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Tightening head

Posted by Jonnycake White on Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I've been playing my "Deseret" minstrel banjo lately, practicing songs to record and post here (so far only one recording, though).  Last night I decided it was sounding too loosey-goosey so I gave the head a thump to listen to the tap tone.  It was too low.  Someone once told me it should sound somewhere between the 1st and 2nd string in pitch.  I don't know about that, but I did tighten the head about half a turn on each nut and it sounds a lot more clear now.

5 comments on “Tightening head”

Kester Says:
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @3:51:37 PM

You can tighten the drumhead!  I never thought about tightening the drumhead for a better sound.  I must give that a try, my cheap banjo needs some work doing to it.  Thanks for the blog, it has opened my eyes and ears to something totally new.

clio Says:
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @4:33:54 PM

See instructions on how to tighten the head. Done poorly and it can break the head. BHO has the instructions on it somewhere.

banjotef Says:
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @5:15:47 PM

A tighter head really clears up the tone,  slightly increases sustain. 

brawny1 Says:
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @6:08:10 PM

Don't be afraid to experiment with the head tightness. I found it easiest to just tighten or loosen the nuts a quarter turn at a time and play a little to see how it affects the sound. I only did it 2 or 3 times until I found a spot that sounded nice to my ear. B-

Jonnycake White Says:
Monday, October 6, 2008 @10:10:46 AM

A quarter turn at a time, that's right. 

I was considering replacing my nylon strings on this with Nylgut, but it sounds so much better now that I'll hold off at least until I would normally replace them from wear and tear anyway.

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