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Oct 20, 2019 - 5:17:17 AM
1368 posts since 2/12/2009

As some of you may know, I have lately gotten into playing in the classic style on my recently acquired Essex Weaver, as much fun as this is I am still learning/experimenting and, my question is this; when I bought the banjo it had a ren head fitted and sounds ok to me, all my other banjos have top frosted Remo heads which I like very much not least because I think they look the best on any banjo ! would fitting a similar head to my Weaver be detrimental or beneficial ? I like the sound I hear on old Vess Osman and, Van Eps recordings and am of course aware that those old timers used hide heads, I however really do not want to go that route if it can be helped, would a top frosted Remo like the bluegrassers use be a decent choice or should I just learn to live with the look of the ren head ?

Oct 20, 2019 - 5:28:30 AM

csacwp

USA

2405 posts since 1/15/2014

Top frosted is by far the best choice of plastic head for classic banjo if you want an authentic tone. Ditch the Renaissance.

Oct 20, 2019 - 5:33:59 AM

1368 posts since 2/12/2009

Hey John ! I hoped you might chime in, you have given me some great advice since getting into this style of playing so, for me yours is the definitive answer, thank you.

Oct 20, 2019 - 6:44:01 AM

csacwp

USA

2405 posts since 1/15/2014

Joel is using top frosted heads on all of his banjos as well. I went through a phase where I used Renaissance heads and never liked them. With thinner nylon they are too bright and have an unpleasant mid-range and too much sustain. To get them sounding good at all you have to tighten them to the point where some antique banjos would suffer damage. Weavers for example have fragile metal parts, and the hooks are prone to breaking at the bend.

Frosted tops have a faster response and a tone very similar to a board-tight calfskin. They sound good at a variety of tensions. They also look correct (I too find the color of the Ren heads off-putting).

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