Amazingly Useless Banjo Information

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Disecting a Fiberskin head

Click on the pics to enlarge. The fiber layer is glued on top a regular clear (see-thru) head. You can scrape, rub or whatever, to get a bare spot going, the top layer of fibers tear off easily and a bit more rubbing gets you right down to the clear head itself.
Use some acetone on a rag or paper towel to do the rubbing along the "lift line," the fiber then peels right off, nice and cleanly at that. Of course, you do NOT do this while the head is on the banjo. The layer that peels off is approx 0.0065" (0.15 mm) thick. No, the peels are not edible.

 

Make sure you don't attempt this while the head is still on the banjo as the acetone, flammable eh..., will most likely make one heck of a mess of your banjo's finish. While using the acetone don't get too close to where the head is glued on the hoop as chances are that you get that unglued as well (not a good thing). Any fibers left near the mounting hoop will be covered by the tension hoop anyway so you don't need to get it all off.

Now you're left with an ugly see-thru, totally clear head that's suitable for framing, painting, disposing of, decorating or putting on some other unsuspecting banjo. You could of course, consider decorating it - perhaps try to glue on some funky stuff so's it'll look like calf skin...

Oh, what/how to rub to get the initial bare spot in the fibers would be considered useful information and therefore of course, well beyond the scope of this article.

Banjos defined

Got to thinking about banjos the other day and the way they are so different from other instruments. Yup, we're talking about a real man's instrument, definitely not one of yer sissy glued-together guitars or anything. We're talking nuts, bolts, torque wrenches and for that thin slab of wood (oh yeah, HARD wood to be sure) that make for the neck - think truss rods. Any other way to handle that? Of course not, we're talking a serious case of rebar here. Strings? Goes without saying - solid steel powering into a hardwood bridge. The word is PSI, ooooh yeah, thousands of 'em! Not many changes to banjos these days. Why? You don't tinker with perfection. Fifth string tuner still sticking out at the wrong place after all these years? No prob, of course we can handle that. Flipping through a catalogue I saw a listing for a new head: made out of kevlar, yup, the stuff that stops bullets. Yes sir, somebody's thinking right and what real banjoey wouldn't want/need a bit of an edge... The heads of course, being as thin as they are, only way to mount them securely is on a solid metal ring. Needless to say, steel nuts and bolts are called for and just to be sure, we need a couple of dozen of them so we can do some serious cranking whenever we're in the mood.

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