I added up the weight of your rod and at 4.7 oz it's really not that heavy weight wise for a solid built 8' 3 piece rod. Another approach I would suggest is to have someone who is familiar with casting bamboo rods cast your rod. Most of the time you'll need to try a couple of different weights of line and reels to find the sweet spot. Just because someone calls a rod a 4-5 weight doesn't make it one. If you are casting a 4 wt line on this rod and it's more of a 5+ weight line caster the rod will feel heavy and stiff. Go to a 5 wt line and slow down your casting stroke and then you'll feel the difference. Heck you may need to go to a 6 wt line to find that sweet spot.
Make sure you are positive the rod is a dog before you start reinventing it. You can't go back very easily.
That is a really nice looking rod. I do not think that you will find bamboo rods (unless they are hollow built) that will balance with today’s reels. The “lack of balance” has less to do with the taper and more to do with the material the rod is made of and whether or not it is hollow built in all the sections. I would not mess with shortening the rod. That will create a whole new set of problems. I would have someone who is pretty familiar with bamboo rods check it out for you. I would be inclined to sell it if I did not like it, rather than try to modify it. I do not think there is a potentially successful modification path, especially since this is a 3 piece rod. The sections will not be equal lengths and if you decide to part with it after you modify it it will be worth less than it is now. Every taper is different and if you are used to graphite rods the move to bamboo will seem strange to you. Balancing a rod is over rated in my opinion, but I find older reels tend to “balance” with bamboo rods much better than modern lightweight reels do. Older, longer bamboo rods are almost impossible to “balance” in the way that we think of it today. Additionally, the “success” of a taper varies significantly with the caster. Someone else may consider this taper a total success. I would not mess with it and I would not worry too much about the weight and the balance of the rod.
Oh, I forgot - if you start cutting sections other than taking some off the bottom of the butt section, be prepared for the ferrules not to fit. I do not know how you would shorten the mid section without having at least one of the two ferrules end up being the incorrect size. You would be better off building a new rod.
This is an interesting thread and as someone who designs my own tapers I find interesting. You’ve gotten good experienced advice so far and agree that it’s often possible to salvage a mediocre taper by adjusting lengths or some prudent sanding.
If it was me I’d put the sections together then using a dial indicator measure the flat to flat dimension every 5 inches starting from the tip. There will be guides and ferrules in the way but you can either calculate the dimension or just make an educated guess. Close is good enough for this exercise…..
Enter the measurements in the on line Hexrod tool for developing tapers. It’s on line, easy, and free. These numbers in Hexrod will show the stress slope of the taper based on diameter of the cane (among other things). Compare this slope with a similar Garrison fly rod taper and the problem will be clear. The process sounds complicated but it’s designed for this and is intuitive. Also, I’d be happy to run the numbers for you.
If the graph shows the mid is stiffer than the tip (which it probably is) then you can work the numbers to see how much it needs to be reduced to reach nirvana. .010-.020 you may be able to get away with sanding, much more you’ll need to get more creative.
Also take a hard look at your reel seat. Some of the early nickel silver threaded barrel reel seats with the spacer weigh in at nearly 2.0 oz. and will ruin the action of a great taper.
My gut feeling is that you won’t be able to salvage this rod but the numbers will tell.
Good luck with your project and let me know if I can help.
This is an interesting thread and as someone who designs my own tapers I find interesting. You’ve gotten good experienced advice so far and agree that it’s often possible to salvage a mediocre taper by adjusting lengths or some prudent sanding.....
I appreiate the input. I haven't had a chance to have someone look at it, since I haven't been traveling down from Vancouver as much as usual. But I'll do that, and let you know if we think it can work. I really appreciate your thoughtful response. Seems like there's a clear path to a decision on whether to invest more time/money in it. I'll let you know how the initial evaluation goes.