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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Shorter Neck, Same Scale


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/362887

Blue20Boy17 - Posted - 04/07/2020:  18:50:35


I was considering making a shorter neck. I was thinking like C-scale length, but using a standard 26.25" scale only from the 5th fret down, putting the 5th tuner where the 10th fret would normally be, and adding an extended fretboard so that the neck will still have 22 frets. I have heard that starting from the 5th fret would allow my bridge to stay in the same general area. Is this true? Also, can I tune this thing to an open G, or would I need to get a special type of string?

Alex Z - Posted - 04/07/2020:  19:18:21


Think of this:



  - Put a capo on the 5th fret.



  -Spike the fifth string at the 10th fret.



Now you have the specs for a shorter neck.  The "scale" length, in inches, will be shorter, however, but the bridge will remain in the same place.  You can still add 5 frets as an extension of the fingerboard.



The shorter neck -- with the same strings and same tension -- will be tuned to open C, obviously.  So if you want to tune down to open G, have to decrease the tension.  Might not like such a slack tension.  To tune down yet have the tension the same as the full length open G, it will require strings about  1.3 times the the diameter of standard strings.  So 1st string would would go from .010 to .013, , 2nd string from .011 to .014, 3rd string from .012 to .016, and 4th string from .020 to around .026 (the 1.3 ratio is only approximate for wound strings).



Interesting idea.  Hope this helps. 

Blue20Boy17 - Posted - 04/07/2020:  19:31:29


quote:

Originally posted by Alex Z

Think of this:



  - Put a capo on the 5th fret.



  -Spike the fifth string at the 10th fret.



Now you have the specs for a shorter neck.  The "scale" length, in inches, will be shorter, however, but the bridge will remain in the same place.  You can still add 5 frets as an extension of the fingerboard.



The shorter neck -- with the same strings and same tension -- will be tuned to open C, obviously.  So if you want to tune down to open G, have to decrease the tension.  Might not like such a slack tension.  To tune down yet have the tension the same as the full length open G, it will require strings about  1.3 times the the diameter of standard strings.  So 1st string would would go from .010 to .013, , 2nd string from .011 to .014, 3rd string from .012 to .016, and 4th string from .020 to around .026 (the 1.3 ratio is only approximate for wound strings).



Interesting idea.  Hope this helps. 






So theoretically if I wanted it tuned like normal, I could use a set of light gauge guitar strings on it, utilizing 3 B strings (1st, 2nd, and 5th on the banjo), the G string (3rd string on banjo) and D string (4th on banjo)?

Blue20Boy17 - Posted - 04/07/2020:  20:23:29


quote:

Originally posted by Alex Z

Think of this:



  - Put a capo on the 5th fret.



  -Spike the fifth string at the 10th fret.



Now you have the specs for a shorter neck.  The "scale" length, in inches, will be shorter, however, but the bridge will remain in the same place.  You can still add 5 frets as an extension of the fingerboard.



The shorter neck -- with the same strings and same tension -- will be tuned to open C, obviously.  So if you want to tune down to open G, have to decrease the tension.  Might not like such a slack tension.  To tune down yet have the tension the same as the full length open G, it will require strings about  1.3 times the the diameter of standard strings.  So 1st string would would go from .010 to .013, , 2nd string from .011 to .014, 3rd string from .012 to .016, and 4th string from .020 to around .026 (the 1.3 ratio is only approximate for wound strings).



Interesting idea.  Hope this helps. 






Actually, I just found Stringjoy.com, where I can order any size of single guitar strings (also sets, but I only need 5 lol). A set of strings to those specs, plus shipping, is about $11.95.

Alex Z - Posted - 04/08/2020:  08:41:51


B 2nd string of light gauge guitar set is typically .016   That's going to feel pretty tight on this design.



Guitar light gauge:  .012, .016, .024



Guitar medium gauge:  .013, .017, .026



Can take your choices.



Check out Elderly single strings.  They have just about everything that GHS makes, in both loop end and ball end.  You can order "by the each."

Culloden - Posted - 04/08/2020:  09:06:09


The closer the twelfth fret is to the pot the further back you have to place the bridge. Measure your scale length from the fifth fret and you will see where the bridge has to go.

Alex Z - Posted - 04/08/2020:  10:37:46


Think "capo 5."  No need to move the bridge.



The 5th fret to the 17th fret (12 frets up) is about 10 inches.  And the 17th fret to the current bridge position is about 10 inches.



The 12th fret comparison is helpful in neck design, and here is what is happening at the same time:  The frets farther up get closer and closer together, and are infinitely small as they approach the bridge.  So there is always room for enough frets to fit in no matter what the scale length ASSUMING that the scale length is being adjusted by cutting off frets at the nut end of the neck.



If the neck is being designed such that the nut end and the entire neck is merely being moved closer to the pot -- i.e., a shorter neck, rather than a shorter scale length -- then that would affect the bridge position, and the rule of doubling the 12th fret distance would come into play.

Lew H - Posted - 04/08/2020:  19:24:50


I have a custom made neck on a banjo that I call my "pony longneck." The neck is regular scale, but markers and 5th string peg are moved 3 frets up the neck--so the 5th string peg is a the 8th fret. etc. In what would ordinarily be open G tuning, it tunes to open E with no capo. For this banjo I buy individual banjo strings from Elderly that are one notch heavier than medium gauge strings. So the first string is .012, rather than .011. I don't know if this would work for you: The one notch heavier might work, but you might need yet heavier strings. Oh, I typically use the GHS PF140 strings on other banjos, where the 1st string is .010.

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