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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Steve Davis (Quarter Method)


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/242014

double E - Posted - 08/01/2012:  21:31:38



I have tried Steves Quarter method on my banjo. Banjo sounds good. He said the quarter is equal to 91 on a drum dial. Mine reads 89. I have calibrated it. Are any others getting a lower reading than 91? Just curious. EE


BDCA - Posted - 08/01/2012:  23:03:02



On mine a dime is a 92 with a  Renaissance head and strings 1/4" above the head.



 



Cya!



Bob


Emiel - Posted - 08/01/2012:  23:57:59



Seems to me that Steve's method (though clever and innovative) limits you to one certain head tension. Who says that one tension is the best for every banjo?


Roll Player - Posted - 08/02/2012:  00:22:10



Steve uses heavier strings and a pretty low tailpiece. I think that influences his readings.



If you like light strings and a higher tailpiece, (like me), you might want to go with a penny or a dime under the straightedge.



The ultimate arbiter is your own ears. The stick and coin is just a way to get you back to the head tension you like best after you've found it, and the quarter is a pretty good starting point.


Fathand - Posted - 08/02/2012:  04:18:46



Steves method is stated with a 11" Remo Head. It is also suggested as a starting point. I never use a drum dial but all the quarter method heads I do sound good. I like a Canadian quarter.


rudy - Posted - 08/02/2012:  04:39:45



quote:


Originally posted by double E



I have tried Steves Quarter method on my banjo. Banjo sounds good. He said the quarter is equal to 91 on a drum dial. Mine reads 89. I have calibrated it. Are any others getting a lower reading than 91? Just curious. EE




 Small variations is tension readings would occur dependent upon variables such as head material and size, (including tone ring profile such as the difference between flathead and arch top) bridge height, down force due to tailpiece positioning, neck angle, string height over the pot, string guage, etc.


steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  05:51:05



quote:


Originally posted by Emiel




Seems to me that Steve's method (though clever and innovative) limits you to one certain head tension. Who says that one tension is the best for every banjo?






 A quarter is just a simple way to go right to an A head.Use a dime for a tighter head or a penny and a dime stacked for a G head.



I'm not suggesting everybody tune their head to a quarter because it's the best tension.It's just a very common and good sounding tension to start with.Go tighter or looser to your own taste.



I've never seen a drum dial...I just go by what others have said.I've heard 89 to 91.



I guess all drum dials don't read the same,but I'm not sure about that. It doesn't really matter.



Set your head to a quarter then tighten all the hooks a 1/4 turn for a Bb head.



Whatever tension you settle on,see what coin(s) fits under the stick.That coinage represents your favorite banjo tone.



 



Edited by - steve davis on 08/02/2012 05:53:22

FRAILER57 - Posted - 08/02/2012:  06:15:50


Could someone please explain the Steve Davis quarter and straight edge method of setting the head tension? I'm always looking for the simple , but good ways of doing things. Any help will be greatly appreciated. i really enjoy acquiring knowledge from the experienced folk, andeveryone else. it helps me do better myself,plus i try to pass on what i have learned. love the BHO.

kmwaters - Posted - 08/02/2012:  06:41:31



Attached




Straightedge Tension Adjustments

   

slammer - Posted - 08/02/2012:  06:55:06


If I had a nickel for everytime I heard about the quarter................LOL !!! Slammer!!!

BlueRanchRider - Posted - 08/02/2012:  06:59:56


Another plus of the Steve Davis coin method is that it allows a newbie to tighten the head to a good starting point without fear of tearing or breaking the head. For the first year of my playing I heard from others to "tighten the head real good but be careful, you don't want to bust it." With this vague information I wasn't even close to a good working head tension and it limited me. Use a coin method to get close, then adjust for personal preference.

DeanT - Posted - 08/02/2012:  07:00:42


The quarter gave my banjo 86-88 on my drum dial. It's just a good reference. If I didn't have a drum dial, I would go with a dime.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 08/02/2012:  08:46:24



I don't have a drum dial, and if I want to check the pitch of the head, I just use a piano, but I think Steve's method is great, and in order to test it out, I made one for the shop, which I call the "Davis Gauge", for obvious reasons.



I made 2 feeler gauges, one .092", which is equal to a quarter, and another one, .0615", which is equal to a penny from metal I had in the shop . I just have them labeled A and G#:  I never know whether I'll have a quarter or not, and these are harder to lose. You could make a whole scale of them if you wanted to be really sophisticated.



I have told Steve quite a while ago that he ought to manufacture these and sell them, at least get them on the market before someone knocks him off, patents it, and you see some company selling them.







 



They're pretty accurate, according to pitch. I know nothing about drum dials.



 



 


arnie fleischer - Posted - 08/02/2012:  08:55:51



Every time I've used Steve's method and then checked the drum dial readings, I've found the results to be exactly as he describes them, regardless of any differences from banjo to banjo in tailpieces, heads and string gauges.



He's not prescribing any particular head tuning.   He's come up with a simple and effective guide to finding a tuning that produces the tone you like.


wayne-1 - Posted - 08/02/2012:  09:36:48



What Arnie said!!


lazyarcher - Posted - 08/02/2012:  10:10:52



Steves is the best, simplest method yet. I had a Neary drum dial, and I gave it away. The straight edge works great....and yes, there will be some variations in deflection, etc etc, but it gets you right in the ballpark, and then let your ears do the rest.


steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  10:19:08


I like how it goes to the other side of "tubby" which happens down around a G head.
That looks real pro,Ken.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 08/02/2012:  10:55:01



quote:


Originally posted by steve davis




I like how it goes to the other side of "tubby" which happens down around a G head.

That looks real pro,Ken.






Thanks, Steve - I design products for a living.  it's your invention that counts. I told you before, you may use that design with my blessing.


pickNgrin - Posted - 08/02/2012:  11:03:51



Sounds like a good way for somebody to see if they are in the right ballpark.



The guy who came up with it deserves a lobster dinner! smiley



-matt


double E - Posted - 08/02/2012:  11:43:29



I think its a great idea too. My banjo sounds good at the quarter setting. I was running mine a little tighter at around 90 with my drum dial and a quarter would not go under the straight edge. I was just wondering what others were seeing on their drum dial. I'm like uncle.fogey, Steve should patent it before someone else does. EE


steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  12:26:55


Thank you very much,Ken.
I am a bit confused with your measurements,though.
I mic a quarter at .068 and a penny between .055 and .060

jwoods - Posted - 08/02/2012:  12:36:12



I'd like to see a "sticky" in this forum on Steve's method, including the PDF...it gets asked about frequently.



Hopefully, the mods and site owner will consider it...



 


Old Man - Posted - 08/02/2012:  13:02:15



Steve ,has a good method but I like the head tighter than a quater.


FRAILER57 - Posted - 08/02/2012:  13:24:26


MAAANN!! It's hot out here in good ole N.C. Thanks a million, KMwaters. JUst got home from wiring a swimming pool.(weren't no dang water init!). Ithink i lost 4.2 lbs out there. NOw all i have to do is get me a pitcher of iced tea, and find a quarter. Two dimes and 5 pennies won't work,i couldslice a half dollar in half,, oh well,I'll keep lookin'.Thanks again for your help. Kevin

steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  13:43:34



quote:


Originally posted by Old Man




Steve ,has a good method but I like the head tighter than a quater.






 Use a penny or a dime.I'm not telling everybody to tune their head to the same tension.



If you tune it to a quarter then add 1/4 turn on the nuts you'll have a Bb head.



Another 1/4 turn will get you a B head,but I don't like my head that tight.



Tune it to a quarter and back off 1/4 turn on the nuts for a G# head.


Brett - Posted - 08/02/2012:  13:55:34



After setting up my own banjos and playing at a fairly competent level for a long while, I think I have a pretty good ear.  I recently took out all my banjos I had (at that time) that I'd meticulously set-up and using Steve's method, found all of them at a dime clearance.  Of course, we all hear differently and "pull" different tone, my point is that is method is VERY VERY good and simple.  You might like your tone best at a quarter or nickel or dime or whatever.  Everyone should try it.  I'm glad I had a nice little metal ruler that I nipped a little off to keep in my banjo parts stash just for this method.


Ken LeVan - Posted - 08/02/2012:  14:11:13



quote:


Originally posted by steve davis




Thank you very much,Ken.

I am a bit confused with your measurements,though.

I mic a quarter at .068 and a penny between .055 and .060






There you go, Steve - that's why you have to do it.



I don't use drum dials, and I tune my heads by ear, with a piano, to a note. I can tell the difference between a G and A G#, and can hear it in the head (mine and the one on the banjo, ha ha), but don't know squat (nor do I care) about drum dial settings, but that's me - I have been doing this for 50 years and I have a piano which ids kept in tune, and a concert violinist wife, who will say - "it's a D" - everybody doesn't have that.    I think you have identified and hit upon a real "need in the marketplace", which you should address with a product.



quarters and pennies wear down and they are not the same  after they have been in someone's pocket for a time, plus coins are "public domain".



You need to make a "Davis Gauge" product with a nice plexiglas straightedge and some stainless steel feeler gauges that won't wear down - you can get sheet metals in umpteen thicknesses. I used two nickel silver pieces that I had in the shop that approximated your coins. You can do better.  I think many people would buy them.



I promise that I won't rip off your idea and sell them, but everyone doesn't have the same idea of ethics as I do - do you realize that there is a patent for a banjo rim that is tapered on the inside that includes the entire Gibson pot design as "prior art" or some such nonsense?



My "inserta-nut" design is being marketed by "others" as the "zero-glide".  Fortunately the "zero glide" is not exactly  the same as my "inserta nut", and doesn't involve interchangeable inserts, but there you go. The world is not filled with creative people, but it IS filled with people with MBAs  who can afford legal help.



At least get it into the marketplace - cobble one up and and sell it to someone, even if only for $1.  By publishing it on this forum, you have met the legal need of having an "inventor's journal", and the hangout archive provides a valid date for your invention.



The courts at this time still often favor the "little guy vs the machine" in cases of intellectual property (at least for the time being - new Federal judges and Supreme Court justices  could be appointed in the next few years who would favor big corporations over you and I)



Forewarned is forearmed.



Ken



 


steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  14:20:42


You've given me a lot to think about,Ken.
I guess I'm not eager to go through the patent process and the approx $2,000 expense.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 08/02/2012:  14:29:21



quote:


Originally posted by steve davis




You've given me a lot to think about,Ken.

I guess I'm not eager to go through the patent process and the approx $2,000 expense.






I don't think you need to do that. It's a waste of money.



just make your idea into a "product", and sell one to someone.



Would you like me to send you the one I made?



I would be happy to do that.



Ken


steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  14:41:23


Yes,but let me pay you for it,Ken.
Thank you very much.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 08/02/2012:  14:56:43



quote:


Originally posted by steve davis




Yes,but let me pay you for it,Ken.

Thank you very much.






No need to pay for it - it's just a rough prototype



What's your address?


steve davis - Posted - 08/02/2012:  15:01:40


Steve Davis
PO Box 344
Port Clyde
ME 04855

Tim Zowada - Posted - 08/04/2012:  17:05:13


Yup. Steve's method is great for setting a reference point on head tension, no matter what coin you prefer.

It is the easiest way to keep a hide head where you want it, as the weather changes. Drum dials don't work at all on hide heads.

steve davis - Posted - 08/04/2012:  17:15:07


Yes,Tim.
It's the quickest,cheapest dial indicator in the world.
Very accurate for staying right in your preferred tension/tone.

wuzapicker - Posted - 08/04/2012:  19:32:02


I tried Steve's ruler and quarter method on my RB3 - more to prove the folly of it than anything else. I can't tell you what the resulting tension measures. I don't care. What's true is the RB3 really woke up and I only had to further adjust the head less than 1/6 turn to tune out a significant overtone and that where she sits now. I'm about as happy as I can be with this RB3 on which the tone ring sloppy loose on the rim.

Steve's method works! I ain't changing the set-up until I decide to send the pot elsewhere to have the tone ring refit. When I get it back I know exactly how to re-achieve the same head tension and hopefully get the best sound from it. I like simple solutions that work and Steve's ruler and quarter method is one of those.

Michael

bango - Posted - 08/06/2012:  15:11:52


What coins are recommended for an archtop?

steve davis - Posted - 08/06/2012:  15:27:46


A quarter on an archtop yields a C note head.
At this tension the archtop has a bit of flathead tone mixed in.
If you like it snappier,add 1/4 turn on the nuts after achieving the quarter clearance.

Todd Taylor likes the tone of his archtop when set at a quarter.

CosmicMaskedAvenger - Posted - 08/06/2012:  16:03:28



I tried a silver dollar, but they told me I still couldn't play worth a plugged nickel....


steve davis - Posted - 08/06/2012:  17:16:28


Good one,Cos.
A silver dollar(.110ish) will get you a nice low,growly F# head.

Klondike Waldo - Posted - 08/06/2012:  17:23:14



quote:


Originally posted by CosmicMaskedAvenger




I tried a silver dollar, but they told me I still couldn't play worth a plugged nickel....






If you tried that in Canada, you'd be loonie.


Klondike Waldo - Posted - 08/06/2012:  17:25:06



quote:


Originally posted by CosmicMaskedAvenger




I tried a silver dollar, but they told me I still couldn't play worth a plugged nickel....






If you tried that in Canada, you'd be loonie.


SReynolds - Posted - 08/07/2012:  04:00:13


I have been setting my mylar head on the Washburn 160 to the thickness of the quarter. I can throw that quarter on there and get an idea if the head is in need of adjustment.

When the straight edge is placed upon the quarter and I move the ruler a tad, the quarter should just begin to drag along with the ruler. If it don't, there is a gap and thusly I snug up the hoop brackets about 1/8th.

This is the best tone for "me" and on "this banjo". Individual results can and will vary. I don't know what the drum dial setting would net. Steve had informed me maybe a 90 or 91 and G note.....I don't remember. Wasn't important for me to remember that.

I have utalized this suggestion for nearly a year now and it works well for me....................and it only cost me a quarter dollar.

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