Rogue 6-String Banjo Natural
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- Mahogany Resonator with Thumb ScrewsMahogany Neck3-Ply Maple Rim24 BracketsGeared TunersAdjustable Truss Rod
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|Item Dimensions||—||2 x 41 x 18 in||19 x 5 x 41 in||5 x 41 x 19 in|
The 6-string banjo is tuned like a guitar, and features a short scale length and jumbo frets for very easy playability.
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If the neck had been right, this would have gotten at least a 4 from me.
Basic 6 String Banjo Set-up Guide
A Measuring Tape
(and the supplied tools in the box)
Carefully remove the mahogany resonator (the back) from the banjo head.
(It is held in place by 4 bolts)
Tighten all of the screws inside the wall of the banjo rim -
Next tighten all of the bolts (the brackets) using the supplied tool.
Start slowly - it's best to just give them a small ¼ turn at first.
Rather than work in a circular motion - work in different sections, remembering where you left off, so that tension is distributed evenly . Repeat the process 2 - 3 times, until everything is good & tight. Be careful not to over tighten - IF YOU HEAR A SQUEAKING NOISE STOP & loosen the bracket - to avoid potential damage to the banjo.
Check to see that the banjo head feels even (run your hand along the top of the surface).
Loosen all the strings, & place the bridge on the banjo. Measure from the face of the nut to the middle of the 12th fret ( approx. 11.5 inches - dbl that number to approx 23", & place the bridge in the middle of the banjo head.
Tune the high "E" string using a good electronic tuner. Gently fret the octave (place your finger on the string & pluck it). Check your tuner - if your tuner reads E flat, move the bridge toward the fingerboard. If your tuner reads E sharp, move the bridge toward the tailpiece. Now do the same with the low "E" string.
** I have found that a distance of 22 ¾ inches provides proper bridge placement & intonation "**
Using your tuner tighten & tune all the other strings. Since the tuners are inexpensive and the strings are new - they will stretch for a while & it will be hard to keep in tune at first.
Something that helps is applying some graphite powder into the slots of the nut (simply grab a sharp lead pencil & tap lighly into the grooves creating a powder), then place your strings back in the grooves & tune-the strings.
After a few days the instrument will hold it's tuning.
Play around with your banjo. There is a tension rod inside which you can adjust easily with your hand to tweak the tone & playability.
A little experimentation & you should be good to go.
A simple good test for correct intonation is the intro to the Beatles "Eight Days A Week". It's played on the 10th, 12th, & 15th frets using the bottom strings - The chords are Dadd9, E, G6, & Dadd9. (You should be able to find the chord structure on the internet). If you've got your banjo setup right, you'll be able to recognize that famous intro when you hear it.
If everything sounds good...
Reattach the back of the banjo resonator using the 4 bolts.
Your Rogue 6 string should be set up. Enjoy your instrument.
The surprising thing was that the neck was very nice. Of course it helped that the instrument HAD been set up. Don't imagine that you can buy ANY banjo under $500 and get it to play without setting it up first - I say this because most negative reviews of student banjos are written by people who have no idea how to adjust a neck, set a banjo bridge, or tighten the head appropriately.
Unlike my other banjos, the resonator requires about twenty minutes to take off or put on, so don't imagine that you can pop it on and off between sets. But since I have a 6-string with a resonator, that's not a big issue. Without the resonator, it has more "plunk" than "ring," which is the sound for which I wanted a backless 6-string.
It has a relatively narrow neck, but if you're used to 5-string banjo or Fender electrics, you'll adjust quickly.
One "feature" for guitar players who want to get some kind of banjo sound without actually playing banjo is the LACK of a tone ring. Banjos like my Backwoods 6 have so much sustain that guitar players have to work at finding playing patterns that still sound good on the thing.
Because it has no tone ring (not even the one-piece flanged aluminum pot that substitutes for a tone ring on most cheap and mid-range banjos), it does NOT have enough sustain to affect your playing much. Without the resonator it has even less. That means that this banjo will actually be more useful to guitar players who want something to double on (but not to really learn) that most more expensive 6-string banjos.
In my case, I have learned to play a 6-string banjo with resonator and tone ring, so that's not an issue. But I also like the fact that without the resonator, the Rogue weighs almost nothing. The neck is not EXACTLY professional, but it's better than my Martin Backpacker's, and the thing is full scale, so I may be using it for my beach/travel guitar instead of the Martin.
Okay, that may seem like a very mixed review. But if you realize ahead of time you're not going to sound like Earl Scruggs on this thing (nobody could), and you can set it up or have someone to set it up for you, you'll find it to be a fun and useful addition to your arsenal.
Paul Race - School of the Rock