Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Hello everyone,

I'm having a tough time turning the wood tuning pegs on my banjo. Any ideas on how to loosen them up?



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Have you tried rubbing them with a grafite pencil?  Just be careful you don't get them so loose they won't hold the tension of the strings.


I haven't tried that. How would I go about rubbing them with a graphite pencil? Would I rub it around the hole? 



If they are stuck in the peghead, I understand the old fashioned way to release them is to pound them out with the heel of a boot. When I had that problem I used a rubber mallet, but the heel of a boot is way more colorful.

I use Hill Peg Compound. Apply it to the peg "sparingly".


Daniel, you do have to take the pegs out, or at least back them out enough to be able to apply the graphite, or peg compound.  Using the heel of a boot dose sound like a colorfull way of doing it, but probably the mallet is more efficient.

Ahhh I just assumed I was not doing my peg shaving/hole reaming correctly. Some are buttery smooth, some stick and make loud sounds. Had one break in the hole too. Thanks for sharing!

Call me a Rebel, but I make my own pegs out of black walnut, and they never stick. My Flesher minstrel has the usual violin pegs in it, and they stick like crazy. I think that the violin pegs have to be stickier than banjo pegs because the surface area of the wood in the violin pegbox is rather small. When you put a violin peg into a hole in a banjo peghead, it is too sticky for all that extra surface area.

The violin pegs look nicer, but my walnut pegs work better.

I have no scientific evidence to support any of this, just my small amount of experience building gourd banjos.

It could be how you are using them too.  I often see folks turn the peg with their left hand and reach up with their right to press or pull in the peg head.  That is the wrong way.  The correct way is found in the great article "Observations on the Banjo and Banjo Playing" by Swaim Stewart.

Get it here for free...


Interesting article. Thanks for the link. I will have to read it in detail later to learn more about the old techniques of playing.

I do not remember hammering the peghead down onto the pegs, but even so, my technique is pretty much the same for both types of pegs, and I have better luck with my walnut pegs. The downside is that the wood is soft, and they develop grooves where the strings wrap around the peg.

But, if I break one (which has not happened so far) I will just make a new one.

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