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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: The New Remo Frosted Heads. A+++ Review


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/335521

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fitch5string - Posted - 10/09/2017:  16:35:43


In case there are those that are not aware of this, Remo has recently changed and vastly improved their heads to the point that I believe they are as good or better than the pre-EPA heads. In fact, I would rather use the new Remo heads vs a pre-EPA Weather King. You can identify the new heads by the different logo which says " REMO Banjo Made in USA" . The frosting is more uniform with no blotchiness when you hold they up to a light source. The metal band is not covered with frosting like the older ones either. The plastic is still poured into a channel in epoxy. I have installed 7 or 8 of these in the past few weeks and every one of them sounded tremendous! I compared them with the older Remos with the ship wheel logo and the no logo heads from Stew Mac and their is no comparison. I use the HIGH crown head on all flathead banjos and they fit perfectly. The medium crown can be tricky, if not impossible, to install to where the tension hoop is below the level of the fingerboard. One collector was so impressed with the sound of the new heads on  my banjos that he had me install them on all of his prewar Gibson original flatheads and each one was greatly improved. Be prepared to have to re-tighten them twice after installation during the first couple of weeks. Usually, an 1/8 turn is enough. I get mine at First Quality. firstqualitymusic.com/collecti...anjo-head  Thier stock is always fresh on heads and strings. I highly recommend these heads! Its been a long wait!


Edited by - fitch5string on 10/09/2017 19:04:32



 

Earls 5 - Posted - 10/09/2017:  17:12:43


Now Cliff, you know the die hard traditionalist will still say "older is better" ;-)

fitch5string - Posted - 10/09/2017:  17:18:34


I know..I know...blush

PKM - Posted - 10/09/2017:  18:52:14


I'm so easily swayed. I just ordered 2. I'd like to see if it will give me a slightly quicker decay. Not that I'm unhappy with my 2 main banjos, but they could benefit with just a touch less sustain.
I'm not expecting drastic differences from my no-logo StewMac, but its fun to try new stuff.
Hey, we we weren't tinkerers at heart, we'd play the tuba !
Thanks,

fitch5string - Posted - 10/09/2017:  18:55:52


Please report back and let us know! I think you will be happy. I was a no-logo Stewmac man for many years.

rcc56 - Posted - 10/09/2017:  19:46:30


Well, and I don't even think that these are the latest versions, but I just replaced the fiberskins on two good open backs with top frosted Remos, and it was like pulling the rag out of a soundhole. If anyone wants a slightly used fiberskin 10 5/8" high crown or 11" high crown, pm me and I'll let them go for $10 each plus shipping.

bryantde - Posted - 10/10/2017:  04:14:21


Cliff.......I agree with you 100% on the new Remo heads.
I just recently discovered them again and that is all I am using in the shop now.
I just hope they don't change anything on them in the future........
Don Bryant NC banjo luthier

loggerhead - Posted - 10/10/2017:  08:46:36


Your recommendation is good enough for me, Don. Are you using the new Remos for archtops too? If so, medium or low crown? Thanks

fitch5string - Posted - 10/10/2017:  09:50:01


quote:

Originally posted by bryantde

Cliff.......I agree with you 100% on the new Remo heads.

I just recently discovered them again and that is all I am using in the shop now.

I just hope they don't change anything on them in the future........

Don Bryant NC banjo luthier






 



Don, all I can say is buy as many as you can now before they change. Thats what I am doing.

Banjophobic - Posted - 10/10/2017:  13:38:40


I do really like the frosting job on these new heads but after installing a couple dozen of them recently in customers jos, and using one to replace my EPA head that gave up the ghost on my old Kk-10, the only issue I've noticed is they tend to stretch out more than the previous generations did. We always expect them to drop at about a whole tap note in tension , as they seat in , but these newer ones ive had want to keep moving longer that I like, requiring more adjustments. Maybe I got into a not so good batch. Anyone else notice this?


Edited by - Banjophobic on 10/10/2017 13:40:14

bryantde - Posted - 10/10/2017:  14:57:06


No John........the ones I have got are about the same as the other heads I used to use .......meaning initial tensioning then playing and letting it settle in and then maybe one more final tensioning and it usually is good to go.
Don B

fitch5string - Posted - 10/10/2017:  16:09:31


Ive never installed any new head that I didnt have to go back and tweak at least once, usually twice. Talk about head stretch, remember the old pre-EPA Weatherkings? Those things stretched for 3 weeks.

Banjophobic - Posted - 10/10/2017:  19:16:33


well i must have gotten into a bad batch because some of them keep stretching. I always tell customers that they need to tweak the head a couple times after the set up but some of them have reported tightening them half a dozen times. The one i put on my Kk-10 has been on a couple months with prob 15 gigs on it and ive had to adjust it way too many times. the old EPA head i took off never moved.
I do like the frosting though

Cwiiis - Posted - 10/11/2017:  05:30:34


Does anyone know if this extends to their smooth heads? The smooth Remo heads I've bought before are very thinly coated, to the point of being slightly transparent - The smooth 5-star heads are totally opaque... It'd be great to have a source of the 5-star style smooth heads.

Emiel - Posted - 10/12/2017:  02:31:30


quote:

Originally posted by Cwiiis

Does anyone know if this extends to their smooth heads? The smooth Remo heads I've bought before are very thinly coated, to the point of being slightly transparent - The smooth 5-star heads are totally opaque... It'd be great to have a source of the 5-star style smooth heads.






There has never been a Remo smooth white head; black ones and clear ones do exist. Are you maybe talking about the Remo cloudy head or the Remo bottom-frosted head?

Cwiiis - Posted - 10/12/2017:  02:56:04


quote:

Originally posted by Emiel

quote:

Originally posted by Cwiiis

Does anyone know if this extends to their smooth heads? The smooth Remo heads I've bought before are very thinly coated, to the point of being slightly transparent - The smooth 5-star heads are totally opaque... It'd be great to have a source of the 5-star style smooth heads.






There has never been a Remo smooth white head; black ones and clear ones do exist. Are you maybe talking about the Remo cloudy head or the Remo bottom-frosted head?






 



The Remo bottom-frosted head - it's roughly equivalent, isn't it? Certainly sounds that way, though not quite - is there anywhere to get smooth coated banjo heads like the 5-stars?

Emiel - Posted - 10/12/2017:  03:08:25


quote:

Originally posted by Cwiiis

quote:

Originally posted by Emiel

quote:

Originally posted by Cwiiis

Does anyone know if this extends to their smooth heads? The smooth Remo heads I've bought before are very thinly coated, to the point of being slightly transparent - The smooth 5-star heads are totally opaque... It'd be great to have a source of the 5-star style smooth heads.






There has never been a Remo smooth white head; black ones and clear ones do exist. Are you maybe talking about the Remo cloudy head or the Remo bottom-frosted head?






 



The Remo bottom-frosted head - it's roughly equivalent, isn't it? Certainly sounds that way, though not quite - is there anywhere to get smooth coated banjo heads like the 5-stars?






I never had much experience with the bottom-frosted head, but I always though it sounded similar to the top-frosted. 



Stew-Mac is working on reintroducing the 5-Star heads, at least the coated (frosted) ones. The only other manufacturer of synthetic banjo heads is Remo, and they don't make a smooth white one. Their mylar is transparent, so their uncoated head is clear. Ludwig, who made the 5-Star heads, used white mylar, so Ludwig's uncoated head was white... (they also made a clear head, using clear mylar).


Edited by - Emiel on 10/12/2017 03:09:37

Emiel - Posted - 10/12/2017:  04:14:31


Back to the new Remo heads (without the "Weatherking" name): Is it really such a good idea to use high crown on a flathead or similar banjo (as John Boulding suggest) when others say that they stretch more than they used to do?

TOMCAT - Posted - 10/12/2017:  06:39:08


The new crimped heads Remo is making for Geoff Stelling are also excellent heads.

Banjophobic - Posted - 10/12/2017:  08:09:27


quote:

Originally posted by Emiel

Back to the new Remo heads (without the "Weatherking" name): Is it really such a good idea to use high crown on a flathead or similar banjo (as John Boulding suggest) when others say that they stretch more than they used to do?






Sometimes choosing the "right" head for a banjo can be trial and error. i see lots of players that want the tension hoop to line up exactly flush with the end of the fingerboard and that it remains there. The reality of different pot sizes and heel lengths and the nature of how some heads settle in differently than others is that it won't always happen. It's not a 'defect' in set up to have the tension hoop drop below that level area. If the tension hoop sits too high it will contact the strings when picking the banjo, which is never a good thing. Some banjos can use a med crown and it works great while others need a high. A high crown on a typical flathead is a better guess if you want to be sure the tension hoop doesn't sit up too far, that's all. 

fitch5string - Posted - 10/12/2017:  09:41:23


The high crown heads of today are not like the old ones. They are about the same hieght as the old medium crown heads. I don’t know why they changed them but they did. I used medium crown heads on all flatheads prior to the last change they made with the ship wheel logo heads. If your fingerboard sits above the plane of the tone ring, you can get by with a medium crown.

Emiel - Posted - 10/12/2017:  23:34:05


quote:

Originally posted by fitch5string

The high crown heads of today are not like the old ones. They are about the same hieght as the old medium crown heads. I don’t know why they changed them but they did.






Because they stretch more?

fitch5string - Posted - 10/13/2017:  04:33:00


quote:

Originally posted by Emiel

quote:

Originally posted by fitch5string

The high crown heads of today are not like the old ones. They are about the same hieght as the old medium crown heads. I don’t know why they changed them but they did.






Because they stretch more?






No. They use to come slightly taller. 

Bk2olKY - Posted - 10/14/2017:  08:47:28


Cliff,



Great advice on these Remos! My Huber was starting to sound out-of-balance no matter what I did with the setup. I don't know if I overstretched the 2yr old Huber head or what, but I just couldn't get the banjo to sound right. I was beginning to question whether the tone ring and/or flange might be too tight. So I removed the old head and discovered that the tone ring was not too tight. Rather than tearing it down further, I verified that the coordinating rods were neutral and replaced the old head with one of these. That sure did the trick. Sounds Great!!!


Edited by - Bk2olKY on 10/14/2017 08:51:39

fitch5string - Posted - 10/16/2017:  13:32:26


I was just notified by a member here that he received one of the new Remo heads from First Quality that had NO LOGO stamped on it. It still had "remo" stamped on the stretcher band. He contacted First Quality and was assured that they are the same heads but without a logo. I have ordered a couple for my stock and will compare them to the ones I have been using and report back.

Steve Bruce - Posted - 10/16/2017:  14:46:24


I just got one and it was a no logo head.

9470 Granada - Posted - 10/18/2017:  08:49:02


As John Boulding said, It can be "trial and error". I recently had a conversation with a fellow we all know and we know his original prewar flat head RB. He replaced the old head with a near mint Pre-EPA head and waited for 2 weeks for it to "come around" and it did not. He pulled the head and put on a new Remo and instantly the banjo was alive and well. That's proof that the old Pre-EPA head is not always the best option for the traditional Scruggs style player.

fitch5string - Posted - 10/18/2017:  10:16:07


I have compared the new "no logo" heads with the Remo's I had in stock and they are identical. I personally prefer them without the logo but, this could only be temporary, who knows.

JensKoch - Posted - 10/19/2017:  08:15:38


So what’s the difference with the new Remo heads and the previous version?

fitch5string - Posted - 10/19/2017:  08:43:32


quote:

Originally posted by JensKoch

So what’s the difference with the new Remo heads and the previous version?






See the first post in this thread.

rferg - Posted - 10/23/2017:  07:55:12


I want to try one of the new Remos on a 1931 TB-1 I recently purchased. It has a tone hoop with a 1-piece flange. I don't have the banjo in my hands yet, but want to go ahead and order a head. Anyone know which crown height would work best for this?

bryantde - Posted - 10/23/2017:  08:13:03


Bobby,
I have been using the high crown heads on the hoop ring banjos provided they are 11" diameter and not the smaller 9 1/2" hoops.
Don Bryant NC banjo luthier

rferg - Posted - 10/23/2017:  08:24:40


Thanks Don.  Cliff Fitch recommended a high crown also.  Thank you, Cliff. 


So I'll order a high crown.  And maybe a spare in case I like it enough to try one on another banjo.


 


quote:

Originally posted by bryantde

Bobby,

I have been using the high crown heads on the hoop ring banjos provided they are 11" diameter and not the smaller 9 1/2" hoops.

Don Bryant NC banjo luthier






 


Edited by - rferg on 10/23/2017 08:28:01

Emiel - Posted - 10/23/2017:  08:54:16


I have ordered two medium crown heads from FQM. If the crown is really too low, let's see if they stretch more than usual (like some people have claimed)... and wind up like "normal" medium crown heads. If not, I will use the hair dryer (per Bob Smakula) and stretch them a little, or try one on my Gibson ball-bearing...


Edited by - Emiel on 10/23/2017 08:54:57

rferg - Posted - 11/03/2017:  20:00:31


quote:

Originally posted by fitch5string

I have compared the new "no logo" heads with the Remo's I had in stock and they are identical. I personally prefer them without the logo but, this could only be temporary, who knows.






Got two high-crown heads in this week and they have the logo.  

Hankon5 - Posted - 11/04/2017:  09:53:22


Just ordered 1 from FQM ...anxious to hear any difference! I am a "banjoneer" ..always tweaking my banjos!

Hankon5 - Posted - 11/11/2017:  10:36:27


quote:

Originally posted by Hankon5

Just ordered 1 from FQM ...anxious to hear any difference! I am a "banjoneer" ..always tweaking my banjos!






UPDATE:  Had the Remo broken in  after a few days ,,,RESULTS are in.  Opened up the tone with sparkling UTN!  This new head is really a frosting on the cakewink!  It worked on my axe...did not realize a banjo head can really give more  punch while increasing the tonal qualities.  Glad I listened closely on this thread!yes  Coupled with the Ten 20 ...is now sounding like it should. BTW , head is tightened to 92-94.


Edited by - Hankon5 on 11/11/2017 10:39:55

mccraee - Posted - 11/11/2017:  14:28:52


I am a new banjo player looking to replace the remo head on my old Fairbanks electric. It was my dads and he wrote 11 1/2" so I know the size but what is high medium or low crown? How to know which one to get?

Hankon5 - Posted - 11/12/2017:  19:49:42


quote:

Originally posted by mccraee

I am a new banjo player looking to replace the remo head on my old Fairbanks electric. It was my dads and he wrote 11 1/2" so I know the size but what is high medium or low crown? How to know which one to get?






Most flat heads use a medium head and there are a few in the community go as high as a high crown. I not familiar with the Fairbanks. But maybe someone on BHO can chime in or you may want to check the specs on the internet.

zz4350 - Posted - 11/15/2017:  12:03:18


5 years ago when I retired and started putting together high end parts banjo's I bought the high crown "Taiwan" heads from Elderly. I have been very satisfied with them as they don't seem to stretch out much due in part to the fully crimped stretcher band that is like the departed 5 star heads. I don't over tighten heads so I set them in the 89/90 drum dial range. All eight banjo's I used this head on in the first six months have stayed stable over at least 4 years upon several rechecks. A couple of them I didn't sell, that I play consistently (average 35+ hours per week), have not been adjusted since being initially put on although the frosting is worn through in the usual places. I am also talking about flat head Gibson style copy bluegrass banjo's.

Hankon5 - Posted - 11/15/2017:  18:36:04


quote:

Originally posted by zz4350

5 years ago when I retired and started putting together high end parts banjo's I bought the high crown "Taiwan" heads from Elderly. I have been very satisfied with them as they don't seem to stretch out much due in part to the fully crimped stretcher band that is like the departed 5 star heads. I don't over tighten heads so I set them in the 89/90 drum dial range. All eight banjo's I used this head on in the first six months have stayed stable over at least 4 years upon several rechecks. A couple of them I didn't sell, that I play consistently (average 35+ hours per week), have not been adjusted since being initially put on although the frosting is worn through in the usual places. I am also talking about flat head Gibson style copy bluegrass banjo's.






ZZ4350 ....I have tried 89-90   90-92 and none of those drum dial ranges sounded sparkling as  I wanted.I  have found out that head tightness is dependent upon the ears of the banjo player.   Earl used to tighten his heads as tight as he could get them.  I'm sure he used different tightened heads as they became plastic ..etc...I have heard banjos with much less drum dial readings and they sounded great.  And this is true with almost any hardware installed.   THE SOUND..is sometimes a moving target...which is all dependent on your ears!  I seem to like a certain crisp tone.....well I also like to experiment on trying different hardware   ..I.E     tail pieces, heads, strings. bridges...and the list goes on..smiley


Edited by - Hankon5 on 11/15/2017 18:36:58

zz4350 - Posted - 11/15/2017:  19:53:09


Hankon5 - I agree with your perceptions. As stated everyone has different ears and when you add in different room acoustics, strings, bridges, tailpieces, woods, etc. it's a moving target with many intertwined pieces. I love to change things around but I also know what I like after piddling around for over 50 years. I personally find the drum dial settings that get into the 93+ ranges give you a tighter response but mostly adds a bit of harshness or washed out tonal qualities I don't like. But then again I prefer mahogany over maple and like red maple for the rims rather than rock maple.

Hankon5 - Posted - 11/16/2017:  08:13:29


Good response! ZZ4350!!


Edited by - Hankon5 on 11/16/2017 08:13:44

Hotrodtruck - Posted - 11/17/2017:  06:35:38


" Earl used to tighten his heads as tight as he could get them. I'm sure he used different tightened heads as they became plastic ..."



I remember reading an account of Earl talking to someone who was going to work on his banjo (sorry, don't remember who) and he admonished him to not get the head "too tight" (this was in the plastic head days). Also, as a point of interest, in another interview he said he liked to use the "heaviest bridge he could find." Of course, that was a point in time and who knows for sure what he used before and after that....


Edited by - Hotrodtruck on 11/17/2017 06:36:08

GStump - Posted - 12/30/2017:  15:54:02


And I recently learned, for those of you who would be interested, apparently
Greg Boyd music is stocking the "New" 5 star heads....

Kevin B - Posted - 01/04/2018:  15:13:39


After reading this and the other post I thought I would try out the new Remo. I bought the medium crown from First Quality. Crown height was perfect for my 89 Gibson RB3. The first day after an initial 91 on the drum dial it was back to 89-90. Took it back to 91. One week later it was back to 90 took it back to 91. I don't hear much if any difference. My old EPA head was really worn so it does look better.

kjcole - Posted - 01/26/2018:  08:47:17


So at this point in time (late Jan 2018) are the top-frosted Remo's from First Quality (with logo?) the same as the top-frosted from StewMac (no logo)? I just ordered one (11" medium crown) from StewMac and now stumble on this thread.

KCJones - Posted - 04/18/2018:  11:22:16


Any excuse to tweak something is good enough for me. Questions...



Is there anything from Remo themselves about these new heads? My local shop hasn't heard anything from their supplier about a

redesign.



Is this a new product or a modification to the existing product design that will become the new standard?



If one wants to purchase one of these new heads, how do we know we're getting the new design rather than old stock? I see there's a new logo, but also comments about no logo. Is there a way to be sure?



Thanks



 



Edit: sorry for resurrecting an old thread, if that's not kosher. I can start a new one if I need to. 


Edited by - KCJones on 04/18/2018 11:23:12

pjfolino - Posted - 07/05/2018:  00:28:04


Wow! Just installed the new Remo. Noticeably louder and clearer tone. Need to stock up.

DIV - Posted - 07/05/2018:  06:59:02


Wow...just noticed this thread...(I've been away from the banjo world for a while)...I'd like to see (hear, actually!) how these "newer" Remo's compare with the AMB Max heads which I considered to be the closest thing to the classic (pre-EPA) Weather Kings.

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