Archtop to Flathead Conversion Tone Rings
In conjunction with the ongoing tone ring tests and the tests of the old wood rims, I have been trying out some of the archtop to flathead conversion tone rings on the market.
So far, I have tried the Sullivan conversion tone ring and three of the Hopkins-McPeake tone rings, one nickel plated, one chrome-plated and the third, gold-plated. The results have been quite interesting and, I might add, not entirely surprising.
I have tried the Sullivan conversion tone ring, the nickel plated Hopkins-McPeake tone ring and the chrome plated Hopkins-McPeake tone ring on a Tony Pass submerged maple rim. I have tried a gold-plated Hopkins-McPeake tone ring and a nickel plated Hopkins-McPeake tone ring on a Tony Pass submerged birch rim. The preliminary results are these. The Sullivan ring had an excellent flathead sound, but I liked the sound of the Hopkins-McPeake ring on the maple rim better. The chrome plated Hopkins-McPeake tone ring on maple and the nickel plated Hopkins McPeake on birch both sound interestingly close to a prewar flathead banjo. The gold Hopkins-McPeake on birch is also an excellent choice.
I have much more testing to do before the jury is entirely in on these. Watch these pages closely.
One interesting note is this -- there are some banjo builders who routinely use archtop to flathead conversion rings when building new instruments, because they like the sound. I can hear why.........................by