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Old 04-19-2017, 04:09 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,580

Originally Posted by amyFB View Post
I'd say the long neck would concern me as uncomfortable to play for very long at one sitting.

I have an open back banjo that is a cobbled together thing of no brand identity; has a prewar pot and a fairly recent vintage neck, and brand new tuners that i put on. It's got a great sound and if i had to gripe about anything it is the unbalanced weight of the instrument and the way the headpins poke into my body is unfriendly.

I have been told that the more headpins the better, so that might be a decision factor to consider. Mine has 20 but I've seen as many as 28.

Last point is - i always muffle mine with a lump of soft foam stuck in the pot. unfortunately it is visible through the head but, it softens the sound in a way I like.

good luck! we'll be watching for the pictures
Regarding the number of nuts / hooks on a banjo here's a copy/paste from my old banjo-centric website "Designing An Open Back Banjo" page which might de-bunk the "more hooks is better" camp.
To fully understand the depth of the issue a bit of history is in order:

It's probably most accurate to say that marketplace influences had the greatest effect on hook numbers as the banjo's popularity blossomed from the mid-1800's through the "Sear's Catalog" era, since we know that larger numbers weren't advantageous from a tensioning perspective.

As early banjo designs saw an improvement in the general strength of the hardware the number of hooks that were necessary to apply sufficient force to tension the head decreased dramatically. While large numbers of hooks weren't necessary, the banjo buying public was just as easily swayed as consumers are today and it was soon realized that more hooks equated to a larger number of banjo sold. You can observe banjos made during the hook wars with 50 or more present; it's a marketing tactic that has been used over and over since the advent of the salesman.

First, a brief story example of consumer marketing...

There is nothing better than the early transistor radio as an example of the "numbers game" in marketing. The average radio buyer was unaware that after a certain number of transistors in a given radio design there was no additional improvement in the sound or function of the radio if more were added. Tell that to the guy that just purchased the latest-and-greatest 27 transistor model and you’d have an argument on your hands, though. Early transistors had a relatively high failure rate when manufactured and the manufacturers soon figured out that they could include rejected inoperable transistors soldered on the circuit boards to fulfill the "letter of the law", and actually turn the non-functional components into a marketing asset. After all, they never claimed that all "27" (or more...) transistors actually worked; merely that they were part of the product. It was a great marketing scheme that I first heard of in one of the hobbyist electronics magazines when I was a pre-teen. The article stated that many of these dummy components were marked with a dot on their tops, so I quickly pulled one of my high-transistor-count radios apart to check. Sure enough, several transistors on the board were marked with dots and their leads were soldered to a common pad on the circuit board ensuring that they were indeed non-functional. I've been a skeptic of snake oil every since. The laws against it have improved, but manufacturers still use "deceptive marketing" today. Still want a 60 hook banjo?

You'll also hear the argument from some that more hooks increased the rim mass, but manufacturers could have easily added mass without the need for added mechanical hardware.

Is there a down side to using lots of hooks? You bet.

You don't get something for nothing and all that bling will add unnecessary weight, possibly weaken an otherwise solid rim design by drilling all those holes in it, and since there's so LITTLE force exerted by each individual nut you'll be spending most of your time chasing down which one is loose and rattling, or worse yet, end up with knee problems from all the time you'll spend on them looking for hardware that has fallen off from insufficient torque. STILL want those 60 hooks?
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