Has anyone tried playing classic banjo with a radiused neck or a scalloped fingerboard? There was a discussion on Banjo Hangout some time ago that got me thinking it might make some chords easier to play when I have an arthritic day.

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I have played banjos, guitars, and mandolins with radiuses fingerboards. It made chording easier in all cases.  I can't see how a scalloped fingerboard would make chording easy but I've only played two or three of these and not for very long.  I'm not sure what you mean by a radiuses neck. The opposite side from the fingerboard?  A round profile rather than a V profile?

Neck shape seems to affect the hands of different players differently. Some players say it matters greatly. Others take no notice.  The only trouble I have is with a fingerboard that is too narrow and the strings very close together.


Sorry about the confusion in terms. I meant radiused fingerboard. I am only bilingual, I speak English and a little Australian.


Jody Stecher said:

I have played banjos, guitars, and mandolins with radiuses fingerboards. It made chording easier in all cases.  I can't see how a scalloped fingerboard would make chording easy but I've only played two or three of these and not for very long.  I'm not sure what you mean by a radiuses neck. The opposite side from the fingerboard?  A round profile rather than a V profile?

Neck shape seems to affect the hands of different players differently. Some players say it matters greatly. Others take no notice.  The only trouble I have is with a fingerboard that is too narrow and the strings very close together.

In that case, a radiused fingerboard should be very helpful in creating chord comfort.

Hal Allert said:


Sorry about the confusion in terms. I meant radiused fingerboard. I am only bilingual, I speak English and a little Australian.


Jody Stecher said:

I have played banjos, guitars, and mandolins with radiuses fingerboards. It made chording easier in all cases.  I can't see how a scalloped fingerboard would make chording easy but I've only played two or three of these and not for very long.  I'm not sure what you mean by a radiuses neck. The opposite side from the fingerboard?  A round profile rather than a V profile?

Neck shape seems to affect the hands of different players differently. Some players say it matters greatly. Others take no notice.  The only trouble I have is with a fingerboard that is too narrow and the strings very close together.

Hi !

I play a flush frets scallopped banjo i made since one year, and i can assume that is very easy and comfortable to play, especialy when i play rags and Van Eps music.whose execution is special in fingering right hand, as having the scallopped fingerboard, prevents the left hand get tired, it facilitates precision, because no matter where fingers are placed , the sound  made, is very precise, and it makes much easier glissando or the rise of a game on a single string using the thumb-index-finger on the same string. Much like the "single style" Don Reno in Bluegrass music.
I must say that I use this banjo very often, an
since i let the others sleeping in their cases.

I had an idea to make a new one with a radiused , scallopped flush fret fingerboard, just to tast it, and i mean that the use of radiused fingerboard is also very comfortable, i played a banjo with radiused fingerboard and i can say it's really good, it is less tiring for the left hand.

Indulge me and define a "scalloped fingerboard." Is this a fingerboard that is not flat but rather indented/curved inward? I've played a lot of banjos but never seen one with a scalloped fingerboard.

Yes, that's exactly right. Here's a photo of an Eric Stefanelli scalloped fingerboard.



Patrick Garner said:

Indulge me and define a "scalloped fingerboard." Is this a fingerboard that is not flat but rather indented/curved inward? I've played a lot of banjos but never seen one with a scalloped fingerboard.

Fascinating. I can see how these would finger more naturally. Thnx for there perfect image.

I once owned a Framus banjo many years ago with a radiused fret board and having large hands, I did find it a help. Since selling it, I've not come across any other banjos with a similar fret board...Steve.

Hi Steve ! I had this kind of Framus banjo long time ago, and i found it very comfortable, never find another like that ! Fingerboard was made of rosewood and wide...

Hi Eric, a friend of mine still owns one, I'll have to see if he might be interested in parting company with it. Mind you, I don't think my wife would take too kindly to yet another banjo in the house...Steve.

I have one of each. I had Nechville build a custom ZB neck for me a few years ago and it features a conic-radius fretboard (7" radius at nut, 22" radius at the heel). Very comfortable.

Then, I bought an 1893 "Lion" banjo which uses the H.C. Middlebrooke patent scallop fingerboard. Again, very comfortable. The Middlebrooke patent scallop is a little different than the Van Eps (like Eric's). Middlebrooke scalloped his to where the deepest part is not centered between the frets, it is closer to the upper fret. It is sort of as if he weighted the feel towards making glissandos from low-to-high (pitch). Of course, the rest of the banjo is an oddity as it has a ZB tunneled 5th and a crazy adjustable neck.

http://www.vintagebanjomaker.com/#/lion/4570226812

I would think the combination of a radius fretboard and scalloped flush-frets would be insanely difficult to produce (without some CNC equipment) but very comfy to play.

 

Trapdoor, is the center peg on the head the 5th string, set there instead of the neck?

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