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Apr 9, 2022 - 8:19:43 PM

taatoo

USA

15 posts since 1/17/2022

Has anyone purchased a Banjo with a wider fretboard? If so, was it easier to chord and play? I have thought about buying a OB-150WF but I don’t want to spend the money if it’s not going to help with my chording. I have an RK-R35 now and I have thought about getting a new nut made for it with wider spacing if that would help. I kinda hit a stumbling block when it come to sliding and chording and it’s about to get me out of the mood to play the darn thing. I don’t have any problems chording a guitar and I have tinkered around with a Mandolin and don’t seem to have a problem.

Apr 10, 2022 - 3:40:27 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15594 posts since 8/30/2006

How tall are you, how big are your hands?
1-3/16" has been the standard.
1-1/4", gives me perfect hammering and pulling.
1-5/16" was too wide for a shorter person I sold to
1-3/8" is very easy to adapt to for most persons. Claw players use so much more hammer/pull

I play claw and 3-finger in the same song. with picks.
So you can add hips to a perfectly good neck, but you always run into the width at the heel which is always 2-7/8 +/- for the 24 hook spacing.
New nut spacing runs out of space.
The RK's are really well thought out, and they sell out.

The Gold Tones are a Maple voice, I've had my OB-250 since 2005, in 2009, I put in a Black Walnut.
In Alabama, you aren't far from Gold Tone, speak with them.

I'm working on descending slides. good luck.

Apr 10, 2022 - 3:57:58 AM
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Bill H

USA

1912 posts since 11/7/2010

I have a Nechville banjo which has a wider fretboard and a bridge with Crowe spacing. It takes some getting used to, especially with my right hand. I don't find a wider neck to be a particular advantage and it was actually harder to fret full chords at first compared to my Martin Vega which has a very narrow neck. Once I got used to it it's been fine, but at first it hurt my hand to spread wider and i missed the strings.

Apr 10, 2022 - 4:57:25 AM
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756 posts since 8/26/2009
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I heard Arthur Hatfield, who seemed to make a lot of custom necks, mention to somebody wanting a larger neck that he was about to give up on larger than normal necks. I don't know if he was talking width or thickness. Seems they had a bad habit of being returned to reshape smaller at his expense to keep customer happy.

Apr 10, 2022 - 5:32:45 AM

taatoo

USA

15 posts since 1/17/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

How tall are you, how big are your hands?
1-3/16" has been the standard.
1-1/4", gives me perfect hammering and pulling.
1-5/16" was too wide for a shorter person I sold to
1-3/8" is very easy to adapt to for most persons. Claw players use so much more hammer/pull

I play claw and 3-finger in the same song. with picks.
So you can add hips to a perfectly good neck, but you always run into the width at the heel which is always 2-7/8 +/- for the 24 hook spacing.
New nut spacing runs out of space.
The RK's are really well thought out, and they sell out.

The Gold Tones are a Maple voice, I've had my OB-250 since 2005, in 2009, I put in a Black Walnut.
In Alabama, you aren't far from Gold Tone, speak with them.

I'm working on descending slides. good luck.


I am 6'2 and 255 lbs with a set of working man hands, not huge like a Gorilla. I play.......well I'm trying to play 3 finger, I just thought if I had a little more space for my hand and fingers it would be easier to chord without having dead strings. What is adding hips to a good neck?? I have spoke with Gold Tone about it and they say that's why they make the neck. I was thinking someone on here had actually went through what I'm going through and could tell me what their opinion would be.

Apr 10, 2022 - 5:35:09 AM

taatoo

USA

15 posts since 1/17/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Bill H

I have a Nechville banjo which has a wider fretboard and a bridge with Crowe spacing. It takes some getting used to, especially with my right hand. I don't find a wider neck to be a particular advantage and it was actually harder to fret full chords at first compared to my Martin Vega which has a very narrow neck. Once I got used to it it's been fine, but at first it hurt my hand to spread wider and i missed the strings.


I'm going to look into the Nechville, I didn't know they had a wider neck, and they are NICE!

Apr 10, 2022 - 8:03:01 AM
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11134 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by taatoo

Has anyone purchased a Banjo with a wider fretboard? If so, was it easier to chord and play? I have thought about buying a OB-150WF but I don’t want to spend the money if it’s not going to help with my chording. I have an RK-R35 now.........

After playing guitar (pick and fingerstyle) for many decades I gradually traded off my 1-11/16" nut acoustic guitars and replaced them with 1-3/4" nut, ebony fretboard, acoustic guitars which I found more agreeable with my fretting hand/fingers. 

When I got serious about learning three finger Scruggs style banjo I purchased an RK-R36. Over time I've fiddled with the set it up adding a Snuffy Smith Crowe spaced bridge, Prucha Clamshell, and Gotoh tuners with nifty looking tortoise buttons. While the RK sounds great (especially for the price) I was not pleased with the narrow nut and flat fretboard. I eventually took the plunge and purchased a new Nechville Classic Deluxe with 1-1/4" nut and radiused ebony fretboard and 20 hole full weight tone ring. I took to it immediately because the radiused neck shape, nut width, and ebony fretboard felt right at home in my hands. Eventually I bought an additional Nechville Aries with with Lightweight Hybrid tone hoop that has the same great neck characteristics. 

I still use the RK as my beater campfire banjo, but every time I play it I'm reminded just how nice the Nechville's really are. Gold Tone offers mid-priced banjos with wider nuts and also a couple with radiused fretboards for the person who is on a budget. Some of the other high end banjo builders also offer 1-1/4" nuts as well as  radiused boards but they are priced accordingly. 
 

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 04/10/2022 08:10:28

Apr 10, 2022 - 8:34:42 AM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

1-5/16 and 1-3/8th will improve your playing, especially for Progressive styles. Fingerboards have been getting wider for the past 10 years, along with increased string spacing. Triplets, single string, inside picking, all require wider string spacing at the bridge. Chording is also easier and more accurate with a wide fingerboard, along with fretting in general. Stay away from 1-3/16th. go to a 1-5/16ths and you won't regret it.

Edited by - jan dupree on 04/10/2022 08:38:02

Apr 10, 2022 - 8:36:12 AM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Pick-A-Lick
quote:
Originally posted by taatoo

Has anyone purchased a Banjo with a wider fretboard? If so, was it easier to chord and play? I have thought about buying a OB-150WF but I don’t want to spend the money if it’s not going to help with my chording. I have an RK-R35 now.........

After playing guitar (pick and fingerstyle) for many decades I gradually traded off my 1-11/16" nut acoustic guitars and replaced them with 1-3/4" nut, ebony fretboard, acoustic guitars which I found more agreeable with my fretting hand/fingers. 

When I got serious about learning three finger Scruggs style banjo I purchased an RK-R36. Over time I've fiddled with the set it up adding a Snuffy Smith Crowe spaced bridge, Prucha Clamshell, and Gotoh tuners with nifty looking tortoise buttons. While the RK sounds great (especially for the price) I was not pleased with the narrow nut and flat fretboard. I eventually took the plunge and purchased a new Nechville Classic Deluxe with 1-1/4" nut and radiused ebony fretboard and 20 hole full weight tone ring. I took to it immediately because the radiused neck shape, nut width, and ebony fretboard felt right at home in my hands. Eventually I bought an additional Nechville Aries with with Lightweight Hybrid tone hoop that has the same great neck characteristics. 

I still use the RK as my beater campfire banjo, but every time I play it I'm reminded just how nice the Nechville's really are. Gold Tone offers mid-priced banjos with wider nuts and also a couple with radiused fretboards for the person who is on a budget. Some of the other high end banjo builders also offer 1-1/4" nuts as well as  radiused boards but they are priced accordingly. 
 


My Martin D-28 is 1-7/8th. I won't play anything less.

Apr 10, 2022 - 8:40:13 AM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Phil - MO

I heard Arthur Hatfield, who seemed to make a lot of custom necks, mention to somebody wanting a larger neck that he was about to give up on larger than normal necks. I don't know if he was talking width or thickness. Seems they had a bad habit of being returned to reshape smaller at his expense to keep customer happy.


Must have been the neck profile. It's hard to find somebody who regrets going to a wider fingerboard.

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Apr 10, 2022 - 10:35:13 AM

52 posts since 12/2/2020

im looking for a wider neck perhaps with a rounded profile. because the miss picking right hand is obvious, triples can get messy in the middle with picking hand. as for the left, the wider also will make larger stretches even more difficult (think of noams "waveland" tune. that stretch + now its wider giving you a larger stretch) so consider that, a thinner neck thats tapered might allow you to reach just as far tho even with a wider neck. this is something i hope to explore a little for myself at some time

Apr 10, 2022 - 10:37:11 AM
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11134 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by jan dupree
quote:
Originally posted by Pick-A-Lick
quote:
Originally posted by taatoo

Has anyone purchased a Banjo with a wider fretboard? If so, was it easier to chord and play? I have thought about buying a OB-150WF but I don’t want to spend the money if it’s not going to help with my chording. I have an RK-R35 now.........

After playing guitar (pick and fingerstyle) for many decades I gradually traded off my 1-11/16" nut acoustic guitars and replaced them with 1-3/4" nut acoustics...........................


My Martin D-28 is 1-7/8th. I won't play anything less.


Jan,

I have a Martin D-35 and a Martin M-36 as well as three Larrivée acoustics and several other guitars of various brands. All have 1-3/4" nuts or wider with wide string spacing which is suitable for my playing style. I also prefer a bit wider spacing at the bridge for fingerstyle. I have played instruments with wider nut spacing yet, such as 1-7/8" and agree that they are very comfortable for fretting and chording. Once a person gets used to having adequate finger room for the duties of both hands there can be no going back to tiny cramped instruments.  

Apr 10, 2022 - 6:43:03 PM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Pick-A-Lick
quote:
Originally posted by jan dupree
quote:
Originally posted by Pick-A-Lick
quote:
Originally posted by taatoo

Has anyone purchased a Banjo with a wider fretboard? If so, was it easier to chord and play? I have thought about buying a OB-150WF but I don’t want to spend the money if it’s not going to help with my chording. I have an RK-R35 now.........

After playing guitar (pick and fingerstyle) for many decades I gradually traded off my 1-11/16" nut acoustic guitars and replaced them with 1-3/4" nut acoustics...........................


My Martin D-28 is 1-7/8th. I won't play anything less.


Jan,

I have a Martin D-35 and a Martin M-36 as well as three Larrivée acoustics and several other guitars of various brands. All have 1-3/4" nuts or wider with wide string spacing which is suitable for my playing style. I also prefer a bit wider spacing at the bridge for fingerstyle. I have played instruments with wider nut spacing yet, such as 1-7/8" and agree that they are very comfortable for fretting and chording. Once a person gets used to having adequate finger room for the duties of both hands there can be no going back to tiny cramped instruments.  


Yeah,  Classical and Spanish Guitarists know this, they go wide at the neck, and wide at the bridge for a reason. Banjo and regular Guitar Players should take note. 

Apr 11, 2022 - 1:19:29 AM
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25 posts since 11/21/2021

I didn’t really appreciate the difference of neck and nut widths until I chopped the end of my index finger off (don’t ask, it wasn’t planned). My first thought was to try narrower neck instruments, but then I found my stubby index finger was fouling adjacent strings with certain chord shapes. Slightly wider guitar nuts (at least 1.75”) and mandolin and banjo nut widths has made all the difference though, not just for playing chords but for finger picking guitar, melody playing on mandolin, Scruggs style banjo, etc. I don’t recommend the journey, but in some ways I wished I’d discovered the value of wider necks earlier in life, rather than blindly following the industry trend for narrower necks (presumably pandering to die-hard chord strummers).

Apr 11, 2022 - 2:27:52 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15594 posts since 8/30/2006

taatoo No sales message implied, get a new neck, or widen a used one with tapered "hips."

You can just buy a Bob Carlin wide neck from Gold Tone @ 1-3/8" nut and have them install.
The RK's and Gold Tones are different, but the bluegrass dimensions are the same.
The stud or hanger bolt spacing might not be the same, but that's a shop fix.

Or send the RK to me or any other shop willing to do this. Have a new neck drop-shipped to me and I install and ship back to you for less than a new banjo.

If you are handy , you save by sending just the banjo rim in its case , I assemble the new to you banjo over here. The shipping back to you is included in the shop fee.

Not many shops will Frankenstein an RK and Gold Tone, these banjos are your race cars, we want what works to get a winner.  
That's the only alternative, I make necks to specs. but single neck sales don't make me any money with $249 for a new neck. $40/shop hour. 
I have used many Gold Tone necks on my radical rims. And I'm an RK dealer,

Hips would be installed on a used neck, removing binding and frets up in front of the 5th tuner, then wider, tapered strips of wood are glued and shaped to fit the neck with the new wider nut. New frets and binding are installed, it's easier to buy the wider neck. 

Vintage necks and new frets would be appreciated by those with ears. 
It sounds like you're seeking the whole new banjo. That's why I always ask the new people how big their hands are and such.

The 1-3/8" banjo nut is just fine. I really don't like 1-5/16"

Jerry Hatrick I started specing 1-1/4" banjo nuts. I play right handed but I lost the first joint of my left thumb and damn if I can find it anywhere. I'm a triple amputee, I lost my head, me bum fell off from laughing on this hangout. Don't ask? Heck now if I travel to Japan it looks like I owed the Mafia money. I'm 76 this year. Kind of frisky, if I can remember what that means.

Thanks for letting me clarify, you people have the right to move about the banjo. Free trade and sailor's rights.  


Edited by - Helix on 04/11/2022 02:44:32

Apr 11, 2022 - 2:58:27 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15594 posts since 8/30/2006

I'm 6', too, my wife is 6'1" but she's shrinking.
Taatoo, so yes, I'm very familiar with this problem as is Mr. Dupree.
I also play 6-string, but 12-string with open G, with a drop C in the bass, it's the same 14 5-string banjo chords. with slide.


Edited by - Helix on 04/11/2022 02:59:21

Apr 11, 2022 - 9:20:05 AM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Hatrick

I didn’t really appreciate the difference of neck and nut widths until I chopped the end of my index finger off (don’t ask, it wasn’t planned). My first thought was to try narrower neck instruments, but then I found my stubby index finger was fouling adjacent strings with certain chord shapes. Slightly wider guitar nuts (at least 1.75”) and mandolin and banjo nut widths has made all the difference though, not just for playing chords but for finger picking guitar, melody playing on mandolin, Scruggs style banjo, etc. I don’t recommend the journey, but in some ways I wished I’d discovered the value of wider necks earlier in life, rather than blindly following the industry trend for narrower necks (presumably pandering to die-hard chord strummers).


Same with me. I had a narrow 1-3/16 Earl Scruggs Vega up until 6 years ago, and a narrow Huber neck. I'm sure I could have been a better Player now if that banjo had not held me back. The Vega neck warped, it was replaced with a 1 1/4 and I instantly felt the difference. I had the Huber neck which I only had a year, replaced with a 1-5/16th. Opened up the bridge string spacing too. Better late than never. Hopefully my mistake will benefit younger players.

Apr 11, 2022 - 1:10:05 PM
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banjoy

USA

10276 posts since 7/1/2006

quote:
Originally posted by taatoo
quote:
Originally posted by Bill H

I have a Nechville banjo which has a wider fretboard and a bridge with Crowe spacing. It takes some getting used to, especially with my right hand. I don't find a wider neck to be a particular advantage and it was actually harder to fret full chords at first compared to my Martin Vega which has a very narrow neck. Once I got used to it it's been fine, but at first it hurt my hand to spread wider and i missed the strings.


I'm going to look into the Nechville, I didn't know they had a wider neck, and they are NICE!


I don't remember all the specifics and each Nechville model may be a bit different, but in general, a wider neck on a Nechville is an option, and not a standard feature. So just be aware that this may be something you need to specifically look for if you go Nechville hunting...

BTW -- I have a wider neck on my Nechville Athena and love it.

Edited by - banjoy on 04/11/2022 13:11:46

Apr 11, 2022 - 4:20:56 PM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy
quote:
Originally posted by taatoo
quote:
Originally posted by Bill H

I have a Nechville banjo which has a wider fretboard and a bridge with Crowe spacing. It takes some getting used to, especially with my right hand. I don't find a wider neck to be a particular advantage and it was actually harder to fret full chords at first compared to my Martin Vega which has a very narrow neck. Once I got used to it it's been fine, but at first it hurt my hand to spread wider and i missed the strings.


I'm going to look into the Nechville, I didn't know they had a wider neck, and they are NICE!


I don't remember all the specifics and each Nechville model may be a bit different, but in general, a wider neck on a Nechville is an option, and not a standard feature. So just be aware that this may be something you need to specifically look for if you go Nechville hunting...

BTW -- I have a wider neck on my Nechville Athena and love it.


Most builders now offer wide necks as an option. But Huber told me he does'nt make wide necks. He has his standard  1-3/16th and another one a hair under 1-1/4 some mm measurement.

Apr 11, 2022 - 4:42:11 PM

taatoo

USA

15 posts since 1/17/2022

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy
quote:
Originally posted by taatoo
quote:
Originally posted by Bill H

I have a Nechville banjo which has a wider fretboard and a bridge with Crowe spacing. It takes some getting used to, especially with my right hand. I don't find a wider neck to be a particular advantage and it was actually harder to fret full chords at first compared to my Martin Vega which has a very narrow neck. Once I got used to it it's been fine, but at first it hurt my hand to spread wider and i missed the strings.


I'm going to look into the Nechville, I didn't know they had a wider neck, and they are NICE!


I don't remember all the specifics and each Nechville model may be a bit different, but in general, a wider neck on a Nechville is an option, and not a standard feature. So just be aware that this may be something you need to specifically look for if you go Nechville hunting...

BTW -- I have a wider neck on my Nechville Athena and love it.


I would play one before I bought it.

Apr 11, 2022 - 5:20:29 PM
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21 posts since 3/28/2016

Consider looking for a Fender FB-58 or 59. While the fretboards on these mules aren’t any wider their necks are much beefier, almost like a guitar. I’m 6’5” with big ‘ol mitts and those necks feel comfortable to me. I’d recommend finding either and trying one out to see if they fit your hand a little better. I will warn ya though they’re a lot heavier than your average banjo so get a wider strap if you buy.

Apr 12, 2022 - 7:16:44 AM
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Players Union Member

alprice

USA

1155 posts since 9/9/2005

quote:
Originally posted by taatoo
quote:
Originally posted by banjoy
quote:
Originally posted by taatoo
quote:
Originally posted by Bill H

I have a Nechville banjo which has a wider fretboard and a bridge with Crowe spacing. It takes some getting used to, especially with my right hand. I don't find a wider neck to be a particular advantage and it was actually harder to fret full chords at first compared to my Martin Vega which has a very narrow neck. Once I got used to it it's been fine, but at first it hurt my hand to spread wider and i missed the strings.


I'm going to look into the Nechville, I didn't know they had a wider neck, and they are NICE!


I don't remember all the specifics and each Nechville model may be a bit different, but in general, a wider neck on a Nechville is an option, and not a standard feature. So just be aware that this may be something you need to specifically look for if you go Nechville hunting...

BTW -- I have a wider neck on my Nechville Athena and love it.


I would play one before I bought it.


I worked for Nechville for 15 years and this topic came up frequently with customers.  Standard nut width is 1.22" for most banjos.    Nechville's standard nut width is 1.29".  Of course, one can always order a custom width.

Apr 29, 2022 - 2:37:55 PM
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325 posts since 7/11/2014

I play a gold tone ob3 Twanger and found the nut width at 1.25 just a bit easier to play than my pre war 1 & 2 which have thinner pre war spec necks. I'm now thinking to get a bluegrass heart Bela neck to put on the ob3 as it has the same pit & sounds fantastic

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