View Full Version : Need New Banjolele Help

07-23-2014, 04:05 AM
I've read previous threads. I have the head tight, and the bridge set at the nut, 12th fret distance. It's a Lanikai, and came with Aquila strings. It seems Ok on the first few frets, i.e. all the first position chords. But I get really weird overtones, especially on the 1st string, once I play above the fifth fret. I'm thinking it may be the head tension/ tuning. I saw that tuning the head to an "A" was recommended. Is that for GCEA tuning? And, how do you all tune your concert size banjo ukes, anyway? GCEA or ADF#B?

I just got the banjolele yesterday, so I can't critique it yet. But I can tell you that it's solidly built, fit and finish is of medium quality, and it's loud. Beyond that, I can only say that it would be good to have with you in a barroom brawl.

07-23-2014, 07:04 AM
Try moving it about a minute amount to compensate.
Mine is the distance between the fretboard side of the
nut and the twelfth fret,plus a couple of millimetres, on
a concert scale.As the bridge is not fixed you should find
the sweet spot fairly easily.Then,having found it,I marked
the head with pencil,so if it ever comes adrift,I can restore
it right away!

07-23-2014, 07:39 AM
OK, good to know. I'm such a detail person that I was stuck trying to get an exactly equal distance between nut and fret, and fret and bridge. So there's a bit of wiggle room for sweetening it up, eh? I will be experimenting with that. Thanks!

07-23-2014, 07:49 AM
If you look at the Mya-Moe Beansprout web site you can see pictures where Aaron puts a small block of foam behind the head.
I have done this on my banjolele and I like the sound. I still have the banjo sound and volume, but the overtones are gone.
This is unlike using a sock or rag that mutes the volume.

Also a good tip on marking the bridge location. Makes changing strings easier too.

07-23-2014, 07:51 AM
Have you tried muting the head with some foam/fabric/felt on the under side? That tends to stop all the overtones and resonances that start to bounce around. I have the same Lanikai concert banjolele. I changed the head to a real calfskin, and to La Bella strings with a wound C. The wound helps out quite a bit; the C string always felt either too flat or too sharp. Tuning the head is tough- I just bounced the wrench by each of the hooks and adjusted tension until it was a uniform pitch all around.

I tune it in both G and A, depending on the song or style. Usually most of my ukes are tuned to ADF#B because I play a lot of ragtimey stuff.

07-23-2014, 09:29 AM
Sometimes you have to get a slight "angle" on the bridge = "compensation"

Here's some videos: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=youtube+how+to+set+up+banjo+uke+

07-23-2014, 03:35 PM
OK, I've pulled the bridge back about 1/32" from the exact measured distance, and the problems just about disappeared. I went a little further, and started to get that "plunky click" sound. So I backed up a wee bit. I'm happy with it now. I'll try the foam under the head trick if the remaining overtones start to get to me. But right now, they sound just fine. Thanks for the help y'all.

07-23-2014, 09:34 PM
I'm such a detail person that I was stuck trying to get an exactly equal distance between nut and fret, and fret and bridge. So there's a bit of wiggle room for sweetening it up, eh? ... not so much "waggle room", but compensation for string height (action). The "correct" position for the bridge is where the harmonic ABOVE the 12th fret sounds the same as when the string is fretted at the 12th fret and will vary across the strings, hence the angled saddle you see on most instruments. With an uncompensated saddle there can only ever be a compromise across all four strings, especially with a re-entrantly tuned instrument. As these parameters vary (slightly) with different gauge and density of string material, any pencil marks you make may only be good for a similar set of replacement strings.

Hope this all helps :)

07-29-2014, 03:13 AM
Just to button this up, I wanted to say that everything is working OK now. Moving the bridge back toward the tailpiece did the trick. And, I think maybe the new strings settling in made some difference too.

Thanks again for all the help!