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Stew-Mac is again selling Five-Star banjo heads (not really…)

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May 16, 2018 - 8:56:26 AM

Emiel

Austria

8935 posts since 1/22/2003

I hadn't noticed until today that Stew-Mac is again selling Five-Star banjo heads. Maybe old news… but here is the link:
http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/All_Hardware_and_Parts_by_Instrument/Banjo_Parts/Banjo_Heads/Five-Star_Banjo_Head.html

Edit: Oh, I now see that they are due 1+ months…

At least they seem to be working on it…

Edited by - Emiel on 05/16/2018 08:58:52

May 16, 2018 - 9:28:17 AM
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1658 posts since 1/10/2004
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I think the product listing with expected in X months has been going on for a couple of years maybe.

May 16, 2018 - 9:29:17 AM
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1207 posts since 1/16/2010

I found that a few weeks ago also Emiel, I thought WHOA!!! 5 Stars making a comeback??? But then I saw the +1 month out statement, and then at the bottom the “Sorry this item is unavailable for purchase or back order at this time” message. That leads me to believe they are not going onbe available.....but I could be mistaken....I hope so...5 Stars are my favorite head...easy to install and will hold a higher tension...and they sound good to me. I can’t rememeber, why were they discontinued?

Dow

May 16, 2018 - 9:54:27 AM

Emiel

Austria

8935 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Texican65

I found that a few weeks ago also Emiel, I thought WHOA!!! 5 Stars making a comeback??? But then I saw the +1 month out statement, and then at the bottom the “Sorry this item is unavailable for purchase or back order at this time” message. That leads me to believe they are not going onbe available.....but I could be mistaken....I hope so...5 Stars are my favorite head...easy to install and will hold a higher tension...and they sound good to me. I can’t rememeber, why were they discontinued?

Dow


Dow, there has been some discussion about it. Ludwig somehow forgot how to make them, the quality was suddenly off. Bob Smakula had direct info on it, that Stew Mac was looking for another way to produce them and that the prototype was already almost perfect… Obviously, they still aren't completely there…

May 16, 2018 - 12:57:33 PM
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9194 posts since 6/2/2008

It was all the way back in January 2017 that Bob Smakula shared the message he'd received from the president of Stew-Mac describing the end of Ludwig heads and the in-progress development of a replacement.

It's what Emiel says: Ludwig was having quality control problems in production of banjo heads and -- according to Stew-Mac -- had shown no interest in working with Stew-Mac to resolve them. Stew-Mac went looking for another head maker. Remo USA wasn't interested, Remo Taiwan was interested but couldn't make what Stew-Mac wanted. They eventually found another maker (whose probable identity has been mentioned on the Hangout, but I forget who it was).

But, as I said, that was all relayed to Bob S and then to us in January 2017, at which time the Stew-Mac president had said "I do have samples from our new source, they are close, need a thinner mylar, better frosting and to dial in the diameter however it’s really close." Bob received a sample and passed it on to a pro player friend of his to try out.

And going on 18 months later, that's the last we've heard.

May 16, 2018 - 1:49:25 PM

11048 posts since 6/29/2005

Looks as if they will only have medium crown.

May 16, 2018 - 2:09:38 PM

Emiel

Austria

8935 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

Looks as if they will only have medium crown.


Yes, probably only medium crown. It may not be ideal always, though often it is, but it will work on any (most?) banjo(s).

May 16, 2018 - 2:10:22 PM
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1551 posts since 4/7/2010

For clarification, the sample head I received in January of 2017 had a Planet Waves logo stamped on it. Planet Waves is a D'Addario brand. Stew Mac said they will have the 3 crown heights and will be available in frosted top, frosted bottom, and white mylar with no frosting. They are working hard on this project and are as anxious as anyone to see it come to completion. If I hear more news, I'll share it on Banjo Hangout.

Bob Smakula
smakula.com

May 16, 2018 - 2:13:50 PM
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11048 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

For clarification, the sample head I received in January of 2017 had a Planet Waves logo stamped on it. Planet Waves is a D'Addario brand. Stew Mac said they will have the 3 crown heights and will be available in frosted top, frosted bottom, and white mylar with no frosting. They are working hard on this project and are as anxious as anyone to see it come to completion. If I hear more news, I'll share it on Banjo Hangout.

Bob Smakula
smakula.com


Bob, Will you be selling them sans logo?

May 16, 2018 - 2:50:14 PM

1551 posts since 4/7/2010

I'll stock them, but I assume they will have the 5-Star logo.

May 16, 2018 - 3:09:41 PM

9194 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

I'll stock them, but I assume they will have the 5-Star logo.


Bob: What, if anything, did your player friend have to say about the sound?  Do you know if he thought it was different enough from Remo to be worth waiting for? 

May 16, 2018 - 3:13:29 PM

1551 posts since 4/7/2010

Sorry, I really don't remember much about our 5-star head conversation. I remember he liked the original 5-star better, but the details are rather fuzzy after more than a year.

Bob Smakula

May 17, 2018 - 5:58:53 AM
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1551 posts since 4/7/2010

I just received a reply from Stewart-MacDonald's president and he has this to say about 5-star heads; "hoping to have heads in 2-3 weeks. Problem is the first order is most likely sold out, will take us until July to finally have stock." 

No, I did not order all of the first run for my business, though that would have been a good idea! 

He also gave me good news that they now have Golden Age reproduction tuners for vintage Gibson F-4 and F-2 mandolins. But that is a post for Mandolin Hangout.

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com

May 17, 2018 - 9:22:47 AM

1438 posts since 10/12/2011

That would be nice. I love a 5 star head.

May 17, 2018 - 9:50:59 AM

1207 posts since 1/16/2010

Awesome! So we can pre-order on the Stew-Mac website I take it?

Dow

May 17, 2018 - 2:38:28 PM

9194 posts since 6/2/2008

Not yet. As of right now, ordering is still turned off.

May 17, 2018 - 9:38:30 PM

9194 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula

For clarification, the sample head I received in January of 2017 had a Planet Waves logo stamped on it. Planet Waves is a D'Addario brand. 


For additional clarification: D'Addario owns the Evans drum head brand. Don't know if they put it under the Planet Waves brand.

Evans was first company to make a plastic drum head.  They already make a crimped hoop drum head, so I'd think that made them a good source for the new Five-Star head.

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