Mike Vignola's Silver Bell #1

Estimate condition and report


This banjo is to be a player, not cosmetically perfect
Top Frosted Head, recommend Renaissance

One lug loose, recommend resolder

Worn frets and fingerboard in 1-5 position
recommend  re-fret and oil and clean board, no relevel
Clean all hardware, no replate

This will be the first banjo to get the new "EVO" alloy fret wire.


EVO wire installed and sealing with thin cyano
I can tell alot of difference in the hardness of the wire by just cutting and shaping it and I feel it will give more service than nickel silver

Smoothing the sides

Marking the tops of all new wire before leveling, this shows high and low spots and what each individual fretjob will need

Frets are NEVER level when installed due to a myriad of factors so this is required and you need wire that can be leveled, the EVO is a good choice.

You can always tell a fingerboard is concave and most are that are old ebony...when the metal settles in the center.

Dressing the ends

After polishing and oiling the board a few times, it needed it.

Tung oil for headstock


Old heel break is stable

Tuners working OK

Lots of buckle rash on Resonator back

Wood Refinish
Resonator - Neck

First strip complete
Its an old Urethane, and thick
Second strip applied

Added new heel cap, removed all old finishes back to bare wood
Repairing all divots and dings before dye job

Dyeing the overlays with black

I used a Vintage Dark Maple, faded to light in the center
That's only one coat, the birds eye neck needs to be seen in my opinion and this hides the heel good enough.

First coat of new tint

Slight outside fade, not too deep

A few more coats to go


Tore down for hardware polishing and a few coats of clear over orig finish

The typical penciling that its always a mystery.
No one knows if this is a batch number or what.

The old hooksets are the thin ones and are all degraded so I will replace them with modern BD hooksets

All ready to go

German 4:1 tuners with the 9/32 hole size
Nice and smooth

They also use the front spanner nut, looking like the original Planet from the front

After soldering on the lug an polishing the flange, I replaced the 2 incorrect thumbscrews with the BD style

And replaced the incorrect tailpiece screws as well


The extra armrest brackets so I do not forget!
This is a very bright toned Silver Bell, it has alot of cut
There is a slight upbow in the neck but I have the action adjusted and using a 1/2 bridge it has plenty of power.
I think it will be a good banjo for Mike, and we didn't go too far on it.

Now to do the final adjustments and get it back home to Papa.
Thanks for watching


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