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Jun 15, 2021 - 7:58 PM
30 posts since 9/23/2018

Any one tried a Handmade Hide Head made by the Oregon Banjo Head Company and available via Greg Boyd's House of Fine Instruments? I would be interested in reading any comments or reviews from players.

Jun 16, 2021 - 6:49:02 AM

616 posts since 2/26/2007

This is from the Portland Pickers Group: Skin heads - Oregon Banjo Head Company

It's all I have found.

Jun 16, 2021 - 12:01:23 PM

161 posts since 12/21/2012

I haven't tried any from him specifically, but who mounted the hide and how doesn't really change the tone. (Besides the tension on the banjo of course, which due to how hide reacts to weather is constantly changing)

I would just recommend checking out what people say about other hide heads on your general type of banjo. Maybe check thicknesses to be more specific.

Edited by - Red Squirrel on 06/16/2021 12:02:57

Jun 16, 2021 - 9:04:06 PM

30 posts since 9/23/2018

I am most definetly a hide head fan. Earlier, as I acquired banjos which were equiped with old hide heads, I took them off and installed 'Rens' which seemed OK at the time. I have since removed the 'rens' and re-installed the hides no matter how soiled and ugly they look . Hide heads have a warmth and depth of tone which no plastic heads have. As regards the Greg Boyd'/Oregon heads, I am interested in how they hold up physically and their tone characteristics.

Jun 16, 2021 - 10:06:52 PM

138 posts since 12/6/2019

I've never tried one of these, but the price tag seems pretty steep to me. I'm sure they're great heads, but a calf skin and a new flesh hoop can be had for around $30. A thin calf hide mounted by me or you sounds the same as one mounted by Oregon banjo head company provided they're both mounted correctly. There might be a slight, slight variation in tone between different hides based on how they were tanned, thickness, etc. But a calf skin is a calf skin and that's what it will sound like.

Have you tried mounting your own head before? I get hides from Bob Smakula and they've never let me down. The initial mounting of a hide head takes about an hour start to finish plus a whole lot of patience over a day or two and then a little more patience while the head settles, especially in a humid environment.

The main thing is to not tighten the head too much while it's still wet, or you risk ending up with a crown height that's too tall and potentially not being able to tension the head enough once its fully dry.

Once the tension hoop clears the fret board, I leave it alone for the day or overnight and bring it up to the tension I want over the next day or two. There are youtube videos and I'm sure more than a few tutorials on this very forum.

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