Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Oct 20, 2021 - 8:06:01 PM


New Zealand

11275 posts since 6/29/2003

I have a repair project on a Dallas E type banjo uke. It is a George Formby signature model made around 1950. It came to me to fit a new head. I thought it would be a straight forward job until I disassembled it. The photos show the tension band and 'flesh hoop' as well as the original deteriorated head material ( has been sitting stored since the 70's) which is not mylar (which was developed in 1958/9 by Dupont). I first of all thought it may be tracing paper (for those of you old enough to remember) but I am not so sure. It seems rather hard and is 0.0008" thick.
I have searched for images of this model and Google shows a number of them with vellums.
Instead of the flesh hoop sitting under the tension band, the band shows a cut out that the hoop sit IN. Without the head material the band sits very snuggly. I am wanting to install a vellum I obtained from Bob Smakula but I honestly don't think it will fit.
The head appears to install the standard way.
Has anyone fitted a head to this type of arrangement?

Oct 21, 2021 - 4:04:22 AM

9095 posts since 8/28/2013

That old head almost looks like wax paper or the envelopes they used to slide photo negatives into (I think it was called "glassine"). That glassine material was actually pretty strong, although I'm not sure it was sturdy enough to take the tension of a banjo head.

As far as clearances are concerned, would it be possible to turn the tension hoop upside down? That way, there wouldn't be the problem of that narrow cutout. That idea, of course, depends on how the top of the hoop is configured, which you don't show.

Oct 21, 2021 - 8:52:10 AM

1649 posts since 2/9/2007

Do you mean that the tension hoop fits the rim too snugly to fit two layers of skin between? Unless that is the case, I don't see why you should have any problem. If what you mean is that the flesh hoop fit into the notch in the tension hoop seems too snug, I'd suggest making sure both hoops are clean and smooth and then trying to mount the new skin in the usual way. It might take a little extra patience at the stage of stretching all the folds and wrinkles out of the wet hide, but I bet it will stretch out thin enough to fit that notch OK.

Oct 23, 2021 - 5:12:08 AM
Players Union Member



14803 posts since 8/30/2006

I wish you would clean and clear coat that flesh hoop before you get it wet again.

I loved this little Washington, all birdseye. the sailors' "noisy cricket."

Oct 23, 2021 - 8:20:26 AM
likes this

9095 posts since 8/28/2013

Another option might be to make a flesh hoop that's not as thick as the original,with enough clearance so that the skin, which is probably thicker than the original, could be wrapped around it.

Oct 23, 2021 - 12:22:22 PM


New Zealand

11275 posts since 6/29/2003

Thanks for all the replies. I managed to install a head and it worked a treat. The head was from Bob Smakula and thin enough to install.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories