Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Jul 30, 2021 - 7:34:57 AM



2905 posts since 11/29/2007

A current thread mentioned the use of the adjusters to change the depth of the resonator in relation to the head of the banjo to change the tone. While this topic comes up now and again, I don't remember seeing a discussion on how many people have actually done this and what their experience was. The 'Rae-justers,' came out several years ago to accomplish this purpose and there is a current add on the HO for a similar device. I would be interested in trying this if I could read what others have actually experienced when using some device to increase (or decrease) the air chamber between the resonator back and the bottom of the banjo head. (That is, the practical aspect rather than the theory behind doing it). Volume, tone, resonance, etc? Anyone care to share?


Jul 30, 2021 - 7:43:17 AM
likes this


Virgin Islands (U.S.)

328 posts since 5/11/2021

I bought some and tried it on a Huber and on a Stelling. It definitely changes the sound. To me, it sounded more "open" and the volume increased. The "resonator" tone was decreased a bit if that makes sense (i.e. if there's a sliding scale between "resonator banjo" and "open back", it pushes the tone toward open back)

I think that if you could make a resonator with taller sidewalls the effect would be different. To me it seemed like a lot of the tone change was related to opening up the airway between the flange and resonator, as opposed to changed the distance between the head and resonator. You're changing two variables at one time so it's hard to say exactly what causes what.

It was a fun experiment, I ran with them for maybe 6 months on each banjo, but eventually took them off. I prefer the standard resonator depth and closed sound of the flange.  I say go for it, and if you don't like them you can always resell them. 

Edited by - YellowSkyBlueSun on 07/30/2021 07:44:14

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:00:37 AM
likes this



22461 posts since 7/6/2005
Online Now

I used to use leather spacers under the resonator brackets on my 28 Granada. I think it opened up the sound. I removed them several years ago and never thought about putting them back in.

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:11:17 AM
likes this

12121 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

I tried to install original Raejusters on the one banjo I wanted to experiment with, but they wouldn't fit. Best I can recall now is the disc or knurled ring piece was too wide, so with the shaft of the thumbscrew in the wall lug, the disc couldn't clear the resonator wall. Sorry for the wordy description.

Rather than work on making them work, I sold them here on the Hangout for close to what I paid for them.

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:29:45 AM
likes this

3920 posts since 5/29/2011

You can get teflon spacers at Home Depot or Lowe's. They come in different sizes, some of which would fit between the resonator lugs and the thumb screws, and accomplish the same thing as RaeJusters for about $3 for a set of four.

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:35:14 AM

3566 posts since 9/12/2016

There is a ratio for this topic. certain air chamber size to port size to hit a certain note. A big subject in speaker design. The puzzle in this thinking is ----most of the time anything like that would be a wolf-tone.
When I built my BlaylocK --Bill Sullivan gave me 7/16 as the dimension to end up with.The said dimension is the measurement from the rim to resonator .

silly putty and shims would have been used to monitor the adjustment

Edited by - Tractor1 on 07/30/2021 09:37:43

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:55:07 AM
likes this

12121 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

One issue or limitation on banjos with either L or T brackets that rest on the resonator ledge is that the only adjustment you can make is raising the pot relative to the resonator.  You can't lower it any further than the brackets allow.

Well -- there's one exception. My oldest banjo uses the shorter L brackets designed for rims with 2-piece flange. On a rim with 1-piece flange, this type of L bracket ends short of the resonator wall, so the flange sits on the ledge.

Why the difference? Skirt on a rim made for 2-piece flange has an outside diameter of nearly 11 inches, so its outer surface is closer to the resonator sidewall.  Skirt on a rim cut for 1-piece flange has an outside diameter ranging from under 10-11/16 to about 10-3/4 inches, so rim-mounted L brackets need to be longer.  T brackets mount to the hooks, so one size reaches the ledge with both types of flanges.

Aug 2, 2021 - 10:22:43 AM

5610 posts since 6/30/2020

Originally posted by Culloden

You can get teflon spacers at Home Depot or Lowe's. They come in different sizes, some of which would fit between the resonator lugs and the thumb screws, and accomplish the same thing as RaeJusters for about $3 for a set of four.

Awhile back I had some of these spacers on hand and tried them for this purpose. While they worked well to increase volume a bit, I could detect no change in tone (which is always a subjective issue).

It might be important to note; that a players surroundings probably have more effect on volume (and maybe tone) than spacers, E.G. playing in a small carpeted room vs playing in a large room with a wood floor.
I'm inclined to believe that it would be more beneficial to experiment with resonator dimensions and depth than spacers. 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories