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Mar 22, 2024 - 10:23:25 AM
1254 posts since 2/12/2003

I had a banjo refretted and now it's difficult to get the string under the spikes.. What is the best way to remedy this problem?

Mar 22, 2024 - 10:42:49 AM
like this

15310 posts since 6/2/2008

Force different feeler gauge strips under them until you've elevated them sufficiently.

Or small pocketknife blade.

Trick with using a tool is to avoid gouging the wood. That's why I recommend wide flat tools, not wedges like screwdriver blades.

You could also use a banjo string. Not an installed one. Slip it under the spike, grab both sides close to the spike then pull up with both hands, rocking if needed to loosen the spike.

Mar 22, 2024 - 11:43:02 AM
like this

3551 posts since 4/7/2010

I use flush cutting nippers. Pinch the spike gently with the nippers and rock sideways slightly.

Bob Smakula


Mar 22, 2024 - 12:46:30 PM



84 posts since 9/13/2017

I used Bob‘s method successfully too.

Mar 22, 2024 - 2:16:20 PM
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329 posts since 2/18/2018

Once you pull them up they may become totally loose to where the string tension in use can pull them out. You may have to put a very small drop of glue on the tack and, using a feeler gauge of the correct thickness, press them back in and allow the glue to harden for a while.

Mar 23, 2024 - 1:56:05 PM



43 posts since 1/12/2024

Jake at Banjo Ben installed them on my banjo when I bought it and they were difficult to get the strings under them at first. Over a short time they've loosened up on their own. Either that, or I'm getting better at sliding the strings under them. Regardless, the problem took care of itself.

Edited by - Fracker on 03/23/2024 13:57:48

Mar 23, 2024 - 2:46:10 PM

3394 posts since 2/18/2009

When I install spikes and hammer them down too far I slide a sharp chisel under the head of the spike. This creates a sort of wedge action and either bends the shank slightly or pulls the spike up slightly, probably the former but I am not sure.

Apr 9, 2024 - 1:15:08 PM
Players Union Member



17541 posts since 8/30/2006

Find your gap gages and see what the gap is
Then I set mine at .014”
Others go as low as .012”

I use a small blade screwdriver under the spike hammering with the jewelers hammer
Then I replace that with.014 blade

New spikes are mild steel
They can be filed and dressed underneath and on top as well
I suggest gluing
Let me know if you need spikes
Little John Henry
Little Steam Drill
Little Shaker

Edited by - Helix on 04/09/2024 13:18:08

Apr 9, 2024 - 1:35:50 PM
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15171 posts since 6/5/2011

Taking into consideration that I've never "remedied the problem," .... would it work to use nippers like those Bob mentioned, but with the 2 beveled jaws meeting [or maybe not necessary to fully close them?] under the horizontal part of the spike instead of grabbing the shaft?   [Don't mind me ... I'm just thinkin' (?) out loud.  wink ]

Apr 12, 2024 - 3:16:10 PM
Players Union Member



17541 posts since 8/30/2006

I do think the OP truly is over a century old, so I hope somebody will step in and help.

Apr 19, 2024 - 7:15:48 AM



2 posts since 6/7/2022

I used a plastic card to slide under. Not too thick, like a library card etc…It Works. A luthier gave me that tip.

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