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DrumDial Banjo Head Tension Gauge

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For us banjo pickers, the DrumDial has got to be the greatest invention since the wheel.  It is very easy to use–simply place it on the banjo head in a few different spots to make sure your head is up to the proper tension and even throughout.  This is critical for a banjo to sound up to its full potential.  We like to set the tension of a head anywhere from and 88-91  reading on the dial depending on how mellow or bright the desired sound is. 

To zero the DrumDial, simply place it on a flat surface like a piece of glass (or you can even press it firmly against a glass window if no other glass surface is available) and make sure the needle is pointing to zero.  If it isn’t, loosen the face retention screw and rotate the face display to where the zero is under the needle.  

Once the DrumDial is zero’d, we like to measure the head in four spots (2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 8 o’clock, with the neck being considered high noon) to get an accurate reading of the evenness of the head.  If you want to get really specific you can do this at every single hook, and use the special edge guide which is included.  We recommend tuning the head to 88-89 if you like a more mellow tone (can go even lower if desired) and going up to 91 or a bit more even if a brighter tone is desired.  

These same techniques can be applied to drumheads on actual drums as well, as the DrumDial is perfect for that application too.

If you've got questions, shoot us a message or give us a call at 833-BANJOBEN (833-226-5623).

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