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Nov 30, 2022 - 4:15:33 AM
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386 posts since 4/26/2007

I had some free time over the holidays to tinker with my recently-acquired Nechville Phantom. This fun little video was the result of trying out three different heads during the course of one day. I get a little talkative here and there, because no one was there to shut me up.

Here's the video

There are timestamps in the description if you want to skip past my gibberish at the beginning, but I am curious to see/hear your comments on which head sounded the best to you. I installed the American Made Banjo Co. 'Max' head by Remo, the Remo 'Renaissance' head, and the Remo bottom-frosted head. I also apologize at the end for some slight audio difficulties during one of the tests.

Once a new head was installed, I just played/noodled in various keys trying to capture the sweet spots. Overall, it was a pretty fun way to spend a Sunday!

Nov 30, 2022 - 5:21:44 AM
Players Union Member



10266 posts since 1/22/2003

Nice! Out of those three, I liked the Max head less than the other two. More echo-y, less note separation. You also said that that might be due to leaving the door open…

The bottom-sprayed Renaissance head sounded a little bit subdued to my ears. The bottom-frosted Remo sounded just fine to me.

Nov 30, 2022 - 8:31:44 AM
Players Union Member



28 posts since 3/20/2010

You sound great with all 3 heads! Thanks for sharing your video. I liked the first one the best, and would love to hear the last one played up the neck with head tension cranked.
Let us know if you ever experiment with Nechville's other tone rings. I love that Nechville and Nechville owners are now posting drum dial head tensions with the comparison videos. Makes sense for this kind of banjo.

Nov 30, 2022 - 9:17:45 AM

386 posts since 4/26/2007

Thanks to you both! I've never really done a video like this before, so still working out the kinks.

I will certainly try to record another one without audio difficulties, and perhaps experimenting with different head tensions. I'm also curious about the TimberTronic hybrid ring, so the possibilities are endless.

Nov 30, 2022 - 9:23:12 AM

378 posts since 11/10/2022

Nicevid but I know from my own experience that listening to videos on a cell or tablet is not the same as in person, so only people in the room with a picker can tell.

I heard more variation between segments than between heads. Its hard to play with the same tone, tempo and amplitude.

Enjoyed the picking part of the vid. So whi h one sounded better, if any, to you?

Nov 30, 2022 - 9:51:32 AM

1031 posts since 10/31/2007

First, great playing!
I like the first head the best. Max the least.

tom in maine

Dec 1, 2022 - 5:32:05 AM

386 posts since 4/26/2007

Originally posted by NotABanjoYoda

Enjoyed the picking part of the vid. So which one sounded better, if any, to you?

I preferred the bottom-frosted Remo, surprisingly. It had to do with the responsiveness rather than the sound, even though it did sound very clear and full when I listened back. The front of each note seemed to leap forward more.

Where it gets difficult is I don't know if I can get used to having such a smooth head; felt odd not having any grip, so to speak.

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