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Jun 25, 2023 - 8:57:52 AM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

Hi Everyone!

This post is regarding our classified listing for the Banjo Bolster.
 

Introduction

In a nutshell, the Banjo Bolster is a revolutionary, patent pending device that enhances any banjo’s tone by transparently removing undesirable overtones, while preserving the full power and frequency response of the instrument.

Easily adjust the amount of overtone removal by how the Banjo Bolster is positioned inside the banjo pot, thus providing a wide range of control and customization over your desired tone.

The Banjo Bolster can be quickly inserted, adjusted or removed and does not require any alteration to the instrument.

You're best place to learn about the Banjo Bolster is on our website -  BanjoBolster.com

  • Discover how the Banjo Bolster works and why it is superior to conventional stuffing and other dampening methods.
  • Hear accurately recorded sound examples of banjos unstuffed, with conventional stuffing and with the Banjo Bolster.
  • Watch videos demonstrating how to easily configure the Banjo Bolster in a variety of ways to achieve your optimal tone.
  • Read real-world testimonials sent to us from Banjo Bolster customers.

 

About Us

The Banjo Bolster was invented by husband and wife team - Ric and Deb Hollander. Ric's passion for the banjo and Deb's love of sewing and other crafts have combined over the years to explore creative ways of controlling the banjo's overtones.

When not sewing, Deb enjoys knitting, crocheting and doing macrame. She offers a beautiful line of handmade macrame watchbands on her site - macraband.com.

Ric is also a luthier and focuses on repairing vintage banjos and other stringed instruments. His extensive knowledge of stringed instrument construction and acoustics gives him a unique perspective in approaching the control of banjo overtones.

Ric has built several high-end home recording studio environments and has acquired a deep understanding of how to maximize room acoustics, especially in small spaces, to achieve professional results. You can hear samples of his recordings on Banjo Hangout, all of which were made in a spare bedroom studio that was optimized for recording.

Please feel free to post any questions you have on this forum or you're welcome to give me a call or email. Please see our Contact Us page for the contact details.
 

Important!!
When purchasing a Banjo Bolster from BanjoBolster.complease message or email me and let me know you heard about the Banjo Bolster from Banjo Hangout. You'll help support Banjo Hangout as we happily pay a commission for every order that originates from here!

Thanks,

Ric

Edited by - Frailblazer on 08/07/2023 18:23:50

Jun 25, 2023 - 9:05:26 AM

714 posts since 4/28/2012

With all due respect....

$28 seems a little much for this
accessory. Any chance you plan to offer a special introductory price?

Jun 25, 2023 - 9:32:55 AM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Douglas

With all due respect....

$28 seems a little much for this
accessory. Any chance you plan to offer a special introductory price?


Hi Mark,

Thanks for your question. When our site launched a little over three months ago we did have an introductory price, but we have settled on $28 which we and the 100's of customers who have purchased Banjo Bolsters thus far (from all over the world) feel is quite reasonable.  In fact, most people come back and purchase a bunch more!

Please note, that each Banjo Bolster is handmade to order based on the "Measured Length" you provide. We do not mass produce them or make them ahead of time. Every Banjo Bolster is made by my wife, in our home using American made materials. Unfortunately, we were unable to source an American thread that met our requirements, so we source the thread from Europe.

Please also not that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not 100% delighted with you Banjo Bolster, just send it back for a refund.

Thanks,

Ric

Edited by - Frailblazer on 06/25/2023 09:44:55

Jun 25, 2023 - 10:04:16 AM
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KCJones

USA

2744 posts since 8/30/2012

Seems like a fair price to me.

The main competitor to this product is made in a Chinese factory and costs $50.

Always nice to see a quality Made in USA product on the market.

Jun 25, 2023 - 11:06:48 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29570 posts since 8/3/2003

For more information, check this thread: banjohangout.org/topic/390151/2/#4985267

Jun 25, 2023 - 11:13:17 AM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

For more information, check this thread: banjohangout.org/topic/390151/2/#4985267


Thanks Sherry!

Jun 25, 2023 - 1:21:57 PM
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4361 posts since 12/3/2008

Jun 25, 2023 - 1:28:12 PM
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csacwp

USA

3251 posts since 1/15/2014

I don't see how this is different than stuffing the head with a sock, a rag, or anything else.

Jun 25, 2023 - 1:29:32 PM
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GMB

USA

402 posts since 5/29/2009

After viewing Tom's video last week, I ordered a Banjo Bolster. Well, here's something that does exactly what it claims. I have an 11 inch walnut Enoch Tradesman (for reference). Cuts the overtones nicely, but the real advantage is the clarity it gives to the notes. I'm very satisfied. I do not know Ric or his wife and was not compensated in any way.

Jun 25, 2023 - 2:07:22 PM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

I don't see how this is different than stuffing the head with a sock, a rag, or anything else.


Hi John,

This is a great question!  Here's a quote from our site:

"Conventional stuffing methods focus on dampening the head’s vibrations in an effort to reduce unwanted overtones. Foam rubbersocksrolled-up towels and other items are placed between the dowel stick and the underside of the banjo head.

Unfortunately, these methods have the unwanted side effect of reducing both the banjo’s volume and frequency response, often resulting in an overly compressed and flattened sound."

To summarize - when using the Banjo Bolster your banjo will retain all its power and volume. The high end will still sparkle and the lows will still growl, but the overtones will be pushed back to the level you select by how the Banjo Bolster is configured.

The Banjo Bolster does not need to make contact with the head to be incredibly effective.  You can adjust it so that none, some or all of its surface contacts the head to achieve a huge variety of tone options, allowing you to determine your own, unique sound. 

If you have a moment, please read through our Customer Testimonials as there are many people who describe their experience comparing conventional stuffing methods and the Banjo Bolster

Also, please check out our sound recordings page (Hear the Difference a Banjo Bolster Can Make)  where you can hear direct comparisons between unstuffed banjos, conventional stuffing and the Banjo Bolster. I recently added a new recording sent to us from one of our newest customers - Ryan Harlin.

We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you're not 100% delighted with what the Banjo Bolster does for your banjo you can send it back for a refund.

Thanks again for your question!

- Ric

Edited by - Frailblazer on 06/25/2023 14:14:20

Jun 25, 2023 - 2:08:49 PM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by GMB

After viewing Tom's video last week, I ordered a Banjo Bolster. Well, here's something that does exactly what it claims. I have an 11 inch walnut Enoch Tradesman (for reference). Cuts the overtones nicely, but the real advantage is the clarity it gives to the notes. I'm very satisfied. I do not know Ric or his wife and was not compensated in any way.


Great to hear Jerry! Thanks for sharing your feedback!

Would you allow me to add your comments to our Customer Testimonials page on BanjoBolster.com?

- Ric

Jun 25, 2023 - 2:18:33 PM
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GMB

USA

402 posts since 5/29/2009

Sure Ric. Great product!

Jun 25, 2023 - 2:27:32 PM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by GMB

Sure Ric. Great product!


Much appreciated!!! Thx! ??

Jun 25, 2023 - 2:29:02 PM
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4361 posts since 12/3/2008

Jun 25, 2023 - 4:17:57 PM

csacwp

USA

3251 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Frailblazer
quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

I don't see how this is different than stuffing the head with a sock, a rag, or anything else.


Hi John,

This is a great question!  Here's a quote from our site:

"Conventional stuffing methods focus on dampening the head’s vibrations in an effort to reduce unwanted overtones. Foam rubbersocksrolled-up towels and other items are placed between the dowel stick and the underside of the banjo head.

Unfortunately, these methods have the unwanted side effect of reducing both the banjo’s volume and frequency response, often resulting in an overly compressed and flattened sound."

To summarize - when using the Banjo Bolster your banjo will retain all its power and volume. The high end will still sparkle and the lows will still growl, but the overtones will be pushed back to the level you select by how the Banjo Bolster is configured.

The Banjo Bolster does not need to make contact with the head to be incredibly effective.  You can adjust it so that none, some or all of its surface contacts the head to achieve a huge variety of tone options, allowing you to determine your own, unique sound. 

If you have a moment, please read through our Customer Testimonials as there are many people who describe their experience comparing conventional stuffing methods and the Banjo Bolster

Also, please check out our sound recordings page (Hear the Difference a Banjo Bolster Can Make)  where you can hear direct comparisons between unstuffed banjos, conventional stuffing and the Banjo Bolster. I recently added a new recording sent to us from one of our newest customers - Ryan Harlin.

We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you're not 100% delighted with what the Banjo Bolster does for your banjo you can send it back for a refund.

Thanks again for your question!

- Ric


I'd read the site. Your description doesn't provide an explanation of the mechanistic difference between the Banjo Bolster and an adjustable piece of foam fitted under the dowel stick or along the side of the rim. Both seem to work the same way. So how is this any different? 

Jun 25, 2023 - 5:20:05 PM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008


I'd read the site. Your description doesn't provide an explanation of the mechanistic difference between the Banjo Bolster and an adjustable piece of foam fitted under the dowel stick or along the side of the rim. Both seem to work the same way. So how is this any different? 

John,

I do believe I answered your question and the site does go into detail about the differences between conventional stuffing and the Banjo Bolster.

Let my try to add a bit more detail.

Unlike conventional stuffing methods which need to apply pressure to the head to be reduce overtones, the Banjo Bolster does not. It's mere placement inside the banjo pot (touching the head or not) adds a highly sound absorbant surface, designed specifically to target and dissipate sonic energy from reflected sound (overtones). Conventional stuffing methods, like foam, towels, socks, etc. are not nearly as efficient at dissipating reflected sound. That is why they need to press against the head. As already discussed, the downside of pressing on the head is a reduction in both volume and tone. 

In addition, the Banjo Bolster can be easily positioned and repositioned (in seconds) in a variety of ways, allowing the the player to dial in their own, unique sound. Everything from light overtone reduction to heavy overtone reduction.

I hope this helps!

- Ric

Edited by - Frailblazer on 06/25/2023 17:22:00

Jun 25, 2023 - 7:19:44 PM
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4361 posts since 12/3/2008

I like what Hilarie Burhans says in her laudatory video review:

"Every note rings individually, instead of stepping on the heels of the note that came before."

Edited by - Paul Roberts on 06/25/2023 19:22:27

Jun 26, 2023 - 3:44:48 AM
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llcbean

USA

35 posts since 10/4/2004

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

I don't see how this is different than stuffing the head with a sock, a rag, or anything else.


If you try it you'll immediately hear the difference...

Jun 26, 2023 - 3:54:30 AM
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llcbean

USA

35 posts since 10/4/2004

I'm not in a position to explain why this is so much better than anything else I’ve tried, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever tried that really accomplished what i. think we’re all after- it does not mute the sound. It creates amazing note clarity without impacting volume. It lets the banjo still ring but controls the overtones just enough to give great note separation. There are so many gimmicks on the market. This is not one of them.

 

Edited by - llcbean on 06/26/2023 03:55:51

Jun 26, 2023 - 4:00:05 AM
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714 posts since 4/28/2012

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

I don't see how this is different than stuffing the head with a sock, a rag, or anything else.


I guess we are missing something John....

As the ad says....

"Don't stuff it, Bolster it"!

Perhaps this is qualitatively better

than a sock or rag? The consensus here

seems to suggest they are well worth

the price stated. I think I'll order now

before they are out of stock. With several

endorsements here from these fine banjo

players, I seriously doubt this is just hype!

Edited by - Mark Douglas on 06/26/2023 04:02:09

Jun 26, 2023 - 8:16:45 AM
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4361 posts since 12/3/2008

Skepticism - which Tom Collins mentions he had initially - is natural when something new comes out. What's noteworthy is that Tom had the open-mindedness to try the Banjo Bolster and that he emerged with such a glowing review about it, praising it as a "game-changer". The groundswell of enthusiasm surrounding this ingenious device is occurring because it is a game-changer.

Edited by - Paul Roberts on 06/26/2023 08:22:31

Jun 26, 2023 - 9:27:25 AM
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2624 posts since 7/20/2004

I've tried multiple ways to stuff my banjos to get just the sound I was looking for; rags, socks, and wine corks, but never got just the sound I was looking for. I decided to try a Banjo Bolster on my 12" LeVan, and was immediately impressed with not just the sound, but the ease of varying it. I now have Banjo Bolsters on all three of my openbacks, including my 1930 Vega and my Bart Reiter fretless. I truly believe this is one of the neatest inventions to come along in decades.

Jun 26, 2023 - 10:03:37 AM
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KCJones

USA

2744 posts since 8/30/2012

Every time I've ever stuffed my banjo head with a sock or piece of foam, it achieves the goal of reducing sustain and overtones but unfortunately it always deadens the "bell" ringing that defines the banjo tone. It makes it too thumpy and eliminates all of the 'shine'.

There is one other product on the market that I've tried, and it does work better than the foam/sock solution but it still deadens tone ever so slightly, and it's also double the price.

I haven't tried this product yet, but for the price I think it's worth trying. If it does what everyone says it does, cut overtones without killing desirable tones, it's worth every penny. The sound examples listed on the link provide a pretty good example.

Jun 26, 2023 - 10:33:22 AM
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404 posts since 4/10/2018

I've previously posted my recommendation for the Banjo Bolster and since that time there have been several eloquent and enthusiastic endorsements from other players as well as the likes of Hilarie Burhans and Tom Collins. I have two bolsters, one for my fretless and one for my 12" open back. I used to use the odd T shirt, or some sheepskin with the wool, or a rolled up towel. One of the best things about the bolsters is that they are neat and fit perfectly so nothing moves around or falls out at the odd moment during a performance. Secondly, and more importantly, the bolster contributes to a clear sound without a muting effect. That allows the player to determine the banjo's dynamics as opposed to dealing being muted from other materials. Ric's website has some pretty good comparisons which Hilarie's video also demonstrates. The bolster also allows one to move it around a bit, with using it closer to the bridge which is what I do with the fretless. Finally, it's not that expensive -- a bit more than some tuning devices and a lot less than a cellphone. I doubt it will ever wear out. I'm not that enamored with the color but once it's placed in the banjo, you don't need to look at it!! Kudos to Ric and company for figuring this out!

Jun 26, 2023 - 11:40:44 AM
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7070 posts since 6/27/2009

Great videos from Tom and Hilarie! I must say that a Banjo Bolster lives inside two of my most-played banjos -- the short-scale Doc's Banjo and the deep-voiced Gold Tone cello banjo. It truly brings me more joy to hear those banjos with the Bolster, and I've tried many other ways of "stuffing" behind the head. I learn, arrange and record from 1-3 tunes a week and hear the difference in comparing the tone with or without the BB. The unwanted overtones cease and the notes are clear.

Regarding the price, I feel we're paying mainly for time. Try to imagine the process. Cutting, stitching, turning it inside out, stuffing it properly, and then intricately hand stitching the circular end opening.
Regarding inflation, my husband just spoke yesterday of gas in his day costing $.29/gallon. Ric and Deb are trying to be fair in the price of their product. And one purchase will last a lifetime.

Ric, tell us about the visual pattern on the material itself, please. I read about it somewhere, but would appreciate hearing it again. You know a lot about the science of sound and its visible manifestations.


Jun 26, 2023 - 12:02:34 PM
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754 posts since 6/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JanetB


Ric, tell us about the visual pattern on the material itself, please. I read about it somewhere, but would appreciate hearing it again. You know a lot about the science of sound and its visible manifestations.


Thanks Janet!

Terrific playing, as always!

The pattern I created for the Banjo Bolster is designed to represent sound waves. It has no effect on the function of the device and is purely aesthetic. Our goal with the appearance of the Banjo Bolster is to have it recede into the shadows inside the banjo pot so as not to upstage the player or their banjo. We're deliberately not trying to draw attention to the Banjo Bolster. We feel the sound wave pattern looks nice (makes sense too) and helps accomplish that goal.

I know Clint and others have mentioned wanting additional color options. It is something we've considered and may offer at some point. Our concern is that it may draw unwanted attention to the Banjo Bolster. We'll see...

We have the material custom made for us by a small US company. We may visit them at some point, and if we do we will make a video for a behind the scenes look! It might be interesting!

- Ric

Edited by - Frailblazer on 06/26/2023 12:04:36

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