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Oct 27, 2021 - 7:41:44 AM
890 posts since 3/1/2005

I've got a 5th-string buzz that I normally overcome by putting aluminum foil in the slot. Now I'm going to fix the buzz by either building up the slot and refiling it to lift the string up, or I'm going to file the nut slot down to let the string rest on the fret. I'm pretty sure this banjo (Huber Lancaster) came with the string resting on the nut slot and lifted above the fret, but I've heard its best to let the string just rest on the fret, like a zero fret.

What's the consensus?

Edited by - Bigbadbucksnort on 10/27/2021 07:43:35

Oct 27, 2021 - 9:16:57 AM

1648 posts since 2/9/2007

Whatever works. The problem with putting the string on the fret is that you may not be able to get enough downward force on the fret to get a clear note. That depends on the path of the string between the peg and the fret.

If the banjo's original setup was off the fret, I'd keep it that way-- fill and recut the slot, or replace the pip.

Oct 27, 2021 - 9:25:21 AM

889 posts since 10/4/2018

I've had one with a spike and one with a pip. I prefer the sound of the spike to the pip.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 10/27/2021 09:27:04

Oct 27, 2021 - 10:04:14 AM
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890 posts since 3/1/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Whatever works. The problem with putting the string on the fret is that you may not be able to get enough downward force on the fret to get a clear note. That depends on the path of the string between the peg and the fret.

If the banjo's original setup was off the fret, I'd keep it that way-- fill and recut the slot, or replace the pip.


Hey, Dan -- all good points.

Off topic, but I see you're in Aiken. I lived for two years on the Rose Hill Estate back when it was an Orthodox great-books college. Spent many a time taking wonderful walks through Hitchcock Woods.

Oct 27, 2021 - 10:06:42 AM

890 posts since 3/1/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

I've had one with a spike and one with a pip. I prefer the sound of the spike to the pip.


Same here -- prefer the sound of the fret over the nut. As Dan said above, for me to use a pip and get it down to the fret, I'd have to file the pip slot down low enough to get the string to rest strongly on the fret.

BUT -- I LOVE the sound of zero-fret instruments. Guitars, banjos, even mandolins. My next banjo will be zero-fret across all five strings.

Oct 27, 2021 - 10:47:56 AM

1648 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Bigbadbucksnort
quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

I've had one with a spike and one with a pip. I prefer the sound of the spike to the pip.


Same here -- prefer the sound of the fret over the nut. As Dan said above, for me to use a pip and get it down to the fret, I'd have to file the pip slot down low enough to get the string to rest strongly on the fret.

BUT -- I LOVE the sound of zero-fret instruments. Guitars, banjos, even mandolins. My next banjo will be zero-fret across all five strings.


If you prefer it on the fret, you could replace the pip with a spike.  Or shave just enough off the edge of the fingerboard under the string to get the angle over the fret right.

Oct 27, 2021 - 12:27:43 PM

4190 posts since 10/13/2005

Bluegrassers will sometimes fret the fifth string more so than CHers so the spike is the way to go if you do that. CHers need more clearance to be able to get "purchase" on that fifth string. banjered

Oct 27, 2021 - 3:57:47 PM

hbick2

USA

466 posts since 6/26/2004

I play clawhammer and I need the fifth string to be pretty high so I can get my thumb into it. I always use a pip. On some banjos, I tune the fifth string up to A rather than use the spike because it puts the string too low.

Oct 28, 2021 - 2:44:54 AM
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Bill H

USA

1763 posts since 11/7/2010

You cannot fret he fifth string when it is raised above the fret. I always prefer it to rest on the fret.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:48:36 AM
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14028 posts since 6/29/2005
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I have mentioned this before, but if you use a pip before the 5th fret, and run the string over the 5th fret, that's like a zero fret—problem is that the 5th string is lower than the other ones and can rattle against a 7th fret spike.

if you raise the 5th fret a little, by putting half of a guitar string ball-end bead over it, it clears the 7th fret spike, and I think the higher 5th string clearance would be a boon to clawhammer players.

Here are a couple of pictures—in the close-up side view you see how much it raises the string—it's still lower than the other 4 until you get well beyond the 12th fret.

I don't fret the 5th string, but I just tried it, and had no problem whatsoever.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:59:41 AM

14317 posts since 10/30/2008

Earl Scruggs in his instruction book recommended the spike, to reduce the amount of re-tuning needed when capoing with more spikes. He managed to fret the 5th string all he wanted.

Myself, I prefer the pip.

Oct 29, 2021 - 7:28:30 AM

75136 posts since 5/9/2007

I spend a lot of time fretting the 5th string with my thumb.I need those notes to fret true which is why I prefer the string resting directly on the fret.
I have no trouble with 7th and 9th fret spike clearance issues.
And those spikes are directly under the 5th string.Being able to have 5th string fretting true involves very careful prepping of spike top thickness,tapped dopwn onto a feeler gauge blade that is .001" greater than the 5th string and spike tops sanded to a smooth dome shape.
A benefit of resting the 5th string onto the 5th fret is not having to retune the 5th string after capoing.

Oct 29, 2021 - 10:50:36 AM

251 posts since 8/25/2009

Looking at the two banjos that are not stored away I observe:

1) The :student model Dobson" has the pip about 3/8" above the fret, so spiking it isn't an option. (A Regan 5th string capo (now available from Strum Hollow), works well enough.

2) The pip on the Fairbanks-Electric is right at the end of the fifth fret. and (as far as my eyes can tell) the bottom of the slot is level with the fret. (Those 1890s banjo builders knew their stuff, even if they'd never seen a 5th string capo.smiley) If I butt the capo against the fret (on the side near the peg-head), it sounds good (to my tin earsmiley) The Regan capo elevates the string a little, so I assume the slight extra length compensates for the extra tension (once again good enough for my tin earsmiley)

YMMV

Oct 31, 2021 - 7:13 PM

squiblax

China

18 posts since 6/6/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

I have mentioned this before, but if you use a pip before the 5th fret, and run the string over the 5th fret, that's like a zero fret—problem is that the 5th string is lower than the other ones and can rattle against a 7th fret spike.

if you raise the 5th fret a little, by putting half of a guitar string ball-end bead over it, it clears the 7th fret spike, and I think the higher 5th string clearance would be a boon to clawhammer players.

Here are a couple of pictures—in the close-up side view you see how much it raises the string—it's still lower than the other 4 until you get well beyond the 12th fret.

I don't fret the 5th string, but I just tried it, and had no problem whatsoever.


Off topic, sorry, But that looks like a beautiful banjo. 

Could you post more pics?

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