A recurring frustration for banjo players at every level of skill and experience is the seeming mystery that surrounds setting up your instrument for that Killer Tone. We all know that sound when we hear it — a banjo that cuts through a jam or a band while still retaining the rich, sweet tone that defined the classic bluegrass recordings of the 40’s and 50’s. We know it when we hear it, but how do we set the head tension, coordinator rods, bridge and tailpiece to get the sound we are looking for from our own banjos?
In this 80 minute video, renowned banjo craftsman Steve Huber shares the insight and experience that has made him the go to guy for top professional players when it’s time for some banjo tweaking. It would be difficult to visit a major bluegrass festival where several of the pickers were not playing a banjo that Steve had set up or modified in some way. Now, you can profit from Steve's expertise right in your own home as he walks you through the most critical aspects of banjo set up in an easy to follow, step by step presentation. Even if you are afraid to touch the nuts that hold your banjo together, this video will provide a lot of useful information about how the instrument works.
First off, Steve takes us through a detailed description of the parts of the banjo and how they affect tone, volume and playability. If you are new to the banjo, this will provide a fabulous introduction to the instrument. Using a mix of close ups and inset shots you will get a larger than life look at the guts of the Mastertone ® style banjo assembly and how it works.
Steve also covers some of the most critical components of banjo set up: proper head tension, tap tuning the head, optimal tone ring/rim fit, adjusting the coordinator rods, choosing a bridge, adjusting tailpiece height, bridge placement and truss rod adjustments. Before and after demonstrations are included to show how certain adjustments affect tone. After describing and demonstrating many of these variables, Steve completely disassembles and reassembles a banjo on screen as he shows you how to install a new tone ring. A section on tone production as it relates to right hand picking technique closes the presentation. With careful attention to this video and a bit of trial and error, you can get the best possible tone from your banjo - and learn a lot about the instrument in the process.
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