Peter Pardee's
23rd Fret
© Frank Ford, 10/25/99; Photos by FF, 10/23/99

You many know Pete Pardee as the author of a series of rather technical 5-string banjo books. He's currently rewriting and reformatting books on rolls on arpeggios for the modern 3-finger banjo player. Keep an eye out for his website, which should appear sometime in the not too distant future.

I've known Pete as a local musician, friend and customer for around 25 years. In that time, he's become one of the most proficient banjo players around. A few years ago, he asked me to add a 23rd fret to his banjo so he could reach a high C# for a particular Bach piece he's worked out.

Well, here's what I came up with:

It turns out that the ideal position for his 23rd fret would be just off the end of the fingerboard, so that's where I put it.

There's a bit of extra space, so I glued on a piece of celluloid (a chunk of a Fender medium flatpick) to fill the gap:

Then, after tapping the fret in position, I simply used a bit of cyanoacrylate to hold it in place:

As always, I pick up a single drop of thin cyanoacrylate at a time with a toothpick. That way, I limit the size of any potential "toxic spill."

This little fret stays right in position until Pete changes his head. Then, of course, it flakes right off, and needs to be reglued. No big deal, though, because that's not even once a year.

Here's the maestro himself, testing out the current fret:

See, he sneaks right up and hits it with his pinkie:

This is just a little example of the kind of special setup a musician may require when pushing the traditional limits a bit.

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