Keep in mind that getting the balance just right is going to take some trial and error, especially if you’re new to this. Shims are commonly recommended for those with traditional-style banjos, which have dowel sticks instead of coordinator rods. Unfortunately, reaching an agreement between so many contributors is nearly impossible. You should always perform minor adjustments when adjusting the truss rod. Alternately, the action can be lowered by straightening the neck, which will bring the frets closer to the strings. Banjolele vs. Banjolin: Do You Know the Difference? Although many of these can be altered by a beginner, remember to use the “less is more” approach when making adjustments. Once you get past the learning curve, you’ll be glad you stuck with it and are able to maintain your banjo yourself. I have been playing music on various instruments most of my life. In theory, you should only have to set up your banjo’s action when you first get the banjo. If this is the case with your banjo, it’s a good idea to let a professional handle it. In my personal opinion, when buying a banjo for a first time (I mean, specially for the first time) we need to make sure action is low. Loosen the neck tension hardware, where the dowel meets the pot on the neck side. The fingerboard was deeply scalloped, so when I replaced it during restoration, I was surprised to see a square metal tube in a channel (ala pre-war Martin) cut into the neck. I’ll be putting a new head on soon and cleaning it all up inside (it was really dusty when I bought it) so I’ll try out a very fine shim at the same time just to take down the action a hair. For me, the action should be as low as possible without allowing buzz if I push it a bit. I guess it’s a case of getting used to the action as I’m not quite sure how to shim the neck safely myself and it might create some fret buzz if I do. As mentioned earlier, if you adjust the bridge by sanding the feet, you may sand too much off resulting in too low of action. Too high and your intonation fret to fret is effected as well. Then once the neck is loosened a bit, you can separate it a hair so that you can slide a thin shim down in between the neck and the pot (right by the end of the fret board), and then tighten everything up again. string action, and you either have strings laying on the frets or more likely, the action is way too high. It is best to have a little more height in the center of the bridge for the best playability and the least string noise. " Action can vary, depending upon how hard the player strikes his strings, but the height at the 12th fret is usually no lower than 1/8" and no higher than 1/4", with the average falling at 3/16". If you’re not sure which method is best, or you’re not confident that you’re doing it right, get help. On the other hand, if the action’s too low, pushing the strings against one fret will cause them to vibrate against the lower frets when played, creating an annoying buzzing sound. String action refers to how high strings are above the fingerboard. Thanks to the internet, there is an endless supply of instructions for adjusting every aspect of your banjo’s setup, and opinions on which elements should and should not be tampered with. Cheers! (I put on some heavier strings a few days ago and the action hasn’t gone up as far as I can tell)
Hopefully, you’re starting to get an idea of how easily the action on a banjo can be set up, even for beginners. It’s currently around 2.3mm at the 12th fret (going down to about 1.5mm at the 5th fret) I’ve got a 1/2" bridge installed so I can’t really adjust the action without shimming the neck. Action has a high impact on playability, so it’s important to get it right. When adjusted, it causes the neck to either straighten or to bow slightly inward. link to Banjolele vs. Banjolin: Do You Know the Difference? Hi Reverend thanks for your reply, I’m glad to hear that 2.3mm doesn’t sound too far off, it’s reassuring. This rod is there for added stability and doesn’t get adjusted. The main purpose of these rods (or sticks) is to connect the neck to the body of the banjo, which is called the pot. Every mandolin player will have to battle broken strings from time to time.