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Nov 29, 2021 - 9:37:49 PM
1 posts since 10/11/2010

Do any of you have experience with the Remo white suede banjo heads?
I'm interested in your sonic impressions.
This would be installed on a prewar flat head Mastertone

Nov 30, 2021 - 6:04:31 AM

2839 posts since 4/7/2010
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White Suede banjo heads sound close to a Remo Renaissance head. I prefer the white look over the tan color of the Renaissance head. They are .010" thick and a Renaissance is a little thinner at .008".

I have 11" and 12" diameters in stock with 11" heads available in the standard 3 crown heights.

Bob Smakula

Nov 30, 2021 - 12:57:03 PM
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92 posts since 12/27/2019

Take this with a large grain of salt, for what it's worth, as a single data point.

I mounted a white suede head on a 12" open back banjo with wood rim. I was hoping, because it is slightly thicker than a renaissance, that it would possibly be more "hide" like than plasticy. That is, with more depth and body. While at the same time, also hoping it would be more lively than a fiberskyn. In my dreams it would be just the ticket between a renaissance and a fiberskyn.

In actual use it didn't turn out as I hoped. I found the suede head to be loud and brash, less musical than either a renaissance or fiberskyn.

I disliked it a lot. After a couple months I took it off and remounted a goat skin and all was right with the world again.

I also disliked how it looked. That was unexpected. It just seemed too bright, too glary and white.

Anyway, as I've described it relative to a 12" open back, the suede may actually be a perfect setup on an 11" resonator. It's not a huge investment to try.

Dec 3, 2021 - 6:02:22 AM

14144 posts since 6/29/2005
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I think which head sounds better is purely subjective—as John Boulding said, it's stepping into "the tarpit of subjectivity".

I've gone through many different kinds in my banjo playing history, from the original Weather King, both in its original form and with the frosting cleaned off with lacquer thinner, to  Vegalon, to 5-star, to modern Remo frosted and clear, to calf skin and goat skin, to Fyberskin, to Renaissance.

They all have their own sound.  Some I like and some I don't , for a variety of reasons—I just don't like clear ones unless you want to see a picture of Earl Scruggs inside the resonator, I don't like skin heads because I don't have the time or patience to mess with them, they complicate my setup, and don't like the sound that much unless the conditions are perfect, Vegalons no longer exist, 5-stars don't come in high crown, Remo frosteds look "too white" to me and get dirty quickly, Fyberskins sound "cardboardy", etc.

I now put Ren amber heads on all banjos I make unless someone specifically requests something else, because they seem to be the most universal.

You can easily and inexpensively experiment with different heads and find what you like—they often cost less than a bridge and other than the skin ones are easily interchangeable.

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