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How Do I Choose the Best Banjo Neck?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 June 2014
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If you want to choose the best banjo neck possible, you will want to buy a neck that offers easy action and a comfortable grip. Fret height, scale length and tuning peg type will all factor into choosing your best deal on a banjo neck. The fingerboard type and the neck construction are also factors that can be attributed to the best banjo neck for your instrument. The best necks are often also equipped with a truss rod.

The size and shape of the banjo neck are the primary areas that can be manipulated by the manufacturer. While the fingerboard of the neck is typically always the same shape, the back of the banjo neck is the area that can be changed to allow for a different feel. You will want to experiment with several neck shapes in order to find the best feeling neck for your banjo. Commonly offered in thick, thin and various widths, the neck can also be purchased in D, C and V shapes that are each designed to fit a particular hand size and style of playing. Learning which neck shape you prefer will allow you to choose the best neck for your individual application.

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Also critical in choosing the best banjo neck is the size of the frets. Frets are the small, wire dividers that break the fingerboard into little squares. These can come in several thicknesses or heights, with the thinner frets typically allowing for the easiest chording. Tall frets can leave the player with sore fingers due to the strings having to be higher off of the fingerboard. It is usually best for a beginning player to choose a banjo neck with medium-height frets.

It is generally true that the best necks have a steel truss rod installed between the fingerboard and the neck. This steel rod, positioned in the center of the banjo neck, allows the neck to be straightened if it becomes bowed. The truss rod can be adjusted by removing the truss rod cover on the peg head, placing a wrench on the rod and turning it. This will provide you with the best banjo neck since you will be able to maintain the neck for years, ensuring your banjo will always play and chord smoothly. Choosing a quality neck with a rosewood fingerboard will also prove to give you the best neck for your money, as this provides a mellow sound that will typically be easy on your fingers.

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