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Jan 18, 2021 - 5:09:18 AM
6 posts since 6/28/2020

So my small mandolin-banjo came with a tiny socket wrench like tool that can be used to tighten the brackets holding the tension hoop in place.

More tension on the head equals better volume, obviously. But is there an optimal tension to have the head set to? How does one tell? And is this something that needs to be periodically readjusted?

Is it possible to damage the head by tightening it too much? 

Edited by - Mandolin_Minstrel on 01/18/2021 05:10:25

Jan 18, 2021 - 5:54:11 AM

15005 posts since 2/7/2003

Yes you can destroy the head with one to many cranks on the wrench

The optimal head tension is what you like, your balance of tone and volume, listen to the instrument it will tell you when its good

Jan 18, 2021 - 6:14:19 AM



319 posts since 3/7/2006

Always remember what Earl Scruggs supposedly said when ask how tight to make the banjo head.

He said "Crank it up until the head breaks and then back off a quarter turn."

In reality, I use a drum dial to get the head to about 90 on the dial and then tap tune it to around a G# and that seems to work just fine for me.

Even though they were developed to tune drum heads, they work amazingly well on a banjo head. After all, it's really just a drum head.

Keep in mind, I do these on regular 5 string banjo heads. Your's might be different so do some research to make sure you don't go past the breaking point.

Edited by - jcland on 01/18/2021 06:16:07

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