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Aug 17, 2022 - 7:45:55 PM
1112 posts since 2/6/2006

Greetings, just had a fine Vega-style neck (3-piece maple w/ ebony f/b) built for Whyte Laydie pot. Looking for recommendations for head. Got it as a tenor couple yrs ago w/ skin head (which had the tension hoop pulled down a hair below the head) & currently have a Ren head on it.
Want it to be “plunky” but w/ focused response & tone…not dull & unresponsive. Question: are W/L’s inherently “bright”? As far as heads…Fiberskin or Remo top-frosted, etc…not sure I’m ready for the maintenance of hide-head. Not a fan of the aesthetic of the Ren.
Thanks for your help,
Brian

Edited by - rupickin5 on 08/17/2022 19:47:55

Aug 17, 2022 - 8:46:08 PM

mjt0229

USA

430 posts since 4/20/2015

In Washington where I live a hide head is almost maintenance at all. Maybe Florida’s climate demands more care and feeding? Anyway, I love the sound and look of a natural head.

Aug 17, 2022 - 9:13:38 PM

17 posts since 2/17/2014

Just curious, who made your neck. I recently bought a 1922 Vega Little Wonder and I am looking for a neck builder.

Aug 18, 2022 - 5:42:36 AM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Just curious, who made your neck. I recently bought a 1922 Vega Little Wonder and I am looking for a neck builder.


Jan Bloom, located in Paw Paw MI

Aug 18, 2022 - 6:12:08 AM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by mjt0229

In Washington where I live a hide head is almost maintenance at all. Maybe Florida’s climate demands more care and feeding? Anyway, I love the sound and look of a natural head.


Humidity can be high around here (barrier island) but instruments generally remain indoors. Interior humidity can vary from 45% to 65% if my wife demands some fresh interior air during spring & fall. What are some good options for a proper fitting natural head? Thanks 

Aug 18, 2022 - 6:13:44 AM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Just curious, who made your neck. I recently bought a 1922 Vega Little Wonder and I am looking for a neck builder.


Jan Bloom, located in Paw Paw MI. Can I provide you with his contact information?


Aug 18, 2022 - 6:50:59 AM

17 posts since 2/17/2014

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?

Aug 18, 2022 - 7:47 AM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


It's been awhile since I've posted pics in a topic thread...but I'll try.

Aug 18, 2022 - 8:02:07 AM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


I've managed to add some pics of this Bloom Vega-style neck into my "attachments" ...but forget how to move them into a topic reply :-(

Aug 18, 2022 - 9:39:32 AM

mjt0229

USA

430 posts since 4/20/2015

quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by mjt0229

In Washington where I live a hide head is almost maintenance at all. Maybe Florida’s climate demands more care and feeding? Anyway, I love the sound and look of a natural head.


Humidity can be high around here (barrier island) but instruments generally remain indoors. Interior humidity can vary from 45% to 65% if my wife demands some fresh interior air during spring & fall. What are some good options for a proper fitting natural head? Thanks 


Our interior humidity is about the same, just a bit drier. In the winter the house gets down to about 30-35%, and in the summers we are between 60-65%. My banjo has a Stern calfskin head that I bought from John Balch (who's here on BHO). Once I got it settled in, I generally give the lugs a tightening once a year as the humidity climbs (usually in May or June) and then as the humidity goes back down, I back them off a bit. I can usually hear when things need to be tightened.

I agree that a ren head doesn't quite look right to me, though lots of people love them and sound great.

I have a travel banjo with a Fiberskyn head, which is okay, but I've been tempted to either throw a top-frosted head on or try stretching a hide myself. It's got a funny sized pot (10"), so John Balch doesn't stock heads that would fit it. It came with a hide head, but it ended up with a tear near the flesh hoop and didn't hold tension.  It sounded good while it lasted, though.

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Aug 18, 2022 - 10:27:16 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10184 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


I've managed to add some pics of this Bloom Vega-style neck into my "attachments" ...but forget how to move them into a topic reply :-(


You have to click on them in order to select them…

Aug 18, 2022 - 2:52:23 PM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


I've managed to add some pics of this Bloom Vega-style neck into my "attachments" ...but forget how to move them into a topic reply :-(


You have to click on them in order to select them…


And then "copy & paste" into the topic thread reply?

Aug 18, 2022 - 3:15:38 PM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10184 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


I've managed to add some pics of this Bloom Vega-style neck into my "attachments" ...but forget how to move them into a topic reply :-(


You have to click on them in order to select them…


And then "copy & paste" into the topic thread reply?


No, no copy & paste. Below your reply, you'll see your Attachments. Just click once on each picture you would like to attach. That's all… Then click on "post reply". (Below the attachments, you'll see "Your Attachments", the ones you selected…)

Edited by - Emiel on 08/18/2022 15:19:19

Aug 18, 2022 - 3:46:29 PM

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


I've managed to add some pics of this Bloom Vega-style neck into my "attachments" ...but forget how to move them into a topic reply :-(


You have to click on them in order to select them…


And then "copy & paste" into the topic thread reply?


No, no copy & paste. Below your reply, you'll see your Attachments. Just click once on each picture you would like to attach. That's all… Then click on "post reply". (Below the attachments, you'll see "Your Attachments", the ones you selected…)


Yeah...tried that (thanks for suggestion) then I got a "red" message that said I needed a reply to "post reply" :-(

Aug 18, 2022 - 4:48:03 PM

hbick2

USA

644 posts since 6/26/2004

Hey Brian. I assume you are the same Brian Lappin I"ve known for 50 years.

I've tried Renaissance heads on open back banjos and don't like them. If I'm going to put a plastic head on an open-back, I use the Fiberskyn heads. I use them on both Whyte Laydies and Tubaphones. I think they are great heads. They take off the overtones without sacrificing the punch. I also use a number of calfskin heads but not on the banjos I use to play jobs, unless the humidity is good and the planets are in the right alignment. If you are not going to depend on the banjo for jobs you might try a calfskin head. They are great with either steel or nylon strings. I especially like them on Fairbanks Electric banjos. I'm sure you've played flathead Gibsons with calfskin heads. There's nothing quite like it but you probably don't want to take it on the road, unless you have a hairdryer like Sonny did.

Aug 19, 2022 - 12:10:14 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10184 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by 54 Deluxe

Could you post a couple of pictures of your neck?


I've managed to add some pics of this Bloom Vega-style neck into my "attachments" ...but forget how to move them into a topic reply :-(


You have to click on them in order to select them…


And then "copy & paste" into the topic thread reply?


No, no copy & paste. Below your reply, you'll see your Attachments. Just click once on each picture you would like to attach. That's all… Then click on "post reply". (Below the attachments, you'll see "Your Attachments", the ones you selected…)


Yeah...tried that (thanks for suggestion) then I got a "red" message that said I needed a reply to "post reply" :-(


I think you also need to write at least a few words, maybe that's the problem…

Aug 19, 2022 - 4:36:33 AM
likes this

1112 posts since 2/6/2006

Thanks Emiel
I’ll try this…fingers crossed!








Aug 19, 2022 - 6:07:21 PM

Bill H

USA

1974 posts since 11/7/2010

I am for Renaissance head all the way. I have one one my Electric, two Tubaphones and VIP.

Aug 22, 2022 - 2:55:33 PM

12351 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by hbick2

Hey Brian. I assume you are the same Brian Lappin I"ve known for 50 years.

I've tried Renaissance heads on open back banjos and don't like them. If I'm going to put a plastic head on an open-back, I use the Fiberskyn heads. I use them on both Whyte Laydies and Tubaphones. I think they are great heads. They take off the overtones without sacrificing the punch. I also use a number of calfskin heads but not on the banjos I use to play jobs, unless the humidity is good and the planets are in the right alignment. If you are not going to depend on the banjo for jobs you might try a calfskin head. They are great with either steel or nylon strings. I especially like them on Fairbanks Electric banjos. I'm sure you've played flathead Gibsons with calfskin heads. There's nothing quite like it but you probably don't want to take it on the road, unless you have a hairdryer like Sonny did.


I have Fibreskyn heads on all my Vegas except for one with its Rogers skin head. In my area of California, velum heads generally work out nicely.

The normal wisdom is to use a High crown heads on Vega but every now and then, I find one where the stretcher sits too low. For that reason, I've been using Medium crown for decades.

Wyatt Fawley posted this tip many years ago: If the stretcher just won't go down far enough, take a handheld hair dryer or heat gun and gently warm the head evenly till you can adjust it again. Now, quickly adjust till the stretcher is about 1/8" from the ideal location. Let everything cool completely. Next day, adjust to your desired tension. Wyatt claimed that he could set a low crown Fibreskyn on a Tubaphone or WL  to any desired height with that trick but I'm not that brave. Anyway, maybe 1 in 6 that I install need this trick.

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