I recently switched my standard 5-string over to nylon strings, and I LOVE it - I'll never go back! Of course now I'm running into some issues and have finally decided I need to bring it to y'all for some advice and counsel.

First of all, I've been breaking strings at an unaccustomed rate (a quality-of-life issue for me, as I'm notoriously lazy about string-changing!). One thing was, I realized that the standard bluegrass-style banjo scale of 26 1/4" (66+ cm) is significantly longer than classical guitar scale. So question #1 is: is there a standard CB scale length? 

The other remedy i tried was a new tailpiece - I switched over to a no-knot, but rather than no knots, I have to use three different knots to get strings on there properly, and the 5th string is padded with a foam earplug. And now - I guess due to lower tension behind the bridge - I keep pulling the 1st string out of the bridge slot. I solved this problem by putting a small piece of duct tape-wrapped dowel between the first and second strings behind the bridge, probably giving up some resonance in the bargain. And you can imagine how the back end of my banjo is a bit of a mess at this point.

One of you has very kindly offered to make me a wood Waverly-style tailpiece and bridge, which may solve various issues (including the aesthetics!) though I may have to have an endpin/button thingy installed, I haven't explored that yet.

So I can at least make the gig on this thing, but maybe I need a new neck entirely, or maaaayyyybeeee I have an excuse to go out and get a whole new banjo! :o) 

thanks all!

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I plan to check with you guys about that axe as well. I hear SO MUCH (potential) music coming out of it, but there are some "buts" to deal with.

If you want to talk about the tenor, shoot me a private message.  I've played tenors in a few genres and may be able to help.  That said, this website is for classic style 5-string banjo, not tenors.

Will do John, and thanks in advance. yeah i know the focus, it's just that there's a wealth of banjo-with-a-capital-B knowledge to draw on here that I doubt I could find anywhere else!

Many plastics are subject to fatigue stress. After 25yrs, it may just have given up. Yours does look violent...plastic can get fragile with age and it looks like this one went glass-hard. I had one go about 10 yrs ago and it sort of just let go while I was cleaning it. I never heard anything...the head just got really loose in one quarter. Mine split right along the top of the tone ring...it was about 20yrs old. I put a new one on it and it failed in days (manufacturing defect).

I'd simply put on another one. Easy. I'm on the fence for calfskin and tenors. Depends on what kind of music you want to play. Jazz? Go with plastic. Celtic? I like calfskin.

I like plastic for Irish Traditional Music... my Paragons were set up with 5-star heads... anything else would be too "mellow" for me.  

That's kind of reassuring TD2! Durability and versatility in every possible (sometimes absurd) situation is a necessity for me, so definitely plastic. And I'll keep track and change them every quarter-century whether I need to or not! :o)



Trapdoor2 said:

Many plastics are subject to fatigue stress. After 25yrs, it may just have given up. Yours does look violent...plastic can get fragile with age and it looks like this one went glass-hard. I had one go about 10 yrs ago and it sort of just let go while I was cleaning it. I never heard anything...the head just got really loose in one quarter. Mine split right along the top of the tone ring...it was about 20yrs old. I put a new one on it and it failed in days (manufacturing defect).

I'd simply put on another one. Easy. I'm on the fence for calfskin and tenors. Depends on what kind of music you want to play. Jazz? Go with plastic. Celtic? I like calfskin.

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