Why doesn’t my banjo sound very good?
- As with all stringed instruments, it is important to make sure your banjo is properly tuned. Just one string ever so slightly out of tune can make your chords sound noticeably nasty. It’s always best to tune your banjo with an electric tuner before playing. Find out more about banjo tunings HERE.
- Staying with strings for a second, it is important to change your banjo strings regularly. Old and worn strings will have a detrimental effect on the way your banjo sounds by deadening its overall tone and volume. Dirty and oxidised strings also won’t allow your fingers to glide over them easily, so your banjo will also feel bad to play. We generally recommend changing your strings around every two months if you’re someone who spends an average amount of time practicing.
- Make sure your strings are seated correctly at both the bridge and nut of your banjo. This is a common cause of string buzz.
- Tighten your banjo head correctly. You can read more about this in our ‘What is head tension’ section.
- Keep an eye on your bridge. Although it takes a long time, bridges can wear and drop over time. This vital component plays a key role in delivering individual string articulation and an overall balanced tone and can be a pesky culprit if your banjo starts to sound bad.
- Check your intonation. Without getting into the extensive specifics of what exactly intonation is (we could be here a long time!), poor intonation is a common cause of why your banjo can suddenly not sound great. Essentially, intonation refers to the relationship between the position of the bridge in relation to the overall length of the string (scale length). If your bridge isn’t positioned incorrectly – and remember, banjo bridges aren’t fixed to the body like guitars, so they can easily move – it can cause chords to sound odd despite the banjo being in tune. A good way to test whether your intonation is correct is to play chord shapes higher up the neck. If they don’t sound as they should, this is an indicator that your intonation is out, and that your banjo isn’t ‘in tune with itself’. You’ll need to make some small adjustments to the position of your bridge until you hit the sweet spot.
Remember! To ensure your banjo reaches you in its optimal playing condition, each instrument is inspected and set up by our expert technical team in the United Kingdom before making its way to our retail partners.