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Nov 28, 2022 - 10:20:13 AM
60 posts since 3/22/2011

Can anyone give me some advice on what would be acceptable amount of neck relief on a tenor / plectrum banjo would be.

I bought a collection of 12 vintage banjos with 3 of them having some amount of bow in the necks ( they are all 1920 - 30s).

When I sight the neck it looks worse than it is, the actual fingerboard when fretted at the 1st and last fret give about 1mm at the 8th fret, would this be acceptable?

A shop has offered to try to heat treat the necks but not too sure how successful it will be and they wont guarantee it will work ( but will charge me).

Nov 28, 2022 - 11:38:41 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

241 posts since 3/24/2020

Maybe you should talk to DSmoke about it.

Nov 28, 2022 - 1:04:25 PM
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4534 posts since 10/13/2005

Not me but some would say break the neck in two by slamming it over a concrete block which would bring great relief to many people. Sorry, couldn't resist, don't take it too seriously.... banjered

Nov 28, 2022 - 1:09:22 PM
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DSmoke

USA

1285 posts since 11/30/2015

I've been successful with the heat presses that I've done. However, I can't guarantee that it will never bow again, too many factors out of my control, especially the old glue. I like to hang onto any banjo I heat press for a few weeks to monitor it under tension. Typically, if the neck is going to bow it will bow pretty quickly as it wasn't hot enough to correct the bow.

I like my tenor necks almost flat, only the slightest relief when under tension. There are many people who play with higher actions and more relief than I aim for, and they do just fine. But, many of them also say how easy my banjos are to play. My fingerboards have very little relief, no high frets, and lowest action possible without buzzing, my standard for customers is .080" at the 12th fret.

Bob Smakula has done many more necks than me and I've referred people to him for that work.

Nov 28, 2022 - 4:35:03 PM

176 posts since 7/24/2021

Hey Banjered, that was funny as all get out ! I heard one time that the most beautiful sound in the world was a banjo landing on top of an accordion in the bottom of a dumpster. Lol. Those people are flat out idjuts tho. Long live the 5

Nov 28, 2022 - 7:34:36 PM
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2017 posts since 2/9/2007

An awful lot of the early lower-grade tenors were just not designed to deal with the high tension of tenor banjo strings and tuning. That tension also makes flatness of the fingerboard much more critical than on a 5-stringer.

I'd say a quarter of a mm relief is too much, if you use tenor tuning and chord up the neck-- It would be quite tolerable if you strung it with nylon in tenor or baritone uke tuning, but a whole mm would be a bit much even for that.

Nov 28, 2022 - 10:38:51 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

241 posts since 3/24/2020

quote:
Originally posted by banjered

Not me but some would say break the neck in two by slamming it over a concrete block which would bring great relief to many people. Sorry, couldn't resist, don't take it too seriously.... banjered

I also play the accordion:-)
Nov 29, 2022 - 8:54:09 AM

60 posts since 3/22/2011

Thanks for the comments will try to sell them as is and let the new owner decide if the prefer to get the necks sorted as they maybe happy to keep them as is .

The banjos in question are a weymann keystone state open back tenor and a Solo Tone Leedy tenor - what lighter gauge strings would you recommend for these models ? The current strings seem quite tight and heavy when tuned to pitch.

Thanks again

Nov 29, 2022 - 9:19:26 AM

10286 posts since 8/28/2013

Tenor banjo strings usually are tight feeling when tuned to pitch. The tuning has a lot to do with that.

I think its wise to try to sell these banjos "as is." They might be okay for some players, but there may also be other things a new owner might wish to change.

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