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Feb 7, 2023 - 3:43:32 PM
15 posts since 1/16/2023

Hey, I'm building a new banjo and I'm considering using a rim rod - however, all my experience is currently with dowel sticks. Does anyone have instructions for this? All the youtube videos I see are for simply reassembling already-built banjos, not for making new ones. Additionally, does a rim rod need to be installed at an angle like the dowel stick? Or is it installed straight?

Feb 7, 2023 - 4:32:57 PM



1765 posts since 7/2/2007

You could start - Here , nice diagrams and instructions too.

Feb 8, 2023 - 12:38:15 AM
Players Union Member



16562 posts since 8/30/2006

Hi Chris, keep going.
First mark your centerline down the center of the heel
The normal angle set at the heel is 3 degrees. You lay the protractor down on the fingerboard and mark that angle so the neck falls away from the rim or pot at 3 deg.
Now you have to maintain a 5" radius at the heel so the neck snugs up to the rim. A 5.5" radius seems logical but it isn't. Use 5".

Many people sand the heel, I use my table saw blade in tiny increments. Gibson used a hand chisel to cut them by hand striking down vertically with a mallet. It works, but practice first. I note you don't have extensive tools to choose from.

The notch in the back of the neck is there so you can adjust the head without removing your neck from the banjo.

Making a neck is a hoot. I hog mine by hand with wood rasps, I have several.

We use studs or hanger bolts. The Gold Tone sets are beefy metrics @ 6mm. The StewMac and Recording King sets are smaller studs but they both work the same. they install into the heel of the neck

You lay your neck down on a flat surface. Wedge the neck from the headstock so the heel goes back up to 90 degrees, clamp the neck down.
Drill your stud holes straight into the neck and when you are done, the studs will show the proper 3 degree angle to join the rim when you flip the neck over.
"string line" is crucial. The five string neck has that jog for the 5th tuner. The 3rd string is the key to being straight so the neck doesn't slant to the left or right. You can see instruction on how to use a simple string from the tailpiece through the bridge 3rd slot and up to the nut.

I usually use this rule for the stud holes: 1" down from the fingerboard for the first hole and 1" apart for the 2nd hole.

Even if you are using only one rim rod, you will to use both studs. The top rod is for holding the neck on. Some people use an acorn nut to secure the neck to the rim. Others use the top rod to stabilize the rim.
The bottom rod is used to slightly warp the rim to adjust string height over the rim threshhold +/- 1/8"

Learning how to adjust the bottom rod is easy, I'm glad to confer with you off forum or use other tutorials. they usually suck.

This info will get you going. I'm a Recording King dealer, I do have parts, I can assist beginners.

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