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Feb 28, 2020 - 5:12:48 AM
66 posts since 5/25/2015

I just found this patent for an "adjustable zero fret", which seem to be an idea for a moveable zero fret capo. I was thinking that something like this would be a good way to capo a fretless banjo (a bit like a dobro capo), but could just work as an alternative to regular capos.

Does anyone know if anything like this has ever been manufactured or sold?

Edited by - Lynne on 02/28/2020 20:00:17

Feb 29, 2020 - 11:35:40 AM

173 posts since 8/25/2009

This isn't a real answer to your question, but here it is anyway. I don't really understand the diagrams, but from the description it sounds like the Regan/ Strum Hollow fifth string capo may achieve a similar effect, with a slightly different (non-infringingsmiley) mechanism.

https://strumhollow.com/products/5th-string-banjo-capo 

I like it because:

1) If I place it just behind the fret (closer to the nut) it lengthens the string a smidgen, which (IMO) just compensates for the extra tension produced by the capo.

2) It switches between banjos easily, unlike spikes or most other 5th string capos.

3) My first banjo has the fifth string peg ~1/4" higher than the fret (closer to the bridge). A standard 5th string capo produces notes that are way flat. However, I can place the capo anywhere I want. Placing it below the fret (closer to the nut), lengthening the string, compensates. It turns out that if I butt the capo up against the fret it compensates perfectly at both the 7th and 9th frets (to my tin ear :-) ; the tenth fret is "good enough for folk music". Above that, I have to turn the capo around and position it by eye -or switch banjos.

I've thought that I could also use it on the first string, or the fourth string below the fifth fret to get alternate tunings, but I would be concerned that it might damage the windings on the fourth string. With wide enough string spacing, you could use it everywhere, or get several.
 

Feb 29, 2020 - 2:22:57 PM

159 posts since 10/6/2011

I invented one in 2008 and did a patent search. I estamated the cost to buy would be $65. and the patent protection would be verry narrow becaust the technolgy is used for the Dobro capo which does not compress the strings against a fret, but actually clamps the string which makes it infently tunable .
Contact me if you are interested. SADDLE Thumb picks.

Mar 1, 2020 - 1:47:24 AM

66 posts since 5/25/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Half Barbaric Twanger

This isn't a real answer to your question, but here it is anyway. I don't really understand the diagrams, but from the description it sounds like the Regan/ Strum Hollow fifth string capo may achieve a similar effect, with a slightly different (non-infringingsmiley) mechanism.

https://strumhollow.com/products/5th-string-banjo-capo 

I like it because:

1) If I place it just behind the fret (closer to the nut) it lengthens the string a smidgen, which (IMO) just compensates for the extra tension produced by the capo.

2) It switches between banjos easily, unlike spikes or most other 5th string capos.

3) My first banjo has the fifth string peg ~1/4" higher than the fret (closer to the bridge). A standard 5th string capo produces notes that are way flat. However, I can place the capo anywhere I want. Placing it below the fret (closer to the nut), lengthening the string, compensates. It turns out that if I butt the capo up against the fret it compensates perfectly at both the 7th and 9th frets (to my tin ear :-) ; the tenth fret is "good enough for folk music". Above that, I have to turn the capo around and position it by eye -or switch banjos.

I've thought that I could also use it on the first string, or the fourth string below the fifth fret to get alternate tunings, but I would be concerned that it might damage the windings on the fourth string. With wide enough string spacing, you could use it everywhere, or get several.
 


Thanks. I have one of these from a few years ago but they've been difficult to buy recently. It works well but I have almost lost it a couple of times. I also had to replace the felt on the bottom but found cheap self adhesive pads work fine. I might buy a couple now so I've got some spares

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