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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Bnajo Uke set up

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:

Ginridge - Posted - 02/27/2022:  11:11:39

Hi Folks,

I recently was asked to purchase and restore a vintage Banjo Uke as a present for a friend's son.

I bought a Slingerland build banjo Uke form the 30s, nothing fancy, but with a resonator and it's original head intact and metal hardware solid, but tarnished. I was able to buff out the metal parts and replaced the original tuners with Grover Champions. I also had to re-glue and re-shape the resonator which was coming apart in multiple places, then I leveled and crowned the frets and french polished the resonator, and neck (body was fine).

I purchased a new bridge and put it all together with very nice results. It did not have a lose post and did not seem to need a neck re-set. After assembling everything, I began to tweak the action, but am uncertain as to how low it should be set. I've looked at multiple banjo sites, but have found no specific set up numbers for one of these.

The action is currently just over 3/32" at the 12th fret. Since this is a nyla-gut stringed instrument, is that about right or should I have it lower yet?



Culloden - Posted - 02/27/2022:  11:51:24

My banjo uke has the strings about 1/8" above the twelfth fret. If yours plays without buzzing at 3/32" then you don't need to go any lower. Nylon strings have more give than steel. You have a little more room to play around. (Pun intended)

TreyDBanjoKS - Posted - 02/27/2022:  11:55:30

Nice work! That looks like a fun little uke, I'm sure they'll love it :) My 2 cents- setup always depends on the player's preferences, but I wouldn't go much lower than that or else you could lose volume and run into buzzing. (But maybe quiter is a good thing for a banjo uke!)

I have a modern Gretsch Clarophone with just under 1/8" action @ 12th fret using a 5/8" bridge, and it works really well for my play style (some strumming, fingerpicking, and a little clawhammer).

Ginridge - Posted - 02/27/2022:  11:57:29

Thanks, Mark! I'm new to gut/nyla-gut set up and I wondered about that. I'll leave it where it's at.

Ginridge - Posted - 02/27/2022:  12:01:57

I was looking at Clarophones when I got this one. Several were in a similar price range and they looked like solid instruments. I might have to pick one up...

Thanks for the advice!

tdennis - Posted - 02/27/2022:  16:06:39

Excellent job. 3/32" is about as low as you want to go, & they play fine at 4 or 5 /32" if you need to go higher w/ a different bridge. 

Edited by - tdennis on 02/27/2022 16:08:02

mikehalloran - Posted - 02/27/2022:  23:22:40

Great job. Is there any chance that the friction pegs you replaced were carved wood?

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