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Oct 16, 2021 - 8:06:22 AM



1139 posts since 4/12/2004

I have a question for those of you who use a drum dial to adjust the head tension on your banjo.

Do you do the adjustment process with the bridge in its proper location and the strings in tune, under tension, or do you do it with the bridge removed from the banjo? And, why do you prefer one method over the other?

Oct 16, 2021 - 8:30:47 AM



2938 posts since 11/29/2007

Bridge in place and strings in tune or you can’t know what the best DD reading will be. If you remove bridge, set the DD, and then replace bridge and tension up strings then your head tension has changed. There are several videos on the net explaining the use of the DD. 


Edited by - BobbyE on 10/16/2021 08:33:53

Oct 16, 2021 - 10:18:56 AM



1133 posts since 8/9/2019
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I've heard of people doing the initial setting-up and tensioning of a new head with the bridge/string tension off. Then dialing in the tension for tone with the bridge and string tension on.

I used to tap tune it start-to-finish with the head under tension, but to my ear the end result is a more 'open' sounding tone when brought up to tension initially with no tension, then finished off with bridge/strings.

I'm no pro, but there's multiple ways to skin a cat.

Oct 16, 2021 - 11:04:49 AM
like this

14028 posts since 6/29/2005
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I do it twice— first when assembling the pot, to get the head tensioned right so I can fit the neck and make a bridge of the correct height, then a second time when the banjo is all strung up—that gives the initial tensioning of the head on just the pot a chance to settle a bit.

It makes sense to me that the head should be evenly tensioned when the strings are on, pushing the bridge down against the head.

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:09:53 AM

2897 posts since 12/4/2009


Yes. I use it for quadrant management of 6 hooks proving tension. It works fine for me and 24 hooks or bolts. Bridges do not provide uniform interference. The string pressure is not uniform.

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