So today I was looking at my banjo, and I noticed a small split in the drumhead. It could be from the Christmas Tree falling on it, or just the extreme temperatures up here. Anyway, what do I do? The banjo is basically brand new, I got it from the General Store a couple months ago. @Jake, @AdamAsh, @BanjoBen? I don’t want to spend $100 on labor to fix it, but don’t feel comfortable doing it myself. I can attach a photo if requested.
Replacing a head is really not that bad. I just checked and there are several YouTube videos on how to do it.
I encourage you to learn how as well. You can do it!
Most of the videos I have watched on this topic are easy to follow. It’s good to gain experience doing this for yourself. Just take your time. Tighten each hook 1/4 turn in sequence. I usually nip up one miss one and jump to the next working round the head like tightening the wheel nuts on a car. Caution: Be careful not to cross thread the head tension nuts or over tighten the head.
There are so many debates on what the “best head” is. I don’t think there’s a single answer. Since you got your banjo from the General Store, give Jake or Adam a call and ask for a recommendation. They won’t steer your wrong.
Just to emphasis tighten each hook 1/4 turn in sequence. Gentle pressure, if it feels tight don’t force it. Tap the head as you go till it starts to sound like a drum. Back off each nut 1/4 turn leave the head to rest/settle a short while and repeat the process making sure the head is sitting square.
Changing a head is not too bad. I have, however, busted a few in doing it, especially on a “hoop-style” banjo such as the RK-R20s that we sell at the store (mine was actually an Alvarez that I played for several years). On a banjo with a full-sized tone ring, it doesn’t matter since the head only touches the tone ring and tension hoop. However, on a hoop-style banjo, the head comes down past the tension hoop and covers part of the rim. On this style banjo, it’s important to loosen the coordinator rod to a neutral position so that the rim relaxes into a more perfectly round shape and allows the hoop ring to sit just right while you tighten the head down. Otherwise, it is sometimes possible for a sharp edge on either the hoop or the rim to cut into the side of the head as you tighten it. Then, after you get the head on and ready to go, you can readjust the coordinator rod.
Oh boy, your making me nervous. Thanks for the info though.
I found out a local banjo player (a really good one) can change the head. Phew… I didn’t want to mess with the coordinator rod.
If your local friend doesn’t charge extra for you to watch, it will be a great learning experience. I’ll bet you could do it yourself. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the abilities of the young folks on this forum.
I’m gonna try to watch if I can. I’ve only been playing banjo for a few months, and have not attempted to make any kind of adjustment, and I have heard horror stories about what can happen.