Looking closer at the flange, it looks like it was made to accommodate a five-string neck, and although it fits perfectly over the bracket lugs I have to wonder if it’s an aftermarket upgrade to this pot; there’s a nice little bit of purfling visible that doesn’t seem like they would have bothered with for a resonator model.

The tone-ring looks to be home-made, the holes are pretty regularly drilled but not *machine shop* precise. Really curious to see what it sounds like.

Show thread

Well, two of the clamps shifted and slipped off when I went to move it so I just took them all off and cleaned up the glue. A real luthier could probably had gotten it *just so* but this isn’t too bad; the thin edge of the crack is ever so slightly raised, maybe enough to be annoying when sliding up and down the neck, but it remains to be seen. I might do a spot test on the heel with a tiny tab of nitrocellulose lacquer from the project and see what happens; it oughtn’t take much to smooth that seam.

Show thread

The neck was actually pretty much split clean through except for just a couple of fibers that were apparently being held in place by the strings.

Having to separate parts made it easer to get glue onto all the surfaces it needed to be on, actually. Current status: clamping for 24 hours and then chilling out for a couple of days before I try putting new strings on it (which reminds me, I also need to come up with a nut blank and see if I can still lay my hands on my very small files)

I *think* it may come out just fine? It was a very clean break, very easy to align the parts. I know it's not an uncommon repair, but it's a thin neck and I don't know what the wood is, but it doesn't feel/look all that hard, so we'll see. It'll be fun turning those pegs and bracing myself for catastrophic structural failure.

Show thread

, sort of. The other night I watchlisted a 19-fret tenor banjo on ebay. The seller gave me a pretty good (relative to their asking price) offer, and I somewhat impulsively came back at them with a bordering-on-insulting counteroffer that I immediately regretted because I HAVE TOO MANY INSTRUMENTS.

But they accepted my offer and the thing shipped quite quickly.

Unfortunately whoever packed it did a rubbish job and it arrived with the neck badly split.

I asked for a not-quite-complete refund because I didn't want to deal with shipping it back, and the seller was cool about that, so I'm now the proud owner of a busted frankenbanjo; I got the aftermarket plastic/bakelite resonator off to find the dowel stick creatively married to the pot.

Whoever cobbled it together seems mostly to have known what they were doing, and the tuners and tailpiece alone are probably worth more than I wound up paying after the refund.

The tone ring is a hollow tube with holes drilled into it, not quite a tubaphone but it should add something to the tone.

Somebody put a zero fret on the thing at some point instead of replacing the nut, which was creative. The bridge that had been on it was impossibly low, seems like someone was trying to achieve electric guitar action on the thing, or maybe it had something to do with the zero fret.

Anyway, the neck just needs gluing as far as I can tell; as people on lutherie forums always love to say "It'll be stronger than it was before!" and it's about time I actually replaced a nut... so, it should be a fun thing to tinker with.

Well, that went together pretty quickly, and seems like it might be usable? I should probably invest in a set of actual bass strings to see how those work compared to the coated aircraft cable on there now; I don’t think it will go much below the open A on a regular bass. I went with a 3/4 scale of about 41 inches, should have gone full-scale.

Show thread

Yeah, my fretless banjo chops are pretty rusty, and I never did much chording out of first position. Also it's wicked humid which is no fun with a real hide head

Show thread

While working on it occurred to me that I might finally be able to come up with a relatively painless solution for expressing 5th string notes in standard notation.

... on a five string banjo, the 5th string is pretty much always played as an open string; in the older "stroke" style and more modern clawhammer and scruggs styles, it often functions as a drone. In the classic fingerstyle era, the fifth string is often cleverly used as a way to facilitate left-hand jumps up or down the neck; you don't have to fret it, so a note on the fifth string gives you a little extra time to move your left hand.

Back when banjo music was published in standard notation, the convention for communicating "play this note on the open 5th string" was to engrave the note+duration as usual, but add an upright stem with a sixteenth note flag.

A few years ago a kind soul on the mailing list showed me how it is possible to achieve this by using multiple voices and overriding the beaming/duration for the 16th note, but as you might imagine it's a bit of a pain in the ass when you've got multiple 5th string notes in a given piece; it's exciting to think I might be able to implement a tag to do most of the dirty work.

Anyway, on to the tip: While thinking about logic for such a tag, I found myself wondering how one would handle a half or whole note on the fifth string; When Lilypond encounters the same note with different durations in two voices, it engraves the two side by side, which makes sense... but not for this highly specific fringe case.

Poking around for solutions, I found that Lilypond has two helpful commands for exactly this situation, '\mergeDifferentlyHeadedOn` and `\mergeDifferentlyDottedOn`.

For the example in the graphic, the Lilypond markup that lets the sixteenth and half notes occupy the same space is:

\fixed c' { \once \mergeDifferentlyHeadedOn \once \mergeDifferentlyDottedOn \once \autoBeamOff g16*8\5 }
\fixed c' { g2\5 }
>> d4 b

... so to automagically generate everything within << >>, I'm imagining a tag like:

{{banjo5thStr dur="2"}}

...with logic to calculate the duration override for that 16th note, and an optional 'pitch' attribute to support the older so-called 'Rice' and 'Briggs' tunings.

... the tradeoff here is that MIDI output from this markup will have that note doubled up; when writing Lilypond "by hand" I've adopted a practice of putting 5th string notes in a separate part with silences between them and then just omitting that part from MIDI, but I'm not about to try to implement support for *that* pattern here. I can live with it.

I should say that I don't think I've ever actually seen a banjo piece with a half or whole note sounded on the fifth string, but I like handling fringe cases when they occur to me.

@djsundog you're gonna dig the funky-ass middle part, it's like Brubeck got hold of a time machine and went back to 1868

Show thread

progress: I think I've got a handle on the rewrite, and now it's a matter of adding support for various tag attributes, etc, and then mundane build/packaging concerns.

This is what a Nepenthe document looks like now. Explicit `score` and `staff` tags make it a bit more verbose than the first iteration, but having worked on some OG last night I think this is still going to be a more pleasurable way of dealing with wrangling chunks of Lilypond into scores.

All of this work is ongoing on the `dev-typescript` branch of the repository at github.com/tinpan-io/nepenthe/ (Very much an unstable WIP at the moment.)

Show thread

Alright, The Overlook Hotel July 4 1921 party photo has come across my timeline enough in the last couple of days that I got out my copy of the sheet music and started fooling around with it on .

I have forgotten just about everything I learned about plectrum-style harmonizing earlier this year, but this would be a good exercise for it. Maybe I'll be able to play it by next July 4.

Got a wild hair to do the over on Instagram. I barely learned it and it's pretty slow, but it was a chill Friday night and I havn't recorded a clip in forever so here's "Betty Baker" with some parlor guitar for good measure.

progress: I have successfully implemented the concept of 'parts' and 'layout' as separate concerns, with default behaviors for each (In other words, if you just have a chunk of , it will be rendered as a \staff within a \score)

It's about to get tricky as I try to figure out where it makes the most sense to specify certain attributes, and reminding myself not to try and get *too* clever; like, if you're doing stuff with key and time signature changes and multiple parts, it's still going to be on you to handle the key/time changes in each part

Show more

The Hon. Mayor of Banjotown's choices:


The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!