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Dec 7, 2023 - 4:26:36 PM
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217 posts since 2/14/2010

Here is my most recent build, banjo #99 that's heading up to northern Minnesota. While dealing with some health issues that's slowed down my banjo building I'm still trying to crank out a few every year.


Dec 7, 2023 - 5:12:31 PM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4621 posts since 3/11/2004

Great looking banjo, Kevin. I hope your health issues are resolved soon.

David

Dec 7, 2023 - 5:15:38 PM
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Players Union Member

kwl

USA

639 posts since 3/5/2009

I agree with David. You do good work.

Dec 7, 2023 - 5:19:42 PM
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77 posts since 3/3/2008

Really clean looking build. I like the coordinator rods vs dowel. I've just started building and went with the coordinator rights due to having some adjustability.

Dec 7, 2023 - 5:24:18 PM
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61675 posts since 12/14/2005

Looks good on MY screen.

Dec 7, 2023 - 8:37:27 PM
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Alex Z

USA

5731 posts since 12/7/2006

Finish really pops.  Are the neck and the rim the same wood?

Dec 8, 2023 - 2:12:33 AM
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793 posts since 7/10/2012

Beautiful banjo, Kevin. If this is #99, are you planning something special for #100?

David

Dec 8, 2023 - 6:20:17 AM
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15695 posts since 6/29/2005

Very nice!!

I have never seen a banjo with 26 hooks, but it looks great!. I'm a bit sensitive to the now popular practice of cutting costs by cutting the number of  hooks/brackets/nuts, so this is a real treat.

The other thing that's a real treat is the finish!  I love the richness of the color and the beautiful satin surface. I keep hoping that the mirror mania will die off, but sadly it doesn't— good for you— maybe seeing this banjo will change some people's perceptions of a good-looking professional finish.

A great-looking banjo, and I can't wait to see #100.

Dec 8, 2023 - 7:26:14 AM
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Brett

USA

2576 posts since 11/29/2005

Fine workmanship, a real beauty. I’m sorry you’re having health issues. We are all just like a 1978 Chrysler......just waiting to break down for no reason.

Dec 16, 2023 - 4:08:46 PM

217 posts since 2/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Alex Z

Finish really pops.  Are the neck and the rim the same wood?


Thanks, Yes, it's the same wood.

Dec 16, 2023 - 4:17:50 PM
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217 posts since 2/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by dpgetman

Beautiful banjo, Kevin. If this is #99, are you planning something special for #100?

David


Thanks, David. On #100 I'm going to use the same curly maple like this one and do some special inlays about stuff I've been special to me thru the years from farming, dirt track racing, music, hunting and fishing and country life. Also, I'm going to keep # 101 and will be using black walnut that was planted on Round Peak mountain by my banjo picking great great grandfather in the late 1800's. 

Dec 16, 2023 - 4:39:36 PM
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217 posts since 2/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

Very nice!!

I have never seen a banjo with 26 hooks, but it looks great!. I'm a bit sensitive to the now popular practice of cutting costs by cutting the number of  hooks/brackets/nuts, so this is a real treat.

The other thing that's a real treat is the finish!  I love the richness of the color and the beautiful satin surface. I keep hoping that the mirror mania will die off, but sadly it doesn't— good for you— maybe seeing this banjo will change some people's perceptions of a good-looking professional finish.

A great-looking banjo, and I can't wait to see #100.


Thanks, Ken. I really love the satin finish! I've been hooked on Crystalac Britetone for many years now.  I first spray 5 coats of gloss Britetone to get the build up then finish with no more than 4 coats of satin Britetone. I came up with me a nice dye stain using several different transtint dyes mixed in everclear. 

Kevin

Dec 16, 2023 - 4:45:47 PM

217 posts since 2/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Brett

Fine workmanship, a real beauty. I’m sorry you’re having health issues. We are all just like a 1978 Chrysler......just waiting to break down for no reason.


I really appreciate it!  10 years is long enough dealing with health problems, hopefully I'll see a turn around sometime sooner than later, always keeping my fingers crossed.

Kevin

Dec 16, 2023 - 6:30:42 PM
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1459 posts since 12/21/2004

Keep it up Kevin! All those people like me who missed getting one from Kyle Creed might still get lucky and get one of yours.

Dec 21, 2023 - 7:47:07 AM
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19 posts since 12/16/2023

Beautiful work. I am thinking of making my first one, so I hope you don`t mind a question. What is a bump between the neck and the head? Looks like some kind of reinforcement. Is it because that is the spot where the neck is likely to crack?

Dec 21, 2023 - 3:56:46 PM

217 posts since 2/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16

Beautiful work. I am thinking of making my first one, so I hope you don`t mind a question. What is a bump between the neck and the head? Looks like some kind of reinforcement. Is it because that is the spot where the neck is likely to crack?


Thanks! I think you might be referring to what some folks call a handstop, there just above the nut where the peghead kicks back. I don't know where it originated, may have been Gibson. I only use Kyle Creed's banjo specs on my banjos and he did this on majority of his necks from the late 60s till he passed in 1982 . It would reinforce that area some, to me it's probably the weakest point on the neck, some folks may say otherwise but that's my thought's.

Kevin

Dec 21, 2023 - 4:01:05 PM

77 posts since 3/3/2008

There is a thread discussing volutes here:
banjohangout.org/archive/316671

Dec 21, 2023 - 4:32:17 PM

61675 posts since 12/14/2005

Wonder how you're going to fit "dirt track racing" into the Mighty Hundredth.
I'd just tell the eventual owner to leave the fingertip grunge on the head, and let THAT represent dirt, since it IS!

In any event, congrats on #99, and i am in AWE of your attention to your craftsmanship.

Dec 21, 2023 - 9:56:30 PM

19 posts since 12/16/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Round Peak Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16

Beautiful work. I am thinking of making my first one, so I hope you don`t mind a question. What is a bump between the neck and the head? Looks like some kind of reinforcement. Is it because that is the spot where the neck is likely to crack?


Thanks! I think you might be referring to what some folks call a handstop, there just above the nut where the peghead kicks back. I don't know where it originated, may have been Gibson. I only use Kyle Creed's banjo specs on my banjos and he did this on majority of his necks from the late 60s till he passed in 1982 . It would reinforce that area some, to me it's probably the weakest point on the neck, some folks may say otherwise but that's my thought's.

Kevin


Hello Kevin,

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I'm intrigued about the "specs" you mentioned. Do you use specific drawing plans as a reference for these specifications, or do you have access to an actual Kyle Creed banjo for direct measurement and replication? Or perhaps, do you base your design solely on photographs? I understand if this is a closely guarded trade secret. As I embark on crafting my first banjo, I'm gathering as much information as possible to guide my process.

Additionally, I couldn't help but notice the absence of a truss rod in your design. I once had a conversation with a guitar luthier who believed that truss rods detract from the instrument's sound and are unnecessary when the instrument is properly constructed. What's your stance on this? Is your choice not to include a truss rod due to the complexity of its installation, an agreement with my luthier friend's opinion, or a desire to stay true to the Kyle Creed style? I've observed that instruments with broken heads often have a truss rod, leading me to speculate that the groove for the rod might additionally weaken the neck's most vulnerable point. I'd appreciate your thoughts on these matters.

Best regards, Dario

Edited by - dalmatino16 on 12/21/2023 21:57:31

Dec 22, 2023 - 9:00:47 AM

217 posts since 2/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16
quote:
Originally posted by Round Peak Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16

Beautiful work. I am thinking of making my first one, so I hope you don`t mind a question. What is a bump between the neck and the head? Looks like some kind of reinforcement. Is it because that is the spot where the neck is likely to crack?


Thanks! I think you might be referring to what some folks call a handstop, there just above the nut where the peghead kicks back. I don't know where it originated, may have been Gibson. I only use Kyle Creed's banjo specs on my banjos and he did this on majority of his necks from the late 60s till he passed in 1982 . It would reinforce that area some, to me it's probably the weakest point on the neck, some folks may say otherwise but that's my thought's.

Kevin


Hello Kevin,

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I'm intrigued about the "specs" you mentioned. Do you use specific drawing plans as a reference for these specifications, or do you have access to an actual Kyle Creed banjo for direct measurement and replication? Or perhaps, do you base your design solely on photographs? I understand if this is a closely guarded trade secret. As I embark on crafting my first banjo, I'm gathering as much information as possible to guide my process.

Additionally, I couldn't help but notice the absence of a truss rod in your design. I once had a conversation with a guitar luthier who believed that truss rods detract from the instrument's sound and are unnecessary when the instrument is properly constructed. What's your stance on this? Is your choice not to include a truss rod due to the complexity of its installation, an agreement with my luthier friend's opinion, or a desire to stay true to the Kyle Creed style? I've observed that instruments with broken heads often have a truss rod, leading me to speculate that the groove for the rod might additionally weaken the neck's most vulnerable point. I'd appreciate your thoughts on these matters.

Best regards, Dario


Dario, I have been documenting Kyle Creed Banjos since 2009, so far I have documented and took detailed measurements from around 100 of his banjos. I own 5 Kyle banjos so I have an actual banjo to go by if I needed. What I love about his building style was that nothing was set in stone, each banjo had something unique about them and being from the same community as Kyle I just wanted to carry on his building  and playing style. Some of Kyle's earliest banjos didn't have a truss rod like Fred Cockerham's fretless banjo that Kyle built but Fred's was a five piece cherry neck which made it more stable, he just used what he had on hand. Majority of Kyle's banjos from the mid to late 60's till 1982, he used 1/8 x 1/2" steel flat bar or keystock, he rarely used an adjustable truss rod but did on his resonator banjos and on a very few openbacks. This banjo #99 does have an low profile adjustable truss rod and is installed where the adjustment is on the heel end of the neck since this banjo has lower action for a bluegrass picker. About all of my banjos like Kyle's has higher action and I don't need to use an adjustable rod and I just use the steel flatbar.  I was lucky to get invited to the Smithsonian to document and play Fred Cockerham's banjo in 2011 for a few hours and that was a dream that came true for me, they also brought out Wade Ward's Gibson RB 11 and Tommy Jarrell's fiddle for us to play.

Kevin

Dec 26, 2023 - 1:07:35 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17443 posts since 8/30/2006

Plant a few new Black Walnuts when you get the chance
They’ll mature long after we are gone.
(. ))===‘== ::]

Dec 26, 2023 - 9:28:03 PM

19 posts since 12/16/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Round Peak Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16

Beautiful work. I am thinking of making my first one, so I hope you don`t mind a question. What is a bump between the neck and the head? Looks like some kind of reinforcement. Is it because that is the spot where the neck is likely to crack?


Thanks! I think you might be referring to what some folks call a handstop, there just above the nut where the peghead kicks back. I don't know where it originated, may have been Gibson. I only use Kyle Creed's banjo specs on my banjos and he did this on majority of his necks from the late 60s till he passed in 1982 . It would reinforce that area some, to me it's probably the weakest point on the neck, some folks may say otherwise but that's my thought's.

Kevin


Thanks Chris

Dec 26, 2023 - 9:30:22 PM

19 posts since 12/16/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Round Peak Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16
quote:
Originally posted by Round Peak Banjos
quote:
Originally posted by dalmatino16

Beautiful work. I am thinking of making my first one, so I hope you don`t mind a question. What is a bump between the neck and the head? Looks like some kind of reinforcement. Is it because that is the spot where the neck is likely to crack?


Thanks! I think you might be referring to what some folks call a handstop, there just above the nut where the peghead kicks back. I don't know where it originated, may have been Gibson. I only use Kyle Creed's banjo specs on my banjos and he did this on majority of his necks from the late 60s till he passed in 1982 . It would reinforce that area some, to me it's probably the weakest point on the neck, some folks may say otherwise but that's my thought's.

Kevin


Hello Kevin,

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I'm intrigued about the "specs" you mentioned. Do you use specific drawing plans as a reference for these specifications, or do you have access to an actual Kyle Creed banjo for direct measurement and replication? Or perhaps, do you base your design solely on photographs? I understand if this is a closely guarded trade secret. As I embark on crafting my first banjo, I'm gathering as much information as possible to guide my process.

Additionally, I couldn't help but notice the absence of a truss rod in your design. I once had a conversation with a guitar luthier who believed that truss rods detract from the instrument's sound and are unnecessary when the instrument is properly constructed. What's your stance on this? Is your choice not to include a truss rod due to the complexity of its installation, an agreement with my luthier friend's opinion, or a desire to stay true to the Kyle Creed style? I've observed that instruments with broken heads often have a truss rod, leading me to speculate that the groove for the rod might additionally weaken the neck's most vulnerable point. I'd appreciate your thoughts on these matters.

Best regards, Dario


Dario, I have been documenting Kyle Creed Banjos since 2009, so far I have documented and took detailed measurements from around 100 of his banjos. I own 5 Kyle banjos so I have an actual banjo to go by if I needed. What I love about his building style was that nothing was set in stone, each banjo had something unique about them and being from the same community as Kyle I just wanted to carry on his building  and playing style. Some of Kyle's earliest banjos didn't have a truss rod like Fred Cockerham's fretless banjo that Kyle built but Fred's was a five piece cherry neck which made it more stable, he just used what he had on hand. Majority of Kyle's banjos from the mid to late 60's till 1982, he used 1/8 x 1/2" steel flat bar or keystock, he rarely used an adjustable truss rod but did on his resonator banjos and on a very few openbacks. This banjo #99 does have an low profile adjustable truss rod and is installed where the adjustment is on the heel end of the neck since this banjo has lower action for a bluegrass picker. About all of my banjos like Kyle's has higher action and I don't need to use an adjustable rod and I just use the steel flatbar.  I was lucky to get invited to the Smithsonian to document and play Fred Cockerham's banjo in 2011 for a few hours and that was a dream that came true for me, they also brought out Wade Ward's Gibson RB 11 and Tommy Jarrell's fiddle for us to play.

Kevin


Hi Kevin, thanks for the explanation. I need to investigate a lot of what you have said. So after I might have some other questions :)

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