Epiphone
"Recording A"
Tenor
Minor restoration, no plating

2003



This is the first style of the "A" series with the prototype tone ring'
That was changed in he later models.
 


Nice "Birdseye" Maple back
 


My favorite way to attach a neck.
Fixed action and two lags.
No stick, no rods.
It does the job.


Emblem has big scratch thru it but I will still leave it and refinish around it.
These tuners are the WORST, as far as "tunability.
they are not smooth at all, and I  do not like them!


All MOP is in VG cond.
 
 


Kelly doing the disassembly


Big brass flange will not easily come up and off the rim.
 


Here is a good view with the rim shell off, showing the cast archtop ring and head bearing.
Lotsa metal in these babies.
 


Rim is severely delaminated,and must be injected to try and reseal it.
 


Bottomside is OK, veneer is still adhered.


My main concern,is the severe backbow, in the neck, clearly visible from this angle.
This neck is soft and I noticed when playing on it before I took it apart,that it was having intonation problems in the middle positions.
Now if it was playing satisfactorily then i wouldn't be worried, but I feel we need  a heat press.


 

  As you can see, I decided to try the flange removal and I was successful.
after a long study I realized I could remove it in the same way you remove a piston ring from a piston.
The brass was flexible enough to do it so I did to get a better finish on the rim.
 


Finish Removal
I am doing several at once for the sake of convenience.


Sealing the rim laminate with a thin "creeping" cyano that wicks into the depths of the rim.
It took quite a bit, to fill all of the voids.


Applying the "Trans-tint" water based stain


Ready for refinishing.
I will use a Urethane on this banjo as I have began to experiment with a product that has been giving excellent results and will create a high gloss finish, that is very durable.
 

 


After measuring off the old straight wire frets I see that they are at the end of the service limit, and must be replaced.
With the backbow present I will have to try an aggressive fret job using frets that have a reduced tang, so as not to push it back further.

Tape keeps any chips from flying out on vintage ebony boards


I seal them down before pulling the tape


Leveling off the board a bit.


Recutting the slots after sealing the edges


Adding the new wires


Filing the sides


Buffing all the hardware


Buffing complete, ready to reassemble rim


Rim finish complete, lets put her together


Flange back on, no probs.


Ready to install head.
I will use a 5 star with no frosting, and opaque.


There were a few bad hooks, and 2 bad nuts so I replaced them with old stock I have.


Rim assembly complete


On a good note, these tuners are not sealed in the back like the last sets of these I encountered, and had the ability to be relubricated
Now they work 10 times better, so we will go with these again and save some $

Here she is, all sanded and ready to add the bindings


Binding is original style ivroid


First one side........


Scraped to profile


Then the Bass side with the new marker dots drilled and filled
I made them huge, like the originals.


Here she is with the first coat of stain.
There will be some darker / lighter areas due to wood taking on oils from skin and sweat as the finish was worn off.
It is not worth losing wood,to try and get it all uniform
It cannot be done, in some cases.


And with the first two coats of clear.
Now to build on that


Here we are, with the finish complete, and the assembly has begun.
 

These tuners,........
You have to love them, and hate them.
They are like direct drive saltwater fishing reels, very rudimentary.
They are positive in tuning capability, and negative in smoothness of operation.
It takes some getting used to, the jerkiness of the straight cut gearing.
But they work just fine and should for years to come.
Silky smooth..they ain't.
 


 

Head has had time to "Set in", so I retightened it, and its ready to go.


Fingerboard, final staining, then buffing

All strung to pitch, neck reset, and special fret leveling is a success, banjo plays great up and down with a fast action, great tone, and bright punch .



 FINAL PICS

 
  This banjo has a much better tone than I expected, and I place it well up the ladder.
Thanks for following,
Cheers,
Vinnie