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Jun 18, 2024 - 10:19:40 PM
271 posts since 5/13/2009

Saw these pictures of the underside of a California Fender banjo tone ring. Notice that the inner edge is narrower than the typical Gibson style ring. What might be the reason for this design difference?




Jun 19, 2024 - 7:01:18 AM
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RB3

USA

2048 posts since 4/12/2004

Someone at Fender had the responsibility for the design of the tone ring. It may have been designed without any knowledge or awareness of the Gibson tone ring design. It's also possible that there was a conscious decision to not copy the Gibson design. The designer may have thought that he had a better idea. The manufacturing methods available to Fender may have dictated the design choices. Cost control may have been a factor in the design choices. In manufacturing and marketing there a myriad of reasons why competitor's designs are copied or not copied.

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:21:28 AM
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heavy5

USA

3110 posts since 11/3/2016

Don Parmley of the Bluegrass Cardinals played a very unique sounding 30's Gibson banjo w/ an early Fender tone ring ---- absolutely one of my favorites !

Jun 19, 2024 - 9:01:11 AM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

The pics don't look like the 1970's Fender rings but like the cheep Asian rings , hollow insides like on lots of imports.

Jun 19, 2024 - 10:33:31 AM

271 posts since 5/13/2009

OK. Does somebody have pictures of a real 70s Fender ring?

Jun 19, 2024 - 11:43:22 AM

13161 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by SamCy

OK. Does somebody have pictures of a real 70s Fender ring?


Probably not.

Fender USA banjos were a turnkey operation. They purchased Salstrom and were instantly in the banjo business. As parts ran out, they were reordered but from whom and when is often unknown.

The 1972 Fender Banjo Catalog is no help. It is the 1968 catalog with an address change on one page. It shows arch top and flat topped Allegros and Concert Tones (names left over from Salstrom, BTW).

If you'd like a scan of one of my catalogs, send me a message and I'll attach it to email.

Jun 19, 2024 - 1:07:58 PM

heavy5

USA

3110 posts since 11/3/2016

Jun 19, 2024 - 1:56:23 PM
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Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

And, I think the late 1960's & early 70's Fender rings were no hole, made by Woodhaven Industries, the company that made the tailpieces , rings & flanges

Jun 19, 2024 - 5:41:23 PM

404 posts since 11/16/2011

quote:
Originally posted by TLG

And, I think the late 1960's & early 70's Fender rings were no hole, made by Woodhaven Industries, the company that made the tailpieces , rings & flanges


Absolutely correct for tone rings and Oettinger style tailpieces.  Gary Wood of Woodhaven told me he did not make the Salstrom/Fender flanges.  Woodhaven made rings, for many makers and parts dealers, from the Salstrom era until 2013 when they closed.  That ring appears to be the lightweight ring, just over two pounds, Gibson used from 1970 until about 1978 before they went to the beefy GBB ring.

Jun 19, 2024 - 6:11:11 PM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

Paul,
sorry , I was under the impression Woodhaven made the flanges too since they were brass on the Salstroms. But who made the flanges ?
Yea , the ring looks like the Gibson RB 250's from the 70's, I have one not on a banjo currently.

Jun 19, 2024 - 11:00:38 PM

271 posts since 5/13/2009

So. are you saying the ring that was used in the California Fenders looked like the light Gibson RB 250 rings from the 70s? Since you have one, could you send a picture?

Jun 20, 2024 - 7:26:36 AM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

1970's Gibson tonering


Jun 20, 2024 - 2:12:13 PM

404 posts since 11/16/2011

the ring that was used in the California Fenders did not look like the light Gibson RB 250 rings from the 70s

Jun 20, 2024 - 3:50:06 PM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

Paul,
Right

Jun 20, 2024 - 6:24:03 PM

13161 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by TLG

And, I think the late 1960's & early 70's Fender rings were no hole, made by Woodhaven Industries, the company that made the tailpieces , rings & flanges


Perhaps the Oettinger tailpieces found on the Concert Tone?

Most California Fenders had chrome plated Waverly tailpieces. My Allegro and a few others that I've seen over the decades had an embossed Fender F on the flip cover. Had I known that was unusual, I would have taken some pictures before I sold it to a collector in Spain in 1995. I still kick myself over that sale but at the time, I thought that having three long necks was redundant. How silly was that?

Jun 20, 2024 - 9:12:52 PM

271 posts since 5/13/2009

OK. In lieu of a picture, can you describe how the California Fender tone rings looked?

Jun 21, 2024 - 3:08:16 PM

404 posts since 11/16/2011

quote:Originally posted by TLGAnd, I think the late 1960's & early 70's Fender rings were no hole, made by Woodhaven Industries, the company that made the tailpieces , rings & flanges

@SamCy

No holes is a good starting point.

pickerssupply.com/?product=197...resonator

Jun 21, 2024 - 6:32:28 PM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

Looks like a "NO-HOLE" to me

Jun 22, 2024 - 11:25:17 AM

271 posts since 5/13/2009

OK. Has anyone seen the underside of a California Fender tone ring? Was the inner edge narrow as in the pictures above, or wide as with most flat head tone rings today?

Jun 22, 2024 - 12:13:36 PM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1815 posts since 10/11/2004

Sam,
I don't have a Calf. Fender in my shop right now to compair, but your pic of your tonering, appears to me to be a replacement of some kind. The thin inner edge looks like, from your picture, to be similar to my 1970's RB-250 ring . So, does your ring sitting on the rim have any movemrnt side to side, & does ring on the inside edge & skirt fit the shell ?
My conclusion & only my opinion is the ring from your Calif. Fender has beed replaced with some other ring.
Tom

Jun 22, 2024 - 2:03:45 PM

5470 posts since 11/20/2004

I have owned one for 50 years and have seen it, but have no pictures. Probably last time I saw it was before cell phones and internet, so can't recall, but I think I would have remembered if it were that different.

Jun 22, 2024 - 4:41:13 PM

404 posts since 11/16/2011

I contacted Gary Wood and he said he'd check for pictures of the underside and get back to me.  In the meantime he mentioned "The diameter of the Fender ring is slightly smaller on the O.D. and I.D. than a standard Gibson".

Jun 23, 2024 - 2:29 AM
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15133 posts since 2/7/2003

First things first those rings in the picture are NOT IN ANY WAY California Fender rings, I used to have a stock of them I got when the closed the service center and they gave me every thing, Fender Artist and Concertone rings were extremely heavy thick cast rings.
Those in the picture could posibly be Asian Leo rings like Korean Leos.

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