What are railroad spikes and do I need them on my banjo?
As the name suggests fitting a set of railroad spikes to the 5th string of a 5 string banjo is used to raise the pitch of that string usually from G to a higher note. This note then matches the capoing of the first 5 frets with a traditional capo to make a different open tuning or other tunings. Fitting spikes has taken over as the most popular way to capo the 5th string from other options in the past like the Shubb sliding capo that need to be screwed to the side of the neck. The spikes offer a more discreet alternative, they are quick to use and offer a much sleeker method of capoing the 5th string that doesn't get in the way of your playing. Please note, our spike fitting service is not offered on every 5 string banjo as its not really an essential feature that's needed at a beginner level. Only when you start to progress and want to play in different keys and tunings are spikes needed.
Our banjo spike fitting service
We offer a spike fitting service here at Eagle Music and have done for many years. We have fitted thousands from beginner models to top of the range professional models.
We take real pride in fitting them, taking plenty of time to prepare the spikes and fit them using precision tools and techniques practised over many years. Whilst you can fit them yourself they must be fitted accurately for the spikes to function correctly. Most players tend to go for the 7th 9th and 10th frets to give the option of Open A, B and C tunings. More spikes can be added further done the neck or at the 8th fret to make a full set but its not always necessary.
Some banjos, in particular all the Goodtime Artisan 5 string banjos are pre spiked at the Deering factory at 7,9 and 10th frets. If you want additional spikes and chose the 'Fit an extra spike at a specific fret option' please make a note of the fret position you want the spike fitted in the 'special instructions' box when ordering.' Once fitted they will become part of your banjo and you will hardly notice they are there until you need them. Why not have them fitted by us in the workshop!
We have added a few pictures to our gallery of specific stages while fitting banjo spikes.