Hey guys I'm one of those who have a $100 used banjo and don't feel like spending almost the same price in a drum tension tool. So after reading and youtubing a lot I came with a idea while watching my whiskey glass. Waiting for my head to arrive I created a tool to have the same tension on the surface of my banjo. I wanted to know if someone already made something similar.
I'm afraid I'm gong to have to go check a whiskey glass so that I can figure out what you've got and how it works.....
It looks like a straight-edge, with the center cut out so it has clearance for the strings?
I'm not sure what the line and number marks are for, though.
Hahahahahahah the idea is in two steps. The edge is shape with my banjo ring shape. But also have different high level to be able to compare with precision "how deep" is the heat from the ring. So after the first step the banjo head will have the same "deepness" everywhere and so, the same tension. The second step come after installing the bridge and it's a method I read about on this forum. Using coins thickness. I just shape a hole for the bridge to have it closer from it.
Lose the tool and just drink the whiskey.
In your drawing you suggest that if the distance from the head to the top of the tension hoop is the same ( "2") all the way around the head, the tension will be even all the way around, but that is not necessarily true. The hoop will normally be above the level of the head, but the head can be pulled down a little farther on one side than on the other in order to even out the tension across the head. You can eyeball the tension hoop to get it close when you start, but as you adjust the nuts to even out the tension with a drum dial, you will pull one area of the hoop down a little farther than another. Final adjustment is done approximately 1/6th of a turn at a time, and 1/6th of a turn will only move the tension hoop approximately .006 thousands of an inch, and you can not measure thousands of an inch with a stick.
Hi Dave thanks for your constructive answer. My plan was to use it "at the beginning" however I didn't know that the distance from the top of the head and the top of the hoop doesn't have to be the same everywhere. Maybe you might be able to answer that: If I put it even first and then screw by the same amount every tension screw little by little. Will that be "kind of okay"? Keep in mind that is a cheap banjo so I won't go try to find the G tuning on the head or anything like that
Btw It didn't suggest that the top of the head and the tension hoop are in the same level but the stick is shape in the way to have the same distance from the top of the head and the hoop every way around. To "mesure" that distance. What does not fix the problem if that distance doesn't necessarily have to be the same.
To make it easier to understand. My question is: does the tension hoop have to be even everywhere? If no I can throw my piece of wood lol. If the tension hoop have to be even all around the banjo and the distance between the top of the head and the top of the hoop have to be the same everywhere, then I might try this thing and improving my English for the next post.
"If I put it even first and then screw by the same amount every tension screw little by little. Will that be "kind of okay" "
Yes. That's exactly how Steve Huber recommends installing a new head.
That all I needed to know!
By starting with a level hoop (same relief all the way around the head) stay with consistent turns on the nuts such as 1/4 turns once around (heel to heel) in order.
While tightening in "once around the nuts" circuits,the hoop will descend at the same amount all the way around the head.
In my post above, I did not mean to imply that you should not try to end up with a level tension hoop. It is only common sense to do that. What I was trying to say is that when you get to the desired tension, in order to get the tension equal all the way around the head, some of the nuts will need to be turned a little more than others, and that amount of adjustment can not be measured with a stick. You could tighten several nuts in one area, by 1/6 of a turn, and see the change in head tension on a drum dial, but it would only move the hoop by a few thousands of an inch, and you can not measure that with your wooden gauge.
Thanks Steve and Dave, I get it better now. I honestly don't believe that my banjo is good enough to be improve by to precise final setting but now I get the point of it. I might invest in a drum dial if I invest in a better banjo first. My problem is that I got a used banjo totally uneven at a point that when I tried to put some tension (was extremely low) the head broke in a unusual way (it came out of the metal ring by one side). So the main idea with the stick is to prevent that for the first step, but also figure out if the head need more tension everywhere with the second step. If I get that for my first head installation on that banjo it will be a little victory for me hahaha. I was also wondering if it's possible the have it perfect by taping gently around the edge with a tuner catching the sound. I know it might sounds stupid
'Trust' 2 hrs
'Primative banjo' 3 hrs