Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Banjo Bolster™ - Tamer of Wild Overtones


The Banjo Bolster in my Ramsey fretless banjo
I picked up a new piece of banjo paraphernalia this week. It’s called a Banjo Bolster,™ a nifty little device that helps tame the unwanted overtones of an open-back banjo. The best thing about this unique overtone tamer is, unlike a piece of foam stuffed between the dowel stick and the banjo head, the Banjo Bolster™ lets you adjust the amount of ringing you want to hear by allowing all, some, or none of the Bolster to come in direct contact with the banjo head. Also, unlike a piece of foam, it doesn’t lower the overall volume of the instrument or muffle the tone. The icing on the cake is the Banjo Bolster™ is handmade by an experienced fiber artist and looks great. I ordered the Banjo Bolster with the intent of using it in my Wildwood Troubadour banjo. The effect on the Troubadour was pretty subtle, but the improvement in my Mike Ramsey fretless banjo is much more dramatic. The Wildwood has a deeper, heavier pot and a tubaphone tone ring which, I suspect, may be conspiring to limit the overall effect of the Bolster, so, for now, I guess I’ll leave the foam damper in that banjo while I enjoy the new sonic palette of my Ramsey fretless. In closing, if you have some spare coin and are looking to find a way to rein in those troublesome overtones in your open-back old-time banjo, check out the Banjo Bolster™ at www.banjobolster.com - Ric & Deb Hollander will make you one to fit your banjo.


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