Tom Nechville, owner of Nechville Musical Products, has never been one to shy away from innovation in the banjo world. His Heli-Mount banjo frame (which replaces the brackets and coordinator rods), and the Nechville Meteor solid body electric banjos have won raves from banjo progressives even while drawing the ire of the arch traditionalists.
Tom’s newest design innovation, which he describes as a Hybrid banjo, is powered by what he (seriously) calls the Nechville Flux Capacitor. He chose the name because this apparatus will allow owners of traditional bracket-and-nut banjo pots to take advantage of the quick set up and adjustment capabilities of the Heli-Mount design – and enable what Tom envisions as Banjo Time Travel.
What his Banjo Flux Capacitor actually does is allow the owner of a traditional coordinator rod banjo to make the sort of neck angle adjustments that would have required the removal of the neck and a re-cutting of the heel profile, simply by turning an Allen nut. The device attaches to the outer edge of the banjo pot, connecting with the two coordinator rods, and serving as the coupling mechanism to a Nechville Heli-Mount banjo neck.
These Heli-Mount necks (which are required to use the new coupler) are built with a two-way truss rod, but attach with a cam mount to allow for this immediate adjustment of the neck angle for different bridge heights or string action preferences.
Nechville describes the mounting this way:
The key to the quick-cam is a rounded interface between the end of the neck and the radiused portion of Nechville’s Helimount frame. A single Allen screw fastens the neck and body with maximum surface area, producing a super solid and stable, yet adjustable, neck mount. Until now this useful feature was only available on Helimount banjos. Now, Nechville’s Flux Capacitor is the breakthrough component making the marriage of timescapes possible!
With the addition of Nechville’s clip-on In-Line Tailpiece, a banjo player can quickly remove and reattach the neck for packing and air travel. All that is required is loosening of the strings, a flip of the tailpiece switch and an unscrewing of the neck to have it off.
Nechville also feels that this neck-to-pot coupling ensures that the fit between these two crucial components is tight and flush. Whether owners of vintage banjos will be willing to add additional mass to their pots to accommodate this system is yet to be seen, but it can be accomplished without any permanent modifications to the pot.
At this point, Tom Nechville is offering this modification on a case-by-case basis, with the first having recently been installed on Bela Fleck’s all original 1934 single-piece flange archtop, using a Nechville vintage-styled Heli-Mount neck. Tom suggests that anyone interested in discussing this conversion should contact him directly by email.
More details on the Nechville Flux capacitor can be found on their web site.