01:10"Railroad Spikes" are exactly that -- miniature H-O guage model railroad spikes, to be precise. It seems that the model railroaders like to nail down their tracks with tiny replicas of the real thing. It just so happens that these spikes also double as simple and functional individual capos for a banjo's 5th string.
These little L-shaped pins used by railroad model enthusiasts are perfect for holding the fifth string down at one or more frets higher up the neck, so you can capo the other four strings to play in higher keys without retuning.
Since the spikes are installed individually and remain in a fixed position, most musicians will have them installed at commonly needed fret positions, such as a spike at the 7th fret to accommodate the key of A, for example. The most common spike positions on a standard 5-string banjo will be at the 7th, 9th and 10th frets, although they can be installed behind any fret.
Some banjo makers, such as Deering and Nechville, for instance, also use spikes for the nut of the 5th string as well.
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LAST UPDATED 04-29-2016 13:18