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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
CRANKY YANKEE String Change - How often? (17) RE: String Change - How often? 08 Dec 01

I change them for every performance or every couple of hours when I'm recording. My old D=28 (1963) just sounds so good with new (or boiled) strings, it really inspires me when I'm performing.

Don't throw away the strings that you take off, bronze wound strings can be re-vitalized simply by boiling them for three minutes in clean water. I don't know why this works, but it does.

Don Meixner:
I have a "one of a kind" long necked banjo made in 1925. The pot was made by Fred Bacon, himself, when he was still living in Hartford, Connecticut, before he founded the "Bacon and Day" company of Groton, Ct. He made it for a friend named Todd Farnham of Tiverton, Rhode Island who made the neck. Todd, now in his 90's is also a friend of mine. Todd is one of the worlds greatest luthiers. He made guitars, banjos, mandolins and dulcimers. His wife died about six months ago and he has since moved to Florida to live with one of his neices. The last time I saw Todd, which was just before he left Tiverton, he went rummaging around in his basement and came back upstairs with thi s banjo and he GAVE IT TO ME. He said that this neck was the first thing he ever made,. when he was still an amateur. I was struck dumb for about two minutes (a very unusual posture for me) and finally blurted out my thanks saying, "This is the nicest present anyone has ever given me". He said, "Just play it a lot, and think of me and I know I'll be thinking of you, Joyce and Donna. Joyce Katzberg, my Daughter, is also a close friend of Todd's. He gave her a "Dobro" that he made in 1929, and gave my wife Donna, his wife's mountain dulcimer. He also made the case because he couldn't find one that fit a long necked banjo. It's made of Brazilian Rosewood covered with leather. The point of all this meandering is that this is just about the greatest sounding banjo I've ever heard, and, I DON'T CHANGE IT'S STRINGS UNTIL THEY BREAK. I use guitar strings on it. They are just about long enough if you, very carefully, pop the ball out of the end. I use a .010 for the first and fifth, .013 for the second .017 for the third and AN UNWOUND .022 Hawaiian guitar third for the fourth string. So, all of it's strings are unwound, and, unwound strings, if kept clean, just don't go dead. I tried an unwound guitar third once on my guitar, but, it didn't sound very good. The unwound fourth on the banjo does sound good. Try it, if you don't like it, go back to the ones you have been using. What can you lose?

I quit using my Gibson Mastertone banjo. In fact, I loaned it to a friend who wants to learn 5-string banjo. I'll probably wind up giving it to him if he really does learn.

Norton I: Where do you get your bulk strings, and, could you give me an adress?

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