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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: How to "rotate" the skin 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:

bosborne - Posted - 12/31/2021:  12:36:43


A picture of my banjo is right up top. I'm one of these people who gets a little bugged by that spot on the head that's been abraded by my fingers. Plus it's a skin head, so it does seem to wear down at that spot a bit more, compared to plastic.

I'm thinking I can just loosen the tension hoop (without strings on), take the hoop and tailpiece off, and rotate the head a few degrees so a new spot gets abraded, over time. This would also be a chance to clean the hoop, hooks, and rim a bit. Then reassemble.

Is it really that simple? or am I missing something?

Thanks again, experts.


Clifton Hicks - Posted - 12/31/2021:  13:35:06

It really is that simple.


Even simpler: leave it alone.

beegee - Posted - 12/31/2021:  15:38:24

Take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and clean it

Ken LeVan - Posted - 12/31/2021:  18:11:46

Here's a picture of an old Rogers head, circa 1920— I put it on a new banjo and just rotated it 180 degrees it so the worn spot was on the other side If you look closely, you can see the pencil mark where the bridge was—it will probably last another 100 years

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 12/31/2021 18:12:27

rmcdow - Posted - 12/31/2021:  19:20:07

I wipe Rogers hide heads with a damp microfiber cloth several times until the grime is off them, then use an orbital sander with 600 grit to smooth out the surface. This removes a bit of the thickness, I understand, but it does take off most of the surface roughness that really doesn't add to the overall thickness of the head. I've rotated the heads before also.

Bill H - Posted - 01/01/2022:  04:22:42

I have used an abrasive orange cleaner with a damp cloth, and it get the skin pretty clean. I clean with every string change.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 01/01/2022:  04:56:01

There are special stain removers for leather that will work on white leather:


hbick2 - Posted - 01/01/2022:  04:58:27

Banjo playing is a dirty business so get used to it. All kidding aside, it is the mark of a well-played banjo and looks more appropriate when the marks are in the right place.

My buddy Harry Sparks and I used to do work for J.D. Crowe and he would change his heads fairly often. When he did, we would end up with the old heads. You could always tell it was one of J.D.'s because there was a completely worn strip from the bridge, almost all the way to the neck, where he dragged his fingers on the head. We were sometimes known to stick one of his old heads on another banjo now and then.

blazo - Posted - 01/01/2022:  09:40:55

I think you should keep the head where it is... rotate the rest of the banjo instead.

bosborne - Posted - 01/01/2022:  12:02:15


Originally posted by blazo

I think you should keep the head where it is... rotate the rest of the banjo instead.

Mmm. Point-taken, didn't consider that!


Ira Gitlin - Posted - 01/01/2022:  13:22:05

Even if you rotate it, it'll still be discolored and worn--just in a dfferent place.

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