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Sep 24, 2020 - 7:58:43 PM
1 posts since 9/24/2020

Hi, I have a Rocky Top Hoedown beginners banjo. I just started playing, but my banjo sounds more like a guitar than a traditional twangy banjo. Is there anything I can do to fix this??

Sep 25, 2020 - 3:39:27 AM

1010 posts since 1/9/2012

Tighten the head. (There's lots of advice periodically here on BHO; search.) I found a related Morgan Monroe described on-line. It has an adjustable tailpiece. If yours does, crank it down all the way to increase the angle of the strings going over the bridge. Get some sandpaper, and thin the bridge. You can certainly take off an eighth of what's there without doing harm. If you like the result, you can try a bit more.

Sep 25, 2020 - 7:21:36 AM

7749 posts since 8/28/2013

I agree that the head probably needs to be tightened. You can get a good result with Steve Davis' "coin and ruler" trick. Basically, place a 6 inch ruler on the banjo head and tighten carefully until a dime will just barely go under it at the bridge.

You can find a better, more detailed explanation of the procedure, as well as other methods for tightening, by checking the BHO archives.

Sep 25, 2020 - 10:40:56 PM

Bart Veerman

Canada

4730 posts since 1/5/2005
Online Now

Like the others have said, you need to tighten the head tension a bit. While doing this, you need to keep a close watch on the tension hooks: the ones on this instrument are not the strongest ones available and it's not at all likely that'll they'll let you get the head tight enough with the coin-and-ruler method, chances are the tension hooks will unfurl/unhook and that would not be a good thing.

You didn't mention whether you are using finger picks or not, they are a requirement to get the "banjo sound." Also, the speed you pick at plays an important roll: play slow and guitarlike sound is possible, when playing fast your banjo won't have any time to sound like a guitar smiley

Don't worry, the sound you're getting now will get better and better the more you play. Here's what possible for that banjo as-is:

https://vimeo.com/155155574

David and George: please do NOT tell people to simply tighten their heads without the required warnings for bottle caps: people following your advice as-is will leave them with damaged tension hooks and great dispair...

Sep 26, 2020 - 11:29:03 AM

7749 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Bart Veerman

Like the others have said, you need to tighten the head tension a bit. While doing this, you need to keep a close watch on the tension hooks: the ones on this instrument are not the strongest ones available and it's not at all likely that'll they'll let you get the head tight enough with the coin-and-ruler method, chances are the tension hooks will unfurl/unhook and that would not be a good thing.

You didn't mention whether you are using finger picks or not, they are a requirement to get the "banjo sound." Also, the speed you pick at plays an important roll: play slow and guitarlike sound is possible, when playing fast your banjo won't have any time to sound like a guitar smiley

Don't worry, the sound you're getting now will get better and better the more you play. Here's what possible for that banjo as-is:

https://vimeo.com/155155574

David and George: please do NOT tell people to simply tighten their heads without the required warnings for bottle caps: people following your advice as-is will leave them with damaged tension hooks and great dispair...


Point taken.

However, It's not always clear that a person is dealing with a bottlecap (we don't all have the features of all the banjo makes and models memorized).

I'd also point out that I also suggested that the OP check the archives for more detail and other tightening procedures.

Sep 29, 2020 - 6:58:03 AM

Helix

USA

12970 posts since 8/30/2006

First welcome to the hangout

I disagree about cranking your tailpiece all the way down I get bent ones coming into my shop
Everything is in moderation please

These entry level banjos have specifications like how thick parts are before plating

1 tighten the head. Use two nut drivers. Go lightly with small increments like 1/6 of a turn Tighten the nuts across from each other

2 adjust the tailpiece. Not too tight

3 place the bridge at the octave. Mark with a pencil

4 If needed adjust the truss rod in the neck

5 If needed adjust the rimrod(s)

Sanding the bridge is ok but tricky

You are quite correct about entry level imports and Monroes are famous for tall bling and low performance
Your 16 hook machine is still playable
Later on. Keep the neck and let me put an adult rim in there for $275

For $800 you should Get a lot more playability My intermediate is made in USA FOR $777

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