John Gill's Silver Bell #2 Plectrum
WORKPAGE
7-13


Shown next to John's Style X9 Vega, also in for repair


Older Model with Round Hole Flange
#2s are Silver, not Nickel plated
Its a much whiter look and beautiful when cleaned and polished
This one has alot of wear spots but is still Ok and has been cleaned off

But not the inside
Silver Oxidation always shows as a black tarnish


That will clean right up with some effort


Waverly reverse gear tuners with 2 MOP buttons
Very rough
 Should be replaced with modern geared tuners or if it is to stay Vintage, Planet Tuners


Fingerboard needs leveling, and compression fretting
 
 


Lug was resoldered but slag went  all around it, I'll clean that up


The #2 markings in the rim, by the builder


It had two mismatched thumbscrews, I happened to have two.
This is a rare one too, not many used it


Lots of brassing in some places


Shown next to a custom 22 fret tenor


Now I know why solder slag is everywhere!
SOmeone tried to solder the lug without removing the flange from the wood back
So when it started catching fire, they probably slung S--t everywhere trying to stop it!
 


I will work on the wood end while we decide what to do on plating


NECK
John had some questions about the scale and tonal issues this banjo exhibited, so Im looking into that


Other than the obvious refret, I think the board is original.
After I looked in her, I see no signs of board removal, only new frets and binding, a ways back.

There is no seam separations where the board meets the laminate her wither, I say its never been off the neck


 

But........the slight gap you see where the dowel meets the neck........one twist is all it will take

Old glue has lost its stickum.
And its never been reglued so that is all orig in there too.
My guess so far, is that this has to do with  the tonal issues, the neck was moving under tension while playing.
But lets look at the scale.


26 1-/8, that's about right


The board is fairly common as well, its actually shorter than the 20 fret VEga X by 1/4" and has room for a 23rd fret so its actually VERY COOL, it will slide the bridge toward center a little further and should really open up the tone.
Im encouraged by all this.
We do have a long runoff at the end of the board as JG pointed out, but that's not uncommon and all this will do is


Finish being removed, the neck was oversprayed with Urethane, fingerboard and all
Under it, the Style X9 neck is stripped
I will fill to old tuner holes from the Waverly tuners and go back with 4:1 gears
Ill dye the overlays and put a coat of sealer, then add new bindings and side markers and do the refret .


Ready for tints after I do the rest of the work.


Frets are already new, Ill replace that bad binding with true Ivoroid


Stripping the resonator


I will glue down one spot of veneer that's bubbled up
All concentric rings have been scraped clean of old finish so they actually can be seen after restain


Medium brown is the preferred stain on these years


All wood taking on new finish

You can see the reddish next to O'Neils Mission Brown backplate
 
 



PLATING
Nashville Plating Service
BRIGHT NICKEL


We did not choose to go with the maintenance intensive Silver, the Nickel is much easier on a Player.


Parts all look good, thanks to Ron for another good job.


Assembling the rim with a new Remo Renaissance


Pulled to tension, now it can settle in



Problem with dowel


After I cured the glue and a week went by, I installed the neck to see how it felt and I could feel the wood in the dowel creaking
I though maybe a bad glue joint so I pressured on up on it and it broke at the tenon, inside.
So not the glue, it had a hidden bad spot in the tenon and this is not repairable, so I will have to make a dowel, stamp it as a replacement by hand, and let the old dowel just ride with it for verification.
Unfortunate, but not too big a deal to turn around


Drilling out the old broken tenon


New dowel ready to shape to final


R-12753 designates it as replacement


The Bacon info best I can get it on there


All nicely fitted


Date of replacement


Ready to stain


Glued in and curing, taking on clear



ASSEMBLY


Reamed for modern tuners, I'll use a new set of  Schaller's


New dowel fully cured
Wetsanded to 1200, ready to buff


Relief cut for elevation


Shimmed into place, ready to setup


Nice elevation


Gauge choice for CGBD


To make a long story SHORT, 2 of the new Schaller's crapped out in 10 turns, so the whole set may be defective
I had 3 Waverly V2s and a ABM that I polished up and went forward.
John can pick up another V2 and we will be set.
This proves even German parts can go bad.
No rhyme and reason for it.


Playing well, and looking spiffy
That is a 5/8" bridge.

I think the instrument will give good service
It has a warmer more wholesome sound than the models that followed it
 a little more wood in the neck helps this and the little differences in the early Silver Bell sound chamber also adds to the warmness,
I like it, its nice to have the round hole flanges show up in here, its not that often.
But now its off to the Master to decide if its a decent platform to gig with.
John will put it thru its paces and  then we will see if we did a good job stopping where we did because you always can do one more thing.

Thanks for watching,
Vinnie