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.