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Jul 8, 2022 - 2:51:14 PM
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dbhone

USA

97 posts since 6/30/2005

I have a 1927 no hole archtop and want to set it up kind of "loose" for better bottom end. What is the "standard" head tension for most archies? My flat head is a G# which is perfect for that banjo, but am trying to set up the archtop for a good ringing sound, not the Stanley tight sound.
Thanks, Dan

Jul 8, 2022 - 2:58:12 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

197 posts since 3/24/2020

I suppose by the fact that it has a smaller area tuning it to g# it is going to have a lower tension as a starting point.

Jul 8, 2022 - 3:09:11 PM
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3836 posts since 7/12/2006

Ive owned a stanleytone archtop since '94 and i tweaked mine just enuf to get better bottom end without sacrificing tone or volume i kept the smooth head on mine but backed off the tension just bit till i heard what i wanted. I never tuned my head. Just trusted my ear. The best thing i did was to replace the thin bridge with a snuffy ll . That and medium strings gave my banjo just the right combination i was looking for. Oh and my tailpiece points about halfway up te bridge height. If youre looking for a more scruggsy sounding archtop ( ralph must be rolling in his grave)put a frosted head on it if you dont already have one.

https://youtu.be/WhtoRNNpHjw

The above link is toa boxcars song. I believe Ron Stewart is playing an archtop on this. You might contact him and ask him howhe had it set up

Edited by - stanleytone on 07/08/2022 15:14:21

Jul 8, 2022 - 3:42:20 PM
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beegee

USA

23065 posts since 7/6/2005

Remo, medium strings, Snuffy or similar heavier bridge.

Edited by - beegee on 07/08/2022 15:43:13

Jul 8, 2022 - 3:54:50 PM

1406 posts since 1/9/2012
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I think that martyjoe is right about the relation of tap tone, tension, and head diameter.

Furthermore, when comparing different size heads, I think that it's tension rather than tap tone that most effects what you'll recognize as "tone" of the played banjo. To keep the tension the same when going from 11"D to 9 3/4"D, the tap tone pitch should go down by 9.75/11 = 0.886... That takes G# down to about F#. (I don't own one; so, 9 3/4"D is my guess from diagrams of the one Stew-Mac sells.)

Jul 8, 2022 - 5:06:26 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

1695 posts since 8/9/2019

1928 no hole TB3 conversion here. Pre EPA top-frosted Remo head, pre-war Presto tailpiece more or less parallel to the head (ever so slightly angled upwards) and the 'useless' screw turned in a couple turns. Very thin Bart Veerman 'Archie' bridge.

89.5/90 ish on DD gives me G# tap tone, plenty of booming bass from the 4th string, even without a phosphor bronze 4th string.

91ish on DD gives me an A tap tone, slightly less bass on 4th string, quite 'Stanley style'. Up the neck it just screams (in the best way).

Stanleytone is right that a top-frosted head and a standard kinda bridge like a S. Smith II, Scoprion, etc. will lend itself to more of a growly, flat-head kinda sound. String gauge a tad heavier than 'light' will also accentuate the bass side of things.

Let us know how you make out! Those late 20's Gibson archtops are so great.

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 07/08/2022 17:07:40

Jul 8, 2022 - 5:42:47 PM
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4132 posts since 9/12/2016

I have not drum dialed this one ,but around ninety i.d say--I keep a high tailpiece and mellow bridge--remo frosted head--this one has a fine solid tone but does not have the zingy overtones needed for a stanley tone,but it has what I want when I don't need the forgiveness of my flathead

Jul 8, 2022 - 6:10:58 PM

14863 posts since 6/29/2005

I have a 1927 40 hole Granada, and have played it next to a 1927 no-hole, so have some idea of what they sound like.

After playing that banjo for 55 years with sharper setups, I settled on a Ren head tuned to about 89 and a bridge that weighs slightly more than 2.5 grams—that gives it more expressiveness. Also the clamshell tailpiece on it floats—no down pressure.

Jul 8, 2022 - 7:04:33 PM
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685 posts since 4/1/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Tractor1

.....but it has what I want when I don't need the forgiveness of my flathead



I find this comment interesting Tractor! I've heard a lot of guys state that a raised head is more unforgiving than a flat head. I've heard guys also state that a raised head will tell on you more in a sense... Im reckoning they're talking about flubs/mistakes and what not.... I guess if a raised head is set up to be brighter and clearer with more punch this could be true. But that type of comment has always captured my attention! And your raised head does have a pretty tone!

Jul 8, 2022 - 8:10:42 PM
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4132 posts since 9/12/2016

bad dynamics--playing certain emphasis too loud--like the middle finger always being too loud on a certain necessary roll ,until I finally got a good cure,by altering some right hand properties--but the roll and emphasis patterns have to be smoother to not be painful to the ear,of course I play way off the bridge and a lot of folks use the playing close to the bridge for fighting that.Any way once you have a good smoothness going on the arch-top ,you know why you keep it around--I,ve been cussing this one since 71

Edited by - Tractor1 on 07/08/2022 20:12:09

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Jul 8, 2022 - 8:16:37 PM

685 posts since 4/1/2009

I hear you! Hahahaha… since ‘71 huh? Hahaha…and man I love how you ended your video there!

Jul 8, 2022 - 10:10:43 PM

1406 posts since 1/9/2012
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Ouch! I got it half right and half backwards. I'll blame it on the heat (but "old-timers" is more likely).

I still think that to get the 11" tone on the 9 3/4" head you want to have the same tension. If it's a G# on the 11", the same tension on the archtop needs a higher pitch frequency by 11/9.75 -- which is about an A#.

Jul 8, 2022 - 10:52:37 PM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

1695 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Pick1949
quote:


I find this comment interesting Tractor! I've heard a lot of guys state that a raised head is more unforgiving than a flat head. I've heard guys also state that a raised head will tell on you more in a sense... Im reckoning they're talking about flubs/mistakes and what not.... I guess if a raised head is set up to be brighter and clearer with more punch this could be true. But that type of comment has always captured my attention! And your raised head does have a pretty tone!


That's funny, somebody a long time ago told me "there's nowhere to hide on an archtop".

I think I know what he meant, and Tractor1 hit the nail on the head imo. You really gotta pick it perfectly always...keeps you honest!

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 07/08/2022 22:53:15

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