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Are 5th String Capo Spikes Necessary for a Beginner Banjo Player

Are 5th String Capo Spikes Necessary for a Beginner Banjo Player


Hello Ross,

Thanks so much for speaking with me earlier today. Your advice was very helpful and I want to sit on it for another couple of days, but I am increasingly feeling good about going with the Goodtime.

One more question... Will the capo spikes be necessary for a beginner like me? My impression is no... but let me know if you have any advice to the contrary.

Also, I probably won’t be purchasing the Blue Chip thumb pick any time soon, but just thought I’d ask for reference. I notice you carry a few different ones, but which one do you recommend?

Thank you,


Hi Thomas,

Its the Bluechip JD Crowe for banjo. Those have a smaller blade and better for banjo.

Having the capo spikes installed is wise. I don't make any profit from it so it has nothing to do with that. I'm speaking as a banjo teacher which Ive been doing for a long time, much longer than helping people with advice on banjos to buy.

Here are some the reasons. the first practical one is you will likely have trouble finding a place to install them down the line and it will cost more.

Also, the capo is something you should practice with. It actually makes the banjo easier to play. It mixes up things with the tone which helps you from getting in a rut practicing. Banjo players use a capo a lot. Much of banjo you hear on the radio in bluegrass bands, the banjo has a capo on the 2nd 3rd or 4th fret. Those are better keys for singers. Most fiddle tunes that banjos players learn early on like Cripple Creek, Boil the Cabbage down are in A which is capoing to the second fret and they sound better up there.

I dont think a lot of beginners know or understand this and their first inclination when thinking of using a capo is the same as yours. That it's perhaps more advanced or not necessary. But since you asked, as a teacher, that is my advice. It will help you break through if you experiment with it and use it.

Thanks again, Ross

Thanks again,
Ross Nickerson
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