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Thread: Irish tenor banjo

  1. #26
    Registered User liestman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Jill's string gauges should work for a 21" scale length but remember that 17 fret really means nothing, it's the scale length that matters, so on something shorter than 21" (which I would really not recommend personally) you would probably want to go heavier.
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  2. #27

    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    Awesome! Assuming you went with a 17 fret model re: strings you'll want to use heavier gauge strings on a 17 fret tenor vs. a 19 fret tenor. When I played 17 fret tenor banjos I usually went with 40w/30w/20w/12 - some folks will go heavier than that but those gauges always worked well for me.
    Thanks Jill, I will probably go with something like that, I hope I still have some strings around from when I had my 20" trinity OM, or perhaps I can piece together a set from what I have for my mandolin and the Crump Octave. I will probably go with a 13 on the e string, though that does send the tension up a bit.

    I will have plenty of time to search for the perfect style M tubaphone or R whyte laydie while I pluck this!
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  4. #28
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    So . . .
    How do you like the style N?

    You'll have to wrastle with those friction tuners, but they can be managed with patience.

    If you get tired of them, Smakula Fretted Instruments sells a small shaft planetary tuner made by ABM that will require little or no enlarging of the existing holes. They're not cheap, but they're well made and work well.

  5. #29

    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    I ordered a Pisgah tenor this week. Itís due for delivery in September
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  6. #30
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    I ordered a Pisgah tenor this week. It’s due for delivery in September
    What tone ring did you go with?

  7. #31

    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Rolled brass
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  9. #32

    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    So proud of myself, I got initiated into the banjo maintenance fraternity. My thumbs are sore, but I am better for it.

    Not that it needed it, but I decided to take off the drum head, clean things up a bit, and generally muck around. I figured this would be good to do on a less expensive tenor banjo. Cleaned some grime off it with vinegar, and soaked the hardware in a vinegar/water mix for a bit. Rinsed in water, and cooked at 350 for 10mins to dry it all out. Then wiped the hardware off with a cloth, and was surprised at the amount of junk that came off the nuts and brackets.

    And wouldn't you know it, after putting the drum head back on, i was missing one nut for a bracket! Looked all over, turned on all the lights, moved the rug, and no where to be found. Went to the garbage and pulled out the paper towels I had used and there it was.

    This Vega Tenor was very well cared for over the years, and has certainly been played as the nickle has worn away on some of the shoes.
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  10. #33

    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    So . . .
    How do you like the style N?

    You'll have to wrastle with those friction tuners, but they can be managed with patience.

    If you get tired of them, Smakula Fretted Instruments sells a small shaft planetary tuner made by ABM that will require little or no enlarging of the existing holes. They're not cheap, but they're well made and work well.
    When I went to pick it up, I was surprised that they were friction, but that makes sense on a cheaper instrument. What other options are there for replacements? Are the ABM ones pretty much the only game in town that require no modifications? What about vintage Grover Ideal?
    Girouard Custom Studio A Oval
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  11. #34
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Friction tuners were the order of the day on most banjos until the mid 1920's, and on many banjos through the 1930's.

    I think that the Grover Ideal tuners are the same as what are now referred to as "two tab" or "screw tab" tuners. If so, they were a low grade tuner with a 2:1 ratio. They offer a little improvement over the friction tuners, but not much.

    Most modern planetary tuners have shafts which require peg holes which are 3/8" or 10 mm. in diameter, which is considerably larger than the existing holes on your banjo. They can be carefully enlarged with a reamer and a round file. It is not a good idea to try to enlarge them with a drill-- invariably, the drill bits will cause significant damage to the peg head.

    As far as small shaft banjo tuners are concerned, yes, the ABM's are the only game in town. They were unavailable for several years, and we are glad that they are making them again, although we wish they cost a bit less. They are high quality tuners.

    Sometimes, a tuner called Pegheds are available, but their availability can be sporadic, and it has been said that their quality was not always consistent. After a quick search, I can't tell whether their banjo tuners are currently available or not-- you'll have to contact them. If you can get them in the right size, they will be cheaper.

    Your other alternatives are to use guitar tuners or an old set of pre-war small shaft Planet brand tuners [if you can find a set that are in good shape].
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-19-2020 at 8:07pm.

  12. #35
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Not sure if these would work for you: https://tradbanjo.com/collections/vi...ducts/tuners-3 but this is my pal Dan's online shop, he restores old tenor banjos and gets vintage parts in regularly so if you let him know what you're looking for he may be able to help you out.
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  13. #36
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Those are modern tuners with the typical ~ 3/8"+ shaft.
    The holes in the peghead would have to be enlarged to accept them.
    It's a straight forward job for somebody who has the tools and knows how to do the work. See my earlier post. A do-it-yourselfer might mess things up, though.

    Personally, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over installing this sort of tuner in a style N; as long as the work is done competently.
    I would not recommend installing them in a #9 Tubaphone or #7 Whyte Laydie.

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  15. #37
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    I installed modern tuners in my old Vega Style F, messed up the first hole and headstock by trying to drill it out, repaired it, learned my lesson and reamed out the rest with sandpaper wrapped around a drill bit (wear gloves )

    I think it's got the Heavy Gauge set from Andys Banjos on it (14-46) https://www.andybanjo.com/trolleyed/.../136/index.htm which suit me.
    - Jeremy

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  16. #38

    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    Hey all, wanting to get a 17 fret Irish tenor / plectrum banjo, probably with a resonator. Has anyone recently done such a journey? My initial search the other night turned up very few. Wondering if I need to go over the pond for one.
    Just in case you do decide to shop "over the pond", I bought my 17-fret 20" scale tenor from https://www.andybanjo.com/ about three years ago. I bought the cheapest model he had at the time as the concept was totally new to me, though I've played guitar ever since Dylan was in black & white

    The instrument is still as good as it ever was and totally adequate for my needs

  17. #39
    Registered User seankeegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish tenor banjo

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post

    Banjo tuners have come a long way, but the best ones I have experienced are made by Bill Rickard's shop in Canada. His shop also makes fine banjos.
    Thank you for this! I'd not heard of these tuners yet, and I was just about to buy a set of Waverly's to replace the original Page tuners on a CE Paragon. I'll def give these consideration first.

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