Custom Tenor Banjo

Late 20s Gibson TB6 Checkerboard Neck - radius fingerboard - Vinnie Mondello
Custom Resonator with deep sidewall - Jim Stull
Checker binding by Clifford Seales
Bound by Eric Sullivan 
First Quality Music
Special Tube and plate rim assembly by Eric Sullivan First Quality Music
Prucha Hardware - Greg Boyd House of Music
Custom Armrest- Vinnie Mondello
Tension Lock Tailpiece by Dan Goodrich
Engraving - Ron Raymer
Argentine Gray finish - Mohawk Lacquer  -
Vinnie Mondello
Head and strings -

Now to send the metal to Ron for a special pattern that sort of emulates the "X" design of the Style 6, but with an Alaska flair to it.

Well Ron did a stand up job as usual, giving me what I asked for and I like the theme, it will look "6ish" enough to suit the original neck inlay
But I have some problems that I did not forsee, and will have to see what I can do about them

The Prucha hardware fits the rim correctly, but the holes in the tube are drilled to the inboard side of the tube causing some deflection against the bead of the rim, pushing the hooks outwards.
Secondly, the holes in the plate are constriction the movement of the hooks, causing them to "Splay" and not line up with the notches in the hoop.

What I will have to do is to drill out each hole in the plate flange that is not already 1/4", to 1/4"
This will allow for all of the hooks to center up on the hoop notches

And since we cannot end up with this...................

 .............. some "Brain food" is in order.
And a look at the rim with it "Normal".... checking to see how hardware acts in that fashion
Its fine, it all lines up but the tube holes are still making hooks run outwards.

I will jig it up so its immobile, and bring the other holes out carefully

All done, no blowouts to the inside

Scuffed off to get the burrs, I will polish it all back out, braced on a plywood backing so as not to bend it .
  I will test it all, drill the armrest and tap the tension hoop,

Hook sets will all line up now, another disaster averted!

But still have to re-angle the tube holes, and will use hook sets with short 1/4" nuts for plenty of room for the wrench.

Armrest drilled

Screws are both centered in a snowflake

I sawed down both sides for the heel cut, now nipping it all out

I'll dress it with a file

Room for felt, good fit

Neck tweaked to fit, mocked up for a look see.
Waiting on Rods and Resonator Hardware, and a set of hooks from FQM, I will be working on the rim/resonator finish for a while.

It is starting to look like a banjo! .

Re-angling the tube holes
It will touch the bead but not enough to matter

Looking at rim air gap after getting the heel notch I can see it
I need to have 3/8 here, will reduce rim bottom
Trial and Error, the beauty of "One off" customs.

Ser# and init's under the tone ring

Taped off to have a stopping point, I will use my "Sure-form", no better tool for a safe rasping, doesn't cut too deep and has low chatter

After the cut and re-sand, matched the headstock color and I like where it is, so more clear coats.

Ring fits perfectly, the dialing in by hand was really successful

Brass Instrument  Lacquer
Nikolas Gold

This has been used since the early 1900's for Brass instruments such as Sax's and Trumpets
This will emulate the look of real Gold as good as anything in the world.
all metal was made to have some satin effect with fine steel wool.

After 4 coats, heat dried

Rim assembly

Temporary one more time, checking neck alignment and such.
Common Late model Gibson style tailpiece bracket is perfect for these jobs
Remo head provided by

Neck temped on without rods, I will use brass rods from Eric at FQM

Temp hook sets to do the setup, I have a new set en route with slim nuts
  provided by

Anyone want to say that does not look like Gold???

Good neck angle, I used New Gold plated 5 star tuners

Lets get a temporary nut and string it up
I will want to cut a premium bone nut to the radius of the board, same as with bridge
That's a big part of any radius job, having a nut and bridge to match the degree of  angle

  provided by

Thanks Doc, for letting us have the old 800 Truss cover with the B mans name on it.

I have it on a high bridge, that will work down as I radius the top

Tension lock working well

That's a good Gibson like look, with a flipped flange.
Did I mention...that's not Gold???  :):)
14 bucks worth of Lacquer

Now for the resonator, will get the Argentine Mindset.

Bumped the bridge crooked, no its not constipated ...I mean compensated :)
The tone on this is so clear up and down I want a second opinion, it is a POWERHOUSE
All I can say for now...

Bridge and nut radius-ed to 14"

Resonator hardware will be 2 attaching points utilizing thumbscrews with wheels and Resonator lugs into the sidewall.

This resonator fits so tightly that it only needs two attachments

Signed and sealed, 3 coats clear on inside

OK, ready to do the 4 part tint

Saved time on pics, that is the color, ready to clean up binding around the tape line and shoot clear

Scuffed for the clear coats

2 coats clear, stopping for a look to see how it matches the Original Neck color
5 star tuners with perloid buttons

I'm OK with that, now I will make up a yellow wash to make the binding look a little more like the neck color.
Then to the finish line with clear coats
Dogs are on the late shift as usual.

Black added to the lip.
Clear'ed over that.

Red felt, commemorative to the TB800 :)

Now I will take it to Eureka Springs for a test run, and come back, add  more coats to the resonator.


It made it to Eureka and I had the best players in the world play on it.
They signed off on it after I made a few more tweaks so now I will buff it on out and shoot the final shots before BG and Missy get here to pick it up.

Setup on Remo Renaissance head and GHS strings provided by

Retro BG Truss cover from TB 800
It's a little fat but who cares!

Tension lock looks stout on there, Thanks again Dan!


One last addition...............

And that was the last one of these plates, ....fitting
Since Barry made them for me

Can't wait to jam in a few days!
That will be the last pics

Barry came down with his Wife Missy and Brother Kevin .
We had a great visit and got to jam all nite until we couldn't see straight.
The 6 played out fine, no extra tweaking so I'm glad it will head out and Barry a Happy Camper!
Kevin is cutting a rhythm out on the Slingerland and turns out Missy loved it and Barry bought it for her as a present.
I'm glad it's going to a good home.
It was bought in Arkansas and I fixed it up into a player.

Missy had her flute with her and played us some nice tunes.
It was great to hear a nice female singer in the shop, not just my WHANG!

Barry and Kevin mugging, Kevin has Dobro Tenortrope ser# 001 that just came in for repairs
Its a cool instrument
 BG decided he liked the little Vega 20 fret 10-1/8"  enough to make it the next Eskimo Killer .
So off to the North it will head for extreme duty.
As always too short a visit but I finally got to meet Missy and Kevin..........bonus!
Thanks for watching