MY STROMBERG "A" RESTORATION
Initial pics, from 1999



I purchased this banjo on Ebay from Steve Senerchia, the "Music Man", my first real purchase of anything "Banjo" on the internet
These are the oldest examples of Chas. A.Stromberg banjos, built when Elmer was still a child, and Charles was working the shop alone.
This one was in good restorable condition, well played!



Circa 1910-1920
No serial number
11 11-5/8" rim assembly
Cuppophone tone ring
Maple construction
19 fret extended fingerboard
20" scale


Nice cast brass tailpiece, with logo


Dirty Cupperphone! (Cough!)

I think I'll , (COUGH) clean it a little first!
 

Pieces of Gold!
Ready to assemble

Elmer Stromberg and his invention
Elmer Stromberg, and the Cuppophone tone ring



After Refinish - 2002


Dark Walnut is my choice, of stain
Some plating is Gold, other Nickel, I like a mixture
I incorporate a raised wooden arch ring to make an smaller active playing surface.
Later Stromberg models actually came equipped in this manner, with a brass hoop instead of wood though.
Mine.....is a 10" wooden embroidery hoop, 2.00, from Wal Mart!
Been working for years and it really perks the tone up.

Custom Stromberg Logo plate


With clear head



With Skin Head - Added Resonator-2004


I wanted to try it on skin awhile so I mounted one on it


Also a Vega Resonator, that will be a "Close fit" style, and no flanges as was on some Early Vega Tubaphones.
Since Strombergs of this period utilized Tubaphone rims, it works great
 


Chrome plated armrest, engraved


 
 




2008, new Clear head


 


 


And next to the only other banjo I actually OWN.......
Mondello Accutone #02-16-57

The Stromberg can compete with any heavy hitters from any era of Banjo, and I am proud to be associated with it, and the Stromberg History.


8-2010
Fitting a Dale Small Neck (Circa 1980s)
I had this neck, that came in Dale's estate and it was cut for a weird custom flange and couldn't be used on anything normal, so I decided to work the heel over and get it onto my 11/1/2 " stromberg since I want to play it more often and the 20 fret "Dale Scale" will do exactly what I want as far as scale and bridge position.
Im going to use the one with the Eagle head, it will need to be stripped and then I can cut in the new heel.

I will use all sizes of scrap dowels to fill the void of the old flange cut behind the new basswood facing that I put onto the heel
 


All jammed in tight, glue and trim time


 
 


I completed the stripping and sanding, retinting and I have the heel cut dialed in, the dowel permanent, MOP dot over the screw until I get to the final finish on this neck


After all of my adjustments and experiments for this round are complete, I add the final finish coats, I just wanted a look to see where I was going.
 


Custom Logo plate that I acquired from Joachim Hippenstiel over , in Germany
I will install it on the final assembly



FINAL PICS

 5-3-10
Adding a resonator...again..for the last time?



This time a Gibson style, with no flanges and a new finish


Watching over it's smaller Stromberg Deluxe brother being worked upon.


It was bound in white and I just dyed the binding and micro scraped the edges to mimick the Tortoise shell binding and white laminate on the neck
Banjo plays superb, with full tone up and down and clarity of note.
I finally consider it my main player, after many attempts to get the large rim to do what I wished it would do and with all the modifications and setups over time.
There are literally 100s of setups not shown here.
I believe it is now a banjo that Charles Stromberg, and Elmer Stromberg would be proud to have been a part of.
Thanks for watching this one all of these years!



7-30-11

From Clear to Skin Head

Tyler Jackson was visiting a couple of days and hounded me into taking the clear head off and going back to Calfskin so instead of fleshing one up, I used the one off Wayne Mann's Stromberg conversion since we are going with a clear or Renaissance head on his.
This is not an original skin anyway so its just as a test


We both have 11-1/2" Strommies so its a retrofit
On his banjo it is pulled all the way yo maximum because it is a flattop but on mine, the arch top makes it still usable


It sounds very good actually, all up and down, nice and clear
And TJ talked me into not using my pickguard so its gone too.
OK, thats where it will stay now for a long time, or until this skin gives way!



2012
Renaissance
 



 

27/32 Farquhar


 


 

 


Notice how the custom 20 fret scale lands the bridge close to center, this warms the tone up considerably.
Coupled with elevated fingerboard you get the full effect of both power and flexibility in tone.
 

Nothing is ever really "Finished"
Here are my only 2 banjos, the rest just come for a visit.
both have been subjected to 100s of setups, all with a different voice.
 
 

 Vinnie
 
 


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