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Feb 29, 2024 - 1:13:18 AM
4 posts since 2/29/2024


Having recently started on the banjo (it has been a few weeks now, so I can do my first rolls), I naturally found this site which has so much information.

I have a Fender FB-54 which from what I read here is a starter banjo, but definitely enough for my level at the moment.
However I noticed that the neck was not attached to the head properly as one side is lower than the other one

before I start playing with all the mods I've seen recommended here and there (tail piece, bridge, etc, I would like to fix this part at it affect the sound on at least the top two strings, but I was not sure how the neck was held together.

I can see the rod inside for the tension but I don't think it is being held by it, but I also see that there is a big screw in the heel of the neck (see second pic) .

I can't really see what else that screw could be for and before i start fiddling with it I wanted to double check.

Any feedback would be appreciated, I feel that it is something that I can do myself having tinkered with guitars in the past.

Feb 29, 2024 - 4:27:51 AM

3005 posts since 2/4/2013

Firstly don't touch that screw in the heel of the neck. This goes through and hole in the end of the rod which is then tightened against it. It's not a great system. The screw can be bent. In my foolish days I did mess with the screw - which broke.

There should be a nut on the rod at the neck end. All you need to do here is loosen that a bit. Then you can turn the neck so it's level. The hole in the rim is bigger than the rod so you can actually move the neck up and down a bit as well which can be good for improving the action.

Feb 29, 2024 - 5:06:25 AM

4 posts since 2/29/2024

Hey Graham,

Thanks for the confirmation. I could not work out what that screw was for.
I saw the nut at the end of the rod, but I did not think the neck was held just by that (others that I have seen with just one rod still had another bolt anchering it to the rim).
But I'll be trying that tonight.

Thanks again.

Feb 29, 2024 - 5:44:40 AM
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3466 posts since 11/29/2007

I would loosen the nuts under the tailpiece first. Not much, just to take the tension off the nut against the rim. Then loosen the nut closest to the neck. Align the neck correctly, and then re-tighten the nuts in the order that you loosened them. Don't put too much pressure on the nuts at either end. Just a bit past finger tight.


Feb 29, 2024 - 10:42:17 AM
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4 posts since 2/29/2024

Thanks to you both, I have straightened it. also adjusted the bridge as the harmonics were not in tune. Next I have to adjust the action as the strings are a bit high now


Feb 29, 2024 - 11:02:04 AM

15065 posts since 6/2/2008

Originally posted by Olivier

. . . also adjusted the bridge as the harmonics were not in tune.

Welcome to the Hangout. And good job straightening the neck.

I want to address the quoted comment. Maybe it's just your use of terminology or an incomplete description of what you did, but the harmonics will *always* be in tune. The only harmonic at (or near) the exact center of the string string length is an accurate octave. So even if your bridge is slightly out of place, if you can make the strings chime at (or near) the 12th fret, the notes will be in tune.

The notes that can be out of tune because of a mis-located bridge are the actual fretted notes. So the correct use of harmonics in checking and setting intonation is to match the fretted 12th fret note to the 12th fret harmonic note. If they don't match, it's the fretted note that's out of tune, not the harmonic. So you move the bridge -- retuning the strings each time you do -- until the 12th fret note and its harmonic match.

And maybe you know all this and just didn't state everything you did.

Have fun learning banjo.

Mar 1, 2024 - 2:03:35 AM

4 posts since 2/29/2024

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the message and the explanation. Yes my message was written quickly from my phone after I got the neck aligned, and I took a shortcut in my message.
But your explanation is clear and detailled, thanks for this.

Anyway back to my rolls, as I find it tricky to switch from years of playing guitar with a pick to doing the rolls on the banjo..

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