The Silent Banjo System
Sound Clips         Orders

Convert Any Standard Banjo to Silent Practice

I'm sorry, but due to circumstances beyond my control, the 11" Silent Banjo System is no longer available. Thanks to all those who purchased this product over the past few years.

For years drummers have used nylon mesh heads to convert regular drum kits to silent practice. Now this technology is available in an 11" head which can be installed on any standard banjo. You can practice silently and not disturb your family. You can play at the office or in a hotel room without your neighbors complaining. By installing any standard banjo pickup, you can get a true banjo sound through headphones or an amplifier. The Silent Banjo System is an affordable way to convert almost any banjo into a non-intrusive practice monster. Don't wake the family or neighbors, just play it anytime day or night!

Do you need it LOUD? This head also works great for amplified banjo systems. Using any standard pickup, you can now run your banjo through any PA or house amplifier - even an arena sound system - and get a realistic banjo sound without feedback! Country mega-star Keith Urban and his band are currently using Silent Banjo System mesh heads on their on-stage guitar-banjos for their 2007 world tour. Band member Brian Nutter reports that the mesh heads sound "Fantastic!" and their sound engineers are now able to greatly increase their stage volume without any feedback.
The Silent Banjo System Fits any Mastertone-style banjo with a tension hoop and brackets. You can see the coordinator rods and pickup slightly through the mesh.
The Silent Banjo System
The mesh head replaces your standard banjo head.
11 inch mesh head11 inch mesh head
The 11" banjo size is not a standard drum size and is not currently available from any other supplier.
Silent Banjo System head next to 5-Star head The mounting hoop is slightly taller and thicker than a standard banjo head, but should fit your regular 11" banjo. The hoop of the head can easily be filed down slightly to allow brackets to fit better. A slight groove for each bracket is usually enough. To install on my '77 Ibanez Artist, I had to loosen the top coordinator rod slightly to get the head past the neck. Once the head was in place everything tightened back up normally. The brackets are pushed outward a little from the mounting hoop but I had no problems getting the head to tension correctly, even without filing the head.
Filed head close up
Closeup of head filed down for neck and bracket clearance
Filed head close up
Click the image for a larger view

Sound Clips

These sound clips were recorded on the same banjo, before and after installation of the Silent Banjo System mesh head. The sound recording levels and microphone distance are exactly the same on both clips.
Regular Head
Silent Banjo System mesh head      I tried to talk and play at the same time to give an idea of the relative volume levels.

The same banjo again, but recorded before and after using a Gerald Jones pickup and a custom preamp
Regular head
Silent Banjo System mesh head

Even with the mesh head, my pickup system gives a very good banjo tone, and on-stage feedback is virtually eliminated.

Keith Urban and his band are now using these heads on their guitar-banjos for their 2007 world tour. Band member Brian Nutter says the mesh heads sound "fantastic" on their Deering guitjos (equipped with LR Baggs transducers) and on-stage feedback is completely gone even at arena-sized volume levels.

Installation issues -- a few people have reported issues when installing the Silent mesh head. I will report everything here and let you decide if you want to try this on your own banjo.

Nechville Phantom -- unable to get the Helimount threads to engage. This is due to the thicker mounting hoop and probably applies to all Nechville Helimount banjos. I will meet with Tom Nechville at IBMA and see if we can find a solution. Until then, the current system is not compatible with Nechville instruments.

Deering Basic -- unable to get the mounting hoop to seat between the neck and the rim. I had a similar problem with my Ibanez but was able to overcome it by loosening the upper coordinator rod slightly to allow the neck to move. After the mesh head was in place I was able to tighten the rod again to firmly reseat the neck. I have not heard back from the Deering owner to see if he was able to do this.

This is a new product and I appreciate all who have taken a chance on trying it on their own banjos. I will continue to keep a list of successes and failures for particular banjos. Any buyer who has a problem and wishes to return their Silent Banjo head will receive a full refund of course.

I'm sorry, but due to circumstances beyond my control, the 11" Silent Banjo System is no longer available. Thanks to all those who purchased this product over the past few years.


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