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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Head Separation?


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/350725

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  06:32:25


Hello all,
I have an Epi MB-250 that has sounded a bit muddy and hollow since I bought it. One of the things I was suspecting is possibly a slightly separated head. However, the head is holding a good tension and measures a consistent tension around the rim. Would this exclude the possibility of head separation? If not, are there other indications I can check for without disassembly?
The head is a Taiwan Remo (original, I assume).
btw- the only luthier in my area has very limited banjo knowledge, so I'm on my own on this.

steve davis - Posted - 01/31/2019:  06:51:10


You need to remove the tension hoop to see whether there is a tear under it.



To not over-tighten use the dime under a 6 inch ruler tension.Around a G# to A head note.



 


Edited by - steve davis on 01/31/2019 06:52:53



 

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  07:32:12


Thanks Steve,
As I said, the tension is good and is consistent around the rim.
The question was: are there any symptoms or indications that would give me a better idea of whether the head is separating WITHOUT disassembly?

steve davis - Posted - 01/31/2019:  07:37:26


Most head tears occur underneath the tension hoop which hides the problem.Loosening and retightening the head is a lesson easily learned and makes head changing easy.

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  07:47:31


Steve-
I appreciate you responding. If I still had my vision, I would already have removed and inspected the head, checked for tone ring fit, etc.
But these things are a little beyond me now.

steve davis - Posted - 01/31/2019:  07:48:46


Well,that's where tears usually happen,William.

heavy5 - Posted - 01/31/2019:  07:57:44


I would believe it highly unlikely the head is separated if you can attain a G# to an A using Steve's suggestion . You might remove the arm rest to use strong thumb pressure around the head about 1" away from the hoop to detect looseness .

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  08:01:47




Would the tension typically read lower (on a drum dial) around the affected area, or is this totally unreliable?


Edited by - OldBlindGuy on 01/31/2019 08:04:18

easy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  08:17:33


If you find that it's not separated, I've tinkered with a couple hollow sounding cheap banjos, and aside from all of the usual advice you might run into here, I've got three pieces of my own: upgrade the tailpiece to solid brass (my fave being the Price Straightline); upgrade the nut to TUSQ (only costs about 15 bucks for a slab that'll make two nuts if you cut it in half, plus the price of a file set, since they've not yet made a banjo bridge); and third (my favorite for hollow, flighty sounding banjos), spray down the head. My spray of choice is Rustoleum American Accents in a brick red, which adds a sandy texture (helping to weigh down the head a bit, plus it gives excellent purchase [grip] for your plant fingers and looks cool to boot). I highly recommend the third point here, as it has really helped me tame a couple hollow-sounding banjos, but if you try it and don't like the results, you're only out about 25 bucks. Godspeed,
David

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  08:28:54


Thanks, David
I have a spare Kershner-style TP laying around that I might have installed if everything else checks out ok.

nograss5150 - Posted - 01/31/2019:  09:47:00


quote:

Originally posted by OldBlindGuy



Would the tension typically read lower (on a drum dial) around the affected area, or is this totally unreliable?






I located two broken heads using the drum dial.  It read low where the break was behind the tension hoop. Everywhere else on the head read 90 and the break was at 87 or 88. No matter how tight I tried to get it, the broken area was still low.  I took my measurements at each hook.  I would suspect that if you have a low reading in certain areas of the head, it would be indicative of a broken head.

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  10:13:35


Thanks Joe
So we're talking about quite small deviations... I was expecting it to be more pronounced. I will re-check the readings at each hook.

nograss5150 - Posted - 01/31/2019:  17:32:37


quote:

Originally posted by OldBlindGuy

Thanks Joe

So we're talking about quite small deviations... I was expecting it to be more pronounced. I will re-check the readings at each hook.






Try tightening on the hooks that are low and look for a tension change. If no tension change, try a hook(s) where it's 90 and look for a change.  If you get it at 90 but not in the 87 area, I would suggest a broken head.



I don't know if location matters or not--heads can break or split anywhere I would suppose.  On one of mine, the splits were above the neck and below the tailpiece, and on the other it was below the neck. Your mileage may vary.  :-)

OldBlindGuy - Posted - 01/31/2019:  19:08:26


quote:

Originally posted by nograss5150

Try tightening on the hooks that are low and look for a tension change. If no tension change, try a hook(s) where it's 90 and look for a change.  :-)





Yes, that part is understood.



thanks Joe.



 

steve davis - Posted - 02/01/2019:  06:26:00


If you set the tension to a tight dime and a short time later the dime is loose the head is ripped.

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