Tackhead Travel Banjo with Internal Tension System


This little guy was designed to be a travel banjo. It has a 10" pot and 21" scale. For this banjo I wanted to be able put tension on the head during the humid months, but without adding hardware to the outside of the banjo (I wanted to preserve a tackhead look). So I decided to use the design that Irish Bodhran makers have been using - internal tensioning similar to this drum by Mike Quinlan.

I started by emailing Mike and he offered me lots of advice on these internal tuners (as drum makers call them). Please see all of Mike's beautiful drums here.

I'm posting two videos. One of Frank Lee, of the Freighthoppes, playing it and another of me explaining it a little bit, including the tensioning system.

Back of the banjo including the internal tensioning system


Upward tension on the head


The neck


Bloodwood fretboard, tailpiece and bridge