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Jul 4, 2020 - 3:18:58 PM
6 posts since 5/6/2020

what is the most popular crown?does it make that much difference in sound or playability?

Jul 4, 2020 - 3:36:54 PM
Players Union Member



5238 posts since 10/12/2009

Hit the link, then scroll down to the bottom, there's a brief, concise description of crown heights.

Difference in "sound" in heads comes from the surface coating, material the head is made from, and tension, not crown height.

Jul 4, 2020 - 5:00:42 PM
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13122 posts since 10/30/2008

Most popular is Medium. Makes no difference in sound or playability.

In the "old days" there was ONLY medium, so they didn't call it "medium". It was just a banjo head.

All the different crowns do is adjust where the top/bottom of your tension hoop end up.

Jul 4, 2020 - 5:09:10 PM

4868 posts since 5/14/2007

Medium is good for nearly all rims and tone rings. Low crown is good for archtop tone rings. With high crown (and sometimes medium, though rarely) the hooks and nuts bottom out before you can get the head up to tension.

Jul 4, 2020 - 5:38:43 PM

2255 posts since 4/7/2010

Originally posted by The Old Timer

Most popular is Medium. 


As a retailer that sells many hundreds of banjo heads every year, my experience is high crown is the most popular. Maybe "popular" is not exactly the word. "Necessary for proper fit" might be a better phrase to explain the higher percentage of high crown banjo head sales.


Bob Smakula

Jul 4, 2020 - 8:20:16 PM

6 posts since 5/6/2020

i measured my crown and it's 5/16".sounds good,but i've noticed this is not an available size.i've had the banjo for 25 yrs,but only started playing last year.

Jul 4, 2020 - 8:37:25 PM

6 posts since 5/6/2020

how does one measure the "crown".getting different answers.

Jul 4, 2020 - 11:40 PM



9508 posts since 1/22/2003
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Originally posted by bogiefree1

how does one measure the "crown".getting different answers.

See the first answer to your post.

Jul 5, 2020 - 4:41:33 AM

13070 posts since 6/29/2005

I find that high crown is the best fit in most cases, but you need a low-crown for archtop banjos. 

I could be wrong, but I believe medium crown is something that has been developed for banjos where because of some unusual geometry, neither high nor low will fit properly.  One example would be for a banjo where the bearing surface or tone ring has a wide radius and the head pulls down farther—you would need a medium crown for that.  I have used them for some woodies, but 90% of the time, use high crowns.

Jul 5, 2020 - 6:18:13 AM

7414 posts since 8/28/2013

I don't think crown hight should be based upon what is most popular, but based only on what fits your particular banjo. Simply because a "high crown" might be what most people are buying, doesn't mean it'll fit an archtop.

I think perhaps remeasuring your crown height might be in order. Measure in several places, as it could be that it's been tightened unevenly in the past, and may actually be somewhat higher in other spots around the circumference. 

Jul 5, 2020 - 10:50:22 AM
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2255 posts since 4/7/2010

Originally posted by Ken LeVan

I find that high crown is the best fit in most cases, but you need a low-crown for archtop banjos. 

The low crown/archtop rule applies to Gibson banjos, but not to all archtops. Most of the time Paramount and Orpheum banjos use medium, though occasionally high works better.


Bob Smakula

Jul 5, 2020 - 11:20:23 AM

4172 posts since 6/15/2005

I've used nothing but medium crown heads on my 1928 TB-4 40-hole archtop conversion ever since I acquired it in 1980. Old Remo, current-day Remo, 5-Star, and AMB: all have fit and worked just fine, and the banjo sounds great.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, I installed a low crown head. The only difference was what Dick described.

The same holds true with my flathead banjos. I've always used medium crown on all. In fact, a medium head was original equipment on each of them except for my Gibson Retro-4, which originally had a high crown head that I eventually replaced with a medium. 

Edited by - arnie fleischer on 07/05/2020 11:32:48

Jul 5, 2020 - 1:32:13 PM

13070 posts since 6/29/2005

Interesting— I learn something every day.

Jul 5, 2020 - 8:08:29 PM

7728 posts since 1/7/2005

Seems like few agree on this. For me, proper crown height should end up with the fretboard level with the top of the tension hoop cutout, or _very_ slightly higher. Never lower. And, of course, that is measured with the head at full tension.


Jul 6, 2020 - 7:23:21 AM

2672 posts since 12/4/2009


I agree that few mention the critical path. The notch gap length and depth determines the head depth. My Gold Star came a low crown head. Getting it to tension always bottomed out by the notch. The tension hoop also was below the fretboard but still not at optimal tension. I went to medium and never used a low crown again.

Jul 6, 2020 - 2:39:37 PM

7414 posts since 8/28/2013

A Recording KIng obviously requires a different crown than a May Bell Queen.

Sorry, I couldn't resist...

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