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May 30, 2024 - 4:42:44 AM
362 posts since 3/23/2011

Hoping to get some help / answers regarding a neck swap on a 1926 Gibson Style 3 Banjo. Ive had the banjo for roughly 8 years. It was already converted to a five string with an unknown makers neck. The banjo plays well but is very unstable, meaning it is unreliable, with tuning issues, especially when the weather is bad. This means I seldom take it out and play it since I dont trust it in a performance situation.
So, I got my hands on a newer neck Id like to swap out, in hopes of improving the banjos playablity. The problem is that it is not just an easy swap out, and will require some modification to make it happen. I do all my own setups and work on my banjos, and feel comfortable doing the work myself, but I have a few questions Im hoping you guys with experience can help with. Below are the questions but attached are photos better clarifying the issues / questions.
Any help/advise would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you in advance - Dan OKeefe

Q1) The neck is a bit wider than the original. Some wood will need to be removed from either the neck, or the Rim, to make it work. Better to route wood from the neck to fit the rim? Or remove a bit more wood from the Rim to allow the neck to sit flush? Please note the previous conversion it appears someone already removed a slight bit of wood to fit the old neck,

Q2) I believe the coordinating rods are original, which on the 1926 are smaller diameter, smaller thread than modern banjos. Is there a source for new neck bolts threaded to match the original rods? (stew mac only carries one size). My original bolts are slightly bent from the previous installation, so best bet is to either replace with new to match the rods, or leave them alone and get new rods.

Q3) Will the existing taps in the neck be to large for smaller original neck bolts? Maybe the better option is to get new larger coordinator rods and leave the neck alone?

Q4) The banjo Rim is number 8527-20, matching the resonator. After removing the neck I found a 72 stamped on the outside of the rim under the neck. Anyone ever seen stamps here on a prewar? Any explanation?

It seems to me that the easiest and least impact to the banjo would be to remove the small amount of material from the rim to fit the neck (note the rim has already had a bit of material removed from this location, it would be removing a small bit more). Then getting a new set of coordinator rods (saving the originals) to fit the new neck bolts.
What do you guys think??

Edited by - healingbalm on 05/30/2024 04:48:02

May 30, 2024 - 5:56:52 AM
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3059 posts since 2/12/2005

Richie Dotson sells 8x32 lag screws on ebay I believe. The coarse portion is a smaller diameter than modern lag screws so (unaided) the holding power of the threads may be less.

May 30, 2024 - 7:11:17 AM
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5790 posts since 5/29/2011

To answer question 3, plug the existing holes with maple dowels and drill new holes for the smaller bolts.

May 31, 2024 - 1:54:05 PM



12396 posts since 2/7/2008

Definitely alter a repro neck before an original rim.

8-32 hanger bolts are available at better industrial fastener supply houses, sometimes on Amazon.

You may have to move your neck holes/lag screws for your neck to be in the right position vertically.

Edited by - Fathand on 05/31/2024 13:55:58

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