Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

952
Banjo Lovers Online


Jun 12, 2021 - 11:41:26 AM
15 posts since 12/2/2019

I love to go up one fret when I play or sing the last verse of a song. But I think it's time to start using something more professional that a ground down bolt for a 5th string capo. I have two friends that I've asked and both have differing opinions. One say that a shubb sliding capo, while slightly slower than spikes, is more efficient as the slider itself can be used to fine tune, but that spikes might be better for my needs. He plays in every key imaginable on a long neck banjo and I understand that he might prefer the slider over driving like 10 spikes into the neck. One says spikes are superior in every way and a slider is just cumbersome. I'm leaning more towards spikes now but I'd like to hear some opinions. I rarely play above the 4th fret.

Jun 12, 2021 - 12:17:19 PM
like this

15261 posts since 12/2/2005
Online Now

You'll doubtless get a wide range of opinions. Spikes and sliders have their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage of a slider is the the intonation is always pretty much spot on. Disadvantage is that the rail of the slider can be bulky and uncomfortable if you do thumb wraps to fret the fifth string.

Advantage of the spikes is that thumb wraps are easy and they're unobtrusive. Disadvantage is that spiking your fifth string will always send it a little sharp, meaning that you have to adjust tension on the fifth string downwards when you spike and upwards when you go back to full open tuning. This, by the way, can make it tricky to change keys on the fly in the middle of a song (such as often happens with Irish medleys - or if, as you suggest, you're moving up a half step at the last verse).

Personally, I prefer spikes; my first banjo had a slider and I had it replaced. You'll also likely get some suggestions for commercially made fifth-string capo gadgetry. I have yet to see one that didn't instantly summon up the thought "Great. Another thing to lose."

Edited by - eagleisland on 06/12/2021 12:18:14

Jun 12, 2021 - 12:18:31 PM

70 posts since 1/27/2015

I've had both.
The Shubb can get in the way if you play that way.
The spikes can be hard to slide the string under and I have had one break off then had to install another one as near as possible to it.
I searched Youtube about installing spikes and saw some real hot dogs drilling holes with all kinds of stuff. My guy used a hand drill and went careful and slow.
If you spike it buy them from stew-mac and buy good ones.
The slider to me is easier to use and the appearance didn't bother me.
It only requires two holes.

Jun 12, 2021 - 3:28:46 PM

beegee

USA

22433 posts since 7/6/2005

If you only go up one fret, just tune the 5th string up one fret.

Jun 12, 2021 - 6:41:55 PM

Alex Z

USA

4376 posts since 12/7/2006

"I love to go up one fret when I play or sing the last verse of a song."

Neither spike nor Shubb will be able to be used quickly enough, such that you won't delay the song for a couple of beats, if not more.

What about the other 4 strings?  Are you adding a regular capo on the neck, or just fretting higher chords for the last measure?

Will the right hand and the left hand still be playing something while the 5th string capo is being engaged.

For performance smoothness, might consider playing something that doesn't require a capo shift on the last verse.

Jun 12, 2021 - 8:26:53 PM

167 posts since 3/2/2013

Just leave the 5th string out of it....afterall its only one verse and chorus. Im guessing your playing mostly closed chords when you do the key change since slapping a capo on would take even more time than the 5th string capo. I'm not a pro but have gigged quite a bit and i noticed they usually just leave out the 5th if it doesnt fit the key change so thats what i do. It sounds difficult but like Everything else it takes practice. Also its much much smoother than scrambling to make a spike or shubb or whatever work quickly cuz theres no such thing as quick capoing in the middle of a song.

Jun 13, 2021 - 6:32:30 AM

5025 posts since 6/30/2020
Online Now

I prefer spikes because they are simple, effective, inexpensive, invisible, and reversible with a simple extraction and fret board hole filler.
I don’t like the slider because it is cumbersome, in the way of my fretting hand, and the mounting screws deface the neck in an irreversible fashion.
They are both effective and of course your preference is subjective.

Jun 13, 2021 - 7:14:29 AM

74706 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

A properly installed spike can be engaged or taken away with 1 finger in 1 second or less.
I like developing licks in other keys such as G# with no capo by thumbfretting the 5th string at the 6th fret in the moment.
I also thumbfret the 5th at 6 for the key of E.

A big help in thumbfretting the 5th string is to remove it from the pip and let the 5th string rest directly on the 5th fret.
Of course this lowers the 5th string and special care needs to be taken in the installed height of the spike(s) to not come in contact with the fretted 5th string.

I use spikes on 7 and 9 and cover the rest of the keys with no capo.

Jun 13, 2021 - 7:21:47 PM

167 posts since 3/2/2013

A properly installed spike can be used in one second or less but very doubtful that anyone will be able to fine tune the 5th string in that amount of time. If you dont care about being as good a musician as you can be for the present than don't worry about tuning. Both methods mid song will take long enough to be awkard or terrible sounding when 5th string goes sharp after snapped under a spike.

Jun 14, 2021 - 8:57:28 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14221 posts since 8/30/2006

I went back to spikes

But I like to use 6 spikes and I also play bluegrass and claw in the same song. Spikes @ 7,8,9,10,12,14
Let’s you use other than the root

Grab yer 5th and crank it

When I’m on stage spikes do the deed
IF they are installed correctly then no retuning is necessary

Jamming is different

Spikes can get loose and little bows and arrows are bad

But it’s worse to lose your capo knob in the shag rug

Other belt loop capo magic and moderna ensue

If one uses the BIC pen cap , then I would like to see hand carved, brass, metal, glass on a string hanging loose like a lifeboat. It’s a player thang. We use what works - magnets
You don’t need a photo with grand imagination

I looked at mouth harps lately: brass wood aluminum

Choose your weapon

Jun 14, 2021 - 11:28:56 AM

74706 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

Alligator clips do a good job anywhere you want to put them.


 

Jun 14, 2021 - 5:12:45 PM

167 posts since 3/2/2013

OP said he wanted something more professional looking than a ground off bolt so he'd have to decide if alligator clamps look more "pro". Looks more like a Professional welder got too close to close to the ol banjer! :) lol. I guess "looks" is a subjective thing but i'd still have to see the "ground off bolt" to determine whats more "pro looking". I'll stick with my spikes i think. Interesting idea tho Steve. Hadnt thought of that

Jun 16, 2021 - 6:54:39 AM

132 posts since 2/16/2015

Anyone use a banjo with 5 full length strings?
Seems this would be a good solution for someone capoing a lot.
I don't see them for sale but my thought is that it would work.

Jun 16, 2021 - 9:27:48 AM

mrbook

USA

2013 posts since 2/22/2006

My primary banjo, a Deering Deluxe, has the sliding capo like the banjo I played before it. I keep the arm at the 7th fret, which serves as an additional position marking as well as being where I use it most. My other banjos, including ones I built, have spikes. It doesn't take much to get the string under the spike, and a short turn down and one turn up gets it in tune. I used the sliding capo for years, but the spikes are fine, too.

Jun 17, 2021 - 4:53:45 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14221 posts since 8/30/2006

Terry F Anyone use a banjo with 5 full length strings?

Yes, great question, ;There are also people using 6 strings with the missing low G string as the 5th and the 6th is the high "5th"

I have a customer who wants 22 spikes and 6 strings.




Jun 20, 2021 - 4:57:23 AM

132 posts since 2/16/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

Terry F Anyone use a banjo with 5 full length strings?

Yes, great question, ;There are also people using 6 strings with the missing low G string as the 5th and the 6th is the high "5th"

I have a customer who wants 22 spikes and 6 strings.


22 spikes! Why on earth would he need so many? I can't imagine capoing up so far!

Jun 20, 2021 - 5:45:07 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14221 posts since 8/30/2006

I said, wants, not he gets me to build. It's a music thing for a touring artists, he knows the math.
The Lord is My Shepherd. Beautiful hot Sunday.

Jun 20, 2021 - 5:51:03 AM
likes this

Alex Z

USA

4376 posts since 12/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by JJJJonas

I love to go up one fret when I play or sing the last verse of a song. But I think it's time to start using something more professional that a ground down bolt for a 5th string capo. I have two friends that I've asked and both have differing opinions. One say that a shubb sliding capo, while slightly slower than spikes, is more efficient as the slider itself can be used to fine tune, but that spikes might be better for my needs. He plays in every key imaginable on a long neck banjo and I understand that he might prefer the slider over driving like 10 spikes into the neck. One says spikes are superior in every way and a slider is just cumbersome. I'm leaning more towards spikes now but I'd like to hear some opinions. I rarely play above the 4th fret.


Well, we've killed the "spikes vs. Shubb" topic again.  Still haven't addressed the poster's "needs."   I'd like to hear about exactly what the poster does now, when going up one fret on the last verse of a song.  

  -- Does the ground down bolt work now?  Exactly what is it and how is it used?

  -- Is a regular capo also put on for the last verse?  Or is everything closed chords?

  -- If everything on the last verse is closed chords, how will the 5th string capo be used?

  -- How much of a delay before the last verse is sung/played is the poster willing to tolerate?  One beat of silence?  One measure of silence?

Information.  We need more information.  smiley

Jun 20, 2021 - 7:40:20 AM

Paul R

Canada

14709 posts since 1/28/2010

I have both. Comparison: I find the slider faster. Since the slider is on a black painted neck, there's no concern about ruining the finish if it's removed. But I wouldn't put one an a naturally finished neck. As for spikes, there are usually just a few, starting two frets up. This sometimes makes it necessary to tune the fifth string down. But using a capo at the first fret would simply require tuning the fifth string up one - no capo or spike necessary.

Jun 20, 2021 - 8:01:50 AM
like this

Alex Z

USA

4376 posts since 12/7/2006

The fundamental question is, what does the poster do now when "going up one fret when I play or sing the last verse of a song?"

And how is the 5th string spike supposed to be part of that change from the second last verse to the last verse?

"Hold on a couple of seconds, audience, whilst I get my 5th string spiked, so there will be a more dramatic musical ending to this song."  ?? smiley

And how does the "ground down bolt" work now, for that event?

If we knew these things, we might be able to come up with some ideas for the poster that are "better for [his] needs."

 

Information.  Need more information!

Jun 22, 2021 - 7:53:56 AM

74706 posts since 5/9/2007
Online Now

Control the keys rather than letting them control you.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.265625