Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo tone too mellow

My banjo is in the cheaper bracket. It’s all I could afford currently. It has a rolled brass tone ring and has a decent sound. However, for me the tone isn’t crisp enough. I’ve done lots of modifications. I have tightened the head, put on a presto style tail piece, tried various bridges. I even sanded down a bridge to make it thinner. All these things have helped but it’s still a little too mellow sounding and lacks that crisp punch. I’ve thought about replacing the original rolled brass tone ring for a heavier rolled brass tone ring but maybe this will not help and perhaps it’s the design itself that gives it a more mellow tone. If anyone has any other ideas for improvement then I would be happy to hear them.

Joe, Rather than chuck more money at it, maybe the time has come to invest in a @BanjoBen special deal. I know you say it’s all you can afford. But have you talked to Ben? Why not give him a call you have nothing to loose excerpt next month’s pay check :sunglasses:

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I purchased the lighter gauge strings here at the general store and started picking harder and started getting a better pop out of my banjo. Mine sounded pretty mellow before this also.

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Have you experimented much with how far from the bridge you are picking the strings?


I would really try to tighten the head even more. I think a heavier ring might make it louder but not brighter.

According to myth, Earl Scruggs used to say, tighten the head until it breaks and then back it off a bit.

However, you can tighten the head a lot. When it gets too tight, the sound will be ‘choked’ and you’ll get there before you break the head. And before investing in something like a heavier hoop, you might want to check out the quality of your head. A good, white frosted Remo might make a difference too.

I don’t know if you’ve been playing a long time but being able to play fast and clean also contributes a lot to the tone of the banjo. Keep on practicing!

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Try the lighter Crowe GHS strings and see what you think…that made my banjo brighter.

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