As part of Nechville’s “Phantom” series of banjos, the Midnight combines a number of modern features with traditional banjo design.
The maple rim is equipped with Nechville’s Cyclotronic tone ring system, which mounts the tone ring on a series of 80 ball bearings. This setup provides increased resonance and easier adjustment of the head tension.
A compound radius fingerboard with wide frets gives the Phantom an almost electric guitar-like level of playability.
The Phantom Midnight’s maple neck features a tunneled fifth string, which keeps all tuning machines on the headstock and creates a more streamlined neck.
Tonally, the Midnight has a warmer, woodier sound than most traditional bluegrass banjos. It’s got plenty of volume and projection, but without the “piercing” quality you’ll find in many other high end banjos.
Every aspect of a Nechville banjo has been designed for acoustical superiority, convenience, comfort and aesthetics. You'll benefit from the finely crafted details and artistic approach that goes into all Nechville instruments, and you'll have plenty of reasons for pride when owning a Phantom.
As you take the Nechville Phantom into your grasp you immediately begin sensing a uniqueness in quality. Your left hand slides smoothly and effortlessly over the fancy walnut and cocobolo neck, you feel the comfort and sleekness of the polished frets, and you realize that the silky smooth and streamlined neck on your Phantom is just the beginning of the magic. At first strum, you hear the music and the potentials for taking your music to new heights.
There is a remarkable ease in the playability of the tunneled neck on the Nechville Phantom. The 7 to 12" compound radius of the fret board provides the comfort and playability that produces noting accuracy and clarity of tone. This dynamic neck shape gives you a slim feel with maximum structural integrity for strength of tone. Not only is it easier to form chords and other left hand positions, but you also get clean distinctive and full bodied musical notes.
You'll clearly hear the difference when you notice the total lack of sonic interference that is so often present in other traditional banjos. The Phantom's slightly wider profile gives you plenty of room for chokes and slides. Extra wide frets form a secure foundation for the strings' anchor point on the fret board while giving you longer-lasting frets. This combination of features translates to incredible musical power from every note.
The Phantom is an example of modern engineering applied to the 5 string banjo. The absence of the 5th peg on the neck makes changing left hand positions easier. The neck is stronger and lends more solidly to the tone. The Radiused neck conforms to the hand with a slim, easy feel that offers comfort and easy playability.
The Walnut Phantom with no inlays allows freedom of expression in any key and lets the beauty of Nature's wood grain patterns to adorn the neck. Made from select black walnut with curly maple binding. The cocobolo fingerboard is beautiful and stable. Our best Megaphonic 40 hole tone ring and Cyclotronic system is standard.
Premium Black Walnut Neck and Fancy Burl Walnut Resonator
Natural Clear Coat Nechville Finish
Durable Black Eclipse Heli-Mount Frame
Slightly Wider, Comfortable Neck Profile
Curly Maple Binding with Black/White Stripe
Nature's Art- Natural Cocobolo Fingerboard
Super Smooth High Ratio Right Angle Tuning Pegs
20 Hole Megaphonic Bell Bronze Tone Ring
Nechville's Exclusive Cyclotronic Rolling Rim Pot System
3 Ply Maple Rim
Select Ebony Fingerboard with Compound 7-12" Radius Shape
Premium Hard Shell Case, with Adjustment Tools and Manual
Nechville Musical Products introduced the patented "Heli-mount" banjos at the 1991 "World of Bluegrass" Trade show in Kentucky.
NMP owns a patent on several features of the Heli-mount acoustic banjo. The Heli-mount is a 2 piece, cast aluminum frame that replaces over 70 parts of a regular banjo. There is only one moving part instead of 24 or more. The Heli-mount's head tightens with one helical thread around the perimeter, giving completely even tension to the head, while regular banjo heads have dozens of tension points around the perimeter.
Banjoist, Rick Sampson, describes it as follows, "The two-piece Heli-mount design is simply the most elegant and versatile banjo construction ever, providing unsurpassed musical tone". The added benefits of high reliability, easy maintenance, quick adjustability, interchangeability and lighter weight make it an exceptional value in musical instruments. Nechville has several other unique banjo related products including several models of electric banjos, a small, low cost, lightweight practice/travel banjo, and a compensated banjo bridge sold as an aftermarket upgrade to any banjo.
Nechville Musical Products' revolutionary 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. Tightening or loosening the Heli-Mount banjo head is accomplished by the simple turning of a threaded tensioning ring, which fits inside the Heli-Mount frame, rotating when one twists two Heli-Mount tensioning wrenches. Similar in operation to a jar lid, the Heli-Mount system produces perfectly even tension throughout the banjo head - in a matter of moments rather than in an all-day project!
The patented Heli-Mount frame is also the primary structural component for the Heli-Mount banjo, eliminating the need for coordinator rods within the banjo's resonating chamber. String action is easily adjusted by a simple loosening at the base of the banjo neck by the use of an Allen wrench. The Heli-Mount neck has been designed to make a solid connection with the Heli-Mount frame, and loosening the neck enables it to slide up or down along the radius of the frame - thereby raising or lowering string action. When the proper action is achieved, the neck is simply tightened back into position with the Allen wrench.
The resulting Heli-Mount banjo tone is full, balanced, and musical, due to the absence of vibrations caused by loose metallic parts and coordinator rods interfering with the inherent clarity of the banjo's tone ring. The bell brass Nechville Heli-Mount tone ring is "freely suspended" within the Heli-Mount banjo's acoustic chamber, resulting in unparalleled purity of banjo sound and projection. The Heli-Mount frame is available as an Eclipse (black) frame, a Corona (polished nickel) frame, and sometimes is even plated in gold.
Cyclotronic Tone Ring System
This is a cool system that is interchangeable with the current Heli-mount rim. In the new system, the same tone ring is used and stays solidly mounted, yet allows for maximum resonance because it is resting on 80 ball bearings!
You don't see them because they are inside the tone ring, but the difference in volume and tone can be surprising, depending on how your Heli-Mount is set up currently.
Two very positive things happen when all the head tension is bearing on the metal balls under the tone ring. First, the tone ring is able to resonate more fully because the ball mounting prevents any dampening effect of direct contact with the wood rim. Secondly, the Heli-Mount's rotational (helical) tightening is made easier with rolling balls rather than the original sliding Teflon interface.
The result? It's easier to adjust the head for a wide range of sounds from snappy "traditional" to fat and full. If you are interested, we could either install it for you or send you the easy conversion kit. With the Heli-Mount, you can interchange parts in a flash.