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Mar 2, 2024 - 2:35 PM
6023 posts since 3/6/2006

Is there really a difference in sound or is it all in our heads?
I imagine this has been debated but I’m asking anyway.

Mar 2, 2024 - 3:18:03 PM

3523 posts since 4/7/2010

Do keep in mind that 5-star heads are no longer available new from Stewart-Macdonald and production will never resume.

Bob Smakula

Mar 2, 2024 - 4:25:56 PM

6023 posts since 3/6/2006

Interesting. I have a 5star on my banjo a wondered if a remo would sound any different.

Mar 2, 2024 - 6:12:37 PM

463 posts since 7/24/2021

I have a 5star on a Frank Neat Mountain Dr. I also have on a mid 30s style 11. I like them both but I also like Remo. From what little I’ve learned a 5 star seems a little heavier -maybe thicker than a remo . Most pickers seem to prefer a Remo .

Mar 3, 2024 - 3:59:30 AM

heavy5

USA

2993 posts since 11/3/2016
Online Now

From many yrs & many banjos IMO 5star produces a sharper tone than an original

 Remo .
I've pretty much settled on the Renaissance head for sound & esthetics .

Edited by - heavy5 on 03/03/2024 04:01:09

Mar 3, 2024 - 5:47:05 AM

DSmoke

USA

1427 posts since 11/30/2015

Yes, in my experimenting there is a noticeable difference between the older 5 star heads and new Remo heads. There is also a difference between the older 5 star heads and the ones that Stew Mac was selling a few years ago. Disclaimer, I play Irish music and we like a good bit of punch from our banjos.

Mar 3, 2024 - 6:00:33 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

507 posts since 3/24/2020
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Yes Dan you have found a noticeable difference. I’m also interested in hearing your conclusion which one do you find punchier?

Mar 3, 2024 - 7:34:03 AM

heavy5

USA

2993 posts since 11/3/2016
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by heavy5

From many yrs & many banjos IMO an older original 5star produces a sharper tone than an older original Remo .
I've pretty much settled on the Renaissance head for sound & esthetics .


Mar 3, 2024 - 7:43:17 AM
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DSmoke

USA

1427 posts since 11/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe

Yes Dan you have found a noticeable difference. I’m also interested in hearing your conclusion which one do you find punchier?


The older 5 star heads are the best! Increased volume and punch.

Mar 5, 2024 - 8:28:23 AM
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majesty

Canada

345 posts since 3/20/2011

I play tenor banjo, which responds different to 5 string banjos when trying different heads. I have tried every kind of head on several of my tenors. The older 5 star heads sounded better than the later 5 stars. The newer ones came from Malmo, Sweden. Someone from Elderly music said "NO" they did not come from Sweden. The box and postmark were definitely marked directly from Sweden. The first one that I ordered through Elderly had the wrong head crown measurement. Elderly corrected the error from the Sweden supplier. The next Five star's from Sweden did not sound as good as the older ones from ?? All of the the Five star's were very bright sounding when the head was tightened to 90. The head emblem was slightly different on the older and newer heads. Remo heads would definitely sound more mellow, in my opinion. Jim

Mar 5, 2024 - 11:39:24 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

507 posts since 3/24/2020
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by majesty

I play tenor banjo, which responds different to 5 string banjos when trying different heads. I have tried every kind of head on several of my tenors. The older 5 star heads sounded better than the later 5 stars. The newer ones came from Malmo, Sweden. Someone from Elderly music said "NO" they did not come from Sweden. The box and postmark were definitely marked directly from Sweden. The first one that I ordered through Elderly had the wrong head crown measurement. Elderly corrected the error from the Sweden supplier. The next Five star's from Sweden did not sound as good as the older ones from ?? All of the the Five star's were very bright sounding when the head was tightened to 90. The head emblem was slightly different on the older and newer heads. Remo heads would definitely sound more mellow, in my opinion. Jim


It would be interesting to know if there's a difference in the thickness of the older and more recent versions of the five star heads. I've been taking note of this topic on the hangout which pops up from time to time. The consensus seems to be that the five star is the more favored & it seems that this is due to the thickness of the head. This has been the main driver for me to use thicker drum heads in my designs. I use Remo USA, Remo Encore (Taiwan), Millenium, Aquarian, & Evans. I also prefer the thicker heads but not necessarily the thicker the better. I've only been working with drum heads for the past two years so I've still got new things to try. One thing that may be of interest is that the Millenium heads have a slightly smaller aluminum ring so I wouldn't be surprised if they fitted easily onto some banjos they sound pretty good and are around €5 here in Europe. No harm in trying at that price. 
 

2 ply Remo drumhead with artwork infused into the Mylar 


 

Mar 5, 2024 - 11:59:32 AM

martyjoe

Ireland

507 posts since 3/24/2020
Online Now

Something I forgot to mention is the dynamic range of thicker heads is greater. If you put a thin head onto your banjo you can get good volume from lighter playing. When you play harder it will give you more volume of coarse but nothing like the volume you can achieve with thicker heads. If you put a 2ply head onto your banjo for instance light playing has less volume than a thin head but as you lean into it, it just keeps on giving. That’s what makes the biggest difference for me.
Remo banjo heads are 8mil thick. Drum heads range from 7mil to 20mil. I’d like to know the thickness of The Five Star

Mar 5, 2024 - 2:07:25 PM
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majesty

Canada

345 posts since 3/20/2011

Yes, the 5 star heads are heavier than the Remos, calf skin (medium) and the fibreskin.
The ones checked were all medium crown 11" heads. The older and newer versions of the 5 star heads appear to weigh the same. My wife closed her eyes and weighed 5 heads, and immediately identified the 5 star as heavier, as I did . Jim

Mar 5, 2024 - 2:34:04 PM

Alex Z

USA

5769 posts since 12/7/2006

In weighing, how is the difference in weight of the flesh hoop accounted for?

Mar 6, 2024 - 12:44:38 PM

DSmoke

USA

1427 posts since 11/30/2015

majesty Alex Z I just checked my stock and don't have any of the newer 5 star heads left. I have some of the older ones. I believe the "flesh hoop" on the older ones is much heavier. Whatever material was used on the newer 5 star heads was definitely different than the older ones. Without the proper tools to accurately measure I would say they were thinner. And, they stretched and stretched. At one point I documented with a drum dial the repeated drop in tension over 30 days. It made it very difficult to setup a banjo for customers in a timely manner.

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