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Feb 19, 2024 - 11:33:27 AM
2 posts since 2/19/2024

Hi all! First post here from a banjo newbie.
So I got a deal on an Gold tone IT-250F banjo and got it thinking it would easily surpass my cheap no name Japanese banjo I got years ago and wouldnt dare to take to session but getting it here I'm finding its sound not very pleasing to my ears, definitely loud but too bright and thin. I've been reading a lot about changing the bridge, tailpiece, strings to nylon etc. but I'm also interested in changing the head since I'm liking the sound of fiberskyn heads I'm hearing in videos. I was wondering if anyone had any advice in this particular banjo but also in finding a replacement head since I'm not having great luck finding 14" fiberskyn banjo heads.
Look forward to hearing some ideas and grateful for the help!

Feb 19, 2024 - 11:58:05 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

520 posts since 3/24/2020

I just looked up the specs on the Gold Tone website and it is saying that model has an 11” head.

Feb 19, 2024 - 12:02:59 PM

3364 posts since 5/2/2012

When I think of Irish tenor banjos, I associate that with a "bright" sound. According to the GT website, your banjo is an archtop, which will contribute to the bright sound. Plus it has a cast brass tone ring, which contributes to the tone. It comes with a high crown 11" "ren" head. You can source a high crown fiberskyn from various sources, one of which is Banjo Ben. Some think fiberskyn heads create a less than desirable (muddy?) tone...to each his own. I listened to the demo on the GT site and found it pleasing to my ear.

Feb 19, 2024 - 12:16:09 PM

2 posts since 2/19/2024

Oh yes my mistake! I mistook the resonator measurement for the head, in this case it seems like I should be in business at 11"

Feb 19, 2024 - 2:16:33 PM

5722 posts since 5/29/2011

One piece of advice that I would suggest is to only change one thing at a time. Try a different bridge, then a different head, etc.
If you make several changes at once, you might not know what change made a difference in sound. You might want to know that information one day if you are faced with the same thing again.

Feb 21, 2024 - 5:52:35 AM

145 posts since 5/31/2009

Be careful in thinking that changing the voice is "improving" your banjo. You are talking about preference, which means a lateral change.

Such changes as you mention might not get you where you want to go, no matter what voice you prefer.

As for specific advice, I would recommend a simple change first. Simply lower your head tension a tad and see what happens.

Feb 21, 2024 - 5:40:07 PM

DSmoke

USA

1436 posts since 11/30/2015

I specialize in the repair, restoration, and setup of tenor banjos for Irish trad playing. In my opinion, the fiberskyn head is the worst head for the music. I would suggest you play the banjo as is for a little while, and let your ear adjust to what you have. I'm not a fan of Gold Tone banjos in general, but they can sound OK with the right setup. The banjo in our music needs some punch and cutting power. You can always pick softer and/or use a different pick to alter to tone a bit.

I would also recommend Bob Smakula for a replacement head, he is very knowledgeable, gives top notch service, and is an active member on this page.

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