Proper setup is so important!


Someone local listed a Recording King RK-R20 for cheap, so I bought it. I got it home and had my wife video me playing it before I messed with the set up. Here’s that recording.

Then I pulled it apart, adjusted the single coordinator rod, used a drum dial to dial the head in to 90 all around (it started out anywhere from 79 to 85) shimmed the neck for a better action and put on a fresh set of strings. Here’s the same banjo, same song, same iPhone recording it in the same room.

It has never been more obvious to me how important a proper setup can be. This little banjo now plays and sounds like banjos I’ve played that cost 5 times as much. If I can make this kind of a difference, imagine how much more @Jake can do on the stuff we buy from him!


Whoa!!! Great demo, buddy!


Thanks Ben! This morning I decided that it was time that I start methodically going through all of the banjo lessons on the site. I literally started with the first video in the Beginner’s section and started working my way through them. I actually picked up a couple of little nuggets along the way, one of which was Mr. Huber’s demonstration of how to scratch the head to hear what note the head is tuned to. I did that on this little R20 and found that it was tuned to G. So I went back and got it up to G#. Man, it really opened up! I would have thought that a tighter head would make it more thin sounding, but when I hit that G#, not only was the brightness still there, but some warm tones started coming through.

This little R20 is turning out to be a great banjo, especially for $200!