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Dec 8, 2021 - 2:28:31 PM
147 posts since 12/6/2019

I love my pisgah as an open back but I keep thinking about what it would be like to turn it into a bluegrass banjo with a nice brass flange and resonator. Is anyone making custom flanges for 12" rims? Would it be stupid expensive? Could I make a flange myself with basic tools? I have a decently equipped shop but I've mostly worked with wood and not much with metal. I have talked to a builder about making a resonator for it so I know that can be done without too much fuss. If I'm being honest I'm interested in the flange as mostly an aesthetic feature, but I feel they have to have some effect on tone. I feel like resonator banjos without them look off somehow. Ideally, the addition of the resonator and flange wouldn't result in any structural changes to the banjo as it is now. Is this tree worth barking up? 

Dec 8, 2021 - 2:48:51 PM



1114 posts since 11/26/2012

For the record, I think putting a resonator on a 12 inch pot is madness. However, to answer your question about flanges/resonators and structural changes...The Deering Eagle 2 has a 2 piece flange that can be removed, along with the resonator, to convert the banjo into a normal looking open-backed. It's held in place by the clamps and nuts that tighten the drum head, so there is no structural changes to the banjo itself.

Dec 8, 2021 - 6:01:46 PM
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14138 posts since 6/29/2005
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A year or so ago, someone approached me about making a 12" bluegrass banjo. 

I spent some time drawing it, and came to the conclusion that if I did it, I would use a regular resonator and make the flange narrower, otherwise it wouldn't fit in a case, I'd have to tool up to make a larger resonator, and it would quickly become conceptual art and a one-off, since nobody else would ever want one.

The project never came to fruition and probably never will.

You could do it easily enough with a regular resonator, you'd just need to make a special flange plate or have no flange plate at all.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 12/08/2021 18:03:13

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:43:13 PM

5799 posts since 12/20/2005

I have never played in an actual bluegrass band, perhaps I’m not experienced enough in that setting to understand what is required of a banjo for that specific use.
I don’t know why A12 inch banjo with a resonator would simply not be useable for a bluegrass band.
If it were me setting out to build this, I’d consider using a series of individual flanges for each bracket, like Vega once did. Deering has done same with their Boston. I think Bill Keith’s Great Lakes top tension did same.
There has never been flange like this to mate with a Gibson type resonator to my knowledge, at least commercially available. So they would have to be made for this.
Or, you will need to go with a different and larger resonator as well as a custom case.
Still doable however.
I have a Vega Vegaphone, it’s got the 11&13/16 rim with this type of resonator. Not a full 12 inch rim but it’s close.
I can’t imagine what it would be lacking to work just fine in a bluegrass band.

Dec 9, 2021 - 1:56:52 AM
Players Union Member



15036 posts since 8/30/2006

I question the use of the flange at all
The rumor is that the right angle edges in the flange make inaudible frequencies available or audible.
I make tube open backs and I can use standard hardware resonator mounts: RK, GT, FQ or magnets.

For a 12, I use a standard case.

Spoons are not a fluke, they work, they weigh less than a resonator and are a true passive distributor just like the baffles in your speakers.

Here's a picture of a bluegrass rim with a short shouldered flange with GT hardware mount.

Dec 9, 2021 - 4:38:02 AM

5799 posts since 12/20/2005

Larry, I like your idea and those are incredible banjos.

Dec 9, 2021 - 3:53:06 PM
Players Union Member



15036 posts since 8/30/2006

Thanks, Leslie
Your idea of the butterfly flange pieces is right on

Dec 9, 2021 - 6:42:43 PM

bill t


269 posts since 12/14/2012

The Gold Tone Missing Link banjo has a 12" rim with a resonator and I've read that it will fit in a standard
size resonator banjo case. It doesn't look like it has a flange, as such. You might look at how one of those
is put together.

Dec 9, 2021 - 6:51:49 PM
Players Union Member



15036 posts since 8/30/2006

bill t: that's what I do, It's a 14" rez like the 11's.

Dec 10, 2021 - 6:04:37 AM

649 posts since 7/10/2012

If you are curious about the tone implications, you could always beg, borrow, or steal a resonator back and fasten it to your banjo for a few minutes, play a few bars, and decide for yourself if the tone is worth the trouble. Alternately, you could do what I did years ago when I wondered what my Reiter Bacophone would sound like with an internal resonator... and spend a few weeks making one to find out! I no longer have the Reiter, but I still have that removable internal resonator.


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