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May 16, 2024 - 10:04:19 AM
2 posts since 5/16/2024

Hey folks,

Just getting started with the banjo. I have a beginner Washburn that I've been toying with, but I also have a Kay banjo that I inherited from family. It was in terrible shape when I got it - neck was splintered, 5th string tuner missing, etc. I took it to a shop and they managed to restore it, but the action is really high. I thought this might be something I could adjust on my own, but I'm nervous about wrecking the entire instrument.

I've looked at a few threads here, and I believe what I need to do is:
1) detension the strings,
2) loosen the big nut by the heel just enough to loosen the metal shim between the neck and the pot,
3) scoot the shim around until I'm happy with the action,
4) retighten the big nut and tune up the strings.

Does this sound right to everyone? I've attached some pictures of the innards for reference. I also noticed that someone shimmed up one side of the neck with a strip of wood or cardboard, and that my 5th string action is way lower than the others at the last fret - so maybe I should be more concerned about warping than neck adjustment.

Bonus question: I'm thinking about converting this into a 4-string banjo for plectrum playing. Is it taboo to just take off the 5th string and play around the tuner, or is it even worse to yank out the 5th string tuner?


Edited by - fflowolff on 05/16/2024 10:09:52

May 16, 2024 - 10:16:25 AM

821 posts since 5/29/2015

yes

May 16, 2024 - 12:36:59 PM

5847 posts since 5/29/2011

First; you don't have to adjust the shim, the neck moves along the shim to adjust the action. The rest of the process is just as you described. Loosen the strings, loosen the nut, slide the neck upward, and tighten it all back up.
Second; if you want to play with only four strings, you can take the peg out or leave it in and play around it. It doesn't matter which.

Edited by - Culloden on 05/16/2024 12:38:40

May 16, 2024 - 2:36:02 PM

2 posts since 5/16/2024

Awesome, thanks y'all! I didn't expect such quick replies. I went and adjusted it just now - that was easy! Now I can finally finger a chord without touching open strings on this thing.

Next time I pop a string, I'll set it up for plectrum playing to try it out. Thanks again!

May 16, 2024 - 6:12:07 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

28088 posts since 6/25/2005

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