Tuning the Banjolele Head

  1. Down Up Dick
    Down Up Dick
    This is mostly for fynger, I think, but I read where the banjo head is supposed to be a certain tone or key. How does one check it? Or does one just find a sound that he likes and leave it at that? I'm wondering how differing degrees of tightness change the Uke's sound. Right now I'm just at the wondering stage.
  2. fynger
    I tend to tighten it till i'm happy with it and leave it there....but I have had a few problems when i seem to have hit on a note that coincides with a not i play...there seems to be a odd sound when i hit the same pitch and a not can sound 'funny'...alter the head and the 'funny' goes away....On banjo its not so noticable and there are devices you can get to check the heads 'note'....i don't own one so as you have put....what 'note ' should it be....that's a question i've often asked...again for banjo that subject is covered...but not for uke banjo......would be good to know....but if it sounds ok where it is...that's how I leave it.
  3. Down Up Dick
    Down Up Dick
    Well, I've left it alone so far, but I've been toying with the idea of taking the resonator off. If I do, I was wondering how difficult it would be to get the top back on correctly. Maybe someone else will have the answers.
  4. fynger
    Why take the top off to take the res' off.........I have a Keech with a sealed on back....not any more tho....i got a stanley blade into the join of the pot and the back...tapped it in and followed the join all the way around.......came off clean...now ive re stained the bare edges and at the moment its an open back...but I'm going to screw the back on again using some nice wood beads to create a small gap between the pot and the back.
  5. IamNoMan
    Ooohh, You have A Keech! good for you. Banjos of any ilk are eminently dis-assemble-able. The Keech was the Original banju-uke as I understand it; So maybe not so flexible. Dick is your banjolele a tack head, I suspect the Keech may be. If so squeeze the juice out of what follows. YMMV as they say.

    A banjo is a banjo regardless of the number of strings, Scale length etc. I recently purchased an Eastman Whyte Laydie No. 2. from Bernunzio. Made in China. Bernunzio advertises free professional Set-up for all the new instruments they sell. In a pig's eye! I had them install a Nice thick calfskin head. - nice job. But the banjo was not set-up. They did mark the head for the spec scale length, it was pretty close.
  6. IamNoMan
    When I got this WL#2 tightened the head. The old timers say to tighten each nut till it Squeeks. I don't do it that way. I'm afraid of busting the strings or worse yet the head. I tighten the nuts in an alternating pattern. If you have twelve brackets do it something like this 1,7,12,6,2,8,11,5,3,8,10,9. Don't do it 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Wrench snug. Now retension it wrench tight. If you want you could then tension it till it squeeks but I'm chicken. It shouldn't matter at all how you loosen the nuts.
  7. IamNoMan
    I next tuned the banjo up to concert pitch. Sounded good, for a couple of days. Loud as hell I did have to retension a little now and again. And one night there was a 40 temperature drop. After a couple of days I noticed a nasty buzz right where the neck meets the tone rim. I was shall we say disheartened.
    I talked to some guys at BHO. The fellow who lent the Original WL#2 to Eastman who gave it to the Chinese to copy told me to take the banjo apart and put it back together. (eminently dis-assemble-able). He said the Chinese had never taken his apart to make the design! Thought was a good copy. We agreed the Chinese used cheap brass. He told me sometime in my life to get a On original WL#2. Who has $5000 to $7000 for yet another banjo?
    I did what he told me. the buzz went away.
  8. IamNoMan
    Dick when you say you are taking the top off your talking about changing out the head for skin, right? The tension ring should come of no problem unless you are talking about an old banjolele. If you are talking about the resonator I am as confused as fynger, but taking off and replacing the resonator shouldn't be a problem. Third thing I did to my "new" Gold Tone BUT. 1. Tune 2. Play. 3. remove resonator to see whats what. There was a pair of infant skivvies inside..Remove skivvies replace resonator and repeat 1 and 2.
  9. IamNoMan
    Dick The tighter the head tension the louder more resonant the tone. Improves sustain too (pretty sure about that last). over-tension and you can have a disaster on your hands. Had one already this week don't need another. If your tension is too loose the reverse results apply except you will also get a mellow-er tone the OTs love so much. Skin Head gives the same sort of mellow tone (but a little different in quality). If the head tension is too loose you will go out of tune. This is the biggest annoyance with skin heads they are very very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Any banjo with a skin head needs a tensioning wrench in the case or tied to the banjo. Don't leave home without it!

    Odd sounds: check the equalized and just tuning section

    Resonant frequency of instruments (uke not banjo sorry)

    Happy Holidays guys,
  10. Down Up Dick
    Down Up Dick
    No, IamNoMan, I'm talking about the fancy ring that holds the resonator on. It's a big
    Lanikai resonated banjo Uke. When one takes the the big resonator off, there's a metal ring still around the pot that holds the resonator on. One must take the top off to get the ring off I guess. Anyway, all this is incidental now because I've gotten the Gold Tone. I 'll just leave it as it is.

    It was an old thread, but thanks for the head tightening info. Both Ukes sound okay to me now. Loud as hell with a ring that I gotta get used to.

    I hope you have a great holiday.
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