2013 Nechville Saturn Custom Resonator Plectrum Banjo

Nechville instruments are hi-tech, lightweight, truly-modern banjos and feature a HeliMount head tensioning system that works a bit like a jam-jar lid -- rotating a tension hoop that's on ball-bearings with two wrenches on the back to apply even pressure quickly and easily. The necks also "slide" on a radiused joint so adjusting action is as easy as loosening-up a bolt with an Allen wrench, setting your neck angle, and re-tightening. It's like the old '30s Kay adjustable neck mechanism... but it works. It works, people!

I'm pretty sure the inside tag on the rim notes that this is a January 2013 instrument. It was ordered new and custom by my friend Gus for use in a Dixieland-style jazz band that is no longer in circulation. It's quite clean save some finish drops on the side of the resonator (he sealed the inside of it as he has an allergy to walnut) which I've pictured below.

I'm not sure if Nechville made any other plectrum banjos, but I'll bet it'd be hard to find one! It has a full Gibson-style scale length, a fast neck, custom "vintage flat" board (Nechvilles are usually radiused), and a full resonator setup that weighs-in a little under 7 1/2 pounds. The hardware is all aluminum with a cool hard black powdercoat that keeps it slick and understated.

The owner put the original Remo frosted-bottom head on but it comes with an additional Renaissance head. It also comes with all sorts of other goodies, too -- a curious custom stand, plectrum banjo learner's books, and an old-timey dance-band fake book. The wrenches needed for adjusting it are also included, of course.

It sound reminds me of Lange instruments -- Paramounts and Orpheums -- though with a bit more fundamental thrown-in. I'm guessing that has to do with the fact that the tonering is wooden on these, though. It's a nice, even, clean sound that has plenty of extra ring. I didn't damp it much in the clip but I might have put a little more foam behind the head if it were my instrument and I wanted a classic choppity-chop trad-jazz sound.

Repairs included: fret level dress, setup, etc.

Made by: Nechville

Model: Saturn (custom plectrum)

Made in: USA

Rim wood: walnut

Tonering: wooden

Bridge: maple/ebony compensated (for 1 wound, 3 plain)

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: walnut

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 20w, 14, 11, 9

Neck shape: slim C

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium

Scale length: 26 3/8"

Head diameter: 11”

Resonator diameter: 13 1/2"

Depth overall at rim: 3 1/2"

Weight: 7 lbs 6 oz

Condition notes: all-original save adjustment screw for tailpiece and quite clean. There's minor wear on both heads and the sides of the resonator have some finish drips that aren't obvious at a glance but there if you're looking -- I've taken photos of all of them. There's a little bit of usewear on the neck but, again, it's not obvious. It wasn't gigged a ton so it's pretty clean.

It comes with: a custom-made stand, instructional and fake books, good gigbag, and wrenches.


Unknown said…
Will this be for sale? Looks cool!
Jake Wildwood said…
Yup tonight I’ll have it listed