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Mar 8, 2020 - 12:43:06 PM
844 posts since 2/24/2008

I guess it looks as though 5 Star heads which were made by Ludwig are no longer available. I have a guy that wants me to go over his banjo set up and replace the head. What are people running in place of 5 Stars now days, Remo? I think maybe the 5 Ludwig (5Star) was a little thicker maybe? Thanks for any input. EE

Mar 8, 2020 - 12:54:31 PM

573 posts since 11/21/2018

I used 5 Star heads solely, over the last 40 years and loved and strongly prefered them -Tons of crack.
But recently went to a new head via Rob Bishline's work and I believe it's a Remo head and although it's "different", a bit darker and evokes the past a bit more (whatever that means?) in it's a titch more Old Timey sound that I'm liking.

He set it at 89. I bought a drum dial and tried up to 92-3 to try for that 5 Star crack but on this head it didn't sound at all good. Too pinched, so Rob was right about that set up on this particular banjo.

My 4th string seems to have a new added richness to it, so I guess I begrudgingly (past Brand Loyalty Poster Boy) like the Remo now.
I have my old 5 Star as a spare, thinking I'd very likely put it back on, but not feeling the need.

Mine is top frosted as was my 5 Star. I started out with the clear head 5 Star when I built my lst banjo and liked it as a youth but it eventually felt too bright overall.
I still like a lot of crack and am getting it with the Remo. Different but good and it's tone gets compliments at jams.

Mar 8, 2020 - 5:26:01 PM

17 posts since 10/11/2017

EE, good question and I’m a little shocked to see the 5-star head I picked up from StewMac last July for a Stelling is no more. Anyway, it looks like Huber as a thicker Remo head that some like, might want to check that out.

Mar 8, 2020 - 5:59:44 PM

573 posts since 11/21/2018

It may have been something other or in addition to the thickness or coatings.
The 5 stars were crimped to the hoops. The Remo I believe were always glued to my knowldege and may have recently gone to crimping. I kept my heads really tight in the old days and until very recently (probably 92-3)-ish and never broke a head.
Huber does have a thicker coating.
Another alternative. The thickness isn't mentioned:

Mar 8, 2020 - 6:29:38 PM

1517 posts since 11/17/2018

I replaced a 5-Star head with an American Made Banjo head on one of my banjos.

Sounds good to me.

Mar 10, 2020 - 6:53:51 AM



1791 posts since 9/6/2003

I have read on here that the 5 star heads are still being made. I don`t know if it`s true or not and don`t remember who is making them. I have used the Remo head that`s made in Taiwan, and it is thicker than the USA one. I use the 5 Star on Odes, and early Fender. I am getting old and don`t do much work anymore.

Mar 10, 2020 - 8:53:39 AM

59 posts since 5/11/2006

I've just replaced my 5 Star head with an American Made Banjo Co. head. It's fitted to an Archtop Mitch banjo and I really like the sound. I'd like to try it with the Tone Ring Mate as a flathead.

Mar 11, 2020 - 7:46:43 PM

844 posts since 2/24/2008

I have used AMB and Huber heads, in the past and like both. I used an AMB I had here the other week for a banjo and thought it was great. Will the medium crown work on arch top banjos. I see AMB just have medium and High crown listed. I have to admit I havent fooled with to many arch tops. Friend of mine wants me to change the head on an old GoldStar. Any help appreciated. Also, do you use a drum dial on the arch top pretty much the same as a flathead.

Edited by - double E on 03/11/2020 19:48:38

Mar 11, 2020 - 9:22:45 PM

1517 posts since 11/17/2018

I think Jake from Banjo Ben covers several variations of head types -

Mar 12, 2020 - 9:40:53 AM

12820 posts since 10/30/2008
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Double E, medium will work fine on an arch top. That's the only crown there was for quite a while! Low crown was a somewhat later development, at least in music stores, before mail order and internet orders became common.

Mar 12, 2020 - 9:50:39 AM



9447 posts since 1/22/2003

New Five-Star heads (after Ludwig) were/are made by Evans (owned by D'Addario), but I remember there were some problems lately.

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