My 5-string banjo is tuned in standard open-G (gDBGD). When I play an "A" on the high "D" string (7th fret), I noticed that me low "D" string rings (quite loudly) at EXACTLY the same note (A). Is this normal? It's driving me nuts. I'm trying to play a song where I need that "A" to shut up, and I couldn't figure out why it rang on after I released the low "D" string. Again, is this NORMAL? Is there a cure? The only way I know to stop it is to touch the low "D" string, but I'm too busy playing other notes, so the high "A" rings on quite discordantly. Is there a cure to the ring?
Edited by - Lynne on 02/23/2020 06:05:21
Methinks there is a harmonic at work there. I just checked two banjos sitting here. One does it quite a bit, one not so much. I'll be watching with interest to see what the brain trust here says about cause and cure.
The only I can think of his changing the bridge and loosening the tailpiece a bit. I’m no luthier or expert though
Try a heavier bridge with wider string spacing. Your bridge is too light. Your strike on the first string is actually carrying across all the strings, but is stopping on the thickest string and sounding that one. A thicker bridge will provide greater resistance.
My Bart Reiter was doing something similar to that and I fixed it by replacing the straight bridge with a moon bridge. I don't know if that would work in your situation.
is the banjo head tuned to +/- A?
You might try changing the head tension slightly. It's probably reinforcing that particular note, especially if the head is tensioned to that "A."
Thanks. Honestly, I cannot tell what note the head is tensioned to. If I recall right, it's commonly tensioned to a "G"? In which case, if it is at an "A", I've got it too high, but again, I cannot really tell what pitch it is. Any tips on the best way to listen for head tension?
I don't know how experienced you are but if you are new to banjo then having a loose head will make the banjo sound echo-y with a lot of unwanted resonance.
The easiest way to check head tension is to use forum member Steve Davis's dime method. Get a 10 inch ruler (or something of similar length with a straight edge) and set is beside the bridge in a peghead to tailpiece direction. If your head is at a good tension, you will barely be able to slide a dime under the gap between the head and the ruler beside the bridge.
If the gap is bigger than that, tighten it up.
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