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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Chasing mutes.

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:

CGDA - Posted - 08/12/2019:  09:13:37

I was very unhappy with the tone this banjo...lots of unwanted overtones that disturb when playing on the second half of the fingerboard. I tried replacing the strings and the bridge with no results, then I fitted a Gillette mute with scarce improvement. My next step was to remove the resonator, with a good result. Finally I discovered that some cheap silicone-made mutes for drums work good also on banjo: you can place them everywhere you want on the head: any different position can create different effects on the tone. In essence I solved my problem by putting on my banjo one Gillette, two silicone pads and reso removed. I attach here a short video where you can see the two oval pads, one down beyond the bridge, the other under my right hand.

All the best!

Edited by - CGDA on 08/12/2019 09:19:49

aintbrokejustbadlybent - Posted - 08/12/2019:  11:08:13


Sounds good Marco.
I recently started playing with rounded side of the pick and IMO improved my sound. Not quite as harsh.

CGDA - Posted - 08/12/2019:  12:02:12

Mike, I regularly use the rounded side of the pick, that sounds more soft and gives a better grip.

aintbrokejustbadlybent - Posted - 08/12/2019:  12:05:42

Yes, agreed. Just curious, What type(s) of pick does you use? I use a blue chip .125.

CGDA - Posted - 08/12/2019:  12:52:39

Mike, I've tested almost all measures and all brands. Apart from turtle ones, that are off limits, I used the Fender "medium" for longtime. Unluckily they get worn out so easily in my hand, cause I use to hit the string at a wrong angle, that quickly spoils the pick. Recently a friend suggested me to try the Dunlop .73: they provide about the same tone of the Fender, but they are much more resistant.
P.S. I played with a Fender "Medium" in that video.

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 08/23/2019:  16:34:51

Marco, i am embarrassed to say that i have played the banjo for almost 50 years, and I have never heard of a Gillette mute.

So I went and asked Mr. Google for help, and he didn’t know either.

So I’m thinking maybe this kind of mute is a “thing” in Italy, but not in North America?

Anyway, could you send us some pictures of it?

CGDA - Posted - 08/24/2019:  03:34:31

Hi Guitarbanjoman,

The so called "Gillette" mute is a kind of mute which has nothing to do with the banjoist Bob Gillette. I guess that name is related to the "Gillette" shaver. (I enclose a pic of that mute).

Many years ago a friend of mine came to UK; I asked her to buy two G-mutes for me, she found them at a music shop with no problem.

The 4 string banjo is an almost unknown instrument in my Country, even among musicians...sometimes. Somebody from the audience asked me "What kind of mandolin is it?" or said "What a strange drum!" etc.


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