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Apr 22, 2021 - 5:15:14 PM
8 posts since 4/20/2021

I just bought a Gibson banjo, and I’ve been playing it for a few days now. I just noticed that when I try to capo up to B flat, the 5th string is producing a B note. It’s also producing a B note when capo’d to B. So basically when I press on the 5th string at either the 8th or 9th fret, I’m getting a B on both. Any idea how to fix this?

Apr 22, 2021 - 5:43:34 PM

GStump

USA

421 posts since 9/12/2006

Hey there Andrew - I think your frets may be in need of some attention, OR something else could be going on of course. the relief in the neck could be totally off possibly. I would ask, and hope it's not a crazy question - of course you also capo the fifth string when playing in A, B flat, B, or what have you. For B flat, that should be the 8th fret. If you are playing in B, then capo the fifth string at the 9th fret.... It may be that the 9th fret is high enough (too high), OR the 8th fret is so low, that even if you capo at the 8th fret for B flat, your string is resting against the 9th fret... you should be able to visually see that, if that's the case. Hope this problem gets solved soon! The only other possible thing that comes to mind is you only have two spikes (what kind of capo do you use for the 5th string?) and you have those at A and B... if this is the case, then for B flat you put the string under the "A" spike, and tune the 5th string UP a half step; if you capo the 5th at the B fifth string spike, then you have to tune the 5th string DOWN a half step. AND - fretting that string in that case requires that you also take into account where the spikes are, and you will fret the 5th string either one fret low or high, depending on which spike you use. Hope this helps!!

Apr 22, 2021 - 5:50:46 PM

8 posts since 4/20/2021

I have spikes for capoing up to A and B, and previously I’ve just been putting on an Earl’s fifth string suspender capo when playing in B flat. I do suppose the easy fix would be just to capo to A and tune up a half step though. And might honestly be easier because I’m not a big fan of how the suspender capo sits on the string anyway. Thanks!

Apr 22, 2021 - 9:49:02 PM
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11684 posts since 6/2/2008

That you only have spikes at 7 and 9 was a key piece of information missing from your original post.

Of course if you want to capo 3 to turn G tuning into B-flat, then neither 7 nor 9 is going to be correct for the fifth string without either tuning it up a half step from 7 or down a half step from 9.  Likewise, if you want to capo at 5 to play in C as if in G, then you need to raise your 5th string to C, which in your case means spiking it at 9 and tuning up another half step.

I get the impression from ads and discussions that two spikes at 7 and 9 is very common. Adjusting 5th string tuning for keys that would require spiking at 8 or 10 gets the job done, but it requires changing your fingering if you fret the fifth string.

That's why I think the preferable fix (which happens also to be easy) is to add a spike at 8. And maybe consider 10.

Apr 23, 2021 - 6:02:34 AM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

3997 posts since 3/11/2004

You could use the spike at the 9th fret and tune down to Bb. Your spike at the 9th fret might be stopping the string when you try to capo at the 8th fret.

David

Apr 23, 2021 - 6:12:33 AM
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8447 posts since 8/28/2013

It sound to me like the 9th fret is too high.

Apr 23, 2021 - 9:19:26 AM

Terry F

USA

109 posts since 2/16/2015

quote:
Originally posted by asparks78

I have spikes for capoing up to A and B, and previously I’ve just been putting on an Earl’s fifth string suspender capo when playing in B flat. I do suppose the easy fix would be just to capo to A and tune up a half step though. And might honestly be easier because I’m not a big fan of how the suspender capo sits on the string anyway. Thanks!


I've never had any luck with the suspender capos so I just put spikes at all 6-10 frets just to have all bases covered....

Apr 25, 2021 - 4:33:35 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13941 posts since 8/30/2006

Terry F You are right , I use spikes at 7,8,9,10,12,14.

BUT I was ignorant There are longneck players that use the spikes in different places, it's a singing thing. Like one guy was playing just in F, so he wanted the spikes to match his voice.

The 5th peg hole is a real delicacy, so the neck could have twisted there without having a high fret, otherwise I agrre, shave the ninth.

I've never seen suspender capos at the jam, just suspenders.

Apr 25, 2021 - 6:37:09 PM
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Alex Z

USA

4214 posts since 12/7/2006

"So basically when I press on the 5th string at either the 8th or 9th fret, I’m getting a B on both. Any idea how to fix this?"

Assuming this happens only with the 5th string, 8th fret is too low or 9th fret is raised.  Could also be that the string is hitting on the spike in the 9th fret if the spike is set too high..

Take a look, and check back with more information on what you can see.

Apr 26, 2021 - 9:30:30 AM

74297 posts since 5/9/2007

I would first check the 5th string touching the top of the 9th fret B spike,as Alex said.

When I install spikes I tap them down to a .012" feeler gauge blade and sand the top of the spike a few thou lower.

My spikes are directly under my 5th string and don't interfere with fifth string fretting or spiking in any way.

A quick "fix" is to use an alligator clip.




Edited by - steve davis on 04/26/2021 09:37:44

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