What is the best method to tie strings to a no-knot tailpiece?  I have a banjo which came strung with nylaguts and I want to replace the fourth with a silverwound (however, it looks too narrow!). Or is it better to get a different type of tailpiece.  I love the one on my CE Special - so easy to use.

Here is the tailpiece and a rescued knot!  Wish I hadn't started tinkering now....I haven't got the necessary Scout's skills….

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Carrie,

This item appeared in the December 1956 edition of BMG, page 58.  Given that how to tie a length of nylon to the tail of a banjo is something that every classic banjoist has to deal with, it's a real puzzle that there is not more discussion on the subject.  Before I get into it, I have to say that this is another subject that no two banjoists will agree on, but there is a close correlation between weird knots and banjoists who constantly have to re-tune.  On the other hand, I served my time as a Sea Scout and worked hard at knots and ropework. 

There are two approaches: you can either tie a knot at the end of the line that provides a permanent loop (as per the article), or you can wrap the line round the studs in such a way that the knot gets tighter as the string gets tensioned (as per your photo).  My preference is always for the first, as once you have created the loop it is always there.

The knot shown in the article is a bit OTT in two respects: doubling the line for the entire knot makes the knot very big and you still only have a single loop, and doing a double turn before threading the loop end down again is not only hard to achieve on most strings but provides an extra level of security that just isn't needed on banjo strings.  Just go straight from b to d then pull tight.  Remember to pull the short end tight as well before cutting it off. 

I suggest you try forming the knot at the end of a piece of string a few times before getting stuck in with the nylon strings as it can be a bit fiddly and you need to have firmly fixed in your mind the correct sequence.  I'm afraid that with CE strings you don't have much to play with in tying the knot. 

Good luck!

Tony

Because of the spacing of the knobs, you can only get one loop around it with the wound (or thicker) strings. This needn't be rocket science, just something that will hold the modest tension of a banjo string.

I tend to use a "clinch knot", which can be seen in an animated format here: https://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/clinch-knot However, the knot shown is for thin stuff...so I reduce the number of times I twist...for the wound string, just one or two works fine.

A "figure eight" knot also will do the job https://www.animatedknots.com/figure-8-knot just use the lower loop around the knob. Actually, this ends up being very similar to a "clinch knot" with only a single twist.

All the above is far too complex for me.

This is simple, so simple even I can understand it:

Hello peeps - thanks, Ian - I use your method on my CE tailpiece but found the string too thick to do this with the fidlly no-knot tailpiece.  I practiced the 'Clinch knot' with garden string and then managed to secure a lighter 4th (a 25w rather than a 30w) - woo-hay!  Pray God it doesn't snap in my face while playing.  Life is stressful enough at the moment.

Thanks Marc - am now sorted! :)

Hey, Tony - just saw your post.  Thanks for uploading the photos.  I am having a go with my garden string (well, we are in lockdown).  Hope everything is keeping safe.  Best, Carrie.

Just uploaded a photo of the banjo.  It is an A scale banjo made by James Bowen (Griffin Banjos) with a 10" head - a ladies/parlour banjo, if you like.  Having some issues with stiff/swollen fingers and thought a shorter-scale may be easier to play moving forwards.  Can't have too many banjos....

I think there's also different types of no-knot-tailpieces. I have one that has slots cut in to the knobs (in the beginning I thought all no-knot-tailpieces where like that...). I find those brilliant, if they are well made. The one I have (can't remember from where) works really good. I just put the string in the slot, wrap it once around the knob and it holds (I'm actually not using it on any banjo at the moment). I later ordered two no-knot-tailpieces from CE and was very surprised to find that they don't have the slots in the knobs. To be honest, I don't really see the point with a no-knot-tailpiece without the slot, but then on the other hand, I never did try the tailpieces from CE so I have no point of reference.

Without the slots they are just "Knot" tailpieces. 

Pär Engstrand said:

I think there's also different types of no-knot-tailpieces. I have one that has slots cut in to the knobs (in the beginning I thought all no-knot-tailpieces where like that...). I find those brilliant, if they are well made. The one I have (can't remember from where) works really good. I just put the string in the slot, wrap it once around the knob and it holds (I'm actually not using it on any banjo at the moment). I later ordered two no-knot-tailpieces from CE and was very surprised to find that they don't have the slots in the knobs. To be honest, I don't really see the point with a no-knot-tailpiece without the slot, but then on the other hand, I never did try the tailpieces from CE so I have no point of reference.

:-) exactly my thought...

Joel Hooks said:

Without the slots they are just "Knot" tailpieces. 

Pär Engstrand said:

I think there's also different types of no-knot-tailpieces. I have one that has slots cut in to the knobs (in the beginning I thought all no-knot-tailpieces where like that...). I find those brilliant, if they are well made. The one I have (can't remember from where) works really good. I just put the string in the slot, wrap it once around the knob and it holds (I'm actually not using it on any banjo at the moment). I later ordered two no-knot-tailpieces from CE and was very surprised to find that they don't have the slots in the knobs. To be honest, I don't really see the point with a no-knot-tailpiece without the slot, but then on the other hand, I never did try the tailpieces from CE so I have no point of reference.

Have to say, am not sold on the 'no-knot' tailpiece without slots.  I might replace it with a different tailpiece that is less fiddly and one that might give a brighter tone.  Any suggestions.  What is your favourite tailpiece?

The Fielding tailpiece is my favorite.

carrie horgan said:

Have to say, am not sold on the 'no-knot' tailpiece without slots.  I might replace it with a different tailpiece that is less fiddly and one that might give a brighter tone.  Any suggestions.  What is your favourite tailpiece?

The Fielding looks like a nice tailpiece - only available in US, I think.  This one by Deering looks like a possible alternative: https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/prod/banjo-tailpieces/deering-knot-l...

My favorite:

Available from Mr. Joel Hooks @ https://www.banjothimble.com/shop/banjo-tailpieces.html

CE Music has a few types, like this Weaver-looking thingy: http://cliffordessex.net/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=1222

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