Firefly Setup & Care
To setup the Firefly Banjo, stand up the bridge and position it on the drum head centered between the pencil marks. If there is a dot on the bridge, face it toward the tailpiece. Place the strings in the appropriate slots and tune up to standard uke tuning (GCEA). Strings and head will stretch some for the first few weeks so frequent tuning will be required.
Tuner adjustment may be required periodically. Grover 2B friction tuners can be adjusted by turning the screw on the knob. Peghed geared tuners can be adjusted by pushing in while turning to increase drag or pulling out to reduce drag.
Action and neck angle can be adjusted by changing the number of black washers under the L bracket. Simply de-tune, remove the Philips screw holding the L bracket to the strut, and remove one of the black fiber washers to raise the action or add a washer to lower the action.
To tighten the head the drum assembly can easily be replaced on the soprano and concert FF.The Tenor FF can be adjusted by tightening the ten 3/32” hex screws on the rim. Tighten evenly1/8 turn at a time.
For long term storage or shipping we recommend that you keep the bridge turned flat onto the head to relieve pressure.
Any brand nylon ukulele strings will work, as long as they match the scale of the instrument. Generally nylon uke strings last a long time however if thin spots, roughness, or poor intonation is noticed, the strings should be replaced.
Replacing one at a time will allow you to copy how the others are done and make sure the get the different gauges in the correct order.
Knot the bridge end – double knot or figure 8 knot for smaller G and A strings to prevent slipping through the slots on the bridge. Needle nose pliers work well for pulling knots tight and wire cutters or scissors for trimming, leaving about ½” beyond the knot.
Pass twice through hole in tuner and adjust slack such that you have at least 3 to 4 full turns on the peg (when up to pitch) with the string winding toward the head stock supporting the peg.
Try not to exceed pitch when tuning and remember all new strings will stretch for a few days requiring constant tuning until they stabilize.
5-String Firefly Set up & Care
To setup the Firefly Banjo – stand up the bridge and position it on the drum head centered between the pencil marks. If there is a dot or number on the bridge, face it toward the tailpiece. Place the strings in the appropriate slots and tune up to banjo G scale tuning (G,D,G,B,D; strings 5-1) . Strings and head will stretch for the first few weeks so frequent tuning will be required.
Action and neck angle can be adjusted by loosening the 3/8” lock nut on the inside of the drum where the metal coordinator rod attaches to the tailpiece. By turning the Philips head screw in, the action will decrease. Turning the screw out will increase the action. Tighten the lock nut after adjusting.
String replacement – For proper tension tuned in G, we put together the following set using LaBella nylon and wound strings.
#5 g: LaBella Nylon .030"
#4 D: LaBella Silver plated wound .032"
#3 G: LaBella Silver plated wound .026"
#2 B: LaBella Nylon .038"
#1 D: LaBella Nylon .030"
Tuner adjustment may be required periodically. Grover friction tuners can be adjusted by turning the screw on the knob. Peghed geared tuners can be adjusted by pushing in while turning to increase drag or pulling out to reduce drag.
Tightening the head is easily done with the 10 3/32” hex wrench provided. Turn the 10 screws evenly no more than 1/4 turn at a time. When properly tensioned, there should be about 1/16” of sag in the head at the bridge when in tune.
Long term storage or shipping - we recommend that you keep the bridge turned flat onto the head to relieve pressure. Avoid temperature and humidity extremes.
Firefly Pickup Installation
Before assembly, drill ½” hole in Remo drum shell about 3” or 45 deg. (4” on Tenor and 5 String) from tailpiece hole and 7/8” in from edge. Back up with block on bench or in vice to prevent tear out on inside.
Cut and strip O.S. 3” banjo p/u to 6” lead length. Twist red wire to ground shield and tin end of leads.
Tin and solder p/u shield/red wire to connector ground lug (biggest tab) and white wire to smallest tab on Neutrik NYS221 ¼” jack.
Crimp tabs over jacket to support wire and position connections so heat shrink will fit neatly and wires are separated. Test for output and noise level (no hum when connector is touched). Cut 1.25” of 3/8” dia. heat shrink and slip over p/u and shrink in place with hot air gun.
Install pickup assembly into drum with nut and washer on the inside.
Assemble Firefly and stick p/u centered under bridge as shown with wire passing under strut. Add small zip tie to hold wire in place and 1” X 3/8” piece of 3M VHB over wire at end of p/u. Peel off red backing.
Firefly Drum Head Replacement Surgery: a minimally invasive procedure
Loosen and remove strings from tailpiece.
Inside the old drum head, place the new wedge between old wedge and underside of skin.
Turn the banjo over on a firm flat surface, skin side up. With a piece of paper or cloth over the drum, strike the wedges with a hammer to loosen from neck.
Remove wedge and two screws (Philips screwdriver and 5/16 in. wrench) at the tailpiece end. Pull neck strut out of old drum, insert into new drum.
Re-assemble and hand tighten screws in tailpiece. Hammer new wedge to roughly 1/4 in. from underside of skin or until it feels tight. Tighten screws and adjust shims if necessary for proper action.
Restring and align bridge 14 1/16 in. (soprano) or 15 9/16 in. (concert) from center of zero fret to bottom edge of ebony part of bridge.