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Jan 18, 2022 - 3:13:57 PM
13 posts since 1/17/2022

Originally posted this in the Non Banjo Other category. I was recently "gifted" an entry level Memphis 5-string resonator...sans a few components. The nut, bridge, tailpiece, strings and a fifth peg. The "Artist" in the family presented this to me as a birthday gift stating that it "No longer speaks to me..."
So, now I on a quest to rehabilitate the instrument, and perhaps a little bit of myself in the process.

A little background, used to play years ago, but pared down to make ends meet. Have wanted pick the banjo back up ever since yet never took the plunge. Will post pics when I can. Local luthier, without seeing it, quoted minimum $100/bench time plus part$. Figure learning to repair this piece myself might give me some greater appreciation. Low risk, high reward.

Thanks in advance.

Jan 18, 2022 - 3:25:02 PM

58997 posts since 12/14/2005

Please post many pictures of the banjo, especially the parts which need rebuilding.

I looked online for a picture of a "Memphis" brand banjo, and nothing popped up.

Jan 18, 2022 - 3:32:41 PM

13 posts since 1/17/2022

Will do. Found a reference stating it was an import, circa 1980's-90's and the company was forced to discontinue due to legal action from Gibson I believe.

Jan 18, 2022 - 5:37:38 PM
Players Union Member



15431 posts since 8/30/2006

I fully encourage you
Will have the things you are looking for 

We can help along the way

Jan 18, 2022 - 6:25:13 PM
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14704 posts since 10/30/2008

yes you can get all the parts you need from Stewart MacDonald.

The 5th peg will cost the most and the tailpiece about the same. The other stuff is all under $10 each.

Fitting the 5th peg is the only "tricky" thing to do, oh, and shaping/fitting the nut (that's slow tedious work). You need to have some assurance that the 5th peg you buy will fit the existing hole. Slotting a nut usually requires that you buy a set of nut slot files too, so that's extra expense for tooling you'll just use once.

You may end up spending nearly $100 in parts and tools.

Photos of the "Memphis" will tell whether it's worth the time/effort/money.


Set of nut slot files:  $47

5th string tuner:  $11-$16

5th string pip if needed:  $4

Tailpiece:  $16 for cheapest one

Nut blank:  $6

Bridge:  $6 for cheapest one

Strings:  $5

Edited by - The Old Timer on 01/18/2022 18:32:40

Jan 18, 2022 - 7:20:02 PM
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22923 posts since 7/6/2005

Memphis banjos were made in Japan between 1969-89 and imported by C. Bruno

Jan 18, 2022 - 8:11:42 PM
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187 posts since 12/7/2007

You might want to check on the applicability of a preslotted Gold Tone Zero Glide Nut, as an alternative to slotting your own. It will cost more than a nut blank, but could save you time and money in the long run, if it would work and appeals to you. (Some people like them, it seems, and others don’t.)

Jan 19, 2022 - 10:17:26 AM
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303 posts since 8/25/2009

I have read posts on BHO claiming that blowtorch cleaners (available at your local hardware store) are a good, low-cost tool for cutting slots in nuts and bridges.

Jan 19, 2022 - 4:02:21 PM

58997 posts since 12/14/2005

There are dozens of us OutHangers who cobble together banjos out of what are basically scraps.

Please post the pics, and we'll hop right in with cheap substitutes for expensive items.

How about a banjo made of sewer pipe, an embroidery ring, and bike spokes?

Jan 19, 2022 - 4:36:17 PM

13165 posts since 6/2/2008

Originally posted by Half Barbaric Twanger

I have read posts on BHO claiming that blowtorch cleaners (available at your local hardware store) are a good, low-cost tool for cutting slots in nuts and bridges.

Here's an eBay merchant selling a set of those as nut slotting files for $7 shipped.

Edited to add: There are actually some for less! I didn't have my results sorted for ascending price when I first posted.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 01/19/2022 16:38:41

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Jan 19, 2022 - 6:08:31 PM

13 posts since 1/17/2022

Thank you all for the replies. Pictures will be in the near future.

Jan 19, 2022 - 7:55:38 PM



11988 posts since 2/7/2008

Torch tip cleaners will slot a nut but it can be a slow tedious process. I usually use a needle file set to get them started. If you buy your torch cleaners at a discount tool place like Harbor Freight you will likely pay less than buying from someone who sells them as nut files.

Stew Mac does has everything you need, usually at the highest prices out there. You may find you can do better at Amazon.

Feb 4, 2022 - 11:37:50 AM

13 posts since 1/17/2022

Sorry for the delay, Old Man Covid decided to pay a visit and hang around a couple weeks. All is good now.

Going to try a post a couple pics:

Oops, looks like for now I'll have post pics individually. File sizes are too large.

Stay tuned...

Feb 4, 2022 - 11:42:55 AM

13 posts since 1/17/2022

Pic #2 of the missing 5th peg.

Will have to compress the other pics to post.


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