Another Geo P Matthew restoration
This one was a bit of a head-scratcher! It came to me in relatively good condition - apparently its owner had bought it reconditioned from eBay, so it had a new skin and was boasting all its parts - tailpiece, bridge and 36(!) tension brackets included.
However, the remaining strings were out of alignment with the neck:
This was the result of a mis-aligned dowel stick - below you can see the beautiful makers mark stamped onto the dowel stick, but also the fact that it's clearly off-centre between the two bottommost brackets.
It also enters the neck at an angle, so the neck doesn't line up across the diameter of the pot. This seems like it might be simply an artefact of how the banjo was originally made, rather than a result of more recent damage.
The result is this - the strings were about 4mm to the right of where they need to sit:
Talking this through with the owner, we decided to avoid the invasive work that a re-set of the dowel stick would entail, and instead find an alternate means of re-aligning the strings. Thinking about it for a while I decided the best thing would be to make a connecting piece to attach the tailpiece in the correct position, while leaving the lug (and the dowel stick it's anchored to) where they are. I therefore shaped a small oak block to serve this purpose:
With the strings positioned correctly over the neck, I did a general set-up job as well. The nut and bridge were adjusted to take the action down a little, the skin tension was set correctly, and the friction pegs were chalked / waxed.
The whole thing was given a dust and clean to get all that metalwork shining: