Restoration Page
1920s Orpheum Guitar Banjo

Partial Restoration
Regain proper neck angle for correct bridge/action
Heat press/Compression fret neck with 147 Stew Mas wire.
Fill divots in fingerboard (minor)

Rim will be left as is

neck set is low, heel is flush with rim

Slight lift under no tension
Heat press and compression fret should help, along with light strings
Trussing is not cost effective on this model.

Action needs to drop from 1/4 to 5/32 over the 24 fret

Additional washer and long ferrule to make up some space

Dowel was nicely cut for the ferrule

Taped off for wire extraction

Neck needs to rise 1/8" to help clear the arch ring.
Common issue on these, the play better with some elevation


Taped off for fret removal.
Pear wood is a recipe for disaster without proper prep work.
it is not really wood anymore, it will break away and powder out if you are not on your A game.

This is why.
The tape holds on to the breakouts.
You pull slowly, looking for this.
Then you shoot in some #10 and let the tape's 'memory" push it right back down.
hit with accelerant and check again to be sure its down.
Over....and over......and over.

You flow in the glue and hit with accelerant each time, press quickly on all the slot edges and then look for any more chip outs

Cleaning as I go, I will take these divots out with minor leveling which will also help this already warped forward neck.

Keeping the slots clean of glue, after sealing slot edges

A nice splice in the binding that was hid by dye, and will be again.

All leveled up

First coat of dye

Looking better

Starting over the heel with 147 wire.
Thin #10 sealing them into the board as I go.
The dry pear wood drinks it in, and this will stabilize it for many years to come
Residue will be removed with fine steel wool as I proceed, for a clean final look.

After heat press.
Compressing with "Jaws" to build some stiffness as best I can into the neck.
I sliced the fret slots at .020 and the fret tang is barbed and at .023" so they will push hard.
Also, I sawed the slots deep so that it would kerf the board a bit and I will fill back under them after compression fretting with #20 black, making for as stiff a board, as tight a fret as possible.
These laminated necks are challenged to hold guitar tuning and this will help out alot.

Tidying up little breakouts cause by compression fretting, normal on brittle old Pearwood

Dressing the ends

Starting the leveling


Ends all sealed back up
Noticed how thin finish is on the neck.
Wiped it off with one rag of solvent

Heel cap will need redye, that must have been replaced when dowel work was done

Adding 3/32 markers

Dye all light wood

Sealer coat, ready to add back the honey amber

Peghead sealed, ready for clear

Amber complete, sealed ,ready for clear and neck elevation

There was never a heel contact prob, the neck just has to raise up 3/16"  for better clearance

roughing out the cut in the tone ring, then I will raise the tenon hole and make shim wood to go on the underside to make up the diff.

Checking the fit, good and tight, level.

That is the new elevation
I have built on 020" shim between the tension hoop and neck to inhibit flex in this area, I like a tight fit to hoop.

Ready to setup

making a new bone nut

Spacing the slots

Correct gauges for guitar banjo
Furnished by

Now with the new action, orig bridge has the strings touching fingerboard, must have made some progress.
Saga armrest on the bench, made me think if Alan wants an armrest I could modify the mount to work on this hook spacing.

It would look like this.
Now for a new bridge

I do not like the thick tubby tone the factory gold tone bridge makes, I like a thinner profile, sharper tone.
Also, this does not need a radius bridge.
11/16 3 footed Maple with ebony insert .
I will cut the base to a "Cant" so that it bites into the head on tensioning.
A common practice on bluegrass bridges

After tensioning up the first time, I hear a few buzzes down in this area from the treble of neck being with a little uplift still, so time for creative leveling on those areas

The dusting shows the high  spot, now to re-crown and such.


Playing well up and down, VG clear tone

Easy to see the "Cant" in the bridge base now. This is helping to get a better bite on the head by the outside feet, always a prob on GBs because of inherit head sag no matter how tight.
It cannot be gotten around....ever.

Nice action, nice string angle over the bridge.

neck finish was steel wooled to have a stain effect to look less new, match the rim finish better

After a l;little more settling in, she should be ready to go home for a try out.
I think for what we started with we got this neck a long way from where it was and stopped at a point where it was prudent.
Only the player can say, I always hope for the best outcome.
Thanks for watching,Vinnie