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Oct 24, 2020 - 8:32:24 AM

waphel

USA

2 posts since 10/24/2020

I’ve been wanting a fretless banjo for a while now and I happened upon this very cheap one and jumped on it. Now I could be putting the cart before the horse here since it hasn’t even shipped yet, but looking over the pictures obsessively while I wait, I started worrying about the action as you can see in this pic. Is that normal for a fretless, or am I going to have to take a crash course in adjusting the neck/dowel stick? Or do I just need a shorter bridge? Or maybe I should just quit giving myself anxiety and wait until I’ve actually seen the darn thing? Help put my anxious mind to rest.


 

Edited by - waphel on 10/24/2020 08:37:04

Oct 24, 2020 - 9:42:14 AM

470 posts since 2/4/2006

I've got a similar Matthews. It too had a slightly high action.

I shimmed the neck where it meets the bracket band and lowered the bridge.

With Nylgut strings it still has a higher action than my fretted banjos but, for me, that works better for fretless playing. The action feels fine when I'm playing.

The Matthews is really good quality instrument with a great neck. I've owned mine for well over 40 years.

Edited by - jazz-phil on 10/24/2020 09:42:42

Oct 24, 2020 - 10:13:33 AM

AndyW

UK

604 posts since 7/4/2017

Bear in mind you won't be going high up the neck on a fretless, maybe the odd venture to 7 or 9 on the first string. So a high action might not pose as much of a problem as you think. A lower bridge will lower the action for you.

Oct 24, 2020 - 10:21:59 AM

5710 posts since 9/21/2007

1/2" bridge, thin nylon strings and action right around 1/4" (more or less) at the 12th is correct.

If you want a modern "old time" fretless with steel strings low action and high bridge, get one of those-- luckily those are still being made.

Oct 24, 2020 - 8:27:25 PM

waphel

USA

2 posts since 10/24/2020

Thank you all so much for the advice. This is my first foray into old time banjos at all, let alone fretless, nylon strings, etc. So I'm feeling a little over my head, but this all helps a ton. I appreciate it.

Oct 25, 2020 - 11:04:24 AM

csacwp

USA

2722 posts since 1/15/2014

I'll echo what others have said . . . It should have high action with a 1/2" or 3/8" bridge. Try setting it up with light gauge nylon.

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