Decent Banjos are often considered a fairly inexpensive instrument to purchase, and for the most part, they are. However, even the cheapest banjo can be made to sound better if you know how to adjust its tone.
In this article, we will discuss a few tips on improving the banjo sound, regardless of its price tag. Keep reading to learn more.
9 Ways to Make a Cheap Banjo Sound Better
- Replace Banjo Strings
- Replace Head
- Make Sure Head Has Proper Tension.
- Make Sure It’s Set Up Properly
- Truss Rod Adjustment
- Improve Your Playing
- Replace or Adjust Bridge
- Replace or Adjust Tailpiece
- Adjust The Nut
1- Replace Strings
This is often the first thing most banjo players do when they buy a new stringed instrument: replace the strings. This is especially true for those who play bluegrass sound and old-time styles, but it’s just as important to keep an eye on your banjo’s strings if you play other types of music. If you’re serious about the sound of your banjo, you’ll definitely want to invest in a good set of strings. You can choose from many types and banjo brands, so it’s best to do some research before buying new ones.
2- Replace Head
Fancy Banjos are acoustic instruments, so they rely on vibration’s power to create sound differences. The head of the banjo is where this vibration occurs. A quality banjo head will do a much better job of making your banjo sound good, so it’s important that you’re always looking to replace or upgrade yours if it starts wearing down. You can also buy pre-stretched heads that are easier to tune and less likely to go out of tune quickly than natural hides.
3- Make Sure the Head Has Proper Tension
You must ensure that your head has the right amount of head tension, which will optimize the tone and volume of your cheap instrument. For example, if you suspect that there’s something wrong with your banjo head, ask advanced players to help you adjust it.
4- Make Sure It’s Set Up Properly
This is something that even experienced players often forget i.e. the setup of your instrument. It can have a huge impact on your bright tone. For example, if your banjo bridge or tailpiece is too low, they could be hindering the projection of your loud sound or even dampening it. Also, if you don’t make sure that your strings are tuned to the proper pitch, they won’t be able to vibrate properly.
5- Truss Rod Adjustment
Depending on the type of folk instrument you have, your truss rod adjustment may not be something that you know much about. This is usually found on more expensive banjos (and sometimes even mandolins), but it’s still important to learn about if you’re serious about playing the folk instrument well. If your banjo model isn’t sounding quite right, ask a professional how to make the necessary adjustments.
6- Improve Your Playing
Even if you’re using a quality instrument and your tone is good, the only way to make it loud sound really great is to use proper technique. That means developing your ear and more practice. Focus on solid strumming and fingerpicking, which will ensure that your notes can be heard properly, even over other instruments.
7- Replace or Adjust the Bridge
Your bridge is another component that you need to pay attention to, and many players don’t know how to adjust it properly. Just like the head, an old or poorly adjusted bridge will affect your brass tone and volume, so it’s worth learning about if you want to get the most out of your expensive instrument.
8- Replace or Adjust Tailpiece Angle
The tailpiece is part of your stringing, so it’s essential that you pay attention to how it affects the difference in the tone of your banjo body. Your bridge and head are properly adjusted when there’s an equal amount of string tension at the bridge and adjustable tailpiece.
9- Adjust The Nut
The nut is another component that can affect your balanced tone and one that you should know how to adjust properly. For example, if it’s too high, your first fret will be buzzing. This is especially important if you plan on playing with a flat pick, one strum could mean a lot of buzzing.
How can I improve the tuning on my cheap banjo?
One way to improve the tuning of your banjo is to use a tuner. You can find these online or at your local music store. Another way to help keep your banjo in tune is to regularly clean and oil the instrument.
Do banjos sound better with age?
In general, older banjos sound better than contemporary versions, partly because they were built better in many circumstances but also because science is superior. Behind the sound has also improved over time. Additionally, the wood used in banjos has had a chance to cure and age, which can also impact the sound.
How do I make my banjo sound more mellow?
If you want your banjo to sound more mellow, you can try using a softer pick. You can also try using a lighter touch when you play. Finally, try adjusting the tuning pegs to lower the pitch of the strings.
Banjo players of all levels can benefit from these tips, whether you’re a beginner banjo player just starting out or an experienced player looking to get that extra edge. Have you tried any of these ways to improve your banjo sound? If not, then do it now. Good Luck!