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Aug 13, 2022 - 3:52:33 PM
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martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

This is a couple of years old, a 17.5” to 18.5” a prototype made of plywood that’s going out to my mechanics 8yr old grandson to start his banjo career in Irish trad music. I took 4 strings from a set of John Pearce pj116 nylons. The strings that normally are plains have a tape winding that make them great for flat picking.




 

Aug 13, 2022 - 4:39:35 PM

2424 posts since 2/7/2008

I LOVE those Pearse strings on an open back. I wish they make them long enough for a 26-3/16 scale banjo.

Aug 13, 2022 - 6:44:17 PM

1406 posts since 1/9/2012

I love it! -- Definitely thinking outside the box -- at least just a bit. Is there a precedent?

I can' quite tell from the photos, but is the bottom not parallel to the head?

Aug 13, 2022 - 7:11:07 PM
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banjo roo

Australia

138 posts since 5/12/2010

Dr Seuss would approve

Aug 13, 2022 - 10:57:11 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192

I LOVE those Pearse strings on an open back. I wish they make them long enough for a 26-3/16 scale banjo.


Maybe if you built a banjo in this format the Pierce strings would work. I've had to strip the felt lining on cello strings a few times to get them to work on violas (over the bridge), so you could do the same with the Pierces. 


 

Aug 13, 2022 - 11:08:08 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by davidppp

I love it! -- Definitely thinking outside the box -- at least just a bit. Is there a precedent?

I can' quite tell from the photos, but is the bottom not parallel to the head?


No precedent that I'm aware of. 
The neck is offset from the centre of the head. You can see that the bottom string passes through the centre line of the head. The banjo was actually designed to take steel strings so the nylons put the bridge in the wrong place very slightly due to the lack of compensation. This one with steel strings is more correct. 

Aug 13, 2022 - 11:11:55 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

Oops! Here’’tis


 

Aug 13, 2022 - 11:27:42 PM

PaulRF

Australia

3356 posts since 2/1/2012

Is there a sound file available? Would love to hear it.

Paul

Aug 14, 2022 - 12:17:12 AM
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martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by banjo roo

Dr Seuss would approve


Would Dr Seuss approve of this?




Aug 14, 2022 - 12:38:58 AM
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martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by PaulRF

Is there a sound file available? Would love to hear it.

Paul


Sorry Paul I've tried doing sound clips before on this forum but I haven't the know-how to make it work. 
This one is a 30" to 31" bass banjo on a 14" pot tuned in fifths GDAE. It created a big stirr at a big Fleadh music festival that came to town last week. One fella took the skin off his finger playing it in a jam session & came back the next day looking for it! You could hear the bass from down the street. 




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Aug 14, 2022 - 3:56:53 AM

2424 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe
quote:
Originally posted by davidppp

I love it! -- Definitely thinking outside the box -- at least just a bit. Is there a precedent?

I can' quite tell from the photos, but is the bottom not parallel to the head?


No precedent that I'm aware of. 
The neck is offset from the centre of the head. You can see that the bottom string passes through the centre line of the head. The banjo was actually designed to take steel strings so the nylons put the bridge in the wrong place very slightly due to the lack of compensation. This one with steel strings is more correct. 


It's fan fret as well, isn't it?

Aug 14, 2022 - 5:21:45 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

Quickstep192 Yes the fan frets make them ergonomically better to play, & strengthens the tone & volume of the bottom strings in relation to the top strings. It also gives them a distinctive look which most people seem to like.

Aug 14, 2022 - 5:35:58 AM

2424 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe

Quickstep192 Yes the fan frets make them ergonomically better to play, & strengthens the tone & volume of the bottom strings in relation to the top strings. It also gives them a distinctive look which most people seem to like.


I must be most people. It looks very cool. I have a fan fret guitar and it really accentuates the bass strings, especially in DADGAD tuning. (If you're in Ireland, I suspect you're familiar with DADGAD tuning :)

Aug 14, 2022 - 7:14:04 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192
quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe

Quickstep192 Yes the fan frets make them ergonomically better to play, & strengthens the tone & volume of the bottom strings in relation to the top strings. It also gives them a distinctive look which most people seem to like.


I must be most people. It looks very cool. I have a fan fret guitar and it really accentuates the bass strings, especially in DADGAD tuning. (If you're in Ireland, I suspect you're familiar with DADGAD tuning :)


Yes I have 2 six string banjos in the workshop. One will be in standard tuning & one DADGAD. I've been listening & paying attention to what our friend @Ken LeVan has to say in regard to six strings so they have 26" to 27.5" scale on a 13" pot. Together with a woody tone ring & a nice thick Ambassador drum head I have high expectations of them. Here's a photo of what will be the standard tuned one, sitting patiently waiting for the evo fretwire to arrive. 


 

Aug 14, 2022 - 9:23:21 AM

2424 posts since 2/7/2008

MartyJoe,

Can you let us know more about your choice to center the bottom string on the head?

It looks cool; does it enhance bass along with the multi scale fretboard?

Aug 14, 2022 - 9:38:55 AM

14863 posts since 6/29/2005

That's really fantastic !

The idea of making the whole banjo asymmetrical to go along with the fan frets is wonderful.

Aug 14, 2022 - 11:24 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192

MartyJoe,

Can you let us know more about your choice to center the bottom string on the head?

It looks cool; does it enhance bass along with the multi scale fretboard?


Ah! now that's when it gets really complex. It took me a long time to work it out & it is crucial to get it right otherwise the multi scale doesn't work at all in a lot of ways. I've taken the time to share it off forum with some members. It kinda needs to be explained one on one. If you're keen to try it I'm happy to help. Just p.m. me & I'll walk you through the process. 

Aug 14, 2022 - 11:46:21 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

That's really fantastic !

The idea of making the whole banjo asymmetrical to go along with the fan frets is wonderful.


We had huge music festival in the local town (Mullingar) last week called the Fleadh Ceoil which centres around an annual national competition for Irish traditional music & dance it attracts a bit over half a million visitors over the week Sunday to Sunday. I took to the street sessions with a tenor & the bass banjo getting as many banjo players to have a play. I was surprised that a few of them didn't recognise it as a banjo, one fella had it on his lap & was still asking me what do I call this instrument. Here's some more eye candy for you  


 

Aug 14, 2022 - 1:12:26 PM

14863 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

That's really fantastic !

The idea of making the whole banjo asymmetrical to go along with the fan frets is wonderful.


We had huge music festival in the local town (Mullingar) last week called the Fleadh Ceoil which centres around an annual national competition for Irish traditional music & dance it attracts a bit over half a million visitors over the week Sunday to Sunday. I took to the street sessions with a tenor & the bass banjo getting as many banjo players to have a play. I was surprised that a few of them didn't recognise it as a banjo, one fella had it on his lap & was still asking me what do I call this instrument. Here's some more eye candy for you  


Those are very cool, Martyjoe!

I understand they are particularly good for open tunings, and banjos certainly use a number of those.

I was not really familiar with the idea prior to a guitar show I was in this past April. There were a number of fan fret guitars and 3 or 4 harp-guitars that had fan frets on the fingerboard part.

I have never seen a banjo like that until now

Aug 14, 2022 - 1:52:57 PM
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martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

That's really fantastic !

The idea of making the whole banjo asymmetrical to go along with the fan frets is wonderful.


We had huge music festival in the local town (Mullingar) last week called the Fleadh Ceoil which centres around an annual national competition for Irish traditional music & dance it attracts a bit over half a million visitors over the week Sunday to Sunday. I took to the street sessions with a tenor & the bass banjo getting as many banjo players to have a play. I was surprised that a few of them didn't recognise it as a banjo, one fella had it on his lap & was still asking me what do I call this instrument. Here's some more eye candy for you  


Those are very cool, Martyjoe!

I understand they are particularly good for open tunings, and banjos certainly use a number of those.

I was not really familiar with the idea prior to a guitar show I was in this past April. There were a number of fan fret guitars and 3 or 4 harp-guitars that had fan frets on the fingerboard part.

I have never seen a banjo like that until now


Ah! But yes you have. I've been posting photos of my fan fret banjos for at least 2 years now but I've been careful to take them at obscure angles like this one so nobody would notice them. All the photos everyone took over the festival has brought them out of the closet smiley


 

Aug 15, 2022 - 12:49:57 AM
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PaulRF

Australia

3356 posts since 2/1/2012

Martyjoe sent me a file to listen to and I thought I would post it here as I am sure a few people would be interested in how his banjo sounds.


Aug 16, 2022 - 3:03:35 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15841 posts since 8/30/2006

This man is an innovator. You should also mention your use of bamboo.

Aug 19, 2022 - 5:22:38 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

Yes most of the banjos I made are “all” bamboo. It is wonderful material for making banjos & with it I can run the grain direction in ways that wouldn’t work with timber which makes them more acoustically efficient, Particularly in bamboo tone-rings I put into them. I’m working to develop a 12” bamboo arch-top tone-ring which should start going into them later next year. I’m also work on composite materials as an alternative to carbon fibre.

Aug 19, 2022 - 6:13:05 AM
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59437 posts since 12/14/2005

Looks good, sounds good.
Let us raise our glasses in a toast!


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