Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

1078
Banjo Lovers Online


May 15, 2022 - 5:18:33 AM
210 posts since 6/6/2012

Curious about this, Should a banjo have 1//8 at the 12 fret or the 22 fret. Should it be less or more then this and how does this affect tone and intonation. And can you show pics of your measurement at which fret you use please.

May 15, 2022 - 5:33:22 AM
like this

14591 posts since 6/29/2005

1/8" at the 12th fret is usually thought of as a starting point / rule of thumb—It depends on how you play; a bluegrass player, or someone like Bela Fleck would want an action "just above buzzing", which would be less than .100" at the 12th fret,maybe lower if they had a light touch.

A clawhammer player who hammers hard would want something higher than 1/8".

The higher the action, the more it affects intonation, so the bridge has to be adjusted accordingly,

Same with string tension—longer scales which create more string tension can have lower actions and don't fret sharp as much, short scales, which have slack tension, may require heavier strings and higher action, and are more problematic intonation-wise.

Light strings are buzzier than heavier ones, generally.

May 15, 2022 - 6:26:11 AM
likes this

13306 posts since 6/2/2008

I think what you're asking is a matter of preference. I prefer to measure action at the 22nd fret because that's where action is the highest. I prefer 1/8-inch at 22. Or a hair less.

I used to like 3/32 at 22. One of my banjos seems to go there naturally, so to raise action a bit I use a .656 bridge.

May 15, 2022 - 6:51:02 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Here is a nice video that Tom Nechville did on how to measure it, and how to adjust if need be.  He talks about placing a capo at the 1st fret, and at teh very bottom fret and then measuring at about the 10th fret.  Someone in the comments mentioned that placing a pencil across the bottom fret and then using some rubber bands to wrap the two ends of the pencil and under the neck can make a cheap 2nd capo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIxiScgb47Q&ab_channel=TomNechville
 

May 15, 2022 - 7:11:30 AM
like this

13306 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

Here is a nice video that Tom Nechville did on how to measure it, and how to adjust if need be.  He talks about placing a capo at the 1st fret, and at teh very bottom fret and then measuring at about the 10th fret. 


Just before this, he also talked about there being two different concepts that relate to string height. The concept you're describing -- capoing at 1, depressing at 22, measuring at 10 -- is not measuring action. It's measuring "relief": the amount of up-bow in the neck, designed to prevent buzzing in the low to mid frets and to promote gradual, even, rise in string height along the lengthof the neck.

Relief has to be correctly set before tending to action.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 05/15/2022 07:26:23

May 15, 2022 - 2:11:28 PM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Thanks Ken, I missed that. What is the proper way to adjust the action then if your relief is fine but the action is still too high? Lower the bridge?

May 15, 2022 - 6:19:02 PM

13306 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

Thanks Ken, I missed that. What is the proper way to adjust the action then if your relief is fine but the action is still too high? Lower the bridge?


Ways to adjust action are check and adjust head tension, change bridges, shim the neck-to-pot connection, adjust the lower coordinator rod (not everyone agrees), or recut the heel.

If you have a fairly loose tone ring fit, you can lower action a little by shimming behind the tone ring skirt on either side of the upper lag. I recently did that when I changed tone rings on one banjo and the new ring was very loose on the old rim.

I'm not aware of other ways to adjust action on banjos that aren't Nechvilles.

May 15, 2022 - 11:27:49 PM

210 posts since 6/6/2012

Back to original post, does most people measure at 12 or 22 and should it be an 1/8, and what if action is lower then this. Can you show pics of you measuring your action please

May 16, 2022 - 3:00:23 AM

Bill H

USA

1912 posts since 11/7/2010

I never consider measuring the clearance of the strings above frets when making adjustments. On modern banjos I first adjust the neck bow and then try set the action as low as possible without buzzes. This varies from banjo to banjo. As Ken mentioned regarding longer scales, I find I can get my 70s Martin Vega with a 27" scale much lower than my 26 1/4" scale Nechville Phantom.

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1411133