Parts: Neck Brace Extravaganza

Yep, it's time to start emptying my parts-bin! Eventually things just get crowded around here. I present for your satisfaction a whole troop of vintage (and one newer) banjo neck braces.

Brace A is the type used on 1910s-1930s Oscar Schmidt products. Instead of wooden wedges that are driven between the brace and the interior of the pot, these are made to go into a slotted track on the dowel and wedge themselves against the rim. You knock it in place with a hammer nice and tight and then secure it with a set-screw on the top.

Brace B is the same type as A.

Brace C is a heavy-duty, small-profile type and I'm pretty sure it's from a Weymann dowel. It's of the simple "shim-tight-with-wooden-wedges" style. We're going to call that shim-style from now-on.

D and E are identical braces and these appear on all sorts of banjo types from the 1890s through the late 1920s.

F and G are the same as D and E.

Brace H is a little wider and bulkier than D-through-G, but functions the same.

I is an improved take on the shim-style braces above. It has a squared end bit that helps to guide the shims a little better and is meant to be screwed-on flush with the rim's interior edge.

Brace J is meant to simply tighten-down against the rim but works better with shims, too. This style dates from the 1890s as I recall.

K is a Vega-style brace and uses a pin in a hole cut on the side of the dowel to add leverage for tightening the brace/rim joint. The two plates behind it come with to protect the rim's interior from the set-screw.

L is the style of brace found on most Slingerland/Chicago jobber banjos and operates by tightening-down on the top of the dowel which forces the brace against the rim as the pin rides in the slot.

M is a newer repro of the 1910s-1930s Vega-style neck brace. It's heavier-duty than the originals and smoother in operation, too.

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