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Dec 8, 2019 - 11:46:19 AM
1735 posts since 8/4/2011

I have a new Gold Tone CC-100R+. The 4th string tends to slip off the fret sometimes in first position around the 3rd & 4th fret.

I was thinking I might need to either raise the action or get a nut with narrower spacing (I also realize this could just be a technique issue, as I've had this issue with other banjos in the past).

Any suggestions? In general, the action on this seems fairly low.

Dec 8, 2019 - 12:12:57 PM

171 posts since 11/13/2018

It's the first string that I've struggled with, rolling off the fretboard. For me, it was just technique. Long time guitar player that's used to a little wider fret board. I even thought about passing on specific banjos because their fret board width at the nut was 1/32 narrower than another. I wised up and realized I could get used to and adjust my technique, with practice and developing muscle memory, just like I did with the guitar years ago.

Dec 8, 2019 - 12:30:36 PM

3744 posts since 10/13/2005

A picture would help more experienced players/builders here answer your question, and, it could be some gradation/spectrum on the technique/string-spacing question. How the fret wires are filed at the neck edge is also an aspect – are they really sloped or more perpendicular? banjered

Edited by - banjered on 12/08/2019 12:31:14

Dec 8, 2019 - 12:42 PM
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14 posts since 2/10/2017

If this has happened to you on other banjos, it's not the banjo, but technique.

Dec 8, 2019 - 1:40:15 PM
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963 posts since 8/7/2017

Since Joe has been playing for a long time, and on different banjos, I suspect it's the banjo or finger, not the player technique. Simple things to check:
1. Factory filing on end of fret goes too far onto fretboard - solution, refret just that one.
2. dip in the fretboard (or poorly seated fret), leaving the fret sloping outwards .
3. slippery substance eg. silicon on that fret. Not sure how to clean Si, but light buffing of fret with very fine sandpaper might remove enough. You are only dealing with a layer a few atoms thick.
4. Change in the fingertip of whichever you use for that string on that fret: new callus, leftover CA glue from a project (this happens to me from model boat building), Si  or something slippery  only on the part of finger tip that touches that string at that specific angle.

Hope something in list triggers a better idea and you can fix problem. Must be frustrating.

Edited by - BrooksMT on 12/08/2019 13:44:43

Dec 8, 2019 - 1:49:17 PM

Alex Z


3707 posts since 12/7/2006

"I also realize this could just be a technique issue, as I've had this issue with other banjos in the past"

That's a reasonable conclusion.  To help figure out what's going on, can you pin down which fingers you are using on the 3rd and 4th frets when this happens?

If it's not happening at the 1st, 2nd, and 5th frets, then I would not recommend messing around with the banjo.

Dec 8, 2019 - 3:30:01 PM
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Players Union Member



14854 posts since 3/27/2004

This is often caused as a result of one or more contributing factors; high string height at the nut, improperly formed fret end ramps, and/or spacing that is too close to the edge.

You can double-check the string height in the nut slots, but the other two factors are part of how the instrument was designed and constructed.

Banjos are not the same as guitars, but new builders who have previously made guitars often make assumptions about the banjo that don't match their guitar counterparts.  I set outer strings a full 1/8" back from the edge of the fret board and increase the ramp angle at the fret end so the string doesn't deflect over the fret end as easily.  The low string tension of the banjo makes this more of a problem than you see in the guitar world.

Most banjos have fretboards that increase in width between the nut and fifth fret position, so it's hard to envision how the forth string could be pushed that far to the side.  Do check your string centering over the neck heel, too.  That's a long shot, but I've seen it far enough to one side to make a difference.

Edited by - rudy on 12/08/2019 15:35:12

Dec 9, 2019 - 10:06:47 AM

1735 posts since 8/4/2011

Well, it's happened with one other banjo, and with that one, it was on the 1st string slipping down off the fret. I've had probably five banjos in my life where this was not an issue. If my finger is totally perpendicular to the fretboard, it's not a problem, but if I push it even a little (on purpose for choking/vibrato or accidentally), it slips off.

It does look like the fret is a little more angled inward than some of the other frets.

Dec 9, 2019 - 1:43:11 PM
Players Union Member



1046 posts since 11/3/2016

As Rudy mentions , if the fret ends are poorly cut , filed &/or rounded , the strings will slip off no matter what technique is applied . The only recourse is to install another fret --- properly . Also , check the bridge & TP side to side location on the head to assure 1st , 4th & then 5th string are equidistant to the edge of the fingerboard . It's also possible you might have a poorly cut , installed or played w/ nut , & it's off center

Edited by - heavy5 on 12/09/2019 13:53:06

Dec 9, 2019 - 4:30:33 PM

Alex Z


3707 posts since 12/7/2006

4th string slipping off the 3rd and 4th frets.

A picture of the fret board may help.  That string is normally a long way from the edge of the fret board at those positions.

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