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  #76  
Old 10-06-2018, 01:46 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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I've had the new OME North Star for a week and I'm very pleased with its tone and craftsmanship. I've ordered a Sosebee 9/16" high bridge to swap out for the 5/8" high Sosebee bridge that came installed from OME. It seems that makers of old-time banjoes tend to install a bit higher bridge for a higher action than guitar players may be used to using. When I got my Pisgah last year I also swapped out the higher bridge that came installed on that banjo for the graciously included lower-height bridge.
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  #77  
Old 10-15-2018, 03:20 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Yesterday, I ordered a new Vega #2 and it should be here later this week. Frankly, I'm thinking of selling or trading-in my Deering Sierra Maple Flathead Resonator as I never play it since getting into open-back, clawhammer banjos. The Sierra is basically still new with maybe 8 hours playing time on it. It's a good bluegrass banjo but heavy too at 11 lbs. Maybe I'll trade it towards a new Vega Long-Neck? I think this banjo thing has really gotten out-of-hand! More to come and pictures too on all banjos.
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 10-15-2018 at 04:18 PM.
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  #78  
Old 10-27-2018, 08:53 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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My new Vega No. 2 arrived from Banjo.com a couple of days ago and it's a well-made, nice-toned banjo with a clean and elegant aesthetic. The action, as received, with its 5/8 inch Deering Smile bridge is acoustic-guitar-like low and I may purchase a 11/16 inch Smile bridge to raise the action just a bit for better right-hand clawhammer feel.

I'll post pictures, along with my thoughts about of this and the other banjos I've purchased over the last year-and-a-half of my Banjo Acquisition Syndrome affliction because, as we AGFers know, without pictures they don't exist.
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Huss & Dalton TD-R
Martin HD-28 (Trance M-VT)
Martin D-18
Martin D Jr (B-Band A1.2N)
Taylor 614ce (ES2)
Taylor 618e (ES2)
Taylor 356ce (ES2)
Taylor 322ce (ES2)
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa (ES2)
Ovation Elite Plus Contour (OpProStudio)
Epiphone DR-500MCE (Shadow eSonic2)
Ovation VXT Electric (two Duncan '59/Fishman Acoustic Bridge)
Eight 5-String Banjos

Last edited by SpruceTop; 10-28-2018 at 10:11 AM.
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  #79  
Old 10-27-2018, 08:03 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
My new Vega No. 2 arrived from Banjo.com a couple of days ago and it's a well-made, nice-toned banjo with a clean and elegant aesthetic. The action, as received, with its 5/8 inch Deering Smile bridge is acoustic-guitar-like low and I may purchase a 9/16 inch Smile bridge to raise the action just a bit for better right-hand clawhammer feel.

I'll post pictures, along with my thoughts about of this and the other banjos I've purchased over the last year-and-a-half of my Banjo Acquisition Syndrome affliction because, as we AGFers know, without pictures they don't exist.
You sure you don't want a 11/16" bridge to raise the action?
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  #80  
Old 10-28-2018, 10:10 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
You sure you don't want a 11/16" bridge to raise the action?
You're right, Rudy, and being a machinist, I should have known better but my mind wasn't in gear or something! Correction has been made in post. Thanks!
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  #81  
Old 10-28-2018, 04:19 PM
H165 H165 is offline
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I do believe I've read every post here. I hope so.

I've been working on banjos for 50 years. So my obviously-sideways reply to this thread is that I like coordinator-rod banjos.

Perch-pole (or "stick", "dowel", whatever) banjos are a pain to maintain and service. I bet I reset 50 of the dang things when working in the shop. And on a few others (including my all-time favorites - the old Whyte Laydies), I heat-warped the stick back into some sort of decent action.

I prefer the tube-and plate Gibsons and the older shoe-and-hook Gibsons (with the leftover resonators and flanges thrown in an ancient Paisano orange crate under the overhanging side of the bench). My absolute favorite is a converted early Gibson Pyramid model 2 sans reso and flange, but alot can be done with TB-1s, RB-170s, and Orioles as well.

Lots of players opine that the sound of a perch-pole banjo is distinctly different from a coordinator-rod banjo. I believe a dead-on match of tone can be achieved by my choice of strings, head, tone ring, bridge, tailpiece, neck construction, wood selection, and head tension.

For long-necks, I'll take an RB-175, though the old Vega Seeger gets the majority stamp of approval.
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  #82  
Old 10-28-2018, 07:32 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H165 View Post
I do believe I've read every post here. I hope so.

I've been working on banjos for 50 years. So my obviously-sideways reply to this thread is that I like coordinator-rod banjos.

Perch-pole (or "stick", "dowel", whatever) banjos are a pain to maintain and service. I bet I reset 50 of the dang things when working in the shop. And on a few others (including my all-time favorites - the old Whyte Laydies), I heat-warped the stick back into some sort of decent action.

I prefer the tube-and plate Gibsons and the older shoe-and-hook Gibsons (with the leftover resonators and flanges thrown in an ancient Paisano orange crate under the overhanging side of the bench). My absolute favorite is a converted early Gibson Pyramid model 2 sans reso and flange, but alot can be done with TB-1s, RB-170s, and Orioles as well.

Lots of players opine that the sound of a perch-pole banjo is distinctly different from a coordinator-rod banjo. I believe a dead-on match of tone can be achieved by my choice of strings, head, tone ring, bridge, tailpiece, neck construction, wood selection, and head tension.

For long-necks, I'll take an RB-175, though the old Vega Seeger gets the majority stamp of approval.
Different strokes for different folks.

I've only been working with open backs for 20 years and concentrate my efforts to improving on the design of both dowel stick and coordinator rod banjos. I don't like either of the two.
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  #83  
Old 11-10-2018, 05:00 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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How about Nechville Banjos? It looks like they've solved the ability to quickly change their banjos' action, via their patented Quick-Cam Neck Connection, to suit any player or varying humidity and aging conditions.

http://www.nechville.com/allacoustics.php
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Martin HD-28 (Trance M-VT)
Martin D-18
Martin D Jr (B-Band A1.2N)
Taylor 614ce (ES2)
Taylor 618e (ES2)
Taylor 356ce (ES2)
Taylor 322ce (ES2)
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa (ES2)
Ovation Elite Plus Contour (OpProStudio)
Epiphone DR-500MCE (Shadow eSonic2)
Ovation VXT Electric (two Duncan '59/Fishman Acoustic Bridge)
Eight 5-String Banjos
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  #84  
Old 11-11-2018, 05:42 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
How about Nechville Banjos? It looks like they've solved the ability to quickly change their banjos' action, via their patented Quick-Cam Neck Connection, to suit any player or varying humidity and aging conditions.

http://www.nechville.com/allacoustics.php
The neck adjuster is a version of the curved heel adjuster found on the Early Kaycraft guitars and many of the Kay or house-branded banjos. I've worked on a couple of the original Kaycrafts and the adjustment system was really nasty, but that had more to do with them being made of wood and being decades old.

Bottom line, it's nothing new.
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  #85  
Old 12-02-2018, 01:39 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Although I ordered a Deering Smile Bridge in 11/16 inch height, I'll probably, for the time being, leave the 5/8 inch Smile Bridge the banjo came factory-installed with as I'm getting used to playing it at this height. I did say the action was acoustic-guitar-like low but let me modify that statement with this banjo is setup at an almost electric-guitar-like action height, and with no fret buzz even with a moderately aggressive clawhammer technique. This is a testament to Deering's great quality control and factory setup, and let me also say that Barry Waldrep at Banjo.com, the world's largest Deering dealer, may have done his thing, too, in setting-up this great banjo when installing the free railroad spikes!
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Huss & Dalton TD-R
Martin HD-28 (Trance M-VT)
Martin D-18
Martin D Jr (B-Band A1.2N)
Taylor 614ce (ES2)
Taylor 618e (ES2)
Taylor 356ce (ES2)
Taylor 322ce (ES2)
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa (ES2)
Ovation Elite Plus Contour (OpProStudio)
Epiphone DR-500MCE (Shadow eSonic2)
Ovation VXT Electric (two Duncan '59/Fishman Acoustic Bridge)
Eight 5-String Banjos

Last edited by SpruceTop; 12-02-2018 at 02:00 PM.
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  #86  
Old 01-13-2019, 01:29 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Let me restate that if you can find a new, cosmetically-blemished Eastman EBJ-WL1 5-String Banjo in the $950 to $1100 range, I don't think you'd regret buying it. I'm playing mine this afternoon and loving the tone and overall comfort this banjo provides. If you play Clawhammer, the only adjustment you may want to make is to replace the original bridge with the next highest one to facilitate better right-hand clawing before contacting the head.

Current Banjos:
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Eastman EBJ-WL1 Whyte Laydie
Vega 12" Old Tyme Wonder
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
Deering Sierra Flathead
__________________
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Martin HD-28 (Trance M-VT)
Martin D-18
Martin D Jr (B-Band A1.2N)
Taylor 614ce (ES2)
Taylor 618e (ES2)
Taylor 356ce (ES2)
Taylor 322ce (ES2)
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa (ES2)
Ovation Elite Plus Contour (OpProStudio)
Epiphone DR-500MCE (Shadow eSonic2)
Ovation VXT Electric (two Duncan '59/Fishman Acoustic Bridge)
Eight 5-String Banjos

Last edited by SpruceTop; 03-16-2019 at 07:40 AM.
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