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Windsor Whirle repair and set-up

This Windsor Whirle banjo came to me in need of a look over, clean, and set-up, after languishing in a school for who knows how long - finally rescued out of a bin(!) to become the new owner's starter banjo. The Windsor banjo company are probably now more associated with zither banjos than with this resonator style, but they were making various 'Whirle' resonators (5 string, tenor, etc) from the late 1920s until their factory in Birmingham was bombed out in the second world war.

The were a number of sub-designations of the Whirle, depending on quality - the Monarch, the Deluxe, and so on. This one is a Gem Supremus. I'm not sure exactly where that sits in the hierarchy, but I suspect it's towards the entry-level end! Which, given this instrument is to be a starter banjo once again, is fitting. When it was passed to me it was mostly just dirty and poorly set up. But there were a few elements needing attention.

The nut was badly worn and had a couple of superfluous notches in it, the skin was coming away from the flesh hoop and preventing proper tensioning, and among all the accumulated grime there was a nasty big sticker on the back of the resonator.

So the whole thing got a clean up:

I took out the old nut and put in a new one:

And replaced the old skin with a Remo Renaissance head (as the owner preferred synthetic over vellum):

There's always more work that could be done - some aesthetic repairs to the binding on the resonator, a new bridge (the original is fairly worn), finding replacements for a couple of missing pieces of flange. But the brief here was a simple set-up, and getting it playing again is certainly the most important thing! So here's Poor Boy Long Way from Home, recorded while I was settling the strings in:

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