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Banjo Construction
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Author:  paulrace [ Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Banjo Construction

A reader writes:

I have a construction setup question. I was given, for free, an Iida 4-string resonator tenor banjo. In pieces. It has a single conductor / tension bar, a decent Remo head, adjustable truss rod, all 24 hooks and nuts, armpiece, adjustable tailpiece, and 4 T-brackets. What it appears to be missing, are a strap button / threaded piece that goes into a hole in the neck heel, that also appears to go through a hole in a fitting that screws onto the conductor rod; and 4 nuts that hold the resonator onto the T-brackets. The neck and frets are straight and in good shap; and the geared tuning machines appear to work properly. The bracket nuts I can source, but I'm stumped as to how the neck attaches to the metal rim / body. I've googled Iida and other banjos, but cannot seem to find one in exploded view that shows which pieces I might be missing. I suspect this is one of the cheapy 70's versions, although the resonator itself is nicely figured solid mahogany. I have been playing acoustic and
electric guitar for 38 years, do my own instrument setups (courtesy of Dan Erlewine's books), build and play Cigar Box Guitars, record my own original music, and back in the day learned a few banjo chords and finger rolls. I'd just like to get the thing back together in playable shape, as an additional instrument in my arsenal. Any help you can provide to let me get this thing back together in one piece would be most appreciated. Thanks!

------Our Reply------Please log in and add your response if you have anything to add--------

If you haven't already figured something out, here's my response, plus two photos. Different banjos fasten together different ways. But often the connector rod slides into a threaded sleeve in the base of the neck. In the photo you can see that the cheaper banjo (the dark one) has a screw in the neck that holds the threaded sleeve in place. The lighter banjo (a Deering Good Time) has a more elegant solution that keeps you from seeing how the sleeve holds in place. The Deering also has a second bolt that reduces the flex of the neck that can make cheap banjos go out of tune when you shift position (or take a deep breath).

Hope this gives you some ideas at least.

Best of luck - Paul

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