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Apr 25, 2024 - 12:25:28 AM

Mivo

Germany

107 posts since 9/13/2017

I recently purchased a Gold Tone TS-250 tenor banjo. I only got around to properly inspecting it today (still within the period where I can return it) and I noticed the tailpiece screw is off (or maybe it's the tailpiece itself). I don't know the technical terms, but I attached photos that show the issue.

The question is: Is this an actual problem and something I should be concerned about?

Disassembling the banjo isn't an option as I lack the skill and the tools for this, so the options are keeping it or sending it back to the vendor (or at least asking for a discount if it's not an urgent issue that needs to be addressed right away).


Apr 25, 2024 - 4:12:27 AM
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Emiel

Austria

10437 posts since 1/22/2003

Loosen the screw, maybe the strings too a bit, then use your hands to put the tailpiece in the right position. Then fasten the screw according to taste (sound).

Apr 25, 2024 - 4:59:44 AM

Mivo

Germany

107 posts since 9/13/2017

I feel a bit daft for asking, but is the actual problem that the tailpiece is too far to the left side?

What kind of tools am I looking for?

Apr 25, 2024 - 5:09:40 AM
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3026 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Mivo


What kind of tools am I looking for?


You must have a tool to tighten the nuts on the brackets for head tension (if not you need to get one). That's the only tool you need.

You can some wrenches on this page.

https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/banjo-bracket-keys-nuts-hooks?take=25

I use sockets that have enough reach on some banjos.

Edited by - GrahamHawker on 04/25/2024 05:13:05

Apr 25, 2024 - 5:11:20 AM
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BobbyE

USA

3503 posts since 11/29/2007

>>What kind of tools am I looking for?<<

Probably a hex nut wrench or whatever you would need to loosen the nut on the bolt going through the bracket. As already advised, loosen the strings and see if you can move the tailpiece into the position that squares up the unit to itself and to the banjo. There is no need to send the banjo back. Probably got bumped in the shipping process. Not sure of any vendor who would agree to take this back based on the photos. You need to take the resonator off so you can get to both ends of the tailpiece to get it in line with itself and the banjo.  

Bobby

 

Edited by - BobbyE on 04/25/2024 05:13:41

Apr 25, 2024 - 5:18:57 AM

Mivo

Germany

107 posts since 9/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by BobbyE

Not sure of any vendor who would agree to take this back based on the photos. 


Returning it would be no trouble here. Anything mail-ordered can be returned within 14 working days in the EU, no particular reason is needed (even "I changed my mind" would be fine). Larger dealers cover the shipping fees too. But I try to not make use of that regularly and I'd definitely prefer to keep the banjo as it is otherwise fine, sounds good, and has low action. I'm just not entirely sure I know what to do and if I can do it. Not a very handy person, admittedly!

Apr 25, 2024 - 5:41:55 AM
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5728 posts since 5/29/2011

The tailpiece is just a bit off-center. Just loosen the strings to adjust it. The tailpiece bolt probably won't have to be touched. Unless it is affecting the way the banjo plays you can probably leave it alone.

Apr 25, 2024 - 6:34:09 AM
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413 posts since 6/15/2006

Sometimes, if the strings are not precisely cetentered over the the fretboard, it can be an easy solution to knock the tailpiece a little sidewards. CanĀ“t tell if it is the case here, since there is not a pictuture of the strings and the end of the neck. Steen

Apr 25, 2024 - 9:28:58 AM
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Owen

Canada

15062 posts since 6/5/2011

Maybe it's a GoldTone "thing." wink

I just checked my decade+ old BG-250FW ... like yours [pic "d"], the bolt doesn't line up with the white trim strip of the resonator, and the underside of the bolt head and the part of the tailpiece it's holding down [don't know/can't find the proper name of that part] aren't parallel .... but the strings are centered on the fretboard, and to my tin ear it sounds okay.  I'm gonna wait 'til it's broke before I fix it. 

Apr 25, 2024 - 10:52:36 AM

JackGrave

Czech Republic

26 posts since 11/22/2022

@Mivo In your banjo case should be little tool looking like this one (see photo). just loosen strings a wee bit then with help of Philips screwdriwer loosen that nut and re-center your tailpiece. Jack


Apr 25, 2024 - 4:49:25 PM
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2441 posts since 2/9/2007

Most likely there's no problem at all. Neither the cast piece nor the screw are made to precision spec's, since they don't need to be. It may look a bit wonky, but that screw does not have near the tension on it you'd think it would. String tension is most of what holds the tailpiece in place.  I've had a banjo lose the nut off the TP screw-- I have no idea how long I played it like that before noticing something was missing, and replacing it. Never noticed any more than the expected difficulty keeping it in tune. I reckon if I'd have dropped the banjo or knocked it against something, it would have disassembled itself in spectacular fashion.

Edited by - Dan Gellert on 04/25/2024 16:52:08

Apr 25, 2024 - 10:04:21 PM

3026 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Mivo

Returning it would be no trouble here............ I'm just not entirely sure I know what to do and if I can do it. Not a very handy person, admittedly!


The most important thing to know about banjos is that they are mechanical devices and typically minor things need to be adjusted and checked. Things like head tension. Bridge placement needs checking. Tailpieces can be slightly off. I've recieved banjos with loose nuts on the co-ordinator rods. You either need to do the simple stuff, which really is simple, or buy from a company that does full setups, rather than box shifters like Thomann, and also have a person locally who can do basic setups. And accept that banjo ownership is going to be much more expensive than the price of the banjo.

Apr 25, 2024 - 10:30:10 PM
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13132 posts since 10/27/2006

Is this a problem?

No. 

Can it be made to look a little better?

Yes.

How much better?

Hard to say. There is no precision fit here. Any of us with experience will loosen a few things, check the bridge alignment, perhaps move the tailpiece one side or the other and set the angle to suit the tone we want. The fit will never be perfect and none of us would expect it to be.

Apr 26, 2024 - 12:17:31 AM

banjoT1

Canada

76 posts since 7/18/2019

I disagree with Dan (above) that the casting and screw machining is not done to specs or is not precise but that's not my concern here. But I do agree with him that ".....there's no problem at all" ....
.....but I'll add
'unless someone wants to make it a problem'.

If a luthier-type person, with high standards of craftsmanship, produced a banjo where parts did not seemingly line up or properly register with the overall design/engineering drawings then likely that luthier-type would either be distressed and/or very curious as to why their handi-work was not 'perfect' or didn't meet 'professional standards' of workmanship.

So, regarding the OP's banjo, it doesn't appear that it's unplayable, or that it necessarily needs any significant adjustments, but the shop-experienced techie folks know there's the potential for many upstream machining, veneering/binding, assembly, and alignment errors that could be identified to explain why there's a misalignment of the reso binding and tailpeice axis.

But, for some players or set-up hacks they don't see or hear a problem - so there's no problem.

Edited by - banjoT1 on 04/26/2024 00:20:53

May 1, 2024 - 5:19:02 PM

13132 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by banjoT1

I disagree with Dan (above) that the casting and screw machining is not done to specs or is not precise but that's not my concern here. But I do agree with him that ".....there's no problem at all" ....
.....but I'll add
'unless someone wants to make it a problem'.

If a luthier-type person, with high standards of craftsmanship, produced a banjo where parts did not seemingly line up or properly register with the overall design/engineering drawings then likely that luthier-type would either be distressed and/or very curious as to why their handi-work was not 'perfect' or didn't meet 'professional standards' of workmanship.

So, regarding the OP's banjo, it doesn't appear that it's unplayable, or that it necessarily needs any significant adjustments, but the shop-experienced techie folks know there's the potential for many upstream machining, veneering/binding, assembly, and alignment errors that could be identified to explain why there's a misalignment of the reso binding and tailpeice axis.

But, for some players or set-up hacks they don't see or hear a problem - so there's no problem.


Uhhh... Gold Tone banjos are  normally assembled in Florida from parts made in China or Korea (where depends on the year) except for the banjos assembled in those countries. There is no precision, high standards lutherie involved. The resulting banjos range from ok to good but these are what they are.

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