View Full Version : My Banjo-Uke arrived!... Need some help...

09-27-2010, 10:01 PM
Hey guys, I'm so happy. After an AGONISING 4 day wait, my banjo uke came yesterday, first thing in the morning. Was horrible though as I had some (some being a hell of a lot) painting to do so unwrapped her, checked her over then had to basically go DIY all day. Was pretty late by the time I got to spend time with her. Gave her a clean and re-strung her.

The thing that I'm not sure about though is the head skin. How tight should it be? It struck me as being looser then I imagined it would be but then having never touched a banjo or banjo uke I couldn't be sure. Now she's all strung up though she's lovely to play but I just can't help thinking she sounds a bit "wooly" y'know? A bit thick and muted? Anyays, I wondered if could be the skin?

I'm gonna have to get a pro. set-up I think, the strings don't seem to be sitting quite in alignment and the bridge has been moved at some point, although right now it's sitting at soprano length. So gotta find somebody to set this thing up with ain't gonna be easy!?

She's a beauty though, the neck is strange, really heavy, thick and deep but so nice to hold. Will get some pictures up shortly. Any help would be very greatly appreciated!

Cheers guys!

09-28-2010, 12:21 AM
The head skin should be pretty tight-- think drum head. If the uke is coming to you from a dry climate and you're in a humid one, it will slacken and need tightening. A professional setup is not a bad idea.

09-28-2010, 01:16 AM
Might want to post on uke cosmos, they have banjo section and more than a few banjo players http://www.ukulelecosmos.com

09-28-2010, 04:21 AM
If the headskin is loose, it will cause the sound you are talking about. Like said above, it should be pretty tight, just like a head of a drum. As far as measurments, I am not sure what it should be, or how to check it. Try tightening up the j hooks and see if that will help. If they get loose, it could cause that. Also, if it is real skin (calf, lamb, etc), sometimes you can tighten it up by taking a damp sponge and wetting it. You don't want it all drippy, but moistening it with water and then setting it up to dry completley, will sometimes shrink it back up... If your intemidated with that a shop can tighten it up for ya..

Good luck and keep us posted..

09-28-2010, 05:52 AM
You can align the bridge easily, after tightening the head. just make slight movements of one side, then the other, while checking harmonic intonation at 12 fret for how well it matches the fretted note. Then check the relative tuning string to string and make slight adjustments as needed.

09-28-2010, 06:00 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. It's not a skin head (ha!), it's a plastic one or whatever they make it out off. Well I put fresh strings on her last night and they're just about all stretched out now and settled lovely. This in turn has tighted the skin up, but I would say in the wrong way. Now with the strings at full tension the bridge is pushing the skin into the uke body slighty. It seems to work for the time being but obviously can't stay like that. The new Aquilas have just started to open up and have really improved the sound. The uke hasn't been played for I'd say over ten years before I got it so it is deffinately going to need setting up, and with it a new skin. I'll just have to try and find somebody to do it for me...

In the meantime though shes more than reasonably playable so that's good enough for me!...