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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Getting a Head....


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/352985

Lorilee - Posted - 04/13/2019:  06:47:52


Hi all,
Here's a question for you. The head on my newly purchased (used) Gold Tone CC Tenor gives a definite "plasticy" sound to it. When I had it set up, the luthier suggested I get a new Remo head for it. The question is which type? I read that the frosted under is preferred by most players, but since this head is smooth, at least on top (i don't know what's underneath but it's definitely not original to the banjo), I'm wondering if a frosted under head will sound the same way. I sure would love to hear what you all think is the best one to choose. Thanks!

malarz - Posted - 04/13/2019:  06:52:52


I like the Remo Fiberskyn which seems to soften or “warm” the tonal quality. But, banjos are like hot-rods: you can modify them as you want and there is no “right” way just the way you like it.

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 04/13/2019:  11:59:58


Lorilee,



Welcome to BHO, first of all. Always nice to see new people discovering BHO. And remember: there's no such thing as a stupid question. All of us having started as beginners, at some point. :-)



As to your little issue: I'd recommend to ask around on BHO's Building & Repairing forum as well. Some superb builder & repairer regulars around there. But one of the sages of creativeness and inventiveness all over BHO must be Mike Gregory. I'm sure he'll kindly lend you a helping hand, too, if ever discovering this post. :-)



Veerstryngh Thynner

yellowdog - Posted - 04/13/2019:  17:47:14


Hi Lorilee,

Before you spend a lot of money on a new banjo head with uncertain results, please download the drawings and explanation of my new dual high and low frequency amplifiers, (and read the Blog page related to newest discoveries about these) on my website, GeigerAcousticDevices.com. These very simple amplifiers are easily made (you make them yourself) with Kraft paper from four small coin envelopes, common staples, Scotch brand acrylic high gloss transparent tape (Don't use "Magic Tape". See the photo of the tape dispenser on the Blog page), and a small bit of brass foil (try Hobby Lobby or your local hardware store). The amps are very easy to make and, when finished, are taped to the inside of the banjo's wood rim (see sketch on the Blog page). The website explains how they work to improve both volume and sound quality. Because they are so new I haven't posted demo tapes yet but they worked great on my one-hour solo gig two weeks ago and resulted in future monthly bookings.

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 04/18/2019:  05:37:55


Hi Lorilee,



How are you getting on with your head issue?



Veerstryngh Thynner

Lorilee - Posted - 04/19/2019:  18:51:25


I ordered a remo fiberskyn head today... I'm hoping it helps.

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 04/20/2019:  05:54:23


Please keep us posted.



VT

Lorilee - Posted - 04/28/2019:  08:24:38


Well, the new head is installed and it is a great improvement. It's not perfect, though. The C string weirdly sounds like it's emanating from the bottom of a barrel (Does that make sense?). It also buzzes ever so slightly. I took off the resonator and put a couple of sponges under the rods close to the neck, and that really helped. Didn't completely cure it though, but I guess I can live with it now. The other strings sound much better than before now, and that "plasticy" sound is gone. Yay! Everyone, thanks for your suggestions and encouragement!

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/28/2019:  20:01:25


quote:

Originally posted by Lorilee

Well, the new head is installed and it is a great improvement. It's not perfect, though. The C string weirdly sounds like it's emanating from the bottom of a barrel (Does that make sense?). It also buzzes ever so slightly. I took off the resonator and put a couple of sponges under the rods close to the neck, and that really helped. Didn't completely cure it though, but I guess I can live with it now. The other strings sound much better than before now, and that "plasticy" sound is gone. Yay! Everyone, thanks for your suggestions and encouragement!






It sounds to me like your head is not at its optimal tension. That may not be why the C string sounds like it's coming from a barrel (wine barrel or beer barrel?) but it could certainly account for the buzzing.



I'd try tightening the head a bit more, which may raise that C string enough to stop the buzz and even fix the other problem.

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 05/01/2019:  00:27:44


I had the reverse with my "Morris" tenor. Its original timbre and tone, upon purchase, warmer and deeper than usual, for a tenor banjo. Still quite a stretch from Ome's richness, true, but pleasantly striving towards Ome's nonetheless.



However, wear and tear made the original head collapse, during a series of gigs in the south of France, decades ago. And a new head, obtained with considerable difficulty and applied somewhat inexpertly, changed warm and deep to something rather more metallic and, somehow, much "tighter"  overall, overnight.



It's only of recently that I have some of the original warmth back - which came about by simply slackening the head a bit. So to me, George's advice looks well worth following, since his banjo issue diagnoses are habitually spot-on, in my experience.



Veerstryngh Thynner

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