Wood Top Tenor Banjo

Wood Top Tenor Banjo

Ive purchaced a bruce weiart tenor banjo recently and instead of a synth or skin head its made of wood, i bout it out of curiosity and it is a beauty to look at but my question is: Does the wooden head affect the sound?

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

You’ve got the instrument. What does it sound like?

I think it’s safe to say that the top of the banjo will affect the sound more than any other component, but I can’t imagine how a wooden head would sound. Never imagined such a thing, actually.

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

i dont have it yet

its supposed to sound like a mix between a regular banjo and a gourd banjo

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

The Bruce Wei instruments are certainly works of art, with regards to their inlay. I have never heard a good thing about them as actual instruments. (And if you live in a dry climate, like I do, apparently they will split and crack within a year of receiving them… From what I hear).

Having said that, I’ll be curious to know what it sounds like when you receive it. I’ve considered buying one of those wood top banjos from him, just as a thing to hang on my wall.

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

"Does the wooden head affect the sound?"

Absolutely - that’s why a banjo sounds so different from a guitar or bouzouki. There might be a little banjoeyness in the tone, owing to the similar shape and size of the body, but as you can imagine a wooden plate vibrates very differently from a piece of stretched skin or plastic.

The instrument in the clips posted above sounds beautiful but, to my ear, quite unlike a banjo - but for the way it is tuned and played. If anything, the tone reminds me most of a tenor guitar or parlour guitar.

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

Thanks for that link, Thomaston. Jason Romero is now living near Vancouver, building banjos and giving seminars. He is doing a seminar on Saturday, in fact, on old-time banjo styles.
It appears that most of his banjos have traditional heads.
http://www.romerobanjos.com/

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

ill be sure to post a sound clip here when it comes (witch wont be till after christmas)

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

Surely the definition of a banjo is that it has a skin head ?
I think the sound samples here sound like a guitar or mandola, because of the wooden soundboard ( for that is what it is ).
The sure thing about your coming instrument is that it won’t be as raucous as a standard tenor banjo. Hurrah !
Good luck with it.

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

Paramount made a few of these as did Gibson. I played a Paramount that Vin Mondello had. Basically is it soft sounding, sweet like guitar, and not banjo-like at all. Close to the Romero banjos. I doubt it will be heard in a session.

The Gibson banjo was made to be amplified and they may have only made one.

Mike Keyes
http://www.banjosessions.com

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

"Surely the definition of a banjo is that it has a skin head ?"

I would say so. A wooden-top banjo is only a banjo in the same way that a sweet potato is a potato or French chalk is chalk.

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

Ozark make a wooden top 5 string shortscale banjo.

They’re wretched things but people buy them because they’re almost silent so can be used for practice in lonely motel rooms.

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Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

I’ve played a few. They sounded sort of halfway between a banjo and a lap dulcimer stuffed with a sock. A briefly interesting novelty sound, but very weak.

Re: Wood Top Tenor Banjo

What interests me more is the ‘banjola’ - a mandola-type instrument with a 5-string banjo neck.