View Full Version : Tensioning head on banjo uke

07-19-2011, 02:23 AM
Hi folks. Any comments on the following would be most welcome

Ive just bought my first banjo uke an Ozark 2035 in concert size and reading the following thread see that you need to adjust the tension of the head from time to time


My guess is that this needs doing when the head feels slack or the the tone goes off. My strings have settled down and Im wondering whether its time to tighten the head for the first time. Naturaly, Im a little anxious about and will follow the advice given in the above thread about the right sequence.

Im wondering how often this needs to be done. I guess that it depends on the individual instrument and how often its played of course but is this a very frequent thing? How often do banjo uke folk on here do it?


07-19-2011, 02:51 AM
Just spotted this via a google search:

How do you know the correct level of head tension? Without going into the subject of head tuning, you can be reasonably assured of good volume and tone if you tighten the brackets enough to where the bridge presses down on the head between one-sixteenth and one-thirty second of an inch (with the strings tuned to concert pitch). You can measure this distance by placing a straight edge in front of the bridge, across the diameter of the head, with both ends of the straight edge resting on the rim INSIDE the tension hoop (my straight edge is a 1-foot ruler shortened by a tad more than one inch). Observe the space under the straight edge. If the space is more than one-sixteenth of an inch, tighten the brackets slightly. If it is less than one-thirty second of an inch, play the banjo for a minute or two to test its tone. If the bass seems too thin, loosen the brackets slightly until the bass response is satisfactory.

This relates to a 5 string banjo - Im wondering whether a similar method can be used in relation to a banjo uke?


07-19-2011, 03:12 AM
From what very little I know on the subject, the same holds true for banjo ukes. You want a slight deflection or dip at the bridge. The measurement of 1/16th may be on the loose side of things, though. I would go with 1/32 or slightly less on a concert. At that point, you can experiment a little with tap tuning to get the best tone out of it (have an experienced drummer teach you how).

Getting the top to settle will take some time. They are very much like strings and tend to stretch out until they get to their optimum tension. So, you may find yourself making small adjustments for a couple of months. This is normal with new heads. Just take your time and make small adjustments until you feel it's right.


07-19-2011, 08:57 AM
You can tighten or loosen the head to get more or less volume, respectively. Me, I loosened mine a bit to make it less brash. Not too much, just a tad.

07-19-2011, 09:00 AM
Thanks guys

I think that its still pretty tight at the moment so will leave it alone for the time being and keep checking it