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Jan 23, 2022 - 6:13:44 PM
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1753 posts since 4/13/2017

I really don't understand. I know people have their reasons, but it actually kinda upsets me when I see when someone has molested an old banjo in some way that makes it impossible to make it original again. Like the folks who add tone rings to RB-100s or the early RB-150s, or those who chop the top off of a prewar archtop rim to make it a flathead. Seriously, why do something that literally destroys the originality?

I have an all original 1959 RB-100. That thing rocks. I've played many fabulous banjos with tone rings (1952 RB-150 that came from the factory with a tone ring, 250 prototype I guess, a 1988 Granada, a 1930 PB-4 converted to 5 string, 1930 TB-Florentine converted to 5 string, 1941 original 5 string RB-18, two of Mitch's Joe Dean models, and probably several others I'm missing). But in all honesty, my RB-100, my teacher's RB-100, the woodies I've built, the woodies a friend of mine has built, all of them outperform the ones with tone rings.

I'm not trying to make a debate out of it for tone rings or no tone rings, I'm just venting a little about why people feel the need to molest a perfectly good banjo and turn it into something it was never meant to be. The way I feel is that if you want a banjo with a tone ring, go buy one! Don't buy an RB-100 or something like it and destroy its originality. A friend of mine bought an RB-100 that was "upgraded" with a Mitch ring and Yates rim. He told me it sounded awful. I agreed. We tried setup, but nothing helped it. He asked me to build a new rim and put a hoop on it so it'd be close to original again, and the difference was night and day. Before it was dampy, dull, and thuddy. Now, it's loud, snappy, and responds with the gentlest touch.

Sorry for my rant, it just upsets me as to why people feel the need to ruin something's originality. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Jan 23, 2022 - 6:36:13 PM
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4328 posts since 5/29/2011

Not only do I dislike seeing rims cut, I can't stand to see someone cut an RB-100 or RB-150 rim and then put a godawful looking Flying Eagle neck on it either.

Jan 23, 2022 - 6:54:55 PM
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Foote

USA

570 posts since 3/25/2009

I own a 30's Kel Kroydon 11, uncut with the original hoop. It sounds great with plenty of volume when set up right. And it's much lighter than my tone ring banjos. I also have a late 20's style 3 bb Mastertone. I purchased a First Quality conversion ring 30 years ago but ended up going back to the original bb set up. It also sounds great with a very sweet tone. Both banjos are candidates for destructive conversions but not with me. If you want a flat head banjo, buy one. Don't butcher history.

Jan 23, 2022 - 7:07:27 PM
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4031 posts since 5/1/2003

20 years ago nobody thought twice about cutting a rim for a tone ring.Tastes change. I cut my Kel Kroydon for a HR30 ring and I’ll guarantee it sounds better than it did before.
You know why there are so many Gibson banjos from the 20s and 30s without tone rings?
Nobody could afford them!
I don’t have a problem if want to keep yours original,I’m at the age where I’d play mine more if it was original because of the reduced weight but I don’t think you need to shame me for doing something 20 years ago that was common practice.

Jan 23, 2022 - 7:47:22 PM
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Foote

USA

570 posts since 3/25/2009

Good point, Rod. That was also before rings were made for the conversions that don't require a cut rim. I was more concerned with the remaining uncut ones and their futures.

Jan 23, 2022 - 7:54:42 PM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Not only do I dislike seeing rims cut, I can't stand to see someone cut an RB-100 or RB-150 rim and then put a godawful looking Flying Eagle neck on it either.


You can't stand it? Why does it matter to you?

Jan 23, 2022 - 8:19:18 PM
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4845 posts since 11/20/2004

People do it for the same reason Gibson did it originally. To get the "Mastertone" sound, which many people prefer enough to pay more for and have since the 20's. It appears tens of thousands of people over the last 100 years feel rings are an improvement and may not agree with you. It is common to say just get a new rim and put your ring on it. I have both and they sound different to my ear.

Jan 23, 2022 - 8:59:39 PM
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beegee

USA

22919 posts since 7/6/2005

People do it for the same reasons they hot-rod old classic cars.

Jan 23, 2022 - 9:05:10 PM
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5060 posts since 5/9/2007

Why?!


 

Jan 23, 2022 - 9:06:04 PM

5060 posts since 5/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

People do it for the same reasons they hot-rod old classic cars.


Opps!

Well said beegee.

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 01/23/2022 21:06:22

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Jan 23, 2022 - 11:43:33 PM
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doryman

USA

1189 posts since 11/26/2012

Well, this thread is not nearly as interesting as I thought it would be when I first opened it.

Jan 24, 2022 - 4:02 AM
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150 posts since 7/26/2020

I don’t have an opinion one way or the other as far as cutting rims.

One thing though that I was thinking, if you put a
5 string neck on a tenor banjo, obviously, it then becomes something it wasn’t made to be.

Regardless, I can respect and appreciate both sides of the argument.

Jan 24, 2022 - 5:02:36 AM

3944 posts since 9/12/2016

Bragging that one OUT preforms the other ,sure ain't the noise to stop it. I have a nice flat head masterclone and an old archie. I dread the day some body gets it and throws a ring in it ,for the quick buck. The nothing like an old flathead guys never will bet ---that same flat head as the bounty,that they can spot a prewar in a blindfold test. Great masterclones have been on the markets longer than the age of those under a young Earl's fingers,,so don't put that in the mix ,,to me. However some folks do what fits their pocket book to get a good flathead, and that happens to be one of these. I really doubt they surpass well seasoned masterclones from the 70s or 80s
Old gibsons are not wore beyond use like old cars, Hotrodded cars are not so much aimed at restoration

Jan 24, 2022 - 5:37:23 AM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

People do it for the same reasons they hot-rod old classic cars.


I was thinking the same thing.

I ruined the originality of this old truck that was sitting / rusting away, by lowering it slightly, adding disc brakes and power steering, installing modern heat/ac, and adding a more modern 350 motor & auto transmission.

That's just the beginning of the work done and I didn't keep the old parts.

Many people in 1966 would have loved to have my truck like it sits today!

There is a cool factor to sitting down with my 1954 RB250 and playing it just like someone did in 1954. It still does everything I want it to do.

People would love to have an original flathead 5 string, but there aren't that many and they cost, so they modify old banjos into something that fits their needs. 

What will people think 200 years from now? No one knows. If they still like 5 string flatheads, they will probably be very familiar with conversions.  By then, the conversion "work" will be antique too. They may talk about skilled craftsmen carefully altering useless banjos to create masterpieces.

If 4 string banjos are popular, then they may be paying prewar 5 string flathead prices for all original 4 strings. 

If the Gibson name didn't have such value to 5 string players and conversions weren't possible, many of the Gibsons wouldnt survive for 200 more years without ending up in a dumpster anyway. So it goes both ways.

A banjo molester is likely to be much more kind than years in an attic, basement or barn.


 

Edited by - jason999 on 01/24/2022 05:39:19

Jan 24, 2022 - 5:40:32 AM
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Eric A

USA

1465 posts since 10/15/2019
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As long as guys can flip a quick buck on the operation it will keep happening. Demand creates supply.

Speaking for myself, I bought a 1928 Oriole with a new 5 string neck already done. Rim and tone hoop still intact. I have the old neck. The new neck was even made to still say "Oriole" instead of "Gibson" as so many do. I was happy with that honesty.

I also just bought a 1927 TB-1. Am I going to cut that rim? No. The skin head will come off and a new top frosted will go on. The tenor neck will come off and a 5 string neck will go on. Period.

Jan 24, 2022 - 5:51:30 AM
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466 posts since 4/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by jason999

You can't stand it? Why does it matter to you?


Don't take this as me being mean, because I'm not trying to be, but your reaction stood out as I recall you having a problem with people removing their truss rod covers. 

Jan 24, 2022 - 6:14:43 AM
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3944 posts since 9/12/2016

switching necks is reversible--cutting rims ain't

Jan 24, 2022 - 6:33:07 AM
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5060 posts since 5/9/2007

Well ..... When the sun goes "Red Giant" .... POOF!

Just putting things in perspective.

Jan 24, 2022 - 6:34:39 AM

1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Nic Pennsylvania
quote:
Originally posted by jason999

You can't stand it? Why does it matter to you?


Don't take this as me being mean, because I'm not trying to be, but your reaction stood out as I recall you having a problem with people removing their truss rod covers. 


Lol. I don't take it as mean, my friend. You have a fair point. I really just asked a question on why people were playing without trussrod covers.

It turns out that one guy on here said he does it to make frequent adjustments.

I think others do it it look like Bela or who ever. 

Maybe you exaggerated your point, when you said you "can't stand it"? I took that as it ticked you off.

Also, I was being genuine in my question. Looking back, it could appear that I was bring rhetorical. 

Seriously, why does it matter to you? Why do you think it's a bad thing?

Do you look at an old modified truck, like mine and think, I can't stand that.  ...honest question.

I don't get mad about truss rod covers.  I just find it ironic that people spend thousands and thousands of dollars on fancy banjos and then leave a roughly cut cavity exposed instead of covering it.

I can remember when I first started playing, I wanted a grimey rub mark in my head! Lol. So I'm guilty too!!

The other day I looked at one on my banjo heads and thought shew... that looks nasty! I started cleaning it immediately!!

Jan 24, 2022 - 6:40:23 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27159 posts since 8/3/2003

It's just different strokes for different folks. Some like their banjo as it was originally made, others prefer a different look, feel, sound. Viva la difference. You can like or dislike what others are doing, but you probably aren't going to change their minds any more than they can change yours. Live and let live.

Jan 24, 2022 - 6:43:59 AM

466 posts since 4/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by jason999
quote:
Originally posted by Nic Pennsylvania
quote:
Originally posted by jason999

You can't stand it? Why does it matter to you?


Don't take this as me being mean, because I'm not trying to be, but your reaction stood out as I recall you having a problem with people removing their truss rod covers. 


Lol. I don't take it as mean, my friend. You have a fair point. I really just asked a question on why people were playing without trussrod covers.

It turns out that one guy on here said he does it to make frequent adjustments.

I think others do it it look like Bela or who ever. 

Maybe you exaggerated your point, when you said you "can't stand it"? I took that as it ticked you off.

Also, I was being genuine in my question. Looking back, it could appear that I was bring rhetorical. 

Seriously, why does it matter to you? Why do you think it's a bad thing?

Do you look at an old modified truck, like mine and think, I can't stand that.  ...honest question.

I don't get mad about truss rod covers.  I just find it ironic that people spend thousands and thousands of dollars on fancy banjos and then leave a roughly cut cavity exposed instead of covering it.

I can remember when I first started playing, I wanted a grimey rub mark in my head! Lol. So I'm guilty too!!

The other day I looked at one on my banjo heads and thought shew... that looks nasty! I started cleaning it immediately!!


The first car I bought was a '56 Starchief (347) so I understand the parallel you draw. That thing sat in a cemetery shed for years. As a kid on the '90s, we shaved and decked it and all that one did at the time. 

There is a tradition to rodding. Absolutely. But an old auto is going to rust away. These banjos are still banjos and if they're all there and still playable. 

I recall a guy at Indianapolis Rockabilly Weekender being heavily ridiculed because he bought a fully restored '49 Cranbrook and then he "rat rodded" it... 

It was said earlier that there was a time when the modification wasn't seen as such a big deal but now there are fewer of these original rim's and that makes them more treasured as is. 

I don't fault people for what they did to these thirty or more years back. Sure, I wish they hadn't, but I understand. Nowadays, there's just more access to high quality parts and banjos. I have an RB1 and, if I wanted it to be a mastertone, I'd get a separate pot and ring. 

I may stir up some feelings, but putting a great tone ring on a sub-Mastertone Gibson does not make it a Mastertone. There's folks who insist that, no matter what is done, nothing will sound like a pre-war flathead than the real thing. I disagree with that, but taking their argument at face value means that your pot conversion is a waste of time. 

I'm not going to tell anyone what to do, but I'll argue like hell. I think too, that a lot of people are interested in the preservation of these rims because a good number, such as Hunter and myself; have an appreciation for the tone hoop Gibsons. 

Edited by - Nic Pennsylvania on 01/24/2022 06:46:17

Jan 24, 2022 - 6:45:46 AM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Tractor1

switching necks is reversible--cutting rims ain't


Necks are often separated from their original banjos. How do you find the neck that goes with a particular banjo?

Really though, the rim didn't didn't grow that way.  Can't wood be added? 

If you play a banjo, you degrade it over time.  You scratch it, bump it, bruise it , and wear it. I know it's not exactly the same, but the outcome is. The instrument is altered. 

Original 5 string necks are super rare.  Each time you handle one, you risk breaking it. Each time you play one, you wear the finish and frets. 

On one hand, I think I understand where you are coming from, but again

...if this instruments weren't desirable as conversions, how many would rot away in attics, garages, basements and barns?

No one seems to care what happens to many of the old less desirable banjos that aren't suitable for conversion.

Jan 24, 2022 - 8:17:04 AM

4328 posts since 5/29/2011

Maybe I should have said that I dislike seeing rims cut and Flying Eagle necks added. My reasons?
1) Lots of banjos that I see are really early style 100's or style 150's. I have seen numerous ads stating that a banjo was a 1949 RB or TB 100 that has had a tone ring added. There weren't that many 100's made in 1949 and there weren't that many 150's ever made. Every one that is cut is one less original.
2) If someone is going to make a neck for an old TB 100 or TB150 why not make a five string neck that looks like an original? Bow tie banjos were out of favor with the picking crowd forty years ago but they are being rediscovered and are coming back in style. Changing to a prewar style neck doesn't make it a real Mastertone anyway and reskinning the resonator achieves the same result as cutting the rim.
3) I have always thought the Flying Eagle inlay pattern was the ugliest one Gibson ever used but everyone seems to want to use it now. And I used to think the Double Cut peghead was the prettiest style Gibson made but now it has become so overused that it has become cliche. I would rather see a Bowtie or Fiddle shaped peghead since they are not used as much.
Realize that when I made my post I was stating an opinion, not to be taken as gospel. Most of the time what we post on here is our opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

Edited by - Culloden on 01/24/2022 08:20:57

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:12:19 AM

4031 posts since 5/1/2003

Long ago Earl Scruggs started out playing a Rb 11 then later on he’s got an Rb3 flathead.
Apparently he didn’t realize that the tone hoop banjo sounded just as good! ;)

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:35:56 AM
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1020 posts since 10/4/2018

I tend to not mind what people do with their own property. Like old growth trees, there's an endless supply of pre-war Gibsons, aren't there?

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:41:32 AM
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Eric A

USA

1465 posts since 10/15/2019
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quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Maybe I should have said that I dislike seeing rims cut and Flying Eagle necks added. My reasons?
1) Lots of banjos that I see are really early style 100's or style 150's. I have seen numerous ads stating that a banjo was a 1949 RB or TB 100 that has had a tone ring added. There weren't that many 100's made in 1949 and there weren't that many 150's ever made. Every one that is cut is one less original.
2) If someone is going to make a neck for an old TB 100 or TB150 why not make a five string neck that looks like an original? Bow tie banjos were out of favor with the picking crowd forty years ago but they are being rediscovered and are coming back in style. Changing to a prewar style neck doesn't make it a real Mastertone anyway and reskinning the resonator achieves the same result as cutting the rim.
3) I have always thought the Flying Eagle inlay pattern was the ugliest one Gibson ever used but everyone seems to want to use it now. And I used to think the Double Cut peghead was the prettiest style Gibson made but now it has become so overused that it has become cliche. I would rather see a Bowtie or Fiddle shaped peghead since they are not used as much.
Realize that when I made my post I was stating an opinion, not to be taken as gospel. Most of the time what we post on here is our opinion. Take it for what it's worth.


I like the "coke bottle" myself.  Every time I see a new neck made to look like a Granada I want to barf.  "Well, there's the millionth and first one of those...".

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