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Jun 19, 2024 - 2:56:05 PM

easy

USA

253 posts since 1/23/2009

Howdy friends. So, I bought a block rim off Ebay, came in looking just fine. I've got a tone ring on order, and I'm comfortable milling the rim down myself. I understand that I'm to cut it so that the rim is fairly snug, but so that it doesn't stick on the rim if upturned. Question is, how deep should I cut around the rim for the skirt of the tone ring to slide over? Thanks,
Easy

Jun 19, 2024 - 4:09:55 PM
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5847 posts since 5/29/2011

Wait until you have the tone ring to make that call, then you can turn the rim to spec.
If try to turn the rim before you get the ring you can turn it too far and leave a gap at the bottom of the skirt. It's best to have all parts in hand before you try any build.
Don't ask me how I know this.

Jun 19, 2024 - 4:39:32 PM
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55 posts since 3/18/2019

The inner lip of the tone ring must rest on top of the rim otherwise it will have a very hollow sound. This is explained in the Roger Siminoff book

Jun 20, 2024 - 10:36:54 PM

easy

USA

253 posts since 1/23/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Mark59

The inner lip of the tone ring must rest on top of the rim otherwise it will have a very hollow sound. This is explained in the Roger Siminoff book


Really? I thought that the bottom of the skirt was meant to bottom out on cut in the rim, as opposed to the lip. What I mean is - if you were to place a tone ring flat on a table, that edge that contacts the table surface is meant to bottom-out in the cutout in the upper/front side of the rim, leaving a space/chamber under the flared top of the tone ring. Am I incorrect? 

Jun 21, 2024 - 4:32:12 AM
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5470 posts since 11/20/2004

Yes, you are incorrect . The inner lip is where contact is most critical. On a new rim, I would leave a small gap, maybe .003-.004", on the outside ledge to allow the inner lip to seat well from the head pressure.

Jun 21, 2024 - 6:57:18 AM
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easy

USA

253 posts since 1/23/2009

Good to know. I stand corrected, thanks.

Jun 22, 2024 - 10:39:53 AM
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79839 posts since 5/9/2007

The inner lip of the top of the ring is where the pressure is.The skirt is not in firm contact with the ledge in the rim.
That's how Jimmy Cox fitted his flathead ring onto my '29 tb-2 rim.
People have told me how great this banjo sounds for 25 years.

He also fitted his walnut FE neck which is also very responsible for great tone.

Edited by - steve davis on 06/22/2024 10:42:00

Jun 22, 2024 - 12:21:56 PM

120 posts since 9/1/2020

Other than the fact that EVERYONE says it's supposed to make contact/pressure at the inner lip rather than the skirt, do you guys have any personal experience with the "hollow" or dead sound you're afraid of?
Just curious, because there's been a lot of different tone ring designs over the years. And a lot of them are just variations of a skirt. So there's no other contact option really.
Also mentioning it because I've done my own tests , and while preference is wholly subjective, I don't hear anything that I would call hollow.

Jun 22, 2024 - 1:53:03 PM
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5470 posts since 11/20/2004

I bought a conversion several years ago that sounded good to my ear. On teardown and inspection, I found the ring was sitting on the skirt. I debated a while on changing anything, due to how good it sounded. I finally decided to go for it and scraped the bead down enough to let the inner lip seat properly. The debate then was whether to let it go or not. It improved substantially and is probably the best banjo I have ever sold. Had I needed another conversion, I would have kept it for sure. My experience convinced me that even a good sounding banjo improves with a properly fitted ring.

Jun 23, 2024 - 6:13:43 AM
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79839 posts since 5/9/2007

I never questioned how Jimmy Cox built a banjo.
The proof is in the power and sound.
Things like low end rumble and strong,full power don't have much to do with the skirt contact which should be loose.

Jun 23, 2024 - 6:41:28 AM
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2941 posts since 4/7/2003

Like Bobby said I have never cut the outer ledge of the wood down on a banjo that was touching that it didnt improve the tone not the volume
every time but it made them a little deeper and more full and solid sounding they need all the contact possible with the rim from the top but not on the sides I like a very loose fit on the sides anyone that thinks a tight fit is better try this experiment lay a tone ring across 1 finger and tap it with a screw driver handle and listen to the sound then take your full hand and grip it tight and tap it and see what sound you get.

Jun 23, 2024 - 9:24:07 AM

120 posts since 9/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Arthur Hatfield

Like Bobby said I have never cut the outer ledge of the wood down on a banjo that was touching that it didnt improve the tone not the volume
every time but it made them a little deeper and more full and solid sounding they need all the contact possible with the rim from the top but not on the sides I like a very loose fit on the sides anyone that thinks a tight fit is better try this experiment lay a tone ring across 1 finger and tap it with a screw driver handle and listen to the sound then take your full hand and grip it tight and tap it and see what sound you get.


Arthur,

That is similar to one of the things I did.

While fitting a flathead, I was checking periodically to see how it fit.

At one point the skirt was holding it just a bit high, I tapped it with my finger and it rang like a bell.

That was a bit of a head scratcher because I've always heard that about contact points. Then I thought of the several old-time tone rings which have portions that do not make contact at an inner point. They're all skirt pressure.

Made me wonder.

Anyway, (full disclosure) I've never left a flathead supported by its skirt, but I sometimes wonder how much we cater to axioms which are more established lore than anything. 

Jun 23, 2024 - 10:14:12 AM
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2941 posts since 4/7/2003

I think a few of my banjos may not be just the way I build them now Because I believe for the first couple years I tried to touch both places but I know a lot more now than I did then still far from knowing everything nobody ever lives long enough to know everything about anything but now I leave at least .005 under the skirt dont care if its even a little more its just a looks thing and if the top of the little ledge is stained you cannot see any up to .010 because i feel that if you try to touch both paces on the wood its really hard to know which place is touching the hardest but I think my banjos are more consistent now than the first couple years but I built so few before before 2003 thats the year that they really took off selling for me and I owe all of that to Dale Perry who started playing a Celebrity Model with Doyle Lawson in late 2002.

Jun 23, 2024 - 10:19:07 AM
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5470 posts since 11/20/2004

There was some experimenting done with this year's ago. I think it was called the " tone bell system" done by Bill Palmer, based on my questionable memory. Some thought it increased volume on lower quality banjos is my recollection.

Jun 24, 2024 - 9:37:38 AM
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79839 posts since 5/9/2007

I would have to be dissatisfied somehow with the inner rim pressure/loose skirt to ever want to try something different.
Jimmy said my conversion would just keep sounding better over time and he said it sounded "real good" the first time he played it immediately upon finishing it.

He also said he wouldn't mind doing a conversion like that for himself because at that time Curtis McPeake said my number 9469 was from 1933 which was the year Jimmy Cox was born.
Later figuring put 9469 in 1929.

Jul 5, 2024 - 7:09:55 PM

91 posts since 3/24/2004

This is interesting to me, as I also thought the important area of fit for a tone ring was the inside skirt contacting the “ledge” or “bead.” But it’s actually the top of the rim contacting the inside of the tone ring?

Doesn’t Steve Huber talk about the importance of not being able to slip a sheet of paper between the inside skirt tone ring and the inside ledge of the rim in one of his setup videos?

Jul 6, 2024 - 5:14:18 AM

102 posts since 5/18/2019

quote:
Originally posted by lightgauge

There was some experimenting done with this year's ago. I think it was called the " tone bell system" done by Bill Palmer, based on my questionable memory. Some thought it increased volume on lower quality banjos is my recollection.

More from the web about this. I have not tried it.

Tone bell

Jul 6, 2024 - 9:54:37 PM

easy

USA

253 posts since 1/23/2009

Thanks all. I also have a custom banjo, block rim with no discernable gap between the bead and the tone ring, which makes me wonder just how well it is seated on the inner lip. Problem is, the bead between the bracket band and the tone ring is quite thin, maybe a quarter inch - far too thin to be messing with. Is there something I can add to the top of the rim as a shim, create a small gap between the skirt of the tone ring and the bead?

Jul 7, 2024 - 4:56:25 AM

heavy5

USA

3115 posts since 11/3/2016

What did Gibson (Sullivan) do w/ their pre & post war pots for ring seating ?

Thanks to Arthur for explaining his knowledge & process he uses .

In all of the conversions I've done in the past , I've turned rims for both inner & outer ring lips to just touch the rim & have had good results . I know Siminoff is well regarded & fact is when writing his book , I sent him a pic of a no hole arch top ring he had never seen .

Jul 7, 2024 - 8:05:22 AM
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lazyarcher

Canada

7387 posts since 4/19/2004

Arthur is right on here, esp with regards to the outer portion of the rim. I purposefully now take any banjo I get for setup or my own and shave the rim for a loose enough fit for the tone ring to come off with little to no effort. Ive had to shave the lip a bit on a couple of banjos that had some finish buildup that prevented the bottom of the tone ring to make full contact with the top of the rim. It definitely doesn't need to be seated against that lip.

I called Arthur years back after I had bought a McPeake ring from him to put on a Gibson Dave Nichols had put together for me..replacing a 5 Star ring. It was so loose I thought the banjo was ruined. I called Arthur and he said put it together and you're gonna be surprised. I did, and it was one of the best sounding banjos ever.

Ive recently played a couple of Arthurs new creations and with his fit, they are monsters.

Arthur is the expert!!!!

Jul 7, 2024 - 8:14:21 AM
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79839 posts since 5/9/2007

I miss Jimmy Cox.

Jul 7, 2024 - 8:22:16 AM

91 posts since 3/24/2004

quote:
Originally posted by lazyarcher

Arthur is right on here, esp with regards to the outer portion of the rim. I purposefully now take any banjo I get for setup or my own and shave the rim for a loose enough fit for the tone ring to come off with little to no effort. Ive had to shave the lip a bit on a couple of banjos that had some finish buildup that prevented the bottom of the tone ring to make full contact with the top of the rim. It definitely doesn't need to be seated against that lip.

I called Arthur years back after I had bought a McPeake ring from him to put on a Gibson Dave Nichols had put together for me..replacing a 5 Star ring. It was so loose I thought the banjo was ruined. I called Arthur and he said put it together and you're gonna be surprised. I did, and it was one of the best sounding banjos ever.

Ive recently played a couple of Arthurs new creations and with his fit, they are monsters.

Arthur is the expert!!!!


What method do you use to shave the rim and the lip? Thanks!

Jul 7, 2024 - 10:44:12 AM

lazyarcher

Canada

7387 posts since 4/19/2004

quote:
Originally posted by looped77
quote:
Originally posted by lazyarcher

Arthur is right on here, esp with regards to the outer portion of the rim. I purposefully now take any banjo I get for setup or my own and shave the rim for a loose enough fit for the tone ring to come off with little to no effort. Ive had to shave the lip a bit on a couple of banjos that had some finish buildup that prevented the bottom of the tone ring to make full contact with the top of the rim. It definitely doesn't need to be seated against that lip.

I called Arthur years back after I had bought a McPeake ring from him to put on a Gibson Dave Nichols had put together for me..replacing a 5 Star ring. It was so loose I thought the banjo was ruined. I called Arthur and he said put it together and you're gonna be surprised. I did, and it was one of the best sounding banjos ever.

Ive recently played a couple of Arthurs new creations and with his fit, they are monsters.

Arthur is the expert!!!!


What method do you use to shave the rim and the lip? Thanks!


To shave the outside of the rim..a razor blade from an exact type knife..a rigid blade. I scrape carefully with the tip just at the bead as a guide. I put a line around the rim with a pensil to ensure Im removing approx the same ammount all the way around. Then its shave, try the ring fit..on and off until its where you want it to be. As for the bead, I use the same blade to scrape the top of the bead until the fit against the tone ring skirt is right. Its all slow and time consuming but its exact.

Jul 7, 2024 - 7:46:31 PM
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easy

USA

253 posts since 1/23/2009

Heya all, thanks for the input. So, not wanting to do any irreparable harm, I went the slow route and broke out the 120 grit sandpaper. About 30 minutes later, the tone ring is more firmly seated on the top of the rim, with just a few hairs between the bottom of the skirt and the outer lip. Results are, of course, somewhat muddied by the mere fact that I had to remove all the hooks, the head/tension hoop, and the tone ring to do the work, and then remount it after, so no telling if I have it tuned, by chance, to the perfect tension, but ... it sounds better. To my ear (my standard disclaimer, seeing as how subjective it is), the banjo sounds markedly better. So, long story short, my vote is now (somewhat) firmly in the "seat on the top, gap at the skirt" camp.

Jul 8, 2024 - 8:06:18 AM

79839 posts since 5/9/2007

It will improve as the "marriage" grows.

Jul 8, 2024 - 3:29:42 PM

banjoT1

Canada

91 posts since 7/18/2019

This post primarily to help the ring fitting firsters. (Sorry, I don't do videos, photos yes when I learn how to post.)

I've lathe-turned ring fitting and an alternate and different but more hands-on method below for ring seating. I prefer the method below for control-ability but attempts to re-seat a ring with lathe, AFTER the rim has been removed from the lathe, would almost always be fruitless.

I've just finished re-seating a 1988 ESS Kulesh ring. There was a visual and measurable gap between the inner ring-to-rim mating surface as measured with feeler gauges, AND, the gap varied around the circumference of those surfaces. Likewise, the outer skirt-to-bead gap varied. (** As well, I measured that the ring lip was not squarely machined - that is, the ring lip was out of square by ~ 2 or 3 degrees but continued with this in mind.)

First, I use rubber cement to glue on abrasive paper ('sandpaper') in a tidy and workmanlike manner to the inner/bottom of the ring lip then trim the sand paper accordingly around the circumference of the ring lip. With this method it's not necessary to fuss with the whole rim top surface. What matters only is the specific ring-to-rim contact 'circle'.

2. Mark the ring-to-rim contact area with pencil - mount ring onto rim. Rotate ring around the rim in a controlled and steady but decisive manner with some hand pressure applied. Remove ring and observe. When graphite is sanded away, all around, you know you're at a close fit.

3. Check on the outside, how the skirt is seated in relation to rim bead. The skirt sits on a 'ledge' of approximately 1/32". If there is clearance you're good for now. (The skirt ledge clearance must be at least the thickness of the inside ring sandpaper plus a few thou for good measure.) If there is no skirt clearance then scrape skirt ledge accordingly > but only that tiny ledge where the skirt touches > and all around the rim if necessary.

4. Remove sandpaper from inner ring lip. Set ring back onto rim as registered correctly when neck reattached.

5. Check outside skirt-to-rim bead clearance. Is skirt actually in contact with the skirt ledge ? > if not, then continue scraping a neat and tidy clearance. Check clearance by using 1 or 2 paper thicknesses > all around the bead.

6. Go back to inside ring lip > is ring lip contact circumference actually contacting the rim? Check with a paper thickness. If you can slide a paper between the ring lip and rim then ya gots to go back out and continue scrapping the skirt-to-rim bead ledge. Check clearance with paper thicknesses again.

7. Now go back inside to ring lip-to-rim contact circumference. If you can't run a thickness of paper between the ring lip and rim then you're good.

8. For good measure, go back to outside skirt, double check clearance. There must be clearance. IMO .005 to .010 is good. Check with feeler gauge if you must.

9. If the outside skirt-to-rim wall is too tight then as above, in a workmanlike steady and deliberate fashion, scrape the rim wall to fit according to your preference for a tight, slip, or sloppy fit. Keep checking your progress.

10. Now while you're at it > check the heel fit and proceed accordingly. (Go to search if necessary.)

Edited by - banjoT1 on 07/08/2024 15:37:29

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