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Apr 4, 2024 - 1:06:52 PM
6403 posts since 8/19/2012

I aquired an old Silvertone bakelite rim Long Neck and wondering if I should use the technique of finding the bridge position by doubling the length to the 12th fret. If my tape measure is correct it is exactly 16 inches from the face of the nut to the 12th fret which would make the length to the bridge 32 inches. Which makes the scale 32 inches.
Am I reading this correctly?

Apr 4, 2024 - 1:10:58 PM
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banjonz

New Zealand

12032 posts since 6/29/2003

I think the correct way is to measure from the 3rd fret which would make the scale length correct for a standard 5 string.

Apr 4, 2024 - 1:30:12 PM

225 posts since 10/30/2011

What Wayne said.

Apr 4, 2024 - 3:07:55 PM

63 posts since 5/28/2010

Interesting question -- I never really thought about this before.

Either the 12th or the 15 fret can be center point between nut and bridge on a longneck. Is there a standard, or preferred, method?

I've never understood why people get longneck banjos and then keep them capo'd on the third fret. (Yes, I know the longer neck was to meant to allow for lower tunings to accomodate a lower vocal range, but I don't see many people using it this way -- even its inventor, Pete Seeger, seemed to capo his longneck on the third fret more often than not.)

I don't sing, so vocal range is a non-issue. I play standard 5-string banjo and longneck. My longneck I play without a capo, and I measure the bridge position by multiplying X2 the distance from 1st to the 12th fret, like with any other banjo.

However, if you plan to play your longneck capo'd on the third fret (i.e.: you plan to treat the capo like a nut) then you'd make the 15th fret the center between "nut" and bridge, rather than the 12th.

Maybe experiment and see what sounds best to your ears? The lower tuning and the bridge being closer to the neck will effect how the banjo sounds. You may prefer the sound better utilizing the full length of the neck.

I find it makes for a refreshing change.

(Let us know what you decide!)

Glenn

Apr 4, 2024 - 5:03:20 PM

545 posts since 11/29/2012

Same as most fretted stringed instruments, the 12th fret is halfway. If you measure it, check your intonation by plucking a string and compare the tone of the same string fretted at the 12th fret with the harmonic tone on the same string. You can use a tuner or your ear to compare. The bridge is in the exact right place when the two plucked tones are equal. If the fretted tone is sharp compared to the harmonic, the bridge needs to be moved back in a small increment. But if the fretted tone is flat compared to the harmonic, then scoot the bridge toward the neck in small increments. I play long necks, congrats and have fun, Cheers!

Apr 5, 2024 - 9:37:05 AM

63 posts since 5/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by wileypickett

Interesting question -- I never really thought about this before.

Either the 12th or the 15 fret can be center point between nut and bridge on a longneck, depending on whether you capo or not. Is there a standard, or preferred, spot?

I've never understood why people get longneck banjos and then keep them capo'd on the third fret. (Yes, I know the longer neck was to meant to allow for lower tunings to accomodate a lower vocal range, but I don't see many people using longnecks this way -- even its inventor, Pete Seeger, seemed to capo his on the third fret more often than not.)

I don't sing, so vocal range is a non-issue. I play standard 5-string banjo and longneck. My longneck I play without a capo, and I measure the bridge position by multiplying X2 the distance from 1st to the 12th fret, like with any other banjo.

However, if you plan to play your longneck capo'd on the third fret (i.e.: you plan to treat the capo like a nut) then you'd make the 15th fret the center between "nut" and bridge, rather than the 12th.

Maybe experiment and see what sounds best to your ears? The lower tuning and the bridge being closer to the neck will effect how the banjo sounds. You may prefer the sound better utilizing the full length of the neck.

I find it makes for a refreshing change.

(Let us know what you decide!)

Glenn


Apr 5, 2024 - 11:39:42 AM

2 posts since 3/4/2023

In an ideal world both options, 0-12 and 3-15 put your bridge in exactly the same spot. I still usually set my intonation with a capo at the third fret since I play out of G/C (or higher) more than I play from the lower positions.

Apr 5, 2024 - 4:43:51 PM
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13128 posts since 10/27/2006

12th x2 fret is 12th fret x2, open or capo'd. This is the starting point. The correct position will be slightly back towards the tailpiece — 1/8" is not unusual.

The 5th string is the short one and the 1st is closest to the ground.

Use the 12th fret harmonic to determine the exact position of the bridge. If you have a straight bridge, 3 of the 5 strings will fret slightly out of tune going up the neck. I set the intonation to the 2nd and 4th strings. The 1st will go slightly flat up the neck while the 3rd will go a little sharp — and that's ok. Compensated bridges can be purchased if needed.

Properly set up, a Harmony with the Bakelite pot can sound outstandingly not bad. 

Apr 6, 2024 - 3:34:09 AM

4768 posts since 4/29/2012

Probably depends whether, as seems to be the case with most long neck players, the capo-on-third is a semi-permanent fixture. Or why not set the bridge with the capo on 1st or 2nd to get a compromise between spot on un-capoed and spot on capoed at 3 ?
My (normal) banjo probably spends more than half of its life with a capo at 2 for A/D tunes. But I don't capo when positioning the bridge. Maybe I should.
Looking at the original question the 12th fret is the octave whether it's a long necked banjo or a sopranino ukulele. And 9th fret to bridge on mine is 16". So If I had 3 more frets my scale would be 32".

Apr 6, 2024 - 2:47:04 PM

13128 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD

Probably depends whether, as seems to be the case with most long neck players, the capo-on-third is a semi-permanent fixture. Or why not set the bridge with the capo on 1st or 2nd to get a compromise between spot on un-capoed and spot on capoed at 3 ?
 


It shouldn't make any difference. The nut slots must be set at the proper depth and the capo should be in the best position (over the fret just behind the crown).

It's been decades since I've seen a Harmony long neck, however. Kicking myself for the many I've turned down for $50 at swap meets, thrift stores etc. under names like Old Kraftsman (Spiegel catalog), Airline (Montgomery Wards), Holiday (Alden's), Silvertone (Sears), Regal (distributed by Fender) and so many other names.

Apr 6, 2024 - 3:21:03 PM

62068 posts since 12/14/2005

I'm with Mr. O'Halloran on this one.

Like Bruce O'Neil (multi instrumentalist on strings) says:
"Music is just mathematics at play."

The distance from open to the octave "chime point" is the midpoint, no matter what the length of the string, and no matter what note the string is tuned to.

The math doesn't change, until you get to subatomic levels.

Apr 8, 2024 - 6:05:48 AM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2949 posts since 3/10/2008

There are a lot of comments here that are difficult for me to interpret. All the longnecks I've seen have position markers located as if the 3rd fret is the starting point (the nut). So if capoed, go with the12th fret marker position as the octave.

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