1950s Kay-made Old Kraftsman Resonator Plectrum Banjo

Workshop: Modernizing a Kay Banjo Rim

Many old Kay-made banjos use the "single coordinator rod" system seen above and have a metal or plastic adjustable neck-angle bracket that supposedly lets you set action sort-of on-the-fly. I've found a number of flaws in the design and these days I have no patience with setting-up these banjos unless I fix the flaws.

Workshop: Installing Side Dots

Here's a simple way to install side dots on instruments. Above are the tools needed -- a drill (I prefer a hand drill as it's slower to mess something up), proper bit (this is 1/16" to match the 1/16" plastic StewMac side dot material), gel super glue, an awl, and a chisel.



Dear everyone -- I've received a lot of emails that I haven't returned yet. I'm sorry! This week all my spare time outside of my regular work flow has been spent getting my taxes done. It's been a busy last year, apparently, with a lot of paper-trails to follow. I will return your messages -- please don't lose heart!


Workshop: Busted Bandurria

Bandurrias are tres cool, but they've got some distinct issues due to 12-string tension and the Spanish heel design. This one is one I've slacked-off on for a long time until the proper repair solution gelled for me -- as the neck joint had caved into the top and sprung the side-seams. Of course, a few layers of old repairs accompanied this condition, too.


1890s Fairbanks Special No.1 5-String Openback Banjo

Workshop: Pickguard Pickup Frustrations

Last year (I think?) I spruced this guitar up enough for its owner to get it going again. This year he came by with a Kent-branded 60s pre-loaded pickguard and had the intention of installing it.

Ephemera: Fool & His Guild (1960s)

The title says it all. How do you like the stripes on that Guild M-20's mahogany top? And... is it me... or is the fretboard bound?

Ephemera: Uzbek Dutar (1943)

This guy is playing a dutar of the more traditional Uzbek variety. The eBay seller noted this as a 1943 photo from Kyrgyzstan. I used to be terribly interested in instruments of this style when I was in High School, but tied frets and friction pegs are generally not my thing.