Olin's Trujo "B"
22 fret plectrum banjo
Convert to Tenor


Original case good condition , a little missing fabric is all
Cloth hinges still holding top up,. that is as rare as hens teeth.

Nice example, will do fine for this project

Mute functions OK

Neck does have an uplift as described, not  an issue on this project

Flange is not caved in anywhere, also a plus.
All original hooksets

Typical "B", with ring in the nose
Planet tuners with MOP buttons

Resonator VG nothing but finish scratches with standard inlays
Banjo is VG good example overall,  and will do exactly what we wish




I have a  23" scale fingerboard ready, 19 fret

I have 2 plans, for Mr. Dave ...... one is to shorten the existing neck by scarf joint and add metal rod, new inlaid fingerboard.....

.....Make new tenor neck from this blank or similar, deleting the adjustable truss and going with solid Carbon rod or heel adjustable truss
The Gibson neck in the back can be used as a template for measuring.

Pulling the metalwork off to get it off to Ron at Nashville Plating Service

On the Trujo, they were ingenious on what they used to mount the flange to the rim.

They took the standard Gibson thumbscrew, and cut it off and put the male into the rim facing out and ....

Threaded the Knurled end, so that it became a thumbscrew of another style....cool
When I see this each time on Trujo I think about who thought that out
Unfortunately, it is not that positive a lock when its on, and many Trujos have bent flanges from the drop!

Rim getting some fresh coats of clear

First strip, I can smell it, its Shellac, stinks!

Second strip, its thick as all get out

Its as orange as my plastic float!

Ready for resealing

Getting fresh finish out n the last of the Fall warm weather


The plating is back from Ron at Nashville Plating Service and it is really a super job!
The Antique gold has the proper amount of copper flash and it looks warm and correct

Here is the rim assembled with a Remo clear head.
I will buff the backplate and get it installed, that will be the completion of the rim assembly.

Resonator back reinstalled

New 19 fret tenor fingerboard in from Dave Nichols at Custom Pearl Inlay

It will fill the bill.
Thanks Dave !

Removed frets for heat process

Making the hide glue release

Having problems here, no amount of heat is helping so there is no saving the old board which is pretty common

In this instance the inlay is very thin, and set upon blocks of maple
The maple to maple seal is much harder to break than the ebony to maple seal.
I even steamed it, there was no breaking it loose

The backing  you can see, is all the way thru the board
This allowed the use of very thin MOP and costs were cut dramatically, is my guess.
and since Gibson was the contractor..."Heres your sign"

here is one without the MOP on it

And this piece will be planed off, its STUCK!

Easy to see all the maple to maple contact points and with brittle dry ebony its never fun

Now its time to cut the neck down
The amount of cut will come from the neck center, but this is the amount that has to be removed to get it down to tenor size.
I will do a scarf joint and reinforce it with carbon fiber rod.

First I cut the channel for the rod so that this is already done before the scarf

Now is the time to get a little squeamish, but not much
All I can do is ruin it.

First cut OK, board on to determine second cut line

2nd cut

That's that, looking ok and the correct length

The rod has been epoxied into place and was pressed onto wax paper to seal it and for easy release, I will trim the flashing off and profile it

Now it is a Tenor, no doubt!

Profiling the 2 back together

Nice joint,  I plan one more splint to be keyed in over the backside of the repair just for additional support on the bottom side

If anyone needs this piece to make their tenor a plectrum, just call me :)

Fingerboard and binding installed

Profiled, ready for side markers

Markers in
Installing 147 Stew Mac wire

Glued in, ready to level

Fretwork completed, oiling the board

I will steel wool it off and prep for finish

First coats of color
Thats "Mission Brown", not black
This is Dark Reddish Brown in the old terms
The scars are hidden, its now a Tenor.

Gargoyle cleaned and getting hand painted clear in the crooks and crannies.


The first atttempt at assembly showed me something I did not see when I took the neck from the instrument.

The Neck was set too low from the Factory, leaving the tension hoop lower than the plane of the bearing edge of the tone ring.
Everyone that knows me knows I like some elevation on a fingerboard and cannot live with one that is lower than level, for certain.
This is a bit unfortunate for me, since all the finish is completed on the neck and here is why it is not just a lag re-positioning.
Older Gibson and Gibson made banjos, have a lower lag in the heel that is not wood lag on the heel end.
It is an "L" shaped lag that is embedded into the heel on construction and you cannot remove it as you can the top lag
They used this only a few years and moved away from it, no wonder.
If a person is not aware that this is not the same as top lag, they will twist on it and break it off in the heel.
Thats how I learned years ago how they were constructed into the heel, not screwed in.
You cannot panic when this happens, you stop for coffee and  "Huff and puff" ...think it out
It has to be done, so you do it with the least amount of damage to what you have already completed.

This is all the normal way to get it out, no need for a beauty cut here.
Its only hours of finish laid on and buffed...... it doesn't feel great to ruin it.

You can see how long they made them as well

Prising gets it to start lifting

And there is the culprit by its easy to remove brother
All Gibson to date have now 2 like the top one.
Time to hide it all, now that its hideous!.

Basswood filler stick does the job

Lengthening the heel, to make the elevation possible
With no new wood, the lag cannot drift downwards without running out of wood.
If the lags cannot go downwards, no neck can move upwards.
That will be shortened a little after Im done profiling

Top lag hole plugged
Also the tube relief must be resized , I cut back 1/8" on the bottomside and riffler will clean out the center.

Also, this area has to be removed.
When neck rises the head still needs room to adjust so this allows for that
This is where you dont want to miss a step and have to go back again.
I know from experience.
The fine saw allows for a nice cut and mimimal finish damage

Both cuts completed, reshading has began

This is the result, room for the instrument to play out properly from 15-19 fret

A coat of  tint to see where I am on the contour, looks good.
I will now add pins into that new heel piece to fuse it to the neck so the pressure of the lags under tension will not break it loose.
That is an important step not to miss either.
The lag can just pop the new piece right off.
This also was learned from experience.
 I have made as many mistakes as I can up to now in this business, there are still many awaiting me!

 Minor setbacks can look like major setbacks
There are some things you cannot charge a customer for, and missing a step is one of them.

I use brass tubing it is easy to drill out if ever needed

The tubing goes thru the repair and into the heel 1/2"
You have to be on the edges so lag bolts have room to thread in

New heel cap, now lets get it back hidden.


New lags installed

Neck buffed and waxed
Original Planet Tuners Re-installed

Heel contact is full and tight

Ready to string

The gauges I chose to set it up with
Banjo is playing well up and down, I'l do a few adjustments and final it out

One more polish and then some wax

Ready to assemble



I'm still testing bridges and doing final adjustments
So far so good, its playing out well with the Trujo sound


Case no longer fits

Unfortunately we will have to use a Gig bag just like Tyler's.
The "Reunion Blues" bag may be the only thing that can fit the Massive rim assembly