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License Plate Resonator Banjo Build

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by richa, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Just finished a license plate resonator banjo. The 1932 plate is when my dad was born and the banjo is for him. This was in progress when I joined TDPRI so I probably won't post a lot of details - just the finished build. I got stuck in the middle and started a T-Type build while I tried to figure out how to do the spider (see below)and the fifth string drone. Now I'm ready to get back to the T-Type.



    This was originally supposed to use a couple of small resonator cones and the license plate was just going to be a face plate.

    20160514_195830.jpg
    I finally gave up on that approach [for now] for a few reasons.

    1. The little reso cones were of a type sold for use in Cigar Box Guitar builds. I was hoping they would be louder than a typical CBG - and they really weren't much - though I liked the sound. Might be partly because the spider/bridge was too heavy.
    2. I was trying to use two cones which required an aluminum spider to support the bridge. Now you would think I would realize that a spider supported at two points is not going to be stable. I thought I had addressed this but in the end it just wasn't happening. Plus getting the spider to rest on the cones at each end without buzzing was causing troubles. I'll probably have another go at this on another build at some point but need to re-think some things.

    So I decided to just use the license plate as the resonator which is the more common way to do this type of build. This old plate is pretty soft steel so it's not as loud as I would like. But it sounds pretty decent and actually has a nice parlor instrument volume level. Plus I kinda like the fact that the plate is the sound producing element. Friend of mine suggested tempering the plate…hmmm.
    • Body is cherry with vintage maple tinted shellac
    • Neck is sepele with clear shellac
    • Fretboard is red heart with just wax
    • Headstock is laminated maple veneer and sepele
    • Double action low profile truss rod
    • The fifth sting is full length but spiked to provide a drone
    • Tailpiece is sheet metal with steel bar stock reinforcement. I started out with just the sheet metal. But the break angle is not real high and it didn't provide enough downforce on the strings so I added the steel bar. I peened the steel to hide all the marks made during bending - and really liked the result. Tempted to make the entire tailpiece out of a piece of steel done like this.

    20160612_185600.jpg 20160612_185612.jpg 20160612_185628.jpg 20160612_185707.jpg
     
  2. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very nice build!

    Tempering the plate may be a great idea!
     
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  3. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Thanks bparnell57. I have to admit tempering it is...uh...tempting. I've been planning to temper some tool steel for a round-round plane so thinking I could do it at the same time. Might want to find another rusty plate to try it on though...
     
  4. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd imagine that it likely would possibly lose some of its patina, but perhaps it could get some heat finish marking too? A test plate is a good idea.
     
  5. dtermined2play

    dtermined2play Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks very cool
     
  6. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    That looks great richa. Really like the tail piece.
    Some builds just don't work out or take a turn somewhere else.
    My Dad was born in 32 also.
     
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  7. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Thanks Zepfan. No joke about the builds not going where we planned.

    You know what that says about us right? :)
     
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  8. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Yes,we're old farts.:p
     
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  9. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Thanks dtermined2play.
     
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