Around age 30, young Tom Nechville was contemplating his place in the world, and decided to combine his main interest,
playing the banjo, with his work experience of manufacturing, design and engineering. The result of his self study lead to the two
words, “Banjo Designer”. Equipped with the knowledge of his fate, but not yet knowing how he was going to drastically modify
his favorite instrument, he confided in a friend who suggested perhaps a banjo that employed a head that screwed on like a jar
lid. This food for thought triggered a light bulb moment the next day, when Tom realized that you can’t really screw on a banjo
head, but you can screw the banjo tone pot into the “lid” of the jar! The Heli-Mount concept was born. By firmly but adjustably
fixing the neck to a hardware frame, any sort of banjo pot could be inserted from the back of the instrument and tightened with a
single threaded flange, yielding perfect head tension.
The Heli-Mount frame, (meaning Helical Thread Mounting system) allows for easy, quick and simple adjustments, and offers the most versatility of any banjo. It has been the staple of our product line for over 30 years. The sound of a perfectly tensioned banjo head is remarkable: rich, deep, and sweet. The time spent changing the head transformed from an all afternoon event to a two minute spin.
Since that time in the late 1980's, he has made many other improvements to the banjo. These include an adjustable and removable neck connection that negates the need for coordinator rods. Also a compensated bridge, wooden armrest and radiused fingerboard. These are modern conveniences not traditionally found on the instrument. The result is cleaner sound and easy adjustment.
Similar in operation to a jar lid, the Heli-Mount system produces even tension throughout the banjo head.
This takes place in a matter of minutes rather than in an all-day project!
Tightening or loosening the Heli-Mount banjo head is accomplished by turning a single threaded tensioning ring which fits inside the Heli-Mount frame.
Adjustments are made by rotating two Heli-Mount tensioning wrenches that plug into the back side of the tensioning ring. Nechville Musical Products' revolutionary (see what we did there?) one-piece cast metal Heli-Mount banjo frame replaces over seventy miscellaneous pieces of hardware used in the construction of conventional hook-and-nut style banjos.
While regular banjos do not have effective neck angle adjustments,
Nechville necks are easily adjusted
for low or high bridges, without the need to remove the resonator.
This is without any stress to the heel of the neck and tone components (tone ring, rim and head) of the banjo.
A solid connection between the neck and the body of the banjo is crucial to the sound of a banjo. A regular hook style banjo has a narrow heel and only connected in two relatively small areas, the Nechville neck heel is wider and intimately mated to the body of the instrument for a more solid feel. This translates into a banjo that stays in tune, can be played harder without overdriving it and has plenty of sustain.
Our Cyclotronic (ball bearing) system is standard on all of our Heli-Mount models and has several benefits.