Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

730
Banjo Lovers Online


May 23, 2022 - 12:19:24 AM

nodster

Thailand

1199 posts since 9/25/2003

I"m looking for help. I have a Stelling Sunflower with an action that's far too high. I've checked the relief and that seems OK. II bought the banjo used and I'm wondering if the neck was recut at some point in its history for a 5/8th bridge. Just by looking at the heel is there any way to tell if this is the case?
Thanks for any help.
Gordon

May 23, 2022 - 5:42:28 AM

Fathand

Canada

12012 posts since 2/7/2008

Some Stelling banjos were made with 5/8" bridges. That would be a good place to start, or check if the coordinator rods have been adjusted for one.

May 23, 2022 - 5:51:32 AM
likes this

BobbyE

USA

3121 posts since 11/29/2007

>>I"m looking for help. I have a Stelling Sunflower with an action that's far too high. <<

What exactly is the, 'far too high,' measurement you are seeing. That might help in determining what might have been done to the banjo in the past as well. If you are simply needing to get the action lower to your liking would a shorter bridge accomplish that? If however, you suspect structural problems resulting in the high action, that is quite another matter. Might help us to know and give better advice. Good luck.

Bobby

May 23, 2022 - 10:19:13 AM

beegee

USA

22964 posts since 7/6/2005

It doesn't matter. It is easily remedied by shimming.

May 23, 2022 - 10:21:05 AM
like this

14604 posts since 6/29/2005

For what it's worth, here is an illustration of how shimming affects the bridge height, and can be used to alter the string action.

May 24, 2022 - 12:48:55 PM
likes this

raybob

USA

13564 posts since 12/11/2003

Ken, What do you use for shimming material, and how thick ? Just looking for ideas as a starting point. I have an older Lyon and Healey that was made with the fingerboard and the head in the same plane. It has a 1/2" bridge on it, but I still don't play it anymore because over most of the fretboard the action is too high. I also worry about stressing the dowel by shimming, so I should probably relocate the screw that anchors it near the tailpiece if/when I do shim it, right ?
I'd love to take it, or send it, to someone to trim the heel, but no one around here is really a banjo luthier. If I can't find someone to do the heel I wouldn't mind giving a shim a try. Thanks.

May 24, 2022 - 2:51:24 PM
likes this

14604 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by raybob

Ken, What do you use for shimming material, and how thick ? Just looking for ideas as a starting point. I have an older Lyon and Healey that was made with the fingerboard and the head in the same plane. It has a 1/2" bridge on it, but I still don't play it anymore because over most of the fretboard the action is too high. I also worry about stressing the dowel by shimming, so I should probably relocate the screw that anchors it near the tailpiece if/when I do shim it, right ?
I'd love to take it, or send it, to someone to trim the heel, but no one around here is really a banjo luthier. If I can't find someone to do the heel I wouldn't mind giving a shim a try. Thanks.


I usually use sandpaper, with the gritty side facing the heel, and the smooth side facing the pot. Sandpaper is available in many thicknesses, based on the grit, and something like 120 is a good starting point.

You will probably have to oval the hole where the anchor bolt goes through with a small round file to allow the angle to change without stressing the dowel.

May 24, 2022 - 3:16:41 PM
like this

13319 posts since 6/2/2008

I use maple veneer cards I bought on Etsy.com, similar to these. Granted, those offer no variety of thickness.

I also bought some small pieces of thin brass sheet. I forget where, and I've never used them. And I've used fiber veneer sheet that I bought at Luthiers Mercantile. I have it in .01 and .02 thickness.

May 24, 2022 - 3:32:59 PM
likes this

raybob

USA

13564 posts since 12/11/2003

Thanks Ken. That's a good starting place. The head also needs to be changed, so I'll start there. It'd be nice to get this up and running. It's got a straight, short scale neck, 11" spun over pot, and light as a feather. I'll put a new set of nylons on it, and it'll be fun.

May 24, 2022 - 7:38:34 PM
likes this
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15612 posts since 8/30/2006

Credit cards are a standard thickness.

Edited by - Helix on 05/24/2022 19:38:50

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!
May 25, 2022 - 5:28:51 PM
likes this

978 posts since 6/6/2008

Talk to frank neat and team. Maybe they can recut the heel to offer a better angle. I had robin smith cut the heel on a gib I have. Took longer to take the neck off than to cut the heel. Perfect after that- he had a jig already setup on a sanding wheel

May 25, 2022 - 9:24:41 PM
likes this

nodster

Thailand

1199 posts since 9/25/2003

Thanks very much for the information everyone and I'm sorry for the slow response. I had to go out of town for a couple of days. Anyway, I'm attaching a pic of the string height at 12th and 7th frets. To me the action seems very high....


May 26, 2022 - 5:15:17 AM

233 posts since 1/26/2003

The Stellings I have owned came from Stelling setup with a 3/4" bridge with 1/8" action at the 12th fret and 9/64" action at the 22 fret. Neck relief from Stelling is set between 1/64" and 1/32".

May 26, 2022 - 5:21:05 AM

nodster

Thailand

1199 posts since 9/25/2003

Yes, maybe it's just me and what I'm used to - because I suppose looking at the pics I just posted the string height seems to be 1/8th at the 12th fret...in other words standard Stelling height. But it seems really high to fret...

Going from the advice that's been kindly posted here, I think probably I'll play around with trying to shim the neck and see how I get on. 

Edited by - nodster on 05/26/2022 05:25:33

May 26, 2022 - 5:35:16 AM

233 posts since 1/26/2003

You could try a 5/8" bridge and/or reducing the amount of neck relief. My personal preference is having action at the 12th fret at around 3/32" and I prefer to have the neck relief less than 1/64". So I have adjusted the Stellings I have owned to my personal preferences. I did not need to use shims to accomplish the setup I wanted. Good luck with the banjo. Stellings are real quality banjos for sure.

May 27, 2022 - 5:13:58 PM

13319 posts since 6/2/2008

1/8-inch at 12th is consensus target action, not considered high at all by the vast majority of players. This will be 9/64 to 5/32 at 22nd fret.

I prefer 1/8 or slightly less at 22nd fret.

This is not to say you can't want or prefer lower at the 12th fret. Many do. If you're already using a 5/8-inch bridge, maybe get another one the same size and start to sand down the bottom in small increments or deepen the string slots until you get to a height you like. Or go to Richie Dotson's AcousticBox.com and order either a 9/16 (.5625) or 0.6  (roughly 19/32) bridge.

Shimming at the top lag can certainly bring the action down. Very thin shim can achieve a lot of change. You might start with a piece of aluminum beer or soft drink can. I don't know what's available to you in Thailand.

Good luck.

May 28, 2022 - 5:54:32 PM

4634 posts since 6/3/2011

If I have to shim a neck, I have brass shim stock, 0.0025", 0.003", 0.005", 0.010", 0.020", 0.030". Can't remember ever using 0.030".
As I recall I paid about $2 per 3" x 5" sheet, it doesn't take a large piece of shim stock and it is easy to make fine adjustments.
Ken's graphic is an excellent guide for placement of shims.

Edited by - Dave1climber on 05/28/2022 17:57:03

May 29, 2022 - 4:35:57 AM

14604 posts since 6/29/2005

Brass shim stock is wonderful stuff— I used to use it for all kinds of things, setting up machinery, etc.  Dave's comment makes me realize I have to get some more of it.  Brass has a similar speed of sound transmission to wood and isn't at all squishy.

Also, what Ken Norkin said, it takes a remarkably thin shim to alter the neck angle by a degree.

May 29, 2022 - 8:09:28 AM

Alex Z

USA

4861 posts since 12/7/2006

From the pictures, the string height at the 12th fret is between 3/32" (first picture) and 7/64" (second picture).  Most players would consider this on the low side of average, which may be about 1/8".

Since you've checked the relief and found it "OK," could you give a measurement (even approximate) of the relief?   You've found the current string height "far to high", so it would be helpful to know what you mean by the relief being OK.

That said, preferred string height is what the individual player prefers, considering many factors, including force of playing and tolerance or lack of tolerance of buzzing.

Go ahead and try a shim -- it is easily altered and easily reversed.  See what that does for your preference.

 

Also, do you have another banjo whose string height you like, that you could measure?

Edited by - Alex Z on 05/29/2022 08:11:02

May 29, 2022 - 9:13:51 AM

58 posts since 4/13/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

For what it's worth, here is an illustration of how shimming affects the bridge height, and can be used to alter the string action.


This drawing is very helpful. I bought a 2nd banjo that has this same problem.  the action is way too high.  trying to understand how to correct it. 

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.2189941