 years and even before that it was not taken real good care of. However, it sounds amazing. It really needs cleaning and a good set up by someone who knows what they are doing. I need some recommendations from BHO people as to who could do a good job on this banjo.
PS The headstock may need some minor restoration
Edited by - rimn on 12/05/2021 08:29:05
If it sounds amazing, why would you want to mess with it?
Cleaning a banjo is fun and a great lesson in setting one up.
Please post a few photos. Based on the photos, you will get definitive responses.
Is the peghead broken?
Be mindful of the products you are using. "Polishes" all work the same, with abrasives (even those sold as "non abrasive" which is a marketing lie). Don't use anything that "polishes".
All oils sold as instrument or furniture polish are just different viscosities of mineral oil with color and scent (usually lemon scent) added. Your banjo is not a lemon and does not need "lemon oil" (which does not actually contain lemon most of the time).
What is worse is that many furniture and car waxes use silicone- a BIG no no with banjos. Your banjo is not a car.
Where are you located?
Hmmm. The first thing I can suggest is to check with some of the Austin pro musicians and see if they know anyone there.
There's a shop called Fiddler's Green in Lockhart, TX. I don't know if they have anyone competent to clean and set up such an instrument, but at least they know what a banjo is.
If the banjo is indeed "iconic," such as an old Gibson flathead and needs major work, Steve Huber and Frank Neat are probably the best, though you probably will have to wait a while before they get to it. If it's a fancy Fairbanks/Vega and needs inlay work or a dowel reset, Smakula Fretted Instruments are the specialists for open-backs. If it only needs cleaning, basic set-up, and possibly some touch-up on the peghead, you are welcome pm me.
Edited by - rcc56 on 12/05/2021 15:07:03
Banjo warehouse in Atlanta will take it apart and clean it. They have several ads on Banjo Hang Out.
'1926 MB-1 Conversion' 29 min
'1960 Gibson RB-100' 45 min
'Woody Banjo Pot Assembly' 47 min