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Nov 26, 2020 - 2:55:35 PM
4 posts since 11/26/2020

Hi folks, I have a fretless gourd banjo by Barry Shoulder that I scored on EBay awhile back. Previous owner was deceased I guess, and the instrument had remained strung for years apparently. There is now a mild depression in the skin from the bridge. What can I do to tighten it up? Could a damp sponge be held on each side for a bit and then a hair dryer be applied? And tips would be much appreciated.

Nov 26, 2020 - 3:09:31 PM



22089 posts since 7/6/2005

What is the concern? If the head is not tight enough, you'd have to re-stretch it and re-tack it. Most of the time on these banjos, they use various height bridges to compensate for the head's changes in response to humidity. You could always contact Barry Shoulder for advice.

Nov 26, 2020 - 3:43:03 PM

4 posts since 11/26/2020

Thanks Bob. Well, I was under the impression that these should not be left strung at full tension if you were not going to play it for a while. I guess to avoid leaving a dent in the skin as this one has. The skin is nice and tight but just has a bit of dip now totally localized where the bridge sat.

Nov 26, 2020 - 4:04:05 PM

Banjo Lefty


2098 posts since 6/19/2014

At least you don't have to worry about bridge placement.

Nov 26, 2020 - 4:44:07 PM

4 posts since 11/26/2020

Lol, true!

So, you guys don't think it's a big deal or will have a negative effect on the sound? The strings are nasty looking and so I was about to change them but ran into the dent so am just trying to see if it's an issue or not.

Nov 26, 2020 - 5:14:59 PM

2507 posts since 3/30/2008

It's natural for a bridge to sink into a skin head a bit, but it seems that you may be describing something deeper . Since you're changing strings , you could take the opportunity to flatten out your head by applying a slight dampness to the top & letting some source of moderate heat level things out. Then you could start over w/ a flat head, new strings & repositioned bridge.

Nov 28, 2020 - 7:28:37 AM

4 posts since 11/26/2020

Thanks Dennis, that was what I wanted to know. I will try it and see...

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