BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

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BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Peter Watkins » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:25 pm

Good Morning from the I-5 Corridor, Portland Oregon.

I have just purchased a Slingerland May-Bell banjolele from the 1920s. It has some restoration issues. Anybody out there have experience with a May-Bell? I'd love to hear from you about dealing with the square dowel in replacing the head skin. Thanks.

Peter
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Re: BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Dan Pennington » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:38 pm

What problem is the dowel stick giving you in trying to replace the head?
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Re: BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Peter Watkins » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:28 pm

Hey Dan, thanks for the response. The skin on the instrument is torn and must be replaced. I loosened the j-hooks and removed the tone ring with no problem. But I can't go any further since there is a black ring that can't slip between the pot and the neck. Does this make any sense? It appears that I have to remove the neck in order to allow the head skin and the ring to be removed. Am I on the right track?

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Peter
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Re: BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Dan Pennington » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:16 am

You're right, you'll have to remove the neck to get the old head off. The ring that the skin is wrapped around is called the flesh hoop (for whatever reason).

To remove the neck, remove the screw in the end of the dowel stick. Most likely it is the shoe that the tail piece is hooked to. Then remove the hardware that pushes the rim to the neck. It will be either a metal C shaped clevis with a pin thru the dowel stick, a fitting on the dowel stick with a couple of small wood wedges, or just a wood wedge right thru a slot in the dowel stick.
Take some photos of all this stuff before you remove it so you'll know for sure how it goes back together. And post some of those here so we can see your progress.
You can replace the skin head, but this is a PITA getting it set right and waiting for it to dry properly. Then every time it rains, the head will sag. And you tighten it up. Forget to loosen it and a dry spell comes along or indoors in a northern winter the head pops again.
Consider a Fiberskyn head. Looks and sound like leather but is plastic. If you do, toss the old fleshhoop.
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Re: BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Peter Watkins » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:53 pm

Hi Dan--
Your info makes great sense to me. I think I can do all those steps and I understand the humidity issues with natural materials. My next question is how do I get the proper angle between the neck and the head when reassembling?
Peter Watkins
 
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Location: Wilsonville, Oregon

Re: BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Dan Pennington » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:01 am

That's already built in. As long as you don't remove any wood from the heel of the neck or reset the dowel stick, it should go back together like it was before.
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Re: BANJOLELE REPAIR QUESTION

Postby Peter Watkins » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:54 pm

OK, here goes!
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