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Thread: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

  1. #26
    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    That bridge is very, very similar to my own which I created for my 17 fret Orpheum. I’d be interested to learn how you came up with that one. Very long full contact bridges are not that common on tenor banjo. Or perhaps I’m mistaken. Mine came about as I sought a plunky sound very different from a typical ITM sort of bright loud banjo tone.
    Mike Snyder

  2. #27
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    They made excellent drums as well.
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  4. #28

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Snyder View Post
    That bridge is very, very similar to my own which I created for my 17 fret Orpheum. I’d be interested to learn how you came up with that one. Very long full contact bridges are not that common on tenor banjo. Or perhaps I’m mistaken. Mine came about as I sought a plunky sound very different from a typical ITM sort of bright loud banjo tone.
    I used to import a great deal of fossil mastodon material from Siberia. I have about 1500 pounds of that fossil material in my shop. I know how to work it quickly and efficiently. This bridge is a result of that whole series of events.

    My luthier called and said he needed a bridge so he could go to the next step. He gave me some rough dimensions. I picked up a piece of mastodon that was in one of my bins, cut it the length, width and thickness, then shapes the ends on my sander. Then shaped a concave profile into the sides to narrow the top.

    It was finish-sanded and polished. The whole thing took maybe 15 minutes.

    One consideration I had in making it was to put as much contact area on the head as possible to spread the downward forces to minimize potential tearing of the head because it is so thin.

    The only other thought was to make as much of the bridge make contact with the head for good transmission of vibration.

    I’m getting ready to make another bridge for this tenor that will be 1” wide at the base. Same considerations apply.

    I’m no expert, really a novice. The shape of the bridge came about more for practical considerations than trying to anticipate a particular sound.

    Thank you for asking!

  5. #29
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Snyder View Post
    That bridge is very, very similar to my own which I created for my 17 fret Orpheum. Iíd be interested to learn how you came up with that one. Very long full contact bridges are not that common on tenor banjo. Or perhaps Iím mistaken. Mine came about as I sought a plunky sound very different from a typical ITM sort of bright loud banjo tone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rootes View Post
    I used to import a great deal of fossil mastodon material from Siberia. I have about 1500 pounds of that fossil material in my shop. I know how to work it quickly and efficiently. This bridge is a result of that whole series of events.

    My luthier called and said he needed a bridge so he could go to the next step. He gave me some rough dimensions. I picked up a piece of mastodon that was in one of my bins, cut it the length, width and thickness, then shapes the ends on my sander. Then shaped a concave profile into the sides to narrow the top.
    That is very similar to the bone bridges the Brazilians use on their bandolims. Yikes, 1500 pounds of fossilized ivory? Can you make a coffee table from one of those pieces?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior

  6. #30
    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Thanks for the bridge information, Rootes. Mine is maple from a large old bakery workbench.
    Mike Snyder

  7. #31
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    From Jim Garber - " They made excellent drums as well.". They did indeed Jim - well reminded,& currently owned by guess who ? - Gibson !!.. Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich both played 'Signature model' Slingerland drums,
    Ivan
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  8. #32

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Snyder View Post
    Thanks for the bridge information, Rootes. Mine is maple from a large old bakery workbench.
    I find that things with a story and a history seem to sound and feel better than something manufactured or mass produced. I’ll bet that workbench has seen some things.

    Thanks for your reply!

  9. #33
    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    My fathers workbench was topped with maple flooring long before he bought the bakery shortly after returning from WW II. Thousands of loaves of bread and batches of cookies and pie doughs went across that bench. The maple was very light and stiff. I cut a section down for a countertop and saved the scrap. Made a few bridges and lost the rest somehow in a series of moves and life changes. The butter in those pie doughs sweetened the maple. Maybe.
    Mike Snyder

  10. #34

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Snyder View Post
    My fathers workbench was topped with maple flooring long before he bought the bakery shortly after returning from WW II. Thousands of loaves of bread and batches of cookies and pie doughs went across that bench. The maple was very light and stiff. I cut a section down for a countertop and saved the scrap. Made a few bridges and lost the rest somehow in a series of moves and life changes. The butter in those pie doughs sweetened the maple. Maybe.
    I’m sure it sweetened that maple and to your ear, it still makes everything sound better.
    These things are important.
    Good for the spirit.
    Thanks for telling the story.

  11. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Total hijack: I was told that drum and banjo manufacturers were often located in cities that also had major meat-packing industries, since the slaughterhouses were a good source of animal skins for drum and banjo heads.

    Lots of banjos, and drums, made around Chicago. Kansas City, not so much, I guess...
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  12. #36
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Regarding the tailpiece, here's as close as I could find... At the late Michael Holmes' Mugwumps Tailpieces website:

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    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

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  13. #37

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Total hijack: I was told that drum and banjo manufacturers were often located in cities that also had major meat-packing industries, since the slaughterhouses were a good source of animal skins for drum and banjo heads.

    Lots of banjos, and drums, made around Chicago. Kansas City, not so much, I guess...
    It would make sense that the manufacturers would be close to a source of skin. I think many of the tanneries were located in New England. The skins would have required extensive processing, drying and stretching. It’s quite a lot of work to make a piece of vellum. And one of the most common vellums was goat skin, although the processing today makes many other types of vellum just exceptional material. It’s hard to say if Chicago manufacturers were there to be close to skins.

    I’m betting that since CHI was the center of the country at the time, easy access to all the raw materials, cheap labor, and capital played a big part. The catalog sales across the country in that time period were going strong and i’m Imagining that shipping by rail was pretty cost effective too.

    Thanks for your comment!

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  15. #38

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Regarding the tailpiece, here's as close as I could find... At the late Michael Holmes' Mugwumps Tailpieces website:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wow!
    Thank you for tracking that down.
    Pretty close to what I have.

    Great resource too.

    Thanks again!

  16. #39

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    I have these two in my odds and ends pile...
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  17. #40

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Dacraw54 View Post
    I have these two in my odds and ends pile...
    Those are nice!
    I like stuff that’s a little out of the ordinary.

    I’m going to try my hand at carving some out of fossil bone
    Will be interesting to see how they hold up.

    If you ever want to sell those two, let me know.

    Thanks!

  18. #41

    Default Re: Tenor Banjo Rebuild

    I found the “before” pictures

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