Dumb newbie question: Why are 5th string pegs at the 5th fret instead of the 6th fret? Putting it at the 6th fret would allow you to put a capo across the 5th fret and play in C with GCD shapes. I assume this suggestion is ludicrous and shows my ignorance, but I'm curious anyway.
I have found nothing about the fifth peg/fifth fret that prevents me from placing a capo on the fifth.
Fifth string entering at 6th fret would change the string from producing the same notes as 1st string at all locations as it currently does in G tuning, changing all 5th string fretting up-the-neck by one fret.
If you never fret the fifth string, this is no issue, so you could have a banjo with the fifth string entering anywhere you want.
My next build is going to be a tunneled-5th neck
Some builders, Mike Ramsey comes to mind, often put the fifth string tuner too close to the fifth fret making it awkward to difficult to impossible to put a capo there. A 6th fret tuner makes sense if you jam a lot with that banjo and don't want to deal with spikes or whatever, instead you just tune up or down as needed. For me though I've played too long with the current set up that my eyes and hands are just too programmed for the usual suspect to want to change. banjered
Originally posted by banjukebox
I have seen at least two banjos with the 5th string starting at the 6th fret.
Here's one: Dobson
The Vega Xcel (one of many spellings) was based on the PS-5 Pete Seeger Long neck. Among its custom features was the 5th peg at the 9th instead of 8th fret. This was done at the request of Alex Hassilev (Limeliters) so that he could capo up and play in the key of F using C tuning. Although Vega had done this for others (Erik Darling's is known), Alex's is likely the first called the Excell (another of the many spellings). At least one SS-5 Folklore was made with this feature—I've seen it.
This was done in the dark ages before Shubb and other capos were invented that didn't require a support on both sides of the neck.
To the OP, these same capos make positioning the fifth peg at the 6th fret unnecessary but any custom neck builder could accommodate you if you feel that need.
Thanks for all the info. I'll try a Shubb capo first.
I've seen people use a Shubb capo backwards to capo across the 5th fret. Depending on how the tuner is mounted you may or may not have room to squeeze a capo in on the 5th fret. I have a Bonefass banjo with the 5th string tuner at the 6th fret.
Edited by - JimInAlabama on 06/07/2020 13:31:12