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If you've been looking for a Kalamazoo...

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Jun 29, 2022 - 10:13:40 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

There's one on Ebay currently going bidless at $260. Ends Thursday.

It's a little bit interesting in that the tailpiece is in good shape, and the resonator is double bound. I messaged the seller and confirmed that the rim is 5/8".

I'd buy it myself but I don't need two of them.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/234599517187?hash=item369f388c03:g:F-UAAOSwt75itL6E

Edited by - Eric A on 06/29/2022 10:17:16

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:24:59 AM

13457 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

I messaged the seller and confirmed that the rim is 5/8".


That's insufficient for mounting a tone ring, right?

If the rim is 11 inches in diameter, this would be best suited for a woody or hoop or rod style ring, also right?

Current price is tempting, but who knows what it actually sells for?

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:32:08 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

As far as I know, you usually need a 3/4" rim to put a tone ring on it.

As far as I know, Kalamazoos are always 11" rim, but the thickness varies. Mostly 5/8", a few at 1/2", and a few at 3/4". My impression is that the 3/4" ones have pretty much all been snapped up already by folks turning them for a tone ring.  If you are handy with tools, you might be able to sand down the wooden bead and mount a brass hoop instead on the thinner rimmed ones.  That's a bit over my skillset though.

Even at 5/8", I keep hearing that they make a pretty nice sounding woodie banjo. It is still a pre-war Gibson product after all.  Old wood, etc.  I'll find out when I get a neck put on mine.

Edited by - Eric A on 06/29/2022 10:35:51

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:34:02 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5849 posts since 10/12/2009

I believe that the resonator on that Kalamazoo is from an RK Dirty 30's banjo......the sunburst colors on the reso are different than what's on the neck. Plus the pictures were taken so you can't tell if the reso is flat (real Kalamazoo) or domed

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:36:33 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat

I believe that the resonator on that Kalamazoo is from an RK Dirty 30's banjo......the sunburst colors on the reso are different than what's on the neck. Plus the pictures were taken so you can't tell if the reso is flat (real Kalamazoo) or domed


Good eye, Scott.  Buyer beware, as always.

Edited by - Eric A on 06/29/2022 10:38:56

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:39:27 AM

368 posts since 2/14/2013

Yes, a standard flathead tone ring would overhang the inner edge of the rim by 1/8". Most of these have the thin rim--5/8" at top vs. 3/4". But you don't need a tone ring or hoop or woody--these things sound amazing as-is... tone-wise and volume-wise they can certainly rival a tone-ring setup. I have had several of the thin rim variety, and also have the more rare full-thickness variety. Believe it or not, the thin rim variety is better suited for the "wood rim only" setup... they sound better than the full-thickness rim does in that scenario. I think Gibson knew what they were doing--thin rims for no-tone-ring-setups, full - thickness for tone-ring setups.

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:40:34 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5849 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A
quote:
Originally posted by RioStat

I believe that the resonator on that Kalamazoo is from an RK Dirty 30's banjo......the sunburst colors on the reso are different than what's on the neck. Plus the pictures were taken so you can't tell if the reso is flat (real Kalamazoo) or domed


Good eye, Scott.  Buyer beware, as always.


Well.....I looked at that ebay ad a couple days ago, and the double binding caught my eye, so I started looking at it closer.......you'd think they would have put the couple loose hooks and nuts back on before putting  the resonator on there

Edited by - RioStat on 06/29/2022 10:43:29

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:42:56 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat
quote:
Originally posted by Eric A
quote:
Originally posted by RioStat

I believe that the resonator on that Kalamazoo is from an RK Dirty 30's banjo......the sunburst colors on the reso are different than what's on the neck. Plus the pictures were taken so you can't tell if the reso is flat (real Kalamazoo) or domed


Good eye, Scott.  Buyer beware, as always.


Well.....I looked at that ebay ad a couple days ago, and the double binding caught my eye, so I started looking at it closer.....


Scott and I always end up looking at the same banjos!  laugh

Jun 29, 2022 - 11:00:55 AM
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1882 posts since 2/9/2007

Mine's got a half-round bearing ring turned into the outside of the rim's edge, the integral "woody" equivalent of a plain ~1/4" hoop ring. I don't know if they were all made that way, but I like it just as it is.

Even at the BIN price, someone could add a Gold Tone neck and (if DIY'ing at least) not be overpaying for a solid (though homely) player's oldtime banjo with a bit of that prewar-Gibson mojo.

Jun 29, 2022 - 11:03:05 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Mine's got a half-round bearing ring turned into the outside of the rim's edge, the integral "woody" equivalent of a plain ~1/4" hoop ring. I don't know if they were all made that way, but I like it just as it is.

Even at the BIN price, someone could add a Gold Tone neck and (if DIY'ing at least) not be overpaying for a solid (though homely) player's oldtime banjo with a bit of that prewar-Gibson mojo.


Hey Dan,

We watched "The Mountain Minor" the other night.  Nice Job!

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Jun 29, 2022 - 11:11:16 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5849 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Mine's got a half-round bearing ring turned into the outside of the rim's edge, the integral "woody" equivalent of a plain ~1/4" hoop ring. I don't know if they were all made that way, but I like it just as it is.

Even at the BIN price, someone could add a Gold Tone neck and (if DIY'ing at least) not be overpaying for a solid (though homely) player's oldtime banjo with a bit of that prewar-Gibson mojo.


You can see the wood bead on this ebay Kalamazoo, just zoom in on the picture of the pot, where the hide head is busted.

Jun 29, 2022 - 11:51:18 AM

12271 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat
quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Mine's got a half-round bearing ring turned into the outside of the rim's edge, the integral "woody" equivalent of a plain ~1/4" hoop ring. I don't know if they were all made that way, but I like it just as it is.

Even at the BIN price, someone could add a Gold Tone neck and (if DIY'ing at least) not be overpaying for a solid (though homely) player's oldtime banjo with a bit of that prewar-Gibson mojo.


You can see the wood bead on this ebay Kalamazoo, just zoom in on the picture of the pot, where the hide head is busted.


Yea, must be a woodie. The two I owned had 1/4" steel round hoops — and rust stains on the skin heads where they made contact. I turned them over and rubbed them down with a beeswax candle before installing medium crown heads on them.

On  both of them, I installed a second co-rod. This was quite easy—the rods from Saga just screwed onto the top stud and I made a depression in the other end of the pot. This increased the stability by quite a bit. One was a plectrum — the guy I sold it to still plays in local community theater pit orchestras.

There's no adjustable truss rod but I never checked with a magnet to see if there was any neck reinforcement.

Too bad it's a tenor. I've no use for one at the moment. Someone will have fun with this.

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:19:33 PM
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Players Union Member

rbfour5

USA

1162 posts since 11/9/2010

A pyramid tone ring fits perfectly on a 5/8" rim. Light weight, and you get a nice sweet tone. (Should have kept the one I had..... first time any of you have ever heard or said that, right? Lol!)

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:21:02 PM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by rbfour5

A pyramid tone ring fits perfectly on a 5/8" rim. Light weight, and you get a nice sweet tone. (Should have kept the one I had..... first time any of you have ever heard or said that, right? Lol!)


If I had a dollar for every time I read that on the Hangout, I'd have a couple more banjos by now.

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:28:17 PM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by rbfour5

A pyramid tone ring fits perfectly on a 5/8" rim. Light weight, and you get a nice sweet tone. (Should have kept the one I had..... first time any of you have ever heard or said that, right? Lol!)


Does anyone sell a pyramid ring these days?

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:31:18 PM
Players Union Member

rbfour5

USA

1162 posts since 11/9/2010

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:32:07 PM
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4053 posts since 5/1/2003

My first “prewar”parts banjo was a Kalamazoo rim and resonator.Cliff Fitch put it together for me and he was amazed at the tone and volume. It had a Sullivan conversion ring which is flat on the head bearing surface so the fact that it hangs over the edge is not of great consequence.
The neck I had on it was nothing special. Epiphone mb250 that was missing its peghead when I bought it. I just sawed an old tenor peghead off at 45 degrees and glued it on. Covered both sides with veneer,it worked fine.

Jun 29, 2022 - 2:25:10 PM
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13457 posts since 6/2/2008

I know from playing an all-original late pre-war RB-00 that banjos with those thin-rimmed ringless rims can sound great.

But I have to admit I'm on the lookout for a Gibson rim from any era -- other than multi-ply -- that I can put into my Gibson parts banjo. That is, it's a parts banjo assembled from mostly Gibson parts (or Gibson OEM parts). The rim is the last unknown part. The banjo sounds great. But I think it would be cool to have all the major parts be actual Gibson. If I never find one, that's ok too.

Jun 29, 2022 - 2:27:53 PM
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13457 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rbfour5

A pyramid tone ring fits perfectly on a 5/8" rim. Light weight, and you get a nice sweet tone. (Should have kept the one I had..... first time any of you have ever heard or said that, right? Lol!)


Oh, no. My BAS just elevated a few degrees.

Jun 29, 2022 - 4:12:14 PM
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Players Union Member

rbfour5

USA

1162 posts since 11/9/2010

Old Hickory - you and me both. Playing these old California Fenders and pre Baldwin Odes, my shoulder would truly appreciate a pyramid ring Kalamazoo!

Jun 30, 2022 - 12:37:26 PM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1551 posts since 10/15/2019

Well, somebody bought it. One bid, $260.

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