Everyone knows that mastering the banjo is a beautiful thing, and it’s a definite challenge, but it’s worth it once you have found the perfect tunes to play. But it’s a task with its own set of challenges, and there’s no shortcut to it – you either learn to master it or you don’t. But there is some good news if you want to make your banjo sound better without really trying – there are ways to improve the tone of your banjo, and you don’t even have to practice for it! So how do you do that? Here are four easy steps to improving the tone of your banjo without any practice.
Step 1: Tighten the head
The first step is already a given, but it’s worth mentioning. Keep your banjo head as tight as possible, so it sounds great. Most banjo players will keep the head of the banjo tuned to a G# pitch, but different tensions will each have a set tone. The trick to remember is that the tone is much brighter and stronger when you tighten the head. When you tighten the head, remember to keep an even tension.
Step 2: Change the strings
It is another step to improving your banjo’s tone that doesn’t involve any practice: you should change the strings. Do it as regularly as possible, preferably once per month. But if you practice fairly often, do it more often as well. If your strings are worn out and dirty, your instrument’s tone will sound ‘dead,’ and when it’s filthy, it will be flat. You can even change strings mid-song once you get the hang of it without skipping a beat. It’s just like banjo tuning – it may take a while to get used to, but practice makes perfect.
Step 3: Change your picks
You may know that there are plenty of different kinds of banjo thumb picks and fingerpicks, and there are those made from various materials, and there are those that come with a variety of angles or shapes. But the trick is to try out several kinds until you find the right pick. It’s all relative, as what may work for you may not work for another player. But banjo picks range in price from $1 to up to $45, and some are made of nickel, bronze, stainless steel, plastic, brass, and more. Some picks are more attuned to a particular way of playing, while others display a different texture or style. Whatever kind you go for, make sure it is the proper type of setting you prefer; Don’t just go for it because someone told you it works for them – listen carefully and trust what you hear with your ear.
Step 4: Adjust your bridge
As with picks, there are also plenty of different bridges to choose from, and every one of those bridges can change the tone of your banjo differently. There are some bridges that can give more balanced and even tones, while there are bridges that can give your banjo a more expressive and less constricted frequency. Over time, bridges may snag and exhibit a curvature, limiting your ability to play.