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Aug 11, 2022 - 12:45:29 AM

habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

Hello friends,

Intro:

I am guitar player into country/folk and decided to try and add a banjo to my repertoire. 0 experience with banjos and not a lot of ppl in my region who can help me out.
I found a good looking cheap one online on a site similar to ebay. The seller was in another city and , even though I never buy without trying, I risked it and bought a second hand GEWA Tennesee banjo (entry level). It came with the flange and resonator detached.

Problem:

I tried to fix the flange into place, but it just doesn't seem to fit. As it appears, I have 20 head tension screws which I believe should enter into the holes from the flange and thorugh the screws that are attached to the rim, so i can lock it into place, but they do not align, as you can see in the picture (the small holes on the flange do not align with the rim screws).

Have I been dupped? It looks like this flange never was from this banjo, or maybe I'm doing something wrong. Guy said this is how he bought it also, so I think he never did try to fix it back or ask questions to the original owner.

I don't even know what to search for online to replace this flange. Are there standard sizes/types, so I just need to find the right one for my banjo? If worse comes to worse, I can always play it openback I guess, but I'm taking this time to learn about construction principles also.

I probably messed up some words trying to describe the components and what i'm trying to do, but hopefully you understood my problem.

Thanks for your time


 

Aug 11, 2022 - 4:16:46 AM
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3072 posts since 4/7/2010

habarnam

From the photo, it looks like the rim is a 130 (or so) year old spun over rim that was modified to use a coordinator rod, instead of the original neck attachment device of a dowelstick. Banjo rims from circa 1895 did not come with resonators. It is likely you are not doing anything wrong in your attempt to fit the modern flange to the vintage rim. It looks like the two parts will not fit without major flange modification.

I hope my observations are helpful.

Bob Smakula

Aug 11, 2022 - 4:22:24 AM
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14863 posts since 6/29/2005

What Bob Smakula says is correct. 

In order to make the banjo play you do not need the flange or a resonator—you can play the banjo "open back" which would be perfectly good for folk music and old-time style music.

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:06:08 AM
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habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

thanks for your reply, Bob

It does make sense however it seems odd that a commercial banjo of 10-20 or so years has a modified rim.

I had no idea banjos were so complex, it took me a while to take it apart and try to fit the flange in.
Going back to one of my questions: are the flanges standardized in any way? do I have a chance of finding one that can fit my rim without modifying the flange i bought it with in a workshop ?

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:09:11 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15846 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

Hello, Vlad, welcome to the group.

Yes, that part will not fit that banjo rim. Hold onto it, you might sell it or trade it for other parts.

What other parts are you missing? L-shoes, hooks

What size is the rim diameter?

Did it come with the head installed. It may require a skin head.

Prucha is in the Czech Republic and has very fine banjo parts.

If you play in your group, on the street or in a club, you may find that a type of resonator will help you project your sound.

If mounting the resonator is difficult, later, then magnets are very useful for "vintage".

Or some spoons of which there are several in Europe. The spoons are used as a passive distributor.

Also, think of the banjo world as an open book that is still evolving with new and various forms.

Your writing was very clear and understandable. Good luck , let us know what you choose to do.




Aug 11, 2022 - 5:18:11 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15846 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

I had no idea banjos were so complex, it took me a while to take it apart and try to fit the flange in.
Going back to one of my questions: are the flanges standardized in any way? do I have a chance of finding one that can fit my rim without modifying the flange i bought it with in a workshop ?

The "bluegrass" flange requires a different type of rim.  That's why I asked the diameter of yours.

Yes, these flanges are standardized at 24 holes and 10.75" opening for a ledge that is built into a bluegrass type of rim.

The "spun over" or open back type of rim has a smooth outside surface.

I suggest you look for another type of rim and use the parts you have. 

I do rim change outs, so I have a stack of imported rims here in my shop.  Gifting is good.  Send me your address, I will "gift" you a wall clock = 11"

Sorry I can't convert to metric.

We would ask that you show us more photos, please.  Fun?  It gets better.


 

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:36:05 AM
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rmcdow

USA

1203 posts since 11/8/2014

I looked up the GEWA music company in the UK, and their banjos have 24 positions for the resonator to attach. I think you are correct, that the flange and the banjo are not made for each other. You didn't indicate how many holes are in the flange, but if it is 24 holes, that is fairly standard, and you might not have a GEWA banjo. A photo of the whole banjo would help, along with the number of holes in the flange.

Aug 11, 2022 - 6:45:55 AM

habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

thanks everyone for your answers!

@Helix, here are more details:

- the rim has a diameter of about 27 cm ( 10 inches), measured from the outer edges, and it has 40 holes drilled into it, out of which 20 have screws and inserts coming out on the exterior.
- the head has 20 tension screws.
- the flange has 24 holes and an inner diameter of 28 cm (11 inches )
- the resonator has 4 inserts into it - the screws meant to be used here and attach the flange to the resonator are also missing, but I figured I can improvise here

i was thinking that the flange comes over the rim inserts and gets locked into place by the head tension screws, but only two holes on the flange line up with the rim inserts.

Aug 11, 2022 - 7:04 AM

habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

i'm trying hard to add some photos, but i think i'm doing something wrong. let me try again




 

Aug 11, 2022 - 7:10:46 AM

rmcdow

USA

1203 posts since 11/8/2014

That's not a GEWA banjo, from what I can tell from their website. The resonator and flange could be. What does the headstock look like (photo).

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Aug 11, 2022 - 7:27:35 AM

10017 posts since 8/28/2013

These parts are from more than one banjo and do not belong together.

In spite of 24 holes being "standard" for flanges, they are not all the same. 24 hooks is a Gibson standard, and used by those who copy Gibsons, but that doesn't mean that a flange from a Gold Tone will pertectly fit a Gibson rim. Makers all seem to have their own ideasabout actual measurements.

My advice would be to remove the flange/resonator entirely and play the banjo as an open-back. Otherwise, I think you'll need a different banjo.

I would not place much blame on the seller. More than likely, he got the thing just as you did, couldn't align the parts, and decided to sell what he couldn't get working. He may have thought an "expert" would buy and do repairs, even though an expert would have looked this over and said "This banjo is heavily modified, the parts don't match, and nobody can fix what's there. Too much work and expense."

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:45:07 AM

13596 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by habarnam

Have I been dupped? It looks like this flange never was from this banjo, or maybe I'm doing something wrong. Guy said this is how he bought it also, so I think he never did try to fix it back or ask questions to the original owner.


If the previous owner didn't understand what he had, then you were not necessarily duped. But you are correct this flange was never from this banjo. It's also possible the Gewa neck was not original to the rim/pot.  The Gewa Tennessee banjos I found online don't look like this. Maybe I missed one.

quote:
Originally posted by habarnam


I don't even know what to search for online to replace this flange. Are there standard sizes/types, so I just need to find the right one for my banjo? 


Yes, there are standard size flanges. But probably not in the size you need.

 

The flange you have most likely lines up with a standard 24-notch tension hoop. Also, it's the "plate" part of a two-piece "tube and plate" flange as designed by Gibson in the 1920s and used on its Mastertone banjos before they designed the one-piece flange that became more common.

 

Before WWII, Gibson also made flat flange plates for banjos that had only 22 hooks and rims that were smaller than 11 inches. These banjos, like yours, had rim shoes that aligned with the hook holes in the flange.  The tension hoops were flat or grooved -- not notched -- so they worked with any spacing of shoes, hooks and flange holes.  Those are no longer made, of course, but they sometimes turn up for sale.

 

How many hooks does your banjo have? 18? 16?

 

Deering sells a flange plate to convert its Goodtime banjo from open back to resonator. It has 16 holes. It may not fit your banjo.

You may not be entirely out of luck. Some old time banjos had multi-piece flanges, made up of many individual plates that attached at each shoe.  The Deering Boston is still made this way, but a set of flange plates for the Boston is expensive.

 

Here is a link to a retailer selling a set of Golden Gate flange plates. $25 (US) for a set of 24. I have never heard of this retailer. And I can't find this Golden Gate flange set anywhere else. Not even on the Saga Music site (Saga owns the Golden Gate brand). These probably won't fit perfectly on a banjo with under 24 hooks. But they might do the job.

 

 

OR . . .

 

Instead of a flange, you just need plates at 2, 3 or 4 locations around the rim to attach the resonator. Here's resonator hardware sold by Gold Tone. It looks like it's designed to fit various hook spacings.  You may only need the plates.  But I think these only come as complete sets.

 

Good luck.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 08/11/2022 08:50:30

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:08:20 AM
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Alex Z

USA

4930 posts since 12/7/2006

Forget the flange and resonator.  Much, much too complicated to try to fix.  
 

You will end up replacing all the parts.  Someone might do this as a fun project, but you want to play it. 
 

Play it as an "open back."

It is a decent and playable banjo. 

Aug 11, 2022 - 12:08:46 PM

13596 posts since 6/2/2008

If the flange fits around the rim and the only problem is too many holes and too few lining up, then the easiest fix is a few minutes on a drill press to make new holes. The plate is of unknown origin, so probably has little value. Better that it be made usable and put to use. Plus, you've already paid for it.

I see from the photo that your resonator has wall lugs for the thumbscrews to screw into. Do you have thumbscrews threaded the same as the lugs?  If so, then all you need are some plates or brackets to go on the rim to provide something for the thumbscrews to bear against. That's how they hold the resonator on.

If you don't have thumbscrews, then buy the Gold Tone resonator hardware I linked to above. You'll get thumbscrews and the needed plates. If the thumbscrews don't fit your lugs, then replace the lugs with the ones in the Gold Tone set.

Your rim is metal, so you can't install typical "L" brackets that screw onto wood rims. The non-standard spacing of your hooks means you can't use "T" brackets designed for 24-hook spacing.

Aug 11, 2022 - 12:51:53 PM

habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

Thanks everyone, this information is invaluable to me. Really, I don't know anybody here that knows anything about banjos and without your help I would really be lost.

rmcdow - i have attached a photo of the headstock

G Edward Porgie - yes, it's clear now that it's made out of different parts. true, I don't blame him, he was probably in the same situation as I am, but he wasn't completely honest about the state of the banjo either. I will probably stick to open back, but it's a shame I have such a nice resonator and no way to attach it

Old Hickory - if the hooks are ones that keep the head and tension hoook in place by attaching themselves to the rim, i was refering to them as "tension screws" so I have 20 in total. thanks for all the links - i think your solution with 3-4 flange plates might be the cheapest and it might work for me. The resonator is missing the screws for the lugs, but i figured any screw that fits would do the job

Alex Z - yes, i will try to enjoy it for now. but a fun project, like you said, might be what i need to learn more about banjos. i'll see where this takes me

I see I have gotten myself in some "trouble" that would end up in a home project of getting the banjo in top shape at some point.
One more thing to note is that, as I noticed way too late ( I was too concentrated on the flange and resonator ), the truss rod has an obvious bent at one point. I hope this will not affect the tone. I managed to get new strings ( no physical shops here have any banjo related merchandise, so I had to order them online ), and I'm going for open back at the beggining to get the hang of it. I noticed it gets out of tune pretty easily at first , but this happens to new guitar strings too, so I hope this is normal.


 

Aug 11, 2022 - 1:06:13 PM
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rmcdow

USA

1203 posts since 11/8/2014

If the banjo is a 10" one, and the resonator is for an 11" banjo, you may have trouble fitting it to the separate flanges listed above, as the screws to hold the resonator in place won't align with the resonator as they pass through the flanges.

Aug 11, 2022 - 1:43:09 PM

10017 posts since 8/28/2013

I wouldn't worry about the bent rod affecting tone, although it could make set-up more difficult. I've seen a number of banjos with bent rim-rods, including some from the factory, and it made no tonal difference.

I would look at this as a learning project, and repairs will give you needed experience for your next project, which I hope is not so tricky.

A person can learn to play just as well with an open back banjo, so the resonator won't be needed yet. If this "pretty"resonator can't fit this particular banjo (and with a 10 inch rim, it probably won't) you may either 1. sell it, or 2. fit it to another banjo.

I think everyone has made purchasing boo-boos in their lives, so I wouldn't worry about that, either. Just do what you can to make this work as well as you can. There is plenty of help here; just ask questions and use the archives.

Good luck, and have fun.

Aug 11, 2022 - 3:57:09 PM
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13596 posts since 6/2/2008

If this rim is about 27 cm, it's more likely 11 inches (27.9 cm) than 10 inches (25.4 cm). You can tell from the photo with the flange plate around the rim that the inner diameter of the flange is just enough to encircle the rim. The photo gives every indication that the flange is the right size for this rim. Only the holes are wrong since the rim has 20 hooks.

Yes, Vlad, "tension hooks" is the correct name for what you called screws. They are hooks and their function is to apply tension to the head (working together with the tension hoop/stretcher band, the rim shoes - which you called "inserts" - and the nuts).

The rod inside the rim is a "coordinator rod" or "rim rod." A "truss rod" is inside the neck. Its job is to help the neck resist the tension of the strings, which could -- over time -- pull a weak neck into an upward bow. Your banjo appears to have a truss rod, because it has a truss rod cover on the peghead. It's that plastic piece with 3 screws.  You can search the archives here and read plenty about truss rods -- some of it correct.

Look at this photo of a Gold Tone CC100R banjo to see how the resonator attachment plate works. 

 

I have no idea whether you can find an ordinary screw that will fit a banjo resonator wall lug. 

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:13:36 PM

Alex Z

USA

4930 posts since 12/7/2006

Best to measure twice, order parts once! smiley

Poster says the outer diameter of the rim is "about 27 cm."  27 cm is  10.63 inches.

The Prucha flange for tube and plate flange is 10-11/16 inches inner diameter, or 10.69 inches.  This is about 27.15 cm.

Since from the picture the flange appears to almost fit perfectly around the rim, it seems like the poster's measurement of "about 27 cm" and the nominal inner diameter of the flange of 27.15 cm match up.  This would mean that the rim is in the range of 10.6 - 10.7 inches.  (But we don't know for sure that the flange pictured is for Gibson specs.)

Therefore, I don't think we can conclude that the rim is 11 inches outer diameter.  But rather, less.  So maybe not order parts that fit an 11 inch rim without some further measuring to see if those parts will fit.

Hope this helps.

Aug 11, 2022 - 11:55:52 PM
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habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

Old Hickory , Alex Z - sorry about the inexact measurements - i am not confident in getting it with a 0.1 inch precission. I tried to measure again

rim without metalic plate ( i guess it can come off , no? ) - around 10.6-10.7in
rim with metalic plate ( so the entire outer diameter as it is now ) - around 10.8-10.9 in
the flange has an inner diameter of around 11 in
the resonator is about 13.5 in in diameter

this picture shows how it all fits together, and it looks fine to me - i can see the resonator lugs thru the flange holes so i know that if i can attach the flange the resonator will fit. as i see it now, the flange plates from gold tone might work.

thanks again for your help, it's an exciting start for me with this instrument


 

Aug 12, 2022 - 4:50:51 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15846 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

Very good, keep going.

As Ken Norkin shows, Gold Tone has adapted their resonator plate to fit both 24 hooks and 18.

Here's a couple of other photos. I mentioned that sometimes collectors or those who have older banjos and don't want to drill new holes, so I use 4 rare earth magnets in little wooden blocks inside the resonator. They fit perfectly and Gold
Tone has changed their plates so they are nickel plated steel. You could even make your own magnet plates, the first ones I used were the wings for toggle bolts that fit perfectly under an L-shoe.

The 4th photo is a tube banjo with magnets. No flange needed.

The flange probably was obtained so the resonator could somehow be mounted.






Aug 12, 2022 - 5:12:13 AM

habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

Helix thanks for sharing the magnet technique, I will definitely try to apply it in case I don't manage anything with more orthodox methods

Aug 12, 2022 - 6:09:40 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15846 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

I hope this is as much fun for you as it is for us. When I started using magnets and spoons, it was like: "What?!!!"
You might figure out something we all could use. "Stay tuned,"

See how someone figured out how to use a single layer of bricks to make a sturdy wall that has never collapsed.


 

Aug 12, 2022 - 11:51:26 AM

hbick2

USA

644 posts since 6/26/2004

Your banjo pot was made for a relatively inexpensive banjo around the turn of the Twentieth Century, give or take 10 years. It was probably a catalog banjo meaning it was sold by mail order by Sears & Roebuck or one of the other catalog companies. The fact that it originally had 40 hooks and nuts says that it was made for mass appeal. A lot of people thought that more hooks meant a better banjo. That doesn't mean your banjo is poorly constructed. It is much like many banjos of that time period.

The neck is a modern made neck. We can't see enough of it to tell you very much. It is probably a century newer than the pot. You might want to send several pictures of the heel, where the neck attaches to the pot. Also, the area inside the pot where the neck attaches.

You said you were having trouble keeping the banjo in tune. It could possibly be the tuners, but it might be a loose neck attachment. The neck needs to fit very tightly up against the pot. If it is at all lose, it will not tune well. If you will send the above pictures, someone might be able to help.

I think the advice to forget about the resonator is good. Worry about getting the rest of the banjo up to par and then think about the resonator. If you are just learning to play, the people around you will thank you for not having a resonator.

Aug 12, 2022 - 12:39:19 PM
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10017 posts since 8/28/2013

If you are just learning to play, the people around you will thank you for not having a resonator.

There may be a few, when learning, who would thank you for wasting time fooling with a resonator than they would thank you for playing it unresonated.

Of course, I recommend not worrying about those types. They would have thrown tomatoes at Earl Scruggs and Pete Seeger would have been pelted with rotten eggs.

Aug 13, 2022 - 12:18:01 AM

habarnam

Romania

10 posts since 8/11/2022

hbick2 thanks for your reply. i attached some pictures.

( first pic ) you can see how the neck attaches to the rim. also notice the slightly bent rod. and another thing i notices is that, if you look at the screw on the back of the neck, it's not centered, but that is the only way to align the neck in order to get it leveled on the oposite side ( second pic )

the banjo stays in tune now, but I am not satisfied with the action. with my rudimentary measuring tool (third pic), i see a little over 4 mm - maybe 1/6 of an inch on the 12th fret. I could try to adjust the action via the truss rod, as I have experience with it from the guitar. I read that adjusting the other end of the rim rod - the part that connects to the tail piece - might also work in adjusting the action, but I have no experience with that so I guess I'll leave it as a last resort. The tension in the strings seems pretty high to me. There are so many more things to do on a banjo then on the guitar in order to get it properly set up. I started reading and hopefully I'll do a decent job on the head tension and bridge.

G Edward Porgie - i only play for my wife now, who is still very understanding :))




 

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