Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Does low action compensate for bad technique?

I raised the action on my banjo to get rid of a buzz, and it is way harder for me to play cleanly! I am missing notes with my fretting hand and some of them are muffled. When I measure it, I believe the action is what is supposed to be “normal,” 1/8 inch at the 12th fret and a little higher at the 22nd. This banjo sure does sound better with a higher action and medium strings, though. Any success stories out there of raising your action and then getting used to it eventually?


I have the action on my banjo and guitar both a little bit higher than normal. When I first set them set up like that it hurt my fingers more but the sound was way better. Now I’ve gotten used to it and the feel doesn’t bother me and I don’t even think about it. A taller bridge on the banjo works better for my hands and a tiny bit higher action made my guitar way louder. I do feel a difference when I play other people’s guitars that have a good setup in that it’s a little easier and more comfortable on the fingers. But I’m used to mine and I like it how it is.

Plus I really don’t like an instrument that buzzes when you play hard or loud and they won’t when you have the action a little high.


Yeah you will eventually get used to it, but it still may not be what’s best for you. You may have gotten rid of the buzz by raising the action, but there’s a chance it could’ve been remedied another way or a combination of things.

Russ Carson’s banjo is super high action and I have a hard time playing it clean.


I ordered a taller bridge, too. Going to try taller bridge + less neck bow to see if that is the magic combo for this buzz.

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