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May 19, 2022 - 10:18:08 AM
40 posts since 9/30/2016

Hi All!
I have a Bart Reiter Round Peak banjo that I love. The only problem I'm having with it is overtones especially from the 3rd string. I've changed strings and still get those annoying tones. How do I fix this? Is it a bridge problem or a head problem or what? I really don't want to stuff it--I like it as loud as I can play since I'm pretty light on the strings. I hope you all can set me in the right direction. Thanks!

May 19, 2022 - 10:46:10 AM
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Players Union Member

TN Time


282 posts since 12/6/2021

Check out my recent post, "Tinny Overtones Have Me Stumped. Need Help." Lots of great replies there and you just might find your answer.

May 19, 2022 - 11:18:38 AM
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4406 posts since 5/29/2011

Try weaving a pipe cleaner or a piece of rawhide shoelace through the strings between the tailpiece and the bridge. It may, or may not work but, it's cheap enough to try and find out.

May 19, 2022 - 4:35:59 PM
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9624 posts since 8/28/2013

Are you certain these are "overtones," and not rattle or buzzes?

Because the problem seems to be worse on one string, maybe a cfhange of gauge for that string would help, and because it's the 3rd string, be sure to check the bridge position. Also, I've found that when one string is a sonic problem, that adjusting the head tension can help.

One othe thing: don't change everything at once. You'll never know which procedure solved the problem, and if the problem still exists, you can report exactly what you did and get new advice instead of redundancy.

May 19, 2022 - 5:37:24 PM
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1876 posts since 1/28/2013

All banjos have overtones, some more than others, it's just the nature of the instrument. It's more common in all maple banjos.

May 19, 2022 - 8:20:36 PM
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304 posts since 3/2/2013

I've noticed too it's more common in all maple banjos.
Lorilee, heres what i've found very effective over the last 15 or so years and I get comments fairly often on how loud my banjos are. I take an ordinary sock or rag and roll it up and place it 2 to 3 inches in front of the bridge underneath between the rod and the head. Does not, i repeat, does not kill volume if done correctly meaning you'll need to experiment with how much pressure you apply to the head from underneath. Kills unwanted overtones and to me makes a well set up banjo sound even better. People out in front won't hear those overtones as much as the person behind the banjo but i like it sounding good to me too. If the problem is caused largely by just one string though it's probably not overtones as much as a buzz. But then again a string can cause dissonent tones if its tuned exactly to the same note as the head is tuned to. 

Edited by - 81goldstar on 05/19/2022 20:30:04

May 28, 2022 - 7:57:58 AM
Players Union Member



40 posts since 9/30/2016

Thanks, everyone, for your help. I decided to try the easiest suggested fix from Culloden first. I weaved some shoelace between the strings between the bridge and tailpiece, and this seems to have helped quite a bit. I can still hear some extra tones if I listen carefully, but they are pretty well dampened. I'll play it like this for a while and see how it goes. As G. Edward Porgie points out, one thing at a time. Anyway, thanks again for the help. I really really appreciate it! :)

May 28, 2022 - 8:46:47 AM

14764 posts since 10/30/2008

What kind of a tailpiece are you using? A "No Knot" minimalist type, or the more substantial Waverly type that Bart used for standard equipment for a long time?

If you have an adjustable tailpiece like a Waverly, try to "adjust" away the overtone.

One other thought for a single string having overtones, try a different bridge. The slot in your bridge may not be perfectly made, and letting your string have some extra overtones.

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