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May 19, 2024 - 6:04:10 PM
9 posts since 3/6/2024

Hey guys looking for advice on upgrading my Morgan Monroe Cascade. I've be had it about 10 years and just feel like showing it a little love. Like maybe a smiley bridge and tail piece. But before I jumped into it I thought i would ask people with some more experience (Maybe have a Morgan Manroe yourself) as to what you may do if you were in my shoes. Buying a new banjo is out of the question so, gotta do the best I can with what I have. I actually like this banjo too. We've grown together. Anyway, suggestion appreciated.

May 19, 2024 - 7:42:46 PM

Bart Veerman

Canada

5721 posts since 1/5/2005

Give it a nice cleaning and polishing.
New strings.
Kat Eyz and Purcell bridges cause a lot of smiling.
A Drum Dial while you're at it.
Oh, give that MM a good hug and keep on enyoing it.

May 19, 2024 - 9:16:18 PM

1212 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by jameskg

Hey guys looking for advice on upgrading my Morgan Monroe Cascade. I've be had it about 10 years and just feel like showing it a little love. Like maybe a smiley bridge and tail piece. But before I jumped into it I thought i would ask people with some more experience (Maybe have a Morgan Manroe yourself) as to what you may do if you were in my shoes. Buying a new banjo is out of the question so, gotta do the best I can with what I have. I actually like this banjo too. We've grown together. Anyway, suggestion appreciated.


I had one many moons ago. I upgraded the rim and that made a noticeable difference for the good.

We all have different preferences so without knowing what you like, we can only speak from our preferences.

If you can afford a rim and send your flange, tonering and rim, a rim maker could make an exact fit so your neck fits perfectly. 

Less affordable things like the bridge as mentioned but know you really need a handful of bridges to pick the one that sings on your banjo. Even the same model bridge can sound different. 

Replace the plastic nut and try different string gauges and brand.

Tailpiece can make a change but my opinion is only high dollar ones make a huge difference.  I really notice a big change in performance with an old Bearclaw with the individual fingers.

Heads will make a change. Many choices depending on taste. Some love a heavy head like Ludwig and others thicker frosting to basic standard head.

Picks is another upgrade that can make a change in tone.

Your banjo tends to be bright and loud so I would try changes that will pull some mid low vibrations and bridges and strings can do that.

Good luck and would love to hear what you do and your results. 

May 20, 2024 - 4:18:52 AM
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Players Union Member

jameskg

USA

9 posts since 3/6/2024

That's a lot of things i didn't even think of. The trail piece is a clam shell and it's buzzing. Can't make it stop without a rubber band. So, that has to go. I've not even thought of string gauges. That's interesting...

May 20, 2024 - 7:01:08 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17527 posts since 8/30/2006

Remove the clamshell part, it’s still a good tailpiece
Some intertwine pipe cleaners in the strings behind the bridge to dampen

Lots of people make rims of a fine variety here, snug
What is the weight?
If you could manage removing the neck, then that opens up new options for shipping rim and hardware to the maker of your choice

Welcome to the hangout

May 21, 2024 - 10:26:46 AM

16636 posts since 6/30/2020

Jameskg, Welcome to BHO.

Lots of good suggestions posted, most pointing toward upgrading your banjos current inexpensive parts with good strong proven parts. Upgrading a banjo with new tuners, rim, bone nut and pip, handmade bridge, strong reliable tailpiece, new head, and the like can get to be expensive to the point that any money spent would better put toward a quality new or previously enjoyed upgraded instrument.
There are things you can do to get the best out of your instrument with the least amount of investment. You can fix the buzzing clamshell tailpiece by cutting a square of self sticking VELCRO (use the soft fuzzy piece) and stick it to the underside of the open clamshell so that the fuzzy part closes against the strings. Set the tailpiece adjustment so it is level with the head and you can adjust a bit either way for your tone preference. Replace the head with a Remo USA and uniformly set the tension to about 90 drum dial reading. Invest in a quality bridge from a known maker ($25-$30). Replacing a plastic nut with a bone nut can yield excellent results if you were to decide to make that investment at some point.
Experiment with string gauges and finger picks.
Good Luck
Make sure your banjo is set up for optimal performance by you or someone who knows what they are doing.

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 05/21/2024 10:28:37

May 21, 2024 - 1:37:51 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

3983 posts since 6/17/2003

I was in your shoes around 1980...
Having come to the end of my Iida 233's possibilities, something had to be done.
I wrote a letter ( no internet yet) to Bill Sullivan of First Quality Supplies and explained my problem.
The original rim was some 10 ply beech wood with just as much glue as wood and the flathead tone ring responded whith a clangy thud, when tapped.
The (steel) tension hoop had started flaring out, so replacement was due too.
Bill responded that he could make me a new ring/rim combo for just $ 170
Only thing needed was an accurate sketch of the rim profile where the flange touched.
I supplied this and some six weeks later I picked up a big cardboard box at the Amsterdam main post office.

it took me about a week reassembling the banjo with these new 'inner works' and the result ( after some trial and error set up) was spectacular.

Admitted, it can't compete with my 1937 Gibson RB-1, but yet I wouldn't hesitate using it on stage, when needed.

In those days it was often mistaken for a RB-250 (a good one that is, there were some with  boat anchor qualities too) , which a banjo knowledgable person would have spotted immediately.

If I had to do it all over, I would ask Eric Sullivan to do this again for me (he is somewhere on the Hangout).

I'm afraid the prices have gone up a bit in the past 44 years, but it will provide you with a better instrument.

I played mine from 1976 to 1994, when I got the RB-1...

 

 

 

 


 

May 21, 2024 - 1:52:02 PM
Players Union Member

jameskg

USA

9 posts since 3/6/2024

Yeah, I really like your suggestions. I know that, that banjo's will never really be worth a whole lot. Although I will say I actually like that banjo and think it sounds pretty good for a banjo that I paid $590 for. So I went to banjo Ben Clark's and purchased a set of strings from him that he uses on his banjos with a setup I've never really seen before ( Gauges: .010-.012-.014-.022w-.010). And the Snuffy Smith pegged bridge and some new picks. I learned with a certain set of picks and have spent quite a bit of money buying picks that i hate so, I'm buying same old same old. I've got a Remo head head. I still probably will get a new trail piece but, not deciding on what that will be the issue. But, I'm going to research your suggestion. If I'm going to spend a lot of money, i would probably take a trip to Bishline banjos in Oklahoma and get one of his lower end banjo 2800.00. He has some works of art i would love to play. My wife says when I start earning money with it I can buy a $7000 dollar banjo so, I'm looking for work ?? I'll keep you up to date on the other decisions (more to come) Maybe i can help some other banjo hobos!

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