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Aug 16, 2022 - 8:52:09 PM
6425 posts since 4/7/2003

It was mentioned in another thread that Rob Mcoury stuffs a towel behind his banjo head while playing live. Can anyone verify this? I know Bobby Thompson did this to his banjo to all but eliminate sustain .

Aug 16, 2022 - 10:40:58 PM
like this

1965 posts since 1/28/2013

I saw one video of a close up of his right hand and it appears the pot of his banjo is stuffed with foam. This video definitinly sounds like he has something dampening the tone. youtube.com/watch?v=F9dvOTymQoE This video Friend of the Devil also has both of the banjos dampened. Rob's banjo appears to be stuffed with foam under the bridge and strings. The other one has over half the pot stuffed. Travelin' McCourys, "Friend Of The Devil," Grey Fox 2019 - Bing video

Edited by - jan dupree on 08/16/2022 22:42:28

Aug 17, 2022 - 3:27:15 AM

3836 posts since 7/12/2006

Robbie has one of the tubbiest sounding banjos i think ive heard  in bluegrass. But john Hartford has everyone beat

Edited by - stanleytone on 08/17/2022 03:28:17

Aug 17, 2022 - 5:12:17 AM

135 posts since 8/31/2015

Just a guess, but the banjo is probably full of foam to prevent feedback when playing larger, high-volume venues. After listening to those clips it sounds like they've got a pretty 'hot' mix coming off the stage, and it could get noisy fast without some feedback dampening.

Aug 17, 2022 - 7:28:30 AM

1965 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by TreyDBanjoKS

Just a guess, but the banjo is probably full of foam to prevent feedback when playing larger, high-volume venues. After listening to those clips it sounds like they've got a pretty 'hot' mix coming off the stage, and it could get noisy fast without some feedback dampening.


It appears to be an outdoor venue and they are using ear monitors. When ear monitors are used the speakers are well out in front of the stage, preventing feedback even while playing through a microphone.  I saw them twice live at an outdoor stage, and his banjo sounded the same as it does here, while the banjos of other groups on the same stage through mics had a more typical banjo sound, except for maybe loosen heads, heavier strings, and heavy bridges that most of them are using now. Most modern groups are getting away from the harsh bright crack, cut through tone, that has always been the trademark of the 5 sting Bluegrass banjos of the past.

Edited by - jan dupree on 08/17/2022 07:29:22

Aug 17, 2022 - 8:17:53 AM

1965 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

Robbie has one of the tubbiest sounding banjos i think ive heard  in bluegrass. But john Hartford has everyone beat


Hartford usually tuned down to open E, and was using heavy strings with a wooden tone ring.

Aug 17, 2022 - 8:36:21 AM

1965 posts since 1/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

Robbie has one of the tubbiest sounding banjos i think ive heard  in bluegrass. But john Hartford has everyone beat


https://youtu.be/Zw5EDSePSSI They are looking for a smooth, punchy, quick decay banjo sound, like in this video. They can't have the harsh, shrill, crack and pop sound going on when they are performing these songs.

Aug 17, 2022 - 8:47:44 AM

1965 posts since 1/28/2013

youtube.com/watch?v=hbhe8Aw_FnU This video clearly shows he has something inside the pot, and the tone is pretty much the result.

Edited by - jan dupree on 08/17/2022 08:51:52

Aug 17, 2022 - 5:03:07 PM

6425 posts since 4/7/2003

Thanks everyone. I stuff my Gold Star a bit to simmer it down and match the volume of my jam mates rather than totally overpowering them. I also prefer the thicker tone.

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