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Jan 26, 2020 - 2:38:22 PM



282 posts since 3/20/2011

What causes the tension hoop to sink lower near the tailpiece? I have seen this on many banjos. A carefully adjusted drum dial tension of 90 all way round still shows a (warped?) tension hoop on many banjos. Was the tailpiece over tightened at some point, causing the tension hooks to be tightened more? ? Does this affect the overall sound?

Jan 26, 2020 - 3:32:18 PM
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12625 posts since 6/29/2005
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That would be caused by not having the tension hoop installed correctly—it ought to be the same distance from the surface of the head all the way around.  If it was crooked when installed, it will remain crooked even if the drum dial reading is the same all around.  The drum dial reading has little to do with whether the tension hoop was installed level when the head was first put on.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 01/26/2020 15:37:41

Jan 26, 2020 - 8:23:06 PM

349 posts since 12/14/2008

It could be that the neck gap is too tight and doesn’t allow the hoop to tighten down as much on the neck side of the hoop. So the hooks on the neck side would take more tension to tighten and the ones by the bridge would be easier causing the hoop to get sunk down on the back side. Easy fix, make sure the neck gap actually has a gap.

Jan 26, 2020 - 8:29:58 PM
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14979 posts since 3/27/2004

Other than a notch at the neck that prevents the tension band from drawing down sufficiently, as others have stated, the band is either installed incorrectly OR the nuts haven't been tensioned by the same amount as the head is tightened.  You can cock the tension band in ANY direction and still have the head read the same tension at all points.

Jan 26, 2020 - 11:09:24 PM

1178 posts since 2/2/2008

Is this on your banjo? Billy said it, If a neck is tight and there is no gap to tension hoop you could be looking at a problem there. The hoop could be getting pinched tight at the neck were as the tailpiece end is floating free without resistance.
A pulled head can be at fault. You wont know unless you break it fully or remove it to look.
I also agree fitting issue. That's easy, remove it and fit it even yourself.

Jan 27, 2020 - 5:03:01 AM

4432 posts since 11/20/2004

Tension hoops can be warped. To check, remove and lay on a flat table. Also, make sure there is room at the neck notch for the head to go down. Some necks are cut shallow and the head bottoms out before reaching proper tension.

Jan 27, 2020 - 7:51:13 AM

6737 posts since 8/28/2013
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Sometimes the head will bottom out in the neck notch because someone installed a head witha crown height that's too high. When the head bottoms out at the neck, the only way it can be brought up to the proper tension is to tighten the hooks at the tailpiece end, causing the tensiopn hoop to tilt.

Jan 27, 2020 - 4:03:50 PM



282 posts since 3/20/2011

Thank you for the info, everyone.. I will try to figure this out. The neck is not tight against the rim. The tension hoop is not warped, on a flat counter. The banjo is a high end model. The tailpiece is not over-tightened. That leaves two possibilities: The head is not evenly installed, but I doubt it. George had an interesting suggestion, maybe the head is bottoming out. I will try everything, and update. Jim

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