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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Fourth string keeps detuning


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/357183

jakk54 - Posted - 09/23/2019:  06:59:24


Not sure if it's the machine head or badly strung (I have only so far replace one string myself - this is a good, second hand guitar). Any advice? Or should I just replace the string?

Old Hickory - Posted - 09/23/2019:  08:37:12


quote:

Originally posted by jakk54

this is a good, second hand guitar). Any advice? Or should I just replace the string?






Do you mean banjo?



If the tuner is the planetary style (button in line with tuning post and behind the peghead), start by tightening the screw that holds the button. This is how you adjust tension in the tuner.



If that doesn't solve the problem, change the string. If that doesn't solve the problem, I'm out of ideas.



Good luck.

The Old Timer - Posted - 09/23/2019:  08:42:04


If it's a ball end string, it's possible that there was too much excess length on the string when it was inserted in the bridge pin hole. If there's any free movement down in there, as you keep tightening the string, occasionally the string will slip "up" toward the bridge pin, until finally the ball end on the string fetches up on something to stop any further movement. Slack the string off, pull out the bridge pin a little, and pull (gently!) the ball end of the string up until you're sure it has "caught" on the underside of the bridge and pin.

Good luck. Otherwise, I agree with first resonse, tighten the screw in the tuner button, presuming you have one.

jakk54 - Posted - 09/23/2019:  08:42:53


Sorry, 5 string banjo, yes. Not sure if it is this style of peg but will check, and try your suggestions, changing string option also. Thank you.

jakk54 - Posted - 09/23/2019:  09:00:00


Great idea. I will double check the ball end.

GStump - Posted - 09/23/2019:  09:19:58


the obvious answers are tuner slipping, or defective string; but could also be something more sinister. nut slots bad or the nut is actually moving, bridge bad, or slipping or moving, Tailpiece not secure or moving, neck actually not tight to pot assembly, (still, all relatively easy fixes) and if none of the above, then i suggest getting a friend who knows banjos to have a look, OR a good luthier to check it over. shouldn't be that hard on the pocketbook.

GStump - Posted - 09/23/2019:  09:21:21


AND - i forgot to mention a broken head. IF that has occurred then you'll never be able to get the thing in tune or it won't stay in tune. and yes, this can happen and be just bad enough to cause issues, but not so bad that is it easily detected!!

The Old Timer - Posted - 09/23/2019:  10:40:08


If it's a banjo, not a guitar, it is less probable that the ball end (or loop end) of the string has some play in it.

If only one string is giving you trouble, it's not a busted head, more likely loose screw on the tuner button.

Good luck.

Andyrhydycreuau - Posted - 09/23/2019:  11:08:33


Interesting problem. Agree with everything suggested. I've had a slipping bridge in the past, on a new banjo. So you'd be playing and at the busiest, loudest, most enthusiastic part the bridge would slip and the 4th and 5th would be sharp or flat. A slipping tuner can never make you sharp, so I figured it was the bridge, then I saw it move.
At the time I tried a few things, and ended up with a tiny bit of double sided tape. Worked well. Violin rosin was suggested, but it didn't work.
If it only ever goes flat, my money is on the tuner slipping. Tighten the screw a bit?
Are they steel strings, or nylon? Both take a while to stretch when you tune up from new. Nylon takes a lot of stretching. But the 4th stretches least, so maybe not this.
Good luck!

Old Hickory - Posted - 09/23/2019:  12:38:21


quote:

Originally posted by jakk54

... 5 string banjo, yes. Not sure if it is this style of peg but will check






Well, the tuner is either planetary with a cylindrical gear housing on the back side of the peghead and the tuner button on a shaft coming off that, or it's a guitar-style tuner with the button on a shaft sticking out the side of the peghead.



With guitar style tuners, a worm gear keeps the tuner button shaft from slipping under string tension. If you have this type of tuner, I don't know you adjust it or if you can adjust it.

Dan Gellert - Posted - 09/23/2019:  13:46:58


You say you've only changed one string. How long since this banjo's had the whole set replaced?

If you don't know, get a new set and put it on. If that's something new for you, browse youtube for instructions.

Part of playing any instrument is learning how it works and how to troubleshoot and maintain it.

rudy - Posted - 09/23/2019:  14:29:34


quote:

Originally posted by jakk54

Not sure if it's the machine head or badly strung (I have only so far replace one string myself - this is a good, second hand guitar). Any advice? Or should I just replace the string?






If you're new to banjo I highly recommend Frank Ford's excellent informational material for 5 string banjo owners at his Frets.com website.



Everything you could possibly need to know about the 5 string banjo

Meles_Meles - Posted - 09/23/2019:  20:38:26


The loose tuner tension screw would be my first guess too, but some new strings take longer than others to stretch in. (Aquila nylguts are notorious for this, although their superior tone makes up for the frustrating wait.) You may just need to wait and re-tune for a few days,



Also, if you're dealing with a wound string there's a much rarer possibility: if the outer winding wire has broken among the windings on the tuning machine, the core wire might be slowly slipping through the windings. If so, then the string will need to be replaced.


Edited by - Meles_Meles on 09/23/2019 20:41:58

Aradobanjo - Posted - 09/24/2019:  04:07:05


Hello,



Banjo heads and tailpieces are the only two items which can keep pressure on the bridge. The 4th string has more mass. A loose bridge because of head condition or a high Presto setting can be driven around by the 4th.



Another area to consider is playing style. Too loose a head and hand pressure can moves bridges. Tighten the head.



Worn and Clear heads, along with  underside frosted heads are more prone to bridge movement. Playing styles can exaserbate the bridge instability.





Intonation is ensuring the bridge is nearly the same distance between it and the 12th fret as it is between the nut and the 12th fret. Fretting any string gets “out of tune” when the bridge placement is not setup.



Lastly, the third string is middle string. Sighting from the tailpiece, the third string is a straight line in a banjo. Banjos have a floating tailpiece. Realign the tailpiece. Then reset intonation.



The banjo and its tone have a direct relationship between the instrument and its owner. Give the instrument some gentle setup with a deterministic approach and the instrument will sing.



Head tension, tailpiece alignment, nut rigidity, and sound post resistance are the key setup areas to consider observing, then determine an action plan, then do, and observe the results. Repeat if necessary until satisfied. Remember satisfaction is a more than a two way goal. Playing with others is the true test of setup.



Enjoy your banjo.


Edited by - Aradobanjo on 09/24/2019 04:11:01

BrooksMT - Posted - 09/25/2019:  15:20:37


I've had slippage when I did not have enough turns around the peg. This was the 5th string, and I simply cut it too short before winding the peg. I "fixed" the slippage with some masking tape to hold the too short end :-) But I'm careful when messing with the tuner button.

There are various ways to install strings on the 4 peg head posts, complete with videos on youtube. The Martin guitar method that I've seen uses a locking bend in the string and only needs about 1 complete turn around the peg. The Taylor guitar method recommends 6 wraps (turns) around the peg for bare strings, and 3 wraps for wound strings (no locking bend in the string).

I try for the Taylor method; it shows cutting the string, before winding, about the distance from one peg to the next uppermost one; I usually give it an extra length, making the new string about 3 inches longer than the peg it's going to be wrapped around. Better stringers than me can make do with less :-)

Hope this helps.

jakk54 - Posted - 09/29/2019:  01:18:18


Sorry, of course I meant Banjo!


quote:

Originally posted by Old Hickory

quote:

Originally posted by jakk54

this is a good, second hand guitar). Any advice? Or should I just replace the string?






Do you mean banjo?



If the tuner is the planetary style (button in line with tuning post and behind the peghead), start by tightening the screw that holds the button. This is how you adjust tension in the tuner.



If that doesn't solve the problem, change the string. If that doesn't solve the problem, I'm out of ideas.



Good luck.






 

jakk54 - Posted - 09/29/2019:  01:19:00


Thanks, everyone, I have everything I need to know now. Much appreciated!

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