So I am looking at this banjo that popped up for sale near me: it appears to either be a frankenbanjo or a luthier project. The case looks like 1960's, the pot is a 6 ply maple with exterior inlay and some sort of (flathead?) tone ring. excuse my ignorance, i normally collect spun and early wood rim, open back banjos, so the sum of the parts here is newer than what I normally deal with. It has cobra hooks (?) and hex shoes and coordinator rods. The neck looks similar to very early dobsons and doesnt match the pot so I wondered if it has had a new fingerboard installed? the parts look like decent quality. the pot is throwing me because it appears they dremeled out the holes to fit the washers for the shoes. Could anyone help me with a breakdown of the parts? is this an old neck on a stew mac kinda pot or something else? thanks!
The whole thing looks to me like a 1970s-80s homemade project. I don't think the neck is old, or, if it is, it's been heavily modified. Hard to say, as there's no photo with a good shot of the neck profile.
The neck doesn't look that old to me either, or the pot wood. What stands out is the the tension bolts on the hooks. They far too big for the height of the pot. They stick out past the bottom of the rim. That means when you try to play it, the ends of the bolts will dig into you legs/stomach. I know. I had a vintage banjo from the 20s that had the bolts like that. I eventually replaced them with shorter bolts. What a difference that made. Before it was very uncomfortable to play for more than a few minutes. Now I can play it as long as I like. These are the hex nuts I went with:
Balsam Banjo Works Bacon-style Tension Nut
This was the shortest hook tension nut I could find.
I think that pot had a resonator at some point. the hooks are really long and would suck to play.
The reason one sinks those bolts is because they are too short for the pot. Music stores sold tubes containing a dozen sets of shoes/washers/hooks/nuts from Elton. I still have a partial tube in the basement of my other house that I bought around 1972(?). That certainly looks like Elton hardware.
Hard to tell but it looks to me like the rim is made per Roger Siminoff's book where he shows how to build one from a single board by rolling it. Easy to make one too thick that way.
Ooh thats interesting. Thanks for sharing. I ended up passing on this one. Appreciate all the help
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