hawthorn banjos

Ozark Thunder™ Tone Rings

An option on all of our Bradford & Franzke Hawthorn® banjo models is our Ozark Thunder™ "No Hole" flat head tone ring. These bell bronze tone rings were designed, cast, and machined in Kansas City, Missouri. These rings are sand cast using a time-proven Gibson pre-war bronze formulation and CNC machined to our specifications. These are "No Hole" tone rings based on the much sought-after tone rings produced by the Gibson Company in the period 1929-30. The legendary J.D. Crowe's famous "Banger" banjo is a "no hole" banjo from this era. The profile for these rings is our own design, which provides a heavy bass response for a teeth-rattling 4th string. These rings also provide a clear and powerful up-the-neck response. CNC computerized machining provides a consistency from one ring to another that hand-machined tone rings cannot match. Our rings tend to be on the heavy side, weighing in at approximately 3 pounds, 8 ounces or 56 ounces. (Earl Scruggs' tone ring in his famous Gibson Granada banjo reportedly weighed 53-54 ounces). We believe that the extra mass contributes to the ringing tone and projection of these rings. We believe that the Ozark Thunder™ tone ring lives up to its name and to our high standards for our Hawthorn instruments. The Ozark Thunder™ "No Hole" tone ring is an option on all of our Hawthorn banjos and is the tone ring of choice in our walnut Style 4 No Hole, "Fat Rim," "Hollywood Hills" banjo.