Hi, a couple of months ago I put up a post about my Bart Reiter Whyte Ladye and that I was finding it difficult to play as I have a damaged shoulder and being just 5' tall and overall petite, it is quite a stretch for me to play a regular neck. I was dithering about selling.
Anyway, I took it and had it serviced and re-strung and whilst in the store I bought myself a Deering Goodtime short neck (parlor banjo) The ease of playing compared to my Reiter is amazing and I have found myself back really enjoying and being able to play for an hour or more with no strain on my shoulder.
This has confirmed my decision to sell the Reiter and I would like to find out what other short necks are out there
Does anyone have any recommendations please?
Edited by - MrsM on 10/14/2021 07:22:10
If you are in the UK you can send a message to Ballard Banjers (ballardbanjers.com/), a skilled banjo builder located in the UK. You can talk with Leon and he can build you a light short scale quality banjo.
Wow! just looked at the website and I think I have found my new banjo :) Just need to sell the Reiter now. Thank you :)
The relevant issue is the distance from your body that your arm needs to reach in order to play your banjo and that can be reduced by a shorter scale (distance from nut to bridge) or a different playing position or both.
Here is the scale of some relevant banjos:
Reiter Whyte Laydie: 26 1/4"
Typical "short scale": 25 1/2"
Typical "A-Scale": 23 1/2"
GoodTime Parlor: 23 1/8"
You should do well with a typical A-scale banjo.
Also, playing with the pot on your hip and striking the strings over the neck can shorten your arm reach more than a reduction in banjo scale and might even allow you to play the Reiter especially if its capoed at the second fret.
Edited by - restreet on 10/14/2021 10:46:58
When a banjo scale gets as short as 22" and lower MrsM needs to decide how important it is to be able to play in G and double C without unusually heavy strings.
Edited by - restreet on 10/14/2021 14:10:20
Speaking of banjo makers in England:
Here is Leon Ballard playing with the pot at his hip and his elbow close to his side in Suffolk.
Here is Rachel Eddy playing with her elbow reasonably close to her side at Slim Jim's in Hampshire.
Even though I'm tall, I had to stop playing with the pot in my lap because of trouble with my right shoulder. I'm sure my left shoulder would have become a problem eventually.
I believe changing your posture is easier and more effective than buying new instruments.
I have a C (19") scale banjo that's very comfortable to play but II can't tune to double C so I don't play it often.
Edited by - restreet on 10/14/2021 14:51:48
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