I have some trouble with the sound of my fifth string. It makes a whining, squeaking noise when I pick it. The banjo is a Barnes & Mullins 'Albert' open back, not particularly expensive - they retail at about £240 in the UK, where I live - but it's getting on my nerves, and I wonder if anyone has a solution? I have a bit of paper under the nut, as I have been able to solve buzzing sounds in the past in that way, but the whining/squeaking sound continues unabated.
I would be grateful for any help!
Most likely in one of the points of contact: nut, bridge, and/or tailpiece.
I've occasionally have trouble with 5th string tone based on width of string slot in the pip, or the bridge. More usually the pip. Or perhaps the slot is cut so deeply into the pip that the string is "fizzing" against the 5th fret perhaps.
Good luck. It could also be loose hardware nearly anywhere on the banjo vibrating from 5th string vibration -- hard to track down. Look at tiny things like tightness of screw holding on 5th peg tuner button, and the fit of the 5th string tuner itself in the neck.
Throwing this out there, though odds are your issue is completely different. My thumb squeaks on a new nylon 5th string when playing clawhammer. Its real quiet but drives me nuts. A few passes with 400 grit sandpaper, just to take the shine off, fixes it without any additional ill effects that I can detect.
Does it squeak when you fret the fifth? If not, perhaps the pip. banjered
Looks like I've got the problem solved...I think the string was sitting too deep in the pip, which made it rub against the fifth fret when picked. I put thick paper inside the pip. i suppose it isn't an ideal solution, but it works.
Thanks all for your help.
'One Banjo Tuner' 41 min
'Pickin & Flickin again' 3 hrs