OME hardware is custom made to our specifications of the highest quality materials and workmanship. It is made mostly of solid brass with the exception of our steel bracket hooks, neck truss rod, zinc die-cast L-shoes and Flathead resonator flange. We presently offer five metal finishes: metal finishes: POLISHED & AGED BRASS, NICKEL, CHROME, or GOLD.
Polished brass looks like pure gold when new but with time, it will tarnish somewhat depending on climate and exposure. Nickel has a beautiful, soft, old-time silver look but it will also tarnish depending on conditions. We do not recommend either polished brass or nickel finish for costal or industrial areas.
Our aged brass finish has already been oxidized and is more resistant to further oxidation. Even when new, the aged brass finish looks “Vintage” and has a wonderful ambiance. It has become our most popular finish. Chrome is our most durable finish and can stay looking new for many years while our triple gold plating ( gold, nickel, copper) resists tarnishing, but the gold can wear off as it is not very thick.
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OME Tupelo and Minstrel banjos have 14 brackets on both the 11” and 12” pots. All other models have 24 brackets on 11” pots and 26 brackets on 12” pots. We also have two types of bracket “shoes”: the L-shoe and the ball lug. We normally use our L-shoe on plated and resonator models, and we use the ball lugs on aged brass banjos.
Up until the early 1920’s, most banjo necks were attached to the body or rim with a wooden dowel stick. This worked OK, but it was not a very “solid” connection between rim and neck, and any action adjustment that would be needed was very difficult to do.
Gibson changed all this when they replaced the wooden dowel stick with two adjustable metal rim rods and two neck attachment lag bolts. This gave a more solid connection between neck and rim, plus it made for relatively easy adjustment of the instrument’s playing action. This system has worked very well for almost a century now, and OME has been using it since the mid 1960’s
On our Old-time series banjos, we have kept using the two lag bolt attachment system, but have replaced the two metal rim rods with one wooden rod and one brass lug nut. This gives the look, feel, and tone of the “traditional” open back banjos while still retaining the more secure and adjustable advantage of the dual rim rod system.
OME offers several types of tailpieces, which we use on our banjos: the NO-KNOT, PRESTO, SWEETONE, HARP, and OETTENGER. We use the non-adjustable NO-KNOT only on our Thin-rim Minstrel banjos for that early banjo look and sound. The PRESTO is also non-adjustable, but it has been used for many years as the “standard” tailpiece installed on prewar-style 5-string Flathead banjos. We feel the Presto is certainly worth trying on any banjo and we offer it as standard equipment any 5-string OME Flathead.
In the last few years, the SWEETONE has become our most popular tailpiece and we include it as standard equipment on most of our open-back banjos. This classic tailpiece provides a solid anchor for the strings while providing a balanced and open response without “choking” the banjo’s sound. We recently have come out with a longer SWEETONE which we recommend when a crisper, brighter tone is desired. Both the short and long Sweetone are adjustable to the left and right, and can be used on most 4, 5, and 6-string styles.
The OME HARP tailpiece has been standard on OME banjos for about twenty years now. It is designed to put more downward pressure on the treble strings to produce a brighter, crisper response while leaving the lower bass strings more open. It is adjustable to the left and right as well as for up and down string pressure.
The OETTENGER has historically been the most desirable custom tailpiece ever used on 4-string banjos. It is hand crafted of cast bronze material with a separate, adjustable “finger” for each string. This allows the player to vary the pressure on each string separately, in order to achieve the desired tonal result.