Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Medium Gauge Strings

I started out using medium gauge cause it sounded more in tune up the neck but chokes were hard to do. Now notice the fret wear on the 2nd and 3rd frets. that was caused from pushing the medium gauge string down too hard.
I’m trying a light guage and find it hard to push down lighter than I’m use to, especially up the neck where things go really sharp.

I use lights. I believe mediums have a richer deeper sound but I find fretting is easier. Might also check your set up. Watch the Steve Huber set up video Ben has in the beginner banjo section. Really helpful.

As for fret wear it will happen no matter what is what I’ve found. I have learned how to replace my own frets though I would recommend a good Luther if you have one close. I do not.


That’s a LOT of fret wear. That didn’t happen with just 1 set of medium strings, did it?

I agree with the above recommendation of checking your set up. If you’re going out of tune up the neck, you most likely need to reposition your bridge. If you’re 100% positive it’s right, the next thing to check is your action. Even if your action is too high, though, I would think you could compensate for that with the bridge position.


Hi Roger,
There are exercises that will “train” your finger pressure on the fretboard. The best way to reduce finger pressure on your fretboard is to start by lightly touching the first string and pluck it. It should sound muted. Continue adding small amounts of pressure and plucking the string each time. You should hear the muted string begin to “buzz” and with a little more pressure you’ll hear the fret note. Once you hear a clear fret note, lift your finger, close your eyes and concentrate. Try to put your finger on the fret and string again with the same pressure that gave you the clear note without pressing too hard. Do this exercise with all fingers on all strings. Try applying this “learned” pressure with a few chords. You’ll find your fingers won’t be so sore and fret wear will be minimized.
Hope this helps…