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Jan 17, 2021 - 1:08:56 PM
30 posts since 5/23/2006

My first open back so how does this mechanism work to help lower the action?

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 01/17/2021 19:03:17

Jan 17, 2021 - 1:29:55 PM

3607 posts since 5/29/2011

It doesn't lower the action. It's purpose is to hold the neck firmly against the rim.
If you want to lower the action on a banjo with a dowel stick you have two feasible options, use a shorter bridge, or have the dowel stick reset. If your bridge is 1/2" tall then you likely won't find a shorter bridge. A neck reset can be an expensive and time consuming process so make sure that it is necessary before you have it done.

Jan 17, 2021 - 3:15:18 PM

30 posts since 5/23/2006

Thanks, appreciate the info. I had no idea what that screw was for, I'll tighten it up and work on the bridge.

Jan 17, 2021 - 4:51:57 PM
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1728 posts since 6/2/2010

Most clawhammer players prefer higher action than bluegrass players. That being said open back builders sometimes build with a higher action designed into their banjos.

Jan 17, 2021 - 5:29:23 PM



55530 posts since 10/5/2013
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My FIL used to jam pennies between the neck end and the hoop. Lol

Jan 17, 2021 - 5:39:13 PM
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133 posts since 2/20/2004

Loosen the screw and a shim between the end of the fingerboard and rim.
Tighten the screw up.
Gives you a bit of adjustment

Jan 18, 2021 - 7:45:34 AM

30 posts since 5/23/2006

Good ideas! Thanks guys!

Jan 18, 2021 - 8:05:01 AM
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208 posts since 8/11/2015

If you are new to openback banjo playing and maybe have tried guitars or other string instruments first, I would advise against doing anything permanent to the string height to begin with. Possibly someone will come along after my post and suggest that. You will get used to it (unless we are speaking of something that is way off).

I went for a lower bridge to begin with, very low, and slowly adjusted to wanting higher action. A couple of years and a couple of bridge height levels later, I’m actually back to the bridge height the banjo came with. This may not be relevant to your instrument but at least a lower bridge is a ver non destructive way to go.

Jan 18, 2021 - 5:57:32 PM

73958 posts since 5/9/2007

I once lowered the action on a Celebrated Benary by enlarging the top of the hole for the dowel on the tailpiece end.
By raising that end the neck laid back and we put on a 9/16" bridge.
I carved a crescent moon shaped filler piece from maple for under the dowel end.

Jan 18, 2021 - 7:52:59 PM

Bart Veerman


4853 posts since 1/5/2005
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Before doing anything, how high/low is the action at the 12th fret now?

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