Improving the tone of a modest starter banjo
image by jjjournal
Just recently I had a visit by someone with a fairly cheap introductory level banjo asking if I could do anything to improve the tone and do something to reduce the amount of tuning he had to do with it.
So, I thought it might be a good subject for a blog. Banjos aren’t cheap and unless you’ve got a pretty healthy disposable income , your number one banjo may take a while to acquire. But take heart ! this can be an exciting time where you learn a great deal about your instrument , what you like and just as importantly , what you don’t like.
Also, although that little banjo may never sound as good as a 1933 Granada and end up paying for your house when stick it on ebay, it will serve you well.
The thing is, theses banjos are made to a price , a very low price. They are put together with fairly wide tolerances and shipped out quick. When they arrive in the UK , they are ‘set up’ and sold to the customer. This ‘set up’ varies considerably . There are decent specialist banjo shops who care and do take the trouble to do the job properly but more often than not this should be called ‘unpacked’ ( the whole things a set up! …ho ho! ) . If you are one of those people who likes to tinker a bit you can squeeze a bit more out of these instruments without spending a lot of money.
I’m going to make this a short series and just want to say, some of this stuff may effect your warranty.1/ If you value your warranty don’t do this ! 2/ I’m not going to get into tuning air chambers and changing tone rings etc. I find that stuff fascinating but its not applicable here. We want cheap and cheerful, kitchen table stuff for this.