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Thread: Suitable thickness of skin for banjo ukulele

  1. #1
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    Default Suitable thickness of skin for banjo ukulele

    Hello, what thickness of a new skin for a banjo ukulele do you think is suitable?
    I am planning to change the skin of my little Sandstrom banjo, which is only 14,5 cm (or 5,7") in diameter.

    Best regards

  2. #2
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    I didn't know you had a choice. I have a vellum (calf skin) head on my banjo ukulele and it sounds great. Go with a head that's the right SIZE for your instrument. where are you being offered different thicknesses?

    Anthony

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    I didn't know you had a choice.
    Anthony
    It is not really an option to choose thickness of the vellum. The option is to buy or not.
    So I guess this particular vellum is intended for a "normal" banjo.

    I measured the parts of the vellum still left on the head of the Georg Sandstrom banjolele. It is 0.15 - 0.20 mm.

    What will it be like with a vellum of 0,30 - 0,40 mm thickness?

  4. #4
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    Mine, just measured, varies from 2mm to almost 5mm. From one credit card thick to two credit cards thick.

    I just ordered a skin on EBAY. The vendor offers a "medium" calf skin, but entertained a request for a "thick" one. I've misplaced my micrometer but when I locate it I'll measure the replacement. The thicker one makes sense to me, but I suppose on a 13 cm diameter head anything would work.

    Imagine, our Sandstorms are now about 95 years old. They seem almost like musical toys, but have lasted nearly two generations.

  5. #5
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    I can't speak with absolute certainty but I guess that vellum stretches and wears a little over the years. I would expect a new vellum to be thicker than an old one.

    Anthony

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    I can't speak with absolute certainty but I guess that vellum stretches and wears a little over the years. I would expect a new vellum to be thicker than an old one.

    Anthony
    Vellum does stretch quite significantly when first fitted wet. It probably even changes dimension between "bone dry and new" and "wet but not yet fitted".

    If you buy your vellum from a well-established banjo supplier, eg: http://www.cliffordessex.net/index.p...wCat&catId=103 , having asked for a recommendation if necessary, you'll not have a problem.

    The calfskin used in the production of vellum is a by-product of the meat trade. The animals are usually slaughtered at a similar age so the skin will be of a similar grade ... I wouldn't worry too much about finite measurements, fit it and play it

    If you want to venture into the "old-time" world of coon-skin or kangaroo hide, things may vary
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henning View Post
    Hello, what thickness of a new skin for a banjo ukulele do you think is suitable?
    I am planning to change the skin of my little Sandstrom banjo, which is only 14,5 cm (or 5,7") in diameter.

    Best regards
    My supplier offers vellum in thin, medium or thick. On a head less than 6 inches I would go for the thinnest one you can get.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dponeil@xtra.co.nz
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

  8. #8
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    The only problem I found was not the thickness but the tension. The only advice I could find was to keep tightening till it ripped then slacken it off a little. No only joking, I just tightened evenly with each tensioner on opposite diagonals till it sounded tight when I tapped it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DPO View Post
    My supplier offers vellum in thin, medium or thick. On a head less than 6 inches I would go for the thinnest one you can get.
    Can the vellum be thinned?
    It could eventually be buckled up and gently grinded with some sand paper or similar to a wished thickness, could it?
    Regards

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henning View Post
    Can the vellum be thinned?
    It could eventually be buckled up and gently grinded with some sand paper or similar to a wished thickness, could it?
    Regards
    Three years to reply to a post is a long time. My answer to your question would be to just buy a thin vellum. Nothing to be gained from trying to thin one yourself. They are not expensive.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dponeil@xtra.co.nz
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

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