Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Neck gaps!

OK, so this is a hotly debated topic over at BHO.

I’m interested to hear what anyone (builders/set up guys/pickers and tinkerers alike!) thinks about this.

Slight gap between fingerboard and tension hoop? Warren Yates says it’s a must. As does Arthur Hatfield. Roger Siminoff says it must be avoided. I emailed Mike Munford to get his thoughts, and am eagerly waiting his response.

Opinions vary on the BHO, though it seems a slight majority prefers the gap. Others say it isn’t a big deal, unless there’s a good deal of pressure exerted on the hoop by the fingerboard.

I disassembled the pot of my Bishline after noticing I could not draw a piece of dental floss up from the gap below the bead of the head between the hoop and fingerboard, making me think there is actually a good deal of tension there (!)

I used some 320 grit sandpaper and took off ~1/64" from the end of the fingerboard, and still could not draw the floss up after reassembling the pot! It still sounds great, but I’m wondering if it could be livened up even more by creating some neck gap.

Rob seems to think it’s not terribly important–he builds all of his banjos this way. Makes me think I shouldn’t go too wild on any modifications… Amazing how many different opinions are out there!


Hi Julian Not being an expert I would look to those who are. i.e Warren Yates and Arthur Hatfield both highly respected luthiers. I stopped visiting the BHO many years ago largely due to the hostile atmosphere and misleading information. The thing about banjo’s, they are all unique. I’d sooner play my banjo than try to win an argument about who is right and who also thinks he’s right. Life is short and the banjo is waiting.