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Feb 14, 2018 - 3:49:08 PM
195 posts since 9/7/2006

I have a very nice OME archtop banjo that seems to have no lower end sounds. It sounds harsh. I have installed a Remo Renaissance head and use heavier string but it has no "color" in its tone. I suspect I have tightened the head to much. I could back it off a little. Any thoughts on how to bring in lower and mid tones. I'm heading over to Bill Evans banjo camp in April. Would like to improve the sound, if I can. Thanks. Jim

Feb 14, 2018 - 4:19:04 PM

Ken LeVan Players Union Member

USA

10481 posts since 6/29/2005

The amber head is definitely the right way to go.  I have one on a PW Gibson, and I tighten it to about 89, which mellows it a bit, use a bridge that weighs 2.5 grams, have the clamshell tailpiece float like a presto with no down pressure, and put a piece of natural sponge between the co-rod and head under the tailpiece to calm harsh overtones - it has a lot of color.

Other than that, I have no great ideas- tone color is an elusive thing and archtops are snappy.

Feb 14, 2018 - 4:52:42 PM

jhko

USA

777 posts since 10/31/2014

I would fool with the head tension, I think that will make the biggest difference, I know it did on my OME.

Feb 14, 2018 - 5:12:24 PM

195 posts since 9/7/2006

Ken, Joe: Thanks for the reply's. I just backed off the head and it made a big difference. Now I need to find some sponge!

Feb 16, 2018 - 3:59:13 AM

411 posts since 6/3/2013

They sound good on certain songs. But a lot of people start to find them irritating when arch tops used on every song, throughout the entire set.

Feb 16, 2018 - 5:45:11 AM
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Ken LeVan Players Union Member

USA

10481 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by dupreejan

They sound good on certain songs. But a lot of people start to find them irritating when arch tops used on every song, throughout the entire set.


I think you could say the same thing for flatheads- many of them are agressively clanky, and I find that irritating.  Generally speaking, bluegrass is not a restful kind of music - there's a bit of an edge to it.

Feb 16, 2018 - 6:13:23 AM

961 posts since 9/12/2016

My arch top sounds as good  as my flathead on every song, Actually a little nicer on some.They are more unforgiving .I would not smother it with a  thick head,though i used to.Heavy strings and picking towards the neck works for me,,

Edited by - Tractor1 on 02/16/2018 06:17:58

Feb 16, 2018 - 8:24:56 AM

961 posts since 9/12/2016

arch tops vary a lot.Even the old gibsons vary a lot between themselves.
I am curious is the mentioned ome,a masterclone design or an aluminum rim?

Edited by - Tractor1 on 02/16/2018 08:26:23

Feb 16, 2018 - 9:06:01 AM

Emiel

Austria

8720 posts since 1/22/2003

Five-Star frosted head or Remo Renaissance head (same as Elite Amber), not too tight. Good quality bridge...

Feb 16, 2018 - 10:28:01 AM

961 posts since 9/12/2016

Here is mine,for what it's worth.I am a bit perplexed on the meaning of color missing,no highs,no lows ,no zingy overtones, no pingy highs in there with the lows .not sure here

 

Edited by - Tractor1 on 02/16/2018 10:31:13

Feb 16, 2018 - 10:45:26 AM

935 posts since 4/5/2006
Online Now

Do a search for Bobby Thompson's banjo. He played an Ome, or maybe it was an Ode, I don't remember. But Bobby was a studio musician & he tinkered with that banjo a lot to make it sound the way he wanted it to in the studio. If you can't find it on the BHO, try you tube.

You might also check the coordinator rods to make sure the neck is tight to the pot, and the pot is not being pulled out of round to make the action right.

Feb 16, 2018 - 10:57:11 AM
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Ken LeVan Players Union Member

USA

10481 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

Five-Star frosted head or Remo Renaissance head (same as Elite Amber), not too tight. Good quality bridge...


Exactly!

Feb 21, 2018 - 4:40:37 AM

411 posts since 6/3/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by dupreejan

They sound good on certain songs. But a lot of people start to find them irritating when arch tops used on every song, throughout the entire set.


I think you could say the same thing for flatheads- many of them are agressively clanky, and I find that irritating.  Generally speaking, bluegrass is not a restful kind of music - there's a bit of an edge to it.


Yeah, Songs like Little Maggie and Salty Dog Blues sound good with Archtops, where you really need that cutting in sound.

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