1 Proteus 1 year ago Apparently banjers must be discussed here in "Other Equipment", as I refuse to consider a banjo a guitar.The 6-string banjo has been around for over 100 years, and should rightly be considered a banjo. I don't care how it's tuned, and whether a guitarist can play "Sweet Home Alabama" on it without learning anything new, it doesn't sound like a guitar.(It's pretty weird, at one end you put in guitar, and at the other end out comes...banjo.)But I digress.If there's one thing that's set up worse out of the shipping crate than a low end guitar, it's undoubtedly a low-end banjo. Gah. I've had a Roots Collection Dixie 6 for several years (an impulse acquisition I didn't really need considerin' I have a tenor and despise 5-string, but because I'll sometimes retune the tenor to the top 4 strings of a guitar when, in the heat of recording battle I need a banjo part for texture to keep chords thoughtless, I figured why not have the whole set of 6?), but it came out of the box virtually unplayable. Ridiculously high action, a bridge homeless people were squatting under, head loose and sagging, all but loose nuts on the co-ordinatin' rods, you get my drift.Every once in a while I get it out, observe that it still needs considerable setup attention, realize I have no particular need for it, and put it back. Being in a spring-tune-up mood, however, I decided today to git'er done. (Sorry, banjers bring out the hillbilly in me, which isn't buried that deep to begin with.)I've now touched literally everything on what used to be a bad banjo sculpture and is now a pretty nice instrument: truss rod (hard to find down in its dark hole, and who KNOWS what size wrench it really takes?), every tension rod nut, all the co-rod nuts, and the bridge.Since I've owned it for years through many Indiana seasons and changes of weather, I can't blame Gretsch - but it needed less relief (and, at the end, a little more relief), a shallower neck angle (to bring action down), and ah swar tew GAWD almost a quarter inch off the bridge.Well, lo and beholden, it now has exactly the action for which Deering sets their instruments up at the factory (1/8" at the topper most fret), and has almost no fret buzz (might have to shim the treble side of the bridge a bit, depending on how aggressively I play), and it really plays quite nicely.I liked the dead-calf plunk of the loose spongy head, but I did tighten it up enough to keep the tension rod nuts from falling off for sheer boredom.It's been a long time since I spent much quality time in the back end of a banjo, but the mechanics gradually came back to me. (My grandfather's 1918 Gibson TB4 tenor, stop me if you've heard this one, was my first stringed instrument – and it seems to require adjustment regularly every 25 years or so. Gibson was having NO PROBLEMS in those years, I can tell you. But I guess I've been in it enough to teach me my way around banjernatomy.) So this Gretsch Dixie, a few hours ago merely implying the promise of a 6-string banjo (and taking up studioffice shelf space instruments as-yet-unpurchased were jealous of) is now a banjer. (Though I can't help it, every time I think of a banjo made in Asia I think of Steely Dan, "angular banjos sound good to me.")Yay.Now here are my questions. I'll number them for clarity and brevity.1 - Does anyone know if this instrument takes a short-crown or high-crown head? I hate to have to measure anything - and what faith would I have I was measuring in the right place? Mine came with a plain white Weatherking, and I fancy the Fibreskyn the Dixie later came with, to dress it up a little. (Actually "fancy" and "Dixie 6" don't belong in the same sentence. This is a plain instrument. Jane is fancier than this instrument. Its only high-falutin' adornment is the pearloid headstock face, and I bet Dixie had to beg on its humble little knees to get it.)So that's what I need to know. High-crown or short-crown. Apparently it matters.2 - Alas, one hates to report it, but one of the tuner buttons broke in half in my hand whilst tuning. I'm telling you the truth, Dad, I wasn't man-handling it! I was just turning it, it wasn't stuck or anything, and it just cracked and broke off! I know I said I'd take care of it, don't make me stop lessons, we're just getting to "Deliverance", I'm learning the guitar part.So. Single open-back tuners, cute little black buttons. Anyone know where I might score one? Who has one lying about from replacing the whole set? (Yes, I'll check with Gretsch, maybe they have some spares, but...)3 - Did we know Gretsch has apparently discontinued the Roots series banjers? I sure can't find them on the site. Not a mention. Did they need the wood for centerblocks, or what?I mean, not that Gretsch banjers were eating the world, businesswise. I just hadn't noticed they quietly went away. Surely that makes this one (like new! NOS! Original strings! Never really played!) more valuable, right?Not that I'm selling it. I just got it working, and I ain't just whistling "Dixie."