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Banjo tailpiece/bridge installation?
So I’m about to buy this antique tenor banjo on ebay for pretty cheap. It’s cheap because it’s missing a tailpiece, bridge, and one tuner. I figured it woulddn’t be that hard to install a new tailpiece myself. Is that a somewhat accurate assumption? Can I get a tailpiece at a shop or online and put it on myself with some direction from the internet or something? Or is that really difficult? Also, one tuner is missing, but the gear’s still there. It looks like the brackets that held the tuner on are stripped off, so I’m not sure if it’d be possible to attach another. But it looks like the gear could be turned to tune the instrument. I may end up just putting the banjo on my wall, but I wanted to take a shot at making it playable. Any advice or links or anything are appreciated. Thanks!
If it’s a “skin” head banjo, the head may be deteriorated. Replacement of these requires some skill, and is best handled by a pro. The bridge can be readily obtained, and needs to be placed precisely for the scale length of the banjo.
Normally, twice the distance from the 12th fret. It’s easy to slide the bridge slightly back and forth to get the intonation correct.
The height of the bridge determines the action of the instrument, so most are shipped a bit “tall” and have to be adjusted to the proper height by sanding.
You should be able to install a new tuning machine without too much trouble; if you go to a good shop they may even have one that fits in their “old parts” bin.
If not, the internet supplier StewMac should have what you need. (Stewart-McDonald)