Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

312
Banjo Lovers Online


Banjo head tuned to G sharp?

Posted by john leary on Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I was told during a banjo workshop at a festival I recently attended, that the bluegrass banjo head should be tuned to G sharp.

Is there any truth in this? If not, should it be tuned to any particular note?

If you did tune it to anything, how do you tune a banjo head? 



9 comments on “Banjo head tuned to G sharp?”

Banjov1 Says:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @2:13:01 PM

Most people tune flat heads to somewhere between G# and A. I like mine right around G#.

I do this by tapping or scratching the head and trying to assimilate the tone you get on the 4th string around the 6th fret. When I first started tapping, I would sometimes get harmonics and I found that it helped to dampen the strings on both sides of the bridge when doing the "tone tap". But these days I've become pretty comfortable doing it, and I can just scratch the head and compare the scratch tone with the note on the 4th string.

If the note is too low, then I'll go around the pot and tighten all the tension screws a fraction of a turn and retry the scratch to see if it's closer to G#. New banjo heads tend to stretch and I'll find myself doing this once every couple weeks to keep that head set just right.

T

Banjo Island Says:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @11:50:41 PM

Yeah, there are a bunch of standard questions that seem to crop up at all these sort of workshop. I blame the Banjo Hangout.

I mean, you've got say a Yens Kruger or a Noam Pikelny or whoever sat in front of you, and the opportunity to REALLY get inside their heads and find out what makes them tick, and what makes them awesome, yet people always ask what gauge strings they use or how many fingers they rest on their heads. I mean, arrrgghh!!

If you look carefully you'll see lots of rolled eyes or pained expressions around the audience each time...

TopCat Says:
Thursday, July 22, 2010 @8:08:16 AM

I agree with Jer. Tuning of the banjo head - what a load of old codswallop. OK, yes, if you check carefully it is more or less on G#, but so flipping what?? Ignore this type of nonsense and concentrate on practising...and avoid the type of people who ask such questions at workshops, LOL! Just my humble opinion of course....

john leary Says:
Friday, July 23, 2010 @4:53:38 AM

Thanks for your comments guys n gals.
Yes you're right Jer & Maria, about the same old questions been asked at workshops, but this particular subject was'nt prompted by a question. In fact, the first time I heard about tuning to G# was a few years ago and the 2nd was a few weeks ago.

Forgive me for pursuing this subject, but what bench mark do you go by when tightening a bluegrass banjo head?

I do believe that clawhammer style requires a softer head.

I hope you'll both go easy on me because I still consider myself to be a beginner at the bluegrass music.

TopCat Says:
Thursday, July 29, 2010 @1:22:07 AM

Hey John, don't worry, I am still a novice too! I haven't got a clue about what benchmark to go by...as I said I think it's a little bit silly! Perhaps you could follow what Banjov1 said above - or do a forum search on the subject? Or my favourite option which would be not to even worry about it at all! See you around....cheers, Maria

buckbybanjoboy Says:
Thursday, July 29, 2010 @2:51:25 AM

I have tried and tried to recognise the"note" from my tapped banjo heads but they all sound the same to me. Years ago somebody told me that its tight enough just before it breaks. I just tighten it until I`m pleased with the sound and that`s it.

buckbybanjoboy Says:
Thursday, July 29, 2010 @2:51:27 AM

I have tried and tried to recognise the"note" from my tapped banjo heads but they all sound the same to me. Years ago somebody told me that its tight enough just before it breaks. I just tighten it until I`m pleased with the sound and that`s it.

buckbybanjoboy Says:
Thursday, July 29, 2010 @2:52:39 AM

ooooops sorry thought you needed this twice......................not

alfiedog Says:
Thursday, July 29, 2010 @4:36:46 PM

Earl said "Tighten it till it breaks". But then again Earl wont Pay for his Heads. I just tighten the Head till the bottom of the Bridge Feet are level with my Tension Hoop, but the Heads on my JOs are Low Crown. Dont try this with a High Crown Head, Coz it will Burst.

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.



More posts from john leary

Newest Posts

More >  

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.125