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For Sale: CAROLINA BANJO CO. Cherry with Dobson ring.
Please visit my website to hear recordings and learn more about this and my other banjos.
Beautiful Cherry, havested in Davidson N.C. and rosewood fittings make for a great combination!
The intricate carvings took way too long but they sure do look amazing, they're among the finest work i've seen and rival the quality of master carvers of the past. I'm trying to keep the tradition alive and well.
I find carving more tasteful than inlay work and i leave the fretboards clean because these instruments are meant to be played!! Fretboards will be replaced in time as they get the most wear. Consider violins, they survive centuries with many finger boards replaced.
Back to the banjo...
Segmented cherry rim with thick veneer around. Rosewood fretboard, heel cap, rim cap and tension hoop cap. Carved cherry headstock with walnut burl on back. Spun over Dobson style tone ring. Dyed calfskin head.
Traditional dowel stick construction held tight with a tapered ebony key. Floating fifth string nut can be moved to any position. Brass position markers on fretboard front and side. Can be strung with steel, nylon or gut strings with two different nuts, one of bone for steel strings and one of ebony for nylon or gut strings as they require a higher action to avoid buzzing.
It's a good idea to keep a selection of bridges around to change action.
As for heads, I set them up with head tight for the best tone. The head shouldn't sag much than a 1/16 in the middle. But you should set it to your preference. It will change the tone very much.
A properly tight head will have good pop and note clarity as well as volume,
A loose head will dull the notes and volume.
Do not over tighten as it will stretch the head and the tone will be unpleasant and difficult to manage.
Tighten the screws by a quarter turn all the way around and do as many times as necessary. Humid seasons will need tightening and dry seasons might need loosening. Its no harder than tuning the strings so don't be worried. The tone of a natural hide is far superior to a plastic head.
It plays as good as it looks, 25 1/2 scale length for easy reaches, 1 5/16 wide at nut, gentle V neck profile makes the neck very comfortable and all my necks have a special finish to make them feel smooth and buttery for easy sliding. My homemade varnish is made of natural resins and looks/ feels much better than all modern varnishes.
Entirely handmade and lacking the sterile perfection of factory instruments, thank goodness!!!