US3834267A - Capo for five string banjo - Google Patents

Capo for five string banjo Download PDF

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US3834267A
US3834267A US40118173A US3834267A US 3834267 A US3834267 A US 3834267A US 40118173 A US40118173 A US 40118173A US 3834267 A US3834267 A US 3834267A
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string
capo
guide bar
lever arm
banjo
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R Shubb
D Coontz
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D Coontz
R Shubb
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10DSTRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; WIND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACCORDIONS OR CONCERTINAS; PERCUSSION MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; AEOLIAN HARPS; SINGING-FLAME MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G10D1/00General design of stringed musical instruments
    • G10D1/04Plucked or strummed string instruments, e.g. harps or lyres
    • G10D1/05Plucked or strummed string instruments, e.g. harps or lyres with fret boards or fingerboards
    • G10D1/10Banjos

Abstract

A capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising an elongated guide bar which is mounted flush against the side of the banjo''s neck laterally adjacent the fifth string, a body slidably mounted on the bar, a lever arm pivotally supported by said body, one end of which extends over the fifth string and means for raising the other end of the lever arm whereby said one end is pivoted down against the fifth string exerting enough pressure thereon to effectively capo it.

Description

United States Patent [191 1111 3,834,267 Shubb et al. Sept. 10, 1974 [54] CAPO FOR FIVE STRING BANJO 1,823,683 9/193; Gardner 23/318 6] e o s ic d b 1701 woodhaven 3,227,028 l/l96 Srmms 18 Way, Corte Madera, Calif. 94611; David Coontz, 24 Concord Ave" Primary ExammerLawrence R. Franklin Concord, m Attorney, Agent, or FirmThornas E. Ciotti [22] Filed: Sept. 27, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 401,181 [57] ABSTRACT A capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising an elongated guide bar which is mounted flush g 84/318 84/ against the side of the banjos neck laterally adjacent [58] d 314419 the fifth string, a body slidably mounted on the bar, a 0 lever arm pivotally supported by said body, one end of [56] R f C1 d which extends over the fifth string and means for raise erences [e ing the other end of the lever arm whereby said one UNITED STATES PATENTS end is pivoted down against the fifth string exerting 370,172 9/ 1887 Wood 84/318 enough pressure thereon to effectively capo it. 394,530 l2/l888 Wood 84/318 416,057 11/1889 Gill et al. 84/318 8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CAPO FOR FIVE STRING BANJO BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention is a capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo.

2. Description of the Prior Art In order to play a five string banjo in certain keys it is necessary to capo (i.e., shorten the effective length of) the fifth string. For other keys it is highly desirable to capo the fifth string.

Various means have been used previously to capo the fifth string of a five string banjo. Perhaps the earliest was to simply affix a small hook behind one or more of the frets, usually the seventh, ninth and tenth frets, and to simply thread the string through the desired hook. Unfortunately, the use of such hooks is inconvenient in that the string must be retuned after it is removed from the hook. Also, such hooks interfere with the fretting action on the fifth string and often pull out while in use. Another means was a serpentine bar attached in spaced relationship to the edge of the banjo neck laterally adjacent the fifth string with an arm riding thereon which extended out over the fifth string. The low points on the bar were spaced such that they generally aligned with the frets so that as the arm was slid along the bar it contacted and depressed the string at each fret. Such devices generally put insufficient pressure on the fifth string to effectively capo it. Also, in order to move the arm from one position to another the arm had to be worked across all the intermediate valleys and ridges in the bar. Yet another device consisted of a straight bar attached in spaced relationship to the edge of the banjo neck laterally adjacent the fifth string on which a wire spring was attached. The spring extended from the bar and into contact with the fifth string, employing spring tension to depress the string. This latter device was generally inadequate because the amount of spring tension needed to firmly capo the string made the wire spring difficult to slide on the bar. Use of a low tension spring resulted in ineffective capoing of the fifth stringgiving a plickety-plick sound. Also, the spaced relationship of the bar and the banjo neck made it more difficult to grip the neck at the fifth string position.

Accordingly, the basic object of this invention is to provide a capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo which exerts sufficient pressure on the fifth string to effectively capo it and which is also easily adjustable along the length of the fifth string.

A secondary object of this invention is to provide such a capo which does not interfere with gripping the banjo neck.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is a capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising an elongated guide bar which is mounted on the side of the banjo neck laterally adjacent the fifth string, a body slidably mounted on the guide bar, a lever arm pivotally supported by the body, one end of which extends out over the fifth string, and means for releasably raising the other end of the lever arm whereby said one end is pivoted down against the fifth string.

Preferably the guide bar is mounted flush to the neck side so that it does not interfere significantly with gripping the neck.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The drawings illustrate an embodiment of the capo of this invention in which FIG. 1 is a dimetric view of the capo mounted on a five string banjo including a removed view of the capo in detail;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 1-1 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS As illustrated in FIG. 1 the capo is mounted on a five string banjo, generally designated 10. Specifically, it is mounted on the neck 11 of banjo 10 on the side 12 thereof laterally adjacent the fifth string 13 of the banjo.

The capo includes an elongated guide bar 14 of trapezoidal or dovetail cross section (FIG. 2) having holes 15 at its end and middle. Guide bar 14 is mounted with its short base flush against side 12 just below edge 16 by means of three wood screws 17 which are received through holes 15 and screwed into neck 11. It extends from the fifth fret to the thirteenth fret of the banjo so that the fifth string 13 may be capoed at any one of those frets.

A body 18 is mounted on bar 14 such that it may be slid therealong. As shown in FIG. 2 the side 19 of body 18 has a dovetail way 20 in it which receives only a portion of guide bar 14 thereby leaving a space between side 12 of the banjo and side 19 of the body. If desired the heads of screws 17 at the ends of guide bar 14 may be elevated from the surface of the longer base thereof to act as stops for body 18. Round head screws may be used for this purpose. Correlatively the head of screw 17 in the middle of guide bar 14 must be flush with or below that surface in order to allow body 18 to be slid along bar 14 without interruption. A flat head screw will accomplish this.

The top side 23 of body 18 has a channel 24 in it which extends down as far as way 20 (FIG. 3). A lever arm, generally designated 25, is pivotally supported within channel 24 on the shank of a screw 26 which is received in a bore 27 in body 18 which runs parallel to the top side 23 and intersects channel 24 at right angles thereto. Lever arm 25 has a head 28 at one of its ends which extends just out over string 13. It is undesirable to have head 28 extend far out over string 13 because if it does it may get in the way of the finger tips as they move over the banjo strings. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the underside 29 of head 28 contacts string 13 and depresses it. Side 29 is inclined slightly so that it is essentially parallel to the top of the neck 11 when the string is completely depressed. Extending downwardly from the opposite end of lever arm 25 is flange 30. The lower end of flange 30 has a threaded bore 34 running perpendicularly through it which receives a screw 35 having an enlarged head 36.

When the capo is not in use screw 35 is backed off so that the head of its shank does not contact side 33. A small coilspring 37 which is wrapped around the shank of screw 26 with its one end 38 extending transversely across the inner edge of underside 29 of head 28 and its other end 39 extending downwardly and seated against the upper leg 40 of bar 14 (FIG. 3), keeps the head end of the lever arm elevated and out of contact with string 13. End 39 also exerts enough pressure against leg 40 to prevent body 18 from sliding on bar 14 due to its own weight but not so much pressure that it cannot be easily slid thereon.

To use the capo body 18 is slid along bar 14 to a position adjacent the desired fret and screw 35 is screwed by hand inwardly toward side 33 of body 18. As the head of the shank of screw 35 contacts and bears against side 33, further turning thereof forces the flanged end of lever arm 25 upwardly and correspondingly pivots head 28 downwardly into contact with string 13. In this manner sufficient pressure may be exerted downwardly on string 13 to firmly depress it over the adjacent fret. Pressure is relieved from string 13 by merely turning screw 35 in the opposite direction.

It is desirable to make flange 30 and screw 35 of such weight that they will not rattle when the banjo is played. It is also desirable to select a screw 35 with threading that will require only a few turns to operate the lever arm.

Various modifications of the above described embodiment may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For instance the guide bar might be mounted in spaced relationship to the side of the banjo neck and the body might be mounted on the guide bar by means other than a dovetailed way.

Similarly other means to elevate one end of the lever arm and depress the other end down against the fifth string might be employed.

Other such modifications of the above described capo which will be obvious to persons of ordinary mechanical skill are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the following claims.

We claim:

1. A capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising:

a. an elongated guide bar adapted for rigid attachment to the side of the neck of the banjo laterally of the fifth string thereof;

b. a body slidably mounted on said guide bar for sliding therealong laterally adjacent said fifth string;

c. a lever arm pivotally mounted on said body, one end of said lever arm extending over said fifth string; and

d. means for raising the other end of said arm whereby said one end is pivoted down against said fifth string.

2. The capo according to claim 1 wherein:

e. said guide bar is further adapted to be attached flush against said side.

3. The capo according to claim 2 wherein:

f. said guide bar has a trapezoidal cross section and is attached to said side with its shorter base flush thereagainst; and

g. said body has a dovetail way in it for receiving only a portion of said guide bar. 5 4. The capo according to claim 1 wherein said means for raising the other end of said arm comprises:

e. a flange extending from said other end adjacent a side of said body and having a threaded bore transversely through it; and f. a screw received through said bore, the head of the shank of which bears against said side of said body.

5. The capo according to claim 1 including:

e. a channel formed in said body, and v f. a pin transversing said channel on which said lever arm is pivotally mounted.

6. The capo according to claim 1 including:

e. spring means attached to said lever arm and adapted to retain said one end of said lever arm in a raised position when the capo is not in use.

7. The capo according to claim 6 wherein said spring means bears on said guide bar whereby said body is kept from sliding along said bar due to its own weight.

8. A capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising:

a. an elongated guide bar of trapezoidal cross section adapted to be attached to the side of the neck of the banjo laterally of the fifth string thereof with its shorter base flush against said side;

b. a body having a dovetail way in it for receiving only a portion of said guide bar, said body being adapted to slide along said guide bar;

c. a channel formed in said body;

d. a pin transversing said channel;

e. a lever arm pivotally mounted on said pin, one end of said lever arm extending over said fifth string;

f. a flange extending from the other end of said lever arm adjacent a side of said body and having a threaded bore transversing through it;

g. a screw received through said bore, the head of the shank of which bears against said side of said body;

Claims (8)

1. A capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising: a. an elongated guide bar adapted for rigid attachment to the side of the neck of the banjo laterally of the fifth string thereof; b. a body slidably mounted on said guide bar for sliding therealong laterally adjacent said fifth string; c. a lever arm pivotally mounted on said body, one end of said lever arm extending over said fifth string; and d. means for raising the other end of said arm whereby said one end is pivoted down against said fifth string.
2. The capo according to claim 1 wherein: e. said guide bar is further adapted to be attached flush against said side.
3. The capo according to claim 2 wherein: f. said guide bar has a trapezoidal cross section and is attached to said side with its shorter base flush thereagainst; and g. said body has a dovetail way in it for receiving only a portion of said guide bar.
4. The capo according to claim 1 wherein said means for raising the other end of said arm comprises: e. a flange extending from said other end adjacent a side of said body and having a threaded bore transversely through it; and f. a screw received through said bore, the head of the shank of which bears against said side of said body.
5. The capo according to claim 1 including: e. a channel formed in said body, and f. a pin transversing said channel on which said lever arm is pivotally mounted.
6. The capo according to claim 1 including: e. spring means attached to said lever arm and adapted to retain said one end of said lever arm in a raised position when the capo is not in use.
7. The capo according to claim 6 wherein said spring means bears on said guide bar whereby said body is kept from sliding along said bar due to its own weight.
8. A capo for the fifth string of a five string banjo comprising: a. an elongated guide bar of trapezoidal cross section adapted to be attached to the side of the neck of the banjo laterally of the fifth string thereof with its shorter base flush against said side; b. a body having a dovetail way in it for receiving only a portion of said guide bar, said body being adapted to slide along said guide bar; c. a channel formed in said body; d. a pin transversing said channel; e. a lever arm pivotally mounted on said pin, one end of said lever arm extending over said fifth string; f. a flange extending from the other end of said lever arm adjacent a side of said body and having a threaded bore transversing through it; g. a screw received through said bore, the head of the shank of which bears against said side of said body; h. a coil spring coiled about said pin, one end of said spring bearing against said one end of said lever arm wherEby said one end of said lever arm is maintained in an elevated position when said capo is not in use, and the other end of said spring bearing against said guide bar whereby said body is kept from sliding along the guide bar due to its own weight.
US40118173 1973-09-27 1973-09-27 Capo for five string banjo Expired - Lifetime US3834267A (en)

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Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3903776A (en) * 1974-12-06 1975-09-09 Iii Sterling W Owen Banjo capodastro
JPS521113U (en) * 1975-06-23 1977-01-06
US4154134A (en) * 1976-01-22 1979-05-15 Herbert Schreiber Chord playing attachment for stringed instruments
US4222303A (en) * 1978-11-21 1980-09-16 Kryzanowsky Dmytro M Musical justification for guitars and the like
US5373770A (en) * 1993-10-25 1994-12-20 Dudley; James T. Quick-release dulcimer capo
US5492045A (en) * 1994-02-07 1996-02-20 Roblee; Todd A. Quick release capo for stringed instrument
US6107554A (en) * 1999-06-21 2000-08-22 Riddle; Stan W. Capo for a five-string banjo
US6114617A (en) * 1998-05-14 2000-09-05 Scheib; Donald Albert Guitar with short seventh string and shift lever for easy conversion to banjo tuning
US20130276613A1 (en) * 2012-04-24 2013-10-24 EKFG Pty. Ltd. Tensioning apparatus and method for a stringed instrument

Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US370172A (en) * 1887-09-20 Banjo
US394530A (en) * 1888-12-11 Banjo
US416057A (en) * 1889-11-26 Capodastro for banjos or guitars
US1823683A (en) * 1928-11-30 1931-09-15 Jr Charles B Gardner Tone modifying device for the vibrating elements of musical instruments
US3227028A (en) * 1964-09-04 1966-01-04 Gordon M Simms Capo or pitch changing device for fifth string of a banjo

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US370172A (en) * 1887-09-20 Banjo
US394530A (en) * 1888-12-11 Banjo
US416057A (en) * 1889-11-26 Capodastro for banjos or guitars
US1823683A (en) * 1928-11-30 1931-09-15 Jr Charles B Gardner Tone modifying device for the vibrating elements of musical instruments
US3227028A (en) * 1964-09-04 1966-01-04 Gordon M Simms Capo or pitch changing device for fifth string of a banjo

Cited By (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3903776A (en) * 1974-12-06 1975-09-09 Iii Sterling W Owen Banjo capodastro
JPS521113U (en) * 1975-06-23 1977-01-06
US4154134A (en) * 1976-01-22 1979-05-15 Herbert Schreiber Chord playing attachment for stringed instruments
US4222303A (en) * 1978-11-21 1980-09-16 Kryzanowsky Dmytro M Musical justification for guitars and the like
US5373770A (en) * 1993-10-25 1994-12-20 Dudley; James T. Quick-release dulcimer capo
US5492045A (en) * 1994-02-07 1996-02-20 Roblee; Todd A. Quick release capo for stringed instrument
US6114617A (en) * 1998-05-14 2000-09-05 Scheib; Donald Albert Guitar with short seventh string and shift lever for easy conversion to banjo tuning
US6107554A (en) * 1999-06-21 2000-08-22 Riddle; Stan W. Capo for a five-string banjo
US20130276613A1 (en) * 2012-04-24 2013-10-24 EKFG Pty. Ltd. Tensioning apparatus and method for a stringed instrument
US8759651B2 (en) * 2012-04-24 2014-06-24 EKFG Pty. Ltd. Tensioning apparatus and method for a stringed instrument

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