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Aug 4, 2021 - 4:37:55 AM
240 posts since 10/26/2008

Hey All,
I’ve always been a ‘one banjo’ kind of guy. I guess I would feel guilty if a second banjo didn’t get played haha. After several years of playing the same banjo (which did have an irregular shaped neck) I have just purchased a Gibson RB3 yesterday. I love it but it’s been weird getting used to a different neck. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work out the kinks sooner than later but was curious if any others had experienced this problem.

Aug 4, 2021 - 5:16:42 AM
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334 posts since 4/14/2014

There is a period of adjustment with every instrument due to many factors. Stop and consider just how many factors are at play and I think you'll be quick to realize what I mean. The longer you've played the one instrument, the more likely you are to feel the difference in another.

Aug 4, 2021 - 5:20:24 AM
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3920 posts since 5/29/2011

Yes. Don't worry. You have to train your mind as well as your hands to the difference. Once you grasp the idea that the two banjos are different beings things will work themselves out. It's not so different from switching from banjo to guitar or some other instrument. Give it some time and you will be switching back and forth with no problems.

Aug 4, 2021 - 6:10:30 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14498 posts since 8/30/2006

It's muscle memory, make yourself some new memories, you sleep on it, your body learns before you know it.

Aug 4, 2021 - 6:27:23 AM
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Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1589 posts since 10/11/2004

My experience with players with 2 guitars or banjos is they want the same feel . One player had 2 of the same style, model, & brand electric guitar but the necks were slightly different, should have been the same as they were suppose the be the same . He had me measure the one he liked & trim the other just like it.
If you have a problem I think the 2 banjos should have the same neck profile, especially if you take 2 banjos on a gig.
Personally , I don't have too much problem switching different banjos.

Aug 4, 2021 - 8:19:56 AM
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68 posts since 12/12/2019

I just switched banjos a few weeks ago myself. I switched from a Deering Goodtime Artisan Special to a Yates LM-100. I did get to play the Yates right before I bought it and it has a nice slim neck almost identical to the Deering neck shape, however the finish on the Yates neck needed to be made to a more satin speed neck finish for me to really feel comfortable with it. Does the neck on your Gibson RB3 feel like it's a different profile or is it something else that feels different about it?

Aug 4, 2021 - 8:57:30 AM
Players Union Member

jduke

USA

1117 posts since 1/15/2009

I have four banjos that I play regularly and several specialty banjos (fretless and A-scale). Most of them are similar, but not identical. I've learned which ever banjo I plan to play at Saturday's jam is the one that needs to sit by my chair starting Monday. Adjustment from one to the other is quick, but not instant!

Aug 4, 2021 - 9:08:16 AM
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Players Union Member

rvrose

USA

813 posts since 6/29/2007
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You should always have 2 banjos, so you and let one cool down while you play the other! ;-)

Rick

Aug 4, 2021 - 9:47:51 AM

12160 posts since 6/2/2008

Four banjos here. Four differently profiled necks that feel completely different in the hand.

After a year with my most recent acquisition -- a 1970s RB250 purchased in 2018 -- I sent the neck to John Boulding to be reprofiled. I thought it was bit bulky from the 5th to 17th frets. He took off very little wood, but the feel was totally improved. Feels somewhat like a Deering "D" profile, if I'm remembering those correctly.  It's still totally different from my other banjos, but I switch among them easily. One, however, gets little play because its neck (Golden Gate)  is really chunky and may also eventually get reprofiled.

One thing that I believe makes it easy to switch among the three banjos that I tend to play is that despite their varying nut widths, their overall string spacing is exactly the same. I actually filled and reslotted the nuts on a parts banjo and the Gibson to match the spacing on my oldest banjo that I was most used to. All up and down the neck, the strings are exactly where my fingers expect them -- though the first and fourth strings are inset at slightly different amounts.

Aug 4, 2021 - 10:08:12 AM
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4318 posts since 6/15/2005

I have 6 resonator banjos that I play regularly, with different neck profiles and different scales. Makes no difference whatsoever to me. If a banjo is well-made, I have no problem adjusting to its neck.

Aug 4, 2021 - 12:50:47 PM
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2670 posts since 12/31/2005

It's normal that you are having to adjust, and also normal that Arnie does not. If you regularly play different banjos you get used to making the adjustment quickly. It may take you a while if you have been playing one neck for a long time, but you will definitely adjust. I suggest staying on the new banjo only until you do. Then you can go back and forth.

Aug 4, 2021 - 1:36:33 PM
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4318 posts since 6/15/2005

I just want to make clear that I do notice the differences in the neck profiles of my various banjos, and I'm sure that I make adjustments (primarily with my left hand) going from one to another. But those adjustments happen without my having to think about them. The same thing happens when I play someone else's banjo, or when I play unfamiliar banjos at their makers' booths at IBMA. Of course I like some banjos more than others, but neck profile doesn't enter into it.

Aug 4, 2021 - 2:26:04 PM

962 posts since 10/31/2007

I think there are 12 or 13 kicking around here.
For a change of pace, I recently got a 1900's British Zither banjo.
I like switching off from a bluegrass to nylon strung or now a zither.
They are so light and sound pretty decent. We are rehabbing a house right now, so my banjo time is limited, but when winter comes and all the banjo kids are under one roof, I will be entertaining (or is it tormenting?) my dear wife.

Variety or diversity (as the kids) say keeps things fresh.

Aug 6, 2021 - 7:54:14 PM
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9 posts since 7/17/2021

I recently started playing back in March with a less expensive import, when I decided to upgrade to a Deering it was a considerable difference in ease of learning..

Aug 7, 2021 - 8:40:43 AM

lanemb

USA

211 posts since 3/11/2018

I have several but would say 3 nice ones (Stelling, Gibson and American Made Banjo). The three feel and play significantly different. I am not a professional by no means. I’ve played with the Gibson for over 35 years so it has the most play time. However, I find the neck on the American Made by Robin Smith plays much easier than my other 2. For some reason I make transitions on it easier and cleaner. I still love them all but if I was playing in front of an audience I would take the American Made just to boost my confidence.

Sometime in the near future I hope to do some width and thickness comparison and chart out the difference to visually see why one feels better than the others. I would rate the Stelling with my 2Nd best feel.

Variety is the spice of life!

Aug 7, 2021 - 4:49:56 PM

12160 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by lanemb

Sometime in the near future I hope to do some width and thickness comparison and chart out the difference to visually see why one feels better than the others. I would rate the Stelling with my 2Nd best feel.


This is a good idea. I did it myself some time in the past decade.

I strongly suggest that besides measuring width and thickness, you also use a profile gauge to capture the shape of the back of the neck.

Width and thickness are important, of course. And maybe thickness more than width, since string spacing at the nut and bridge keep overall widths widths in a very narrow range. At least in my opinion and limited experience.

So thickness contributes a lot to the feel of a nack. But so does the shape across the back, or the way the wood falls away from the fretboard to the center of the back. This determines how much wood the neck presents to your hand. I don't know how else to describe this.

I think this is the type of adjustment that John Boulding made to my 70s RB-250 neck. He didn't change the width at all and changed the front-to-back depth only a little: as much as resulted in changing the cross-sectional shape of the neck. Subtly reducing its "shoulders" or "cheeks" from the bottom of the binding to the center of the back. It made all the difference in the world. This neck no longer feels big in my hand. It's not a shape I previously considered my favorite (that would be early Stellings and some 90s Gibsons). But it's my favorite of what I own.

Aug 7, 2021 - 7:28:12 PM

lanemb

USA

211 posts since 3/11/2018

I probably won’t have time to do it for a few week but I like the idea of capturing the profile. I’ll post the information on the hangout once I get a chance to pull it all together.

Aug 7, 2021 - 10:37:35 PM

193 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by JimmyBobby

Hey All,
I’ve always been a ‘one banjo’ kind of guy. I guess I would feel guilty if a second banjo didn’t get played haha. After several years of playing the same banjo (which did have an irregular shaped neck) I have just purchased a Gibson RB3 yesterday. I love it but it’s been weird getting used to a different neck. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work out the kinks sooner than later but was curious if any others had experienced this problem.


I can relate to that, I have three 5 string banjo's, two tenor banjos and a banjo-ukulele all have different neck thicknesses. It takes time to get used to playing each one especially if I haven't played one particular instrument in a while. I guess the same applies when you drive multiple vehicles.  Especially stick shifts.

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