First banjo I ever sold
Matt Lewins from the Brighton old time band , Chicken Shed Zeppelin called over to see me a few weeks ago. He had with him a banjo I’d made for him about fourteen years ago .
The string posts on this tail piece were made from stainless welding rod with the ends carefully heated to form a ball.
I was surrounded by stainless steel at the time and was keen to produce my own banjo hardware using it. I’ve got to say, it’s a wonderful material but doesn’t always lend it’s self to banjo parts ( at least in my opinion ) . I made tension hoops , hooks , nuts , tailpieces…etc it’s much tougher to machine than brass and obviously , you don’t have to plate it. Although I personally , prefer the look of nickel plate on banjo parts ( I like the way it dulls down and ages too ) . Now in this banjo I rolled up and tig welded a brass tone ring but I was still experimenting with stainless steel. As a matter of fact , Just to satisfy my own curiosity and because I had access to lots of it . I decided to roll up, weld and machine flat head style tone rings out of stainless steel (316 if anyone is interested) These took forever to machine . I fitted the first one to a bluegrass style banjo I was making ….and …well…you live and learn ! 🙂 . This thing was the loudest harsh sounding banjo I’ve ever played. It could have stripped bark off a tree ! ..I’m not kidding . It was like a Stanley tone on steroids 🙂 .
This banjo is fitted with a Fishman rare earth pick-up. As these pick ups are designed to fit on 2 co-ordinator rods, I had to make up this adapter.
At this point I decided to curtail my stainless steel adventures and go back to brass and bronze etc :-). All good fun though and if you don’t try something out , you can’t always be sure your not missing out .