I'm looking at a zither banjo which has a had a reset neck, and a higher bridge installed. Before I buy it, how easy or difficult is it to re-reset or un-reset it?! 

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HI Rob,

Because of the way a ZB is made, it would essentially be similar to having the same thing done to a guitar, which is no easy thing. I'm sure there are variations in how each manufacturer made their ZB bodies, so neck/body connections probably vary too. I would expect one might have to steam the joint apart and then recut the angle, do any repairs (because they just don't come apart without some damage), then reconfigure the joint for the new angle, reglue and repair finish issues, etc.

Some of the less expensive ones may have bolt-on necks or other simpler attachments. I have a cheap one leaning in a corner of the music room and it is probably just a bolt/screw connection (I've never had it apart). It would still require some skill to recut the angle, etc.

Sigh. That's not a job for my clumsy hands and foggy brain. Thanks, though, Marc. I'll have to factor in the cost of sending it to a luthier who knows about zither banjos...not many of them around, sadly. 

Most luthiers I know have never seen one.

I intend to do a reset on my Windsor #1 as the neck is leaning forward. Should be a very tedious and difficult reset as it has such a strange (to me) build. The neck is hollow, it has two horizontally parallel dowel-sticks, etc. It is just barely playable with a 10mm bridge.

I have too many projects. Might never get to it.

Hi Rob,

nice to hear that you are into zither-banjo again! :-)

The first zb I bought came in pieces. When I put it all together the neck was not flush to the body. It was confusing and even after I managed to get the rim round again it was still not flush. After much pondering over it I realized that somebody had tried to get the neck at an angle but it was badly done. After even more pondering over this I just gave up trying to reset the neck angle, put a new perch pole at the correct angle so the neck would be flush with the rim. Mind you, that is also not very easy to do and I managed with more luck than skill, I think.

So now this old Windsor, built before 1895 apparently, has quite an angled neck and a really high bridge. It looks really wierd! But I love to play it. It's my second favourite zb after my Vibrante.

So I wouldn't completely ignore a zb with an angled neck. One never knows....

What zb are you wanting to buy? Do you have pictures?

Hi Pär. Good to know. I guess it would not be the end of the world, but I wish people wouldn't take old instruments and change them for a different style of playing. 

No pictures yet. I'll let you know. 

You and me both.

Rob MacKillop said:

Hi Pär. Good to know. I guess it would not be the end of the world, but I wish people wouldn't take old instruments and change them for a different style of playing. 

No pictures yet. I'll let you know. 

Hi Joel. How's the parlour guitar going?

Oh, I think we all here wish that!

And there are plenty of playable zither banjos around, I feel. Maybe you don't have to buy the one you have your eyes on?

Rob MacKillop said:

Hi Pär. Good to know. I guess it would not be the end of the world, but I wish people wouldn't take old instruments and change them for a different style of playing. 

No pictures yet. I'll let you know. 

Well I can read up to 4 sharps in first position which puts a number of Sor etudes under my fingers.  I worked through Carcassi up to the higher positon exercises and have been playing with a few A. J. Weidt and similar pieces. 

In other words, it is keeping me amused and that was my goal.

We are planning on a rally at the end of next month so I am back to being hyper focused on banjo for that. 

LOL, I agree. However if people didn't update their instruments, we'd probably have no Stradivari fiddles around. I think there is only one example extant in original configuration.

It is funny how people view this stuff. Violins/fiddles are designed to be disassembled and rebuilt. Pop the top or back off...reset the neck, reglue, etc. Even high end ones like Strads have it done many times over their lives. Guitars, mandolins and banjos were never designed to be worked on...but it can be done. Problem is, they're usually aren't so valued that we opt for high-end luthier work such as a violin gets. So, they usually are subjected to amateur work.

I suppose if a banjo was worth as much as a violin, we might take better care of them...

Rob MacKillop said:

Hi Pär. Good to know. I guess it would not be the end of the world, but I wish people wouldn't take old instruments and change them for a different style of playing. 

No pictures yet. I'll let you know. 

Yes, this is relevant:

https://youtu.be/LAh8HryVaeY

There's truth in that!

Although, as being mainly active in the early music scene, I always cringe a bit when I hear about old instruments being "improved" to stand up to modern ideals. Specially lots of old three stringed basses being converted to four stringed ones, adapted to stand the very high pressure of modern steel strings. On the other hand, we also have modern ears and I guess we always have to make compromises between what is historically "correct" and what our modern ears find pleasing.

There's also the theory that the old instruments sound so good just because they have been repaired so often....

Trapdoor2 said:

LOL, I agree. However if people didn't update their instruments, we'd probably have no Stradivari fiddles around. I think there is only one example extant in original configuration.

It is funny how people view this stuff. Violins/fiddles are designed to be disassembled and rebuilt. Pop the top or back off...reset the neck, reglue, etc. Even high end ones like Strads have it done many times over their lives. Guitars, mandolins and banjos were never designed to be worked on...but it can be done. Problem is, they're usually aren't so valued that we opt for high-end luthier work such as a violin gets. So, they usually are subjected to amateur work.

I suppose if a banjo was worth as much as a violin, we might take better care of them...

Rob MacKillop said:

Hi Pär. Good to know. I guess it would not be the end of the world, but I wish people wouldn't take old instruments and change them for a different style of playing. 

No pictures yet. I'll let you know. 

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