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Jun 19, 2024 - 7:13:08 AM
358 posts since 11/22/2009

I have a plectrum banjo. I have made a new nut. The width at the nut at the end of the fingerboard is 1 1/8".

My question is:
What distance would you cut the nut slots for the 1st and 4th strings from edge of the finger board?--so as not to let the strings 'roll off' the edge when fretted.

Many thanks.

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:46:53 AM
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5847 posts since 5/29/2011

7/8", no more than 1". Either one seems narrow to me but you have to work within the space you have. 7/8" is pretty tight but you won't be pulling the strings off the edge. 1" is more comfortable but it doesn't allow for much error.

Jun 22, 2024 - 11:28:04 AM

79839 posts since 5/9/2007

Whatever 1-4 spacing allows for a minimum of .050" of 1st fret end sticking out past the 1st and 4th strings.

Jun 22, 2024 - 2:46:05 PM
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Richard Elmes


45 posts since 11/1/2016

Hi Mike, hope you are well. I was wondering if you could experiment spacing by making a temporary nut out of wood to see how it feels before committing to slotting your new nut.

Jun 22, 2024 - 3:15:40 PM

15437 posts since 6/2/2008

I think 3/32-inch is sufficient space outside the strings to keep them from being pulled off the edge of the fingerboard. That makes a total of 3/16-inch inset, leaving you 15/16-inch (0.9375) for your string spacing, which ought to be enough.

1-1/8 - 3/16 = 18/16 - 3/16 = 15/16

Jun 22, 2024 - 3:20:21 PM

15437 posts since 6/2/2008

Steve's suggestion of a minimum .05-inch of inset on each side means you give yourself 1 inch of string space on the nut and leave yourself 1/16-inch (.0625) on each end.

You could go slightly over 1-inch and still leave yourself .05 outside each string. This is measured at the nut. I don't know if that would be the same at first fret.

Jun 23, 2024 - 5:51:16 AM

79839 posts since 5/9/2007

I have big hands and a 1 inch nut string spacing is very comfortable for me.

Jun 23, 2024 - 7:55:16 AM

2968 posts since 9/18/2010

As a standard, I place the center or the 1st string 3/16" from the edge of the 'board and the center of the last string (4th in this case) closer to 1/8" from the edge of the 'board. Player preference takes over from there; some like wider, some narrower.

Jun 23, 2024 - 9:30:20 AM

13167 posts since 10/27/2006

Download, print and use to space any 4 or 5 string banjo:

Rudy's Bluestem Banjo String Spacing Guide

Jun 23, 2024 - 4:48:58 PM

79839 posts since 5/9/2007

I depend on my StewMac spacing ruler for all slots, nut and bridge
It automatically adds .004" for each string to the bass side.

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