Whatever your choice of model, the sound of your banjo and a fair amount of its appearance begins with the pot -- the combination of rim, tone ring, head, and the hardware that connects the three together. The outside diameter of the
tone ring is normally 11", but even that can vary.
- The rim is made of wood, normally maple, and can either be a segmented rim glued up from blocks or can be steam-bent from long strips of wood.
- The tone ring is the prime determining factor of your banjo's sound. This metal part is available from a number of manufacturers and can be either a heavy cast arch top or flat head style or can be a lighter, stamped
- The head, once made of animal skin, is today a plastic membrane that is stretched over the tone ring. Heads come in a variety of colors, thicknesses, and finishes, and can considerably alter the inherent sound
of a particular pot.
- Hooks of some description apply pressure to a tension hoop to tighten the head. These hooks are anchored to the rim by either a flange or by individual brackets. All of these hardware items can be either nickel or gold finished.
- The resonator, if so equipped, may be turned from solid wood or built up from thin veneers pressed into a slightly domed shape.