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Jun 26, 2022 - 3:34:32 PM
59236 posts since 12/14/2005

Don't want to pull the frets, don't want to remove fretboard and install a new one.

Anybody got quick and relatively easy suggestions for putting something between the frets, and something over that, add a higher nut and bridge, and have a slightly thicker neck, but a fretless banjo?
Reversible, if unhappy with fretless, or if selling.

Jun 26, 2022 - 5:04:16 PM

1622 posts since 4/13/2009

a thin brass strip and a shortened guitar string riser/extension?

Jun 26, 2022 - 6:34:40 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11475 posts since 6/29/2003

Probably the easier is to make a thinner wooden (or possibly metal) fretboard . Lay it on top of the existing one and mark the fret position. Route out those positions enough to accommodate the fret wires but obviously not go through the overlay. Not sure how you would attach it. Then use a higher nut and bridge. Alternatively make overlays that fit between the fret wires but doesn't protrude above them. That way sounds more complicated. Again, I am uncertain how you would attach them to the existing fretboard without the possibility of damage to it.

Jun 26, 2022 - 6:59:38 PM
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6999 posts since 9/21/2007

Sell it and buy a fretless.

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:01:43 PM

2935 posts since 3/30/2008
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..."quick & relatively easy", may be 2 steps too far for this unique problem. (I would suggest creating a dam all along the edge of the fretboard & filling the middle in w/ cement to the level of the frets. Smooth it out. Later, when you want to revert, just jackhammer the cement out).

Seriously, any kind of overlay is going to present an attachment problem.

Edited by - tdennis on 06/26/2022 19:12:11

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:24:31 PM

Owen

Canada

11395 posts since 6/5/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Sell it and buy a fretless.


... or better still... keep it and buy a fretless. wink

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:32:31 PM

555 posts since 2/8/2003

Other than pulling frets and adding a brass plate, wouldn’t be less trouble, time, and effort to just get one of those new gold tone AC-1 fretless banjos? And if you don’t care for it, sell it for $50 less?

Edited by - JollyRogers on 06/26/2022 19:33:04

Jun 26, 2022 - 9:05:24 PM

2413 posts since 2/7/2008

Just thinking out loud here…

Cover fingerboard in Saran Wrap.

Build a masking tape dam at the edges.

Fill with silicone. (Like the dentist makes impressions.

Lay elastic pieces into the silicone.

Clamp a piece of brass onto the silicone using a wooden clamping caul to ensure flatness.

Once cured, remove the silicone and brass strip and Saran Wrap; re-install the silicone and brass strip and tie the elastic to hold it in place.

Ver1.1 - One shot deal…

Coat the fingerboard with PVA mold release instead of Saran Wrap.

Do the same steps as above, but skip the elastic. The silicone/brass strip should stay on until they are pried off, after which the mold release can be removed with a little bit of warm soapy water.

The only thing I’m not 100% sure of is that PVA mold release will release silicone. I’ve used it with epoxy, but I haven’t tried it with silicone.

Jun 26, 2022 - 10:16:32 PM
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rcc56

USA

4324 posts since 2/20/2016

Well Mike, you're handy with tools. Make a fretless neck.

Find a piece of hardwood and carve away everything that doesn't look like a banjo neck. If you want, you can lay another thin piece of the hardwood of your choice on top for a fingerboard.  Or make it like a Goodtime without a separate fingerboard.  Or, some people have been known to use a brass or Formica overlay.

Rub, or brush on the finish of your choice or spray on some Deft.  Drill for a set of tuners, make a nut out of something hard, and there you are . . .

You don't have to worry about slotting or installing frets. If it bows a little bit, it probably wouldn't matter much on a fretless, so you can probably get by without a truss rod. Or build it with a center lamination to minimize the possibility of bowing.

Or, Gold Tone sells a WL/250FL fretless neck for $250.

Edited by - rcc56 on 06/26/2022 22:30:49

Jun 27, 2022 - 2:10:27 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15690 posts since 8/30/2006

Ok, but you guys are talking with my friend Mike Gregory.

A thin steel plate attached with .............magnets will hold.

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Jun 27, 2022 - 4:29:31 AM
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59236 posts since 12/14/2005

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Little did I know about the Gold Tone neck.

Looks like the simplest solution.

https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldtone/parts/b1013-01f

Jun 27, 2022 - 4:34:44 AM

59236 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by tdennis

..."quick & relatively easy", may be 2 steps too far for this unique problem. (I would suggest creating a dam all along the edge of the fretboard & filling the middle in w/ cement to the level of the frets. Smooth it out. Later, when you want to revert, just jackhammer the cement out).

Seriously, any kind of overlay is going to present an attachment problem.


Jun 27, 2022 - 4:37:24 AM

3153 posts since 9/5/2006

I like the cement truck option. ;-)

Jun 27, 2022 - 5:43:51 AM

beegee

USA

23017 posts since 7/6/2005

Buy another RK neck, pull the frets, fill the slots with E-Z Fret Slot Filler bolt it on, VOILA!

Jun 27, 2022 - 5:58:01 AM
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lapsteel

Canada

799 posts since 8/13/2015

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

Probably the easier is to make a thinner wooden (or possibly metal) fretboard . Lay it on top of the existing one and mark the fret position. Route out those positions enough to accommodate the fret wires but obviously not go through the overlay. Not sure how you would attach it. Then use a higher nut and bridge. Alternatively make overlays that fit between the fret wires but doesn't protrude above them. That way sounds more complicated. Again, I am uncertain how you would attach them to the existing fretboard without the possibility of damage to it.


carpet tape?

Jun 27, 2022 - 6:26:38 AM

2838 posts since 5/2/2012

Regarding the nut, if you do an overlay. They make a "guitar extension nut" that slips over the standard nut if you want to play with a slide. String tension holds it in place. But the string spacing would probably be too wide. Thinking you could use something like a small diameter pvc pipe (1/4 inch?), cut in half and the appropriate length, file in some slots for the strings. Now for the 5th string?

Jun 27, 2022 - 9:23:36 AM

2413 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

Ok, but you guys are talking with my friend Mike Gregory.

A thin steel plate attached with .............magnets will hold.


Larry,

I don't think there's anything for the magnets to magnetize to, is there? The frets are non-ferrous as far as I know. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 1:12:19 PM

59236 posts since 12/14/2005

One MIGHT pop out dot inlays, and replace them with magnets.
Or, perhaps the truss rod would attract a strong enough magnet.

Still, as a time-saver, the Gold Tone neck is about ready to roll.

One might even save time fitting the heel, by greasing the lag bolts, putting waxed paper against the body, shlomping a big glop of epoxy putty on, aligning the neck, and letting it harden.

I'll discuss this with the client.

Jun 27, 2022 - 1:16:10 PM

340 posts since 12/28/2014

Cut fret slots in a piece of thin brass then place over it. Possibly drilling out holes to place steel ferrels in to make it magnetic. You might have to get a slightly higher bridge.

Jun 27, 2022 - 2:01:32 PM

59236 posts since 12/14/2005

IF the client agrees to go with the Gold Tone neck, and agrees that appearance is not the ultimate goal, here's PLAN A;

Take off the strings, bridge, armrest, and tailpiece.
Clamp the body, face down, to a flat board.
Slide a couple of wedges between the board and the fingerboard, and fasten them in place.

This will make a PERMANENT jig as to the exact neck back-slant.
Take off the neck.
Put coupling nuts on the ends of the lg bolts, and put lug bolts into those couplers.
Painter's tape down the end of the GT heel.
Both necks, frets down, on the table.
Slide them together so the points of the second set of lags mark the tape.
Drill holes at the marks.
Install lag bolts in those holes.
Painter's tape the body, over the heel area.
Lubricate slightly.
Lubricate the lags, thoroughly, so epoxy won't stick.
Mix up epoxy, apply it to the new neck, bolt it on.
Trim off the excess, let everything harden.
The wedges and lags should guarantee proper alignment.

Take the neck off, finish it up, and attach.
Reassemble the banjo.

What have I left out?

Jun 28, 2022 - 8:03:34 AM

59236 posts since 12/14/2005

I sent the client a link to this discussion, plus my personal preference for the Gold Tone neck, along with a recommendation that he either try it himself, or find a local banjo luthier to custom fit it FOR him, to save on shipping costs.
And he is going to go with a luthier who is approximately 682 miles closer to him, than I am.

I didn't need the job; I was just trying to be helpful.

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:11:41 AM
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340 posts since 12/28/2014

Oh boy apparently I made a fret less cover a few years back (thank the misses for reminding me) it was a very thin sheet of brass with a memory foam or something similar backing and had some flexible arms that would hug the banjo that I hired someone to weld on. It worked to a degree and the memory foam would mold to the frets. Currently moving to a new house so if I can dig it up I’ll post pictures but I haven’t seen the thing in 4-5 years and it’s not the prettiest thing.

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