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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: My dream: a Harmon mute for banjo


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/375748

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 06/17/2021:  13:02:31


I'm a longtime fan of the early Duke Ellington Orchestra's "jungle sound", especially wonderful playing of his brass section...

I have always dreamed that there is some way to create a banjo mute that would give the same raspy overdriven sound that Arthur Whetsol's trumpet Harmon mute makes.

youtube.com/watch?v=BVe1vYhTB_M

If there is anybody out there with ideas for how to create such a banjo mute, I'd sure like to hear them!

Thanks,

Will

vintagetenor - Posted - 06/17/2021:  13:16:33


Will, that sound is more than just the mute. He's also using growl which is gotten by humming as he's playing.

tdennis - Posted - 06/17/2021:  14:17:18


I don't think any type of mute will create this sound acoustically. However, a banjo w/ a pick-up run through a sound processor may give you something close .

CGDA - Posted - 06/18/2021:  01:18:11


A banjo will never get the effects of a wind instrument, but there is already a mute that can do this a bit: it's the B&D"soft pedal".

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 06/18/2021:  05:45:05


Yeah, Marco, my B & D Sultana III banjo has a soft pedal, and I love it.



But I have always longed for something raspier... more kazoo-like...


Edited by - guitarbanjoman on 06/18/2021 05:45:35

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 06/18/2021:  08:16:34


You may be able to put in some "kazoo-like" sound by picking and strumming as close to the bridge as possible while the banjo is muted. Playing near the bridge emphasizes some of the higher, harsher, overtones.



To aid in the final sound, some slides or string bending should help. The Harmon mute does seem to add a bit of a wavering to some of the notes.

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 06/18/2021:  10:23:39


What do you guys think about about some snare-drum-like wires underneath the banjo head?

Would that make it sound raspier?

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 06/18/2021:  13:43:35


quote:

Originally posted by guitarbanjoman

What do you guys think about about some snare-drum-like wires underneath the banjo head?



Would that make it sound raspier?






I think it would just sound likesomething was rattling.

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 06/18/2021:  15:34:17


yeah, George I kinda thought the same thing... hmmmm

What if you could make a banjo bridge out of little pieces of broken glass?

Or use a metal bridge with a metal lip jutting out under the strings about a quarter of an inch, sloped slightly downward... like a sitar bridge?

Lew H - Posted - 06/18/2021:  17:36:50


Somewhere I have an adjustable mute, maybe made by Elton, that clips onto the strings below the bridge. It is a collapsed metal tune with a thumb bolt through the middle of it going into a threaded thin flat metal "stick"--very lightweight. If I put the mute just right against the bridge, the banjo would make a rattling sound when I picked it. It is great for playing old rock songs.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 06/18/2021:  19:26:05


quote:

Originally posted by guitarbanjoman

yeah, George I kinda thought the same thing... hmmmm



What if you could make a banjo bridge out of little pieces of broken glass?



Or use a metal bridge with a metal lip jutting out under the strings about a quarter of an inch, sloped slightly downward... like a sitar bridge?






The problem I can see with any modifications to bridges is that you'd be hard pressed to play a passage within a tune without the mute. You can't just pop the mute on or off; it's always going to be there unless you stop and take several minutes to undo everything and set up the banjo again.



Have you tried picking close to the bridge while muting? I've tried it and got a nice effect.  The sound was basically muted, but with an edge or harsh quality, unlike the usual sound produced by a mute. 

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