Okay, I got a replacement nut for about $4 from my local music store (Guitar Attention Center, in Springfield, OH), and I ordered and received a replacement bridge $4 from China. It got here in about ten days. I took the back off, loosened and retensioned the head and moved the arm rest around. I also popped off the nut and popped on the new one, without gluing it down in case it didn't work out for some reason. I had to file about 1/16" off the "back edge" of the nut to get it to fit; now it's quite snug even without glue. I strung the thing, with a set of round-wound electric guitar strings that correspond in weight to the average "Light" acoustic set. The "light" six-string banjo set I have is lighter, but it's made for a 26" neck, not a standard guitar neck.
I positioned the new bridge and started adjusting the nut slots - the "stock" replacement nut just had little notches to let you know where the string slots should go. I nudged things down as far as I felt safe without having any precision tools handy, and the strings were too high. So I went to Sears hardware to buy a new set of feeler gauges (they're usually used for cars, but many of the gauges sold for musical instruments are exactly the same). I got the gauge with the maximum # of feelers, which cost about $10, but I had $10 in points from something, so it was free. I also bought a finer triangular file than the one I was using.
So, combining feeler gauges until I got the exact height of the first fret, I slid the gauge up under the nut and used the file to get things down as far as I thought was safe. The banjo is playable now, probably about as playable as they usually are new. Probably if I put the 6-string banjo string set on it, it would be quite playable. But the banjo does not have a very bright sound now. I'd rather get it as playable as I can with the strings I have on it. Putting the lighter set on would make it even quieter.
At the moment, it's in a gig bag awaiting another filing pass at the nut. In the meantime, the neck is straight enough without any adjusting, except for one half-turn of the coordinator rod. Now that I've played it and played with it a while, I have to say that the neck is a little "baseball batty" for me - shades of the old Harmony guitars. But I can adjust, of course.
One result is that I've gone ahead and added it to the Six String banjo page on the RiverboatMusic.com site, with due caveats, of course. http://riverboatmusic.com/banjos/six_st ... banjos.htm
Last Saturday, I played a Banjo gig that I wanted to take this along in case I needed to play any of my "guitar songs." But it wasn't quite playable enough, or loud enough. I did order a pickup thingie I wanted to use on it, but it didn't come in time. As it turned out, it was just as well that I left it home, as there was no good place to set up an amp where we were standing. And my GoodTime Classic Special Openback 5-string was plenty loud for the room we were in. Now I'm petitioning Deering to make a six-string equivalent. (Classic is brown, not blond, Special includes a tone ring which really does make a difference, even without a resonator.) In the meantime, I have a Deering D-6 I can always use if I need to really make an impression, and a Dean Electric-Acoustic Backwoods 6 I can use when I don't. Why do I need this one? To take to the beach, leave in the car on hot and cold days, etc.
I'll keep you posted.