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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Head thickness: Remo versus Ludwig

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tomberghan - Posted - 12/08/2012:  17:16:45

Remo Weatherking frosted heads: 0.009 inches thick, including the frosting.

Ludwig frosted heads: Heavier mylar film with a heavier sprayed-on white frosting than the heads by Remo. They are ca. 0.011 inch thick, including the frosting.

Do you have first hand experience with both of these heads? If so, I would appreciate your description of the tonal characteristics - the timbre - of each.
Thank you!

Banjo type & style: Mastertone / Scruggs

jbalch - Posted - 12/09/2012:  07:10:09


I've used them all over the past 40 years of playing.  I don't know how to describe sound differences.  But I personally prefer a REMO top-frosted head for bluegrass.

I am using a REMO from the 1980s on my Williams banjo.  I like it a lot.  I have a American Made Banjo Co (Kel Kroyden) REMO on my Gibson.  It is a great head too.  I like the custom thicker frosting on the AMBCO head.  It is similar to the old ones.

If I needed a new head for one of these banjos, I would NOT pay the price for a NOS old REMO (so-called Pre-EPA).  Instead, I'd order one of the custom-frosted REMOs from AMBCO ( .. or Steve Huber.  (Note: I've not tried the Huber head, but it is worth a look too IMHO).

I know some folks really like them ... but to me, the Ludwig heads are just too heavy due to the thickness of the mylar, the frosting, and the heavier aluminum hoop.

Edited by - jbalch on 12/09/2012 07:14:05

aeroweenie - Posted - 12/09/2012:  10:27:40

Tom, I've had a 5-Star head on my Fender Artist for a long time.  I think the 5-Star is made by Ludwig, I don't know the thickness relative to a Weather king, which is what I initially had on the banjo.  As I recall, the 5-Star gave a drier sound, crisper and less ringy.  But there are so many variables.  And every banjo is different, every ear is different.  I'm afraid you're just going to have to experiment on your own and see what you prefer. 

steve davis - Posted - 12/09/2012:  10:46:35

I measure the mylar alone and see .007 Remo,.009 5 Star.

tomberghan - Posted - 12/09/2012:  13:01:10

Thanks guys.  I'm gonna go for a custom (thicker frosting) retro pre EPA Remo Weatherking.

I appeciate the info and advice, Tom

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