Customer Testimonials

Tom Collins Video Review of the Banjo Bolster

The text below is a partial transcript from Tom Collins' video review of the Banjo Bolster.

“From time immemorial, banjo players have been looking around their environment, trying to find the next thing to stuff inside their banjo to try to make it sound just a little better. I think I have an answer to all our banjo playing prayers today – It’s called the Banjo Bolster

I think every open back banjo owner should have a Banjo Bolster! There I said it! It’s that plain to me. 

Go to BanjoBolster.com and check it out. It’s a great way to focus the sound of your instrument without jamming it full of a bunch of stuff. I think it is absolutely brilliant! I also love the fact that is built by a husband and wife team who are trying to source local materials and building a product specifically for open back banjos. How often can we say that? That is awesome. I think they deserve our support. So give Ric a shout and tell them that you saw this video and I will see you next time, with my Banjo Bolster, on Banjo Quest.

UPDATE: the Banjo Bolster in the OME Omega is just creamy delicious! I didn't think this banjo could sound better ... but it does now!

Read Tom's full review of the Banjo Bolster

- Tom Collins
   (Renowned banjo player, educator and owner of the Banjo Quest Patreon and YouTube channels )


I was sent two Banjo Bolsters to review; one for my “main” banjo and one for my cello banjo, and I am loving them. In the past week, I’ve used them in a rockin’ jam as well as in a couple of solo videos, and they performed beautifully in both settings. I’ve always stuffed my banjos, using all sorts of things from foam to rolled socks to stick-on gel. This beats them all. The Banjo Bolster somehow manages to let every note ring individually instead of stepping on the heels of the note that came before. My banjo sound seems subtly more concentrated, like a stock left on a low simmer for a few hours. (I’m a chef, so please forgive the cooking analogy.) Glad to have them in my banjos, where I’m guessing they’ll be living for many years!

- Hilarie Burhans
   (Renowned banjo player, educator and chef. Please visit Hilarie's YouTube and Patreon channels.)


“Ric and Deb, thank you for the Banjo Bolster that recently arrived. The construction is innovative, in the sense that if the interior dimensions are measured correctly, it will stay put.

Secondly, based on your instructive suggestions toward Resonator Banjos, the variations of placement open up a whole new world of tone alternatives. Ranging for a nuanced change, to more dramatic, the overall effect of note decay and note separation, so sought after by pros, is wonderful.

It used to be all setup…..string gauges, bridge weights, and heads……but now any Resonator Five-String Banjo will benefit from the Banjo Bolster.

If you are a Stanley nut and like lots of ring, then you can literally tailor the amount of ring and note separation. If you like flat heads, you can essentially accentuate the bottom end or top end to your liking and getting that Scruggs note separation on even fast songs.

Then it opens up the use of lighter gauge strings, 9’s, 9.5’, or 10’s on the 1st and 5th, but with the ability to boost the bottom or top end for that balanced EQ across the strings.

Truly a ground breaker for Resonator Banjos!

Regards,

E.E.G. 


The Banjo Bolster is the fastest, most efficient and user-friendly approach I've ever come across to revive and beautify the sound of banjos; to fine-tune and enhance their expressive qualities. On several banjos with which I’ve tried it, the Banjo Bolster acts as a unique kind of acoustic equalizer and compressor - balancing the entire tonal range and refining the articulation of each instrument.

I’ve used Ric and Deb Hollander’s Banjo Bolster in each of my seven openbacks: scooped-neck clawhammers, tenors, cellos. I’ve been doing a round robin with the one I have, and I’m eager to have a Banjo Bolster to take up permanent residence in all of them, since they all display a strong affinity to it. It doesn’t act like a mute, of any kind. It acts as a tonal enhancer, refining the sound. It’s NOT something I would feel the need to take in and out (although I easily could), and adjusting the spectrum of tonal refinement is easy, intuitive, and effortlessly accessible.

I love the way I can use the Banjo Bolster to control my banjos’ natural reverb, which on some of my instruments, overwhelms the fundamental tone, making it sound muddy and out of tune. The Banjo Bolster lets me easily control the reverberations, while maintaining the instrument's rich and resonant qualities. The improvement in tone is quite dramatic!

Some of my banjos have inconsistencies in volume from string to string. I've tried all kinds of stuffing, but it didn't help. The Banjo Bolster completely balances my string-to-string volume, much like a compressor used in audio recording, allowing me to dial-in the exact sound I want.

You ought to hear how this kitten can make your banjo purr, while preserving its full volume and tonal range. For such a reasonable price, Ric and Deb Hollander’s Banjo Bolster is a no-brainer. I love where the Banjo Bolster is taking my music. It's become easier for me to get lost in my music, inspiring my playing to take on deeper levels of tonal nuance.

UPDATE:
Ric Hollander's claim is really quite extraordinary: "The Banjo Bolster... enhances a banjo’s tone by transparently removing undesirable overtones, while preserving the full power and frequency response of the banjo."  What has been surprisingly impressive to me is that Ric's claim is actually true; it's not an exaggeration. The Banjo Bolster is revolutionary in the ways it significantly enhances the tone of all my banjos. For sixty years I had been on what seemed like an endless search to beautify the sound of my banjos. The Banjo Bolster finally answered my search - taking me home to the sounds I had heard in my head, but could never quite pull out of my banjos. Thanks, Ric and Deb. It's been worth the wait!

- Paul Roberts
(Paul Roberts was co-producer and sound engineer on Adam Hurt's groundbreaking solo album, Earth Tones. Paul Roberts has had a distinguished career as a pioneer music therapist and as a multi-instrumentalist performer who specializes in plucked string instruments from around the globe.) Paul Roberts has worked closely with Gold Tone since 2008 as an independent retailer specializing in personalized service and custom orders.


I tend to be a sucker for every new banjo device I hear about, most of which don’t turn out to be nearly as good or useful as I thought they would be. But my experience with trying out the Banjo Bolster was pretty much the exact opposite of that scenario.

When I first heard about the Banjo Bolster, I have to admit that I was a complete skeptic. I couldn’t really see much point to it. But at least I was open-minded enough to give it a chance to see if I might possibly be wrong, though I was not expecting to be surprised. Yet, surprised I was, indeed!

I think this is one of the best innovations in banjo related technology to come along in a long time. Like the scoop at the high end of the neck that makes it easier to play directly over the neck and take advantage of the unique tonal qualities there, or Nylgut strings that allow you to get the tone and warmth of the banjo’s original gut strings without the hassles of actual gut, the Banjo Bolster makes it easier to get your banjo to sound its best, with the added versatility of easy re-positioning to find just the right sound for you.

Read Marc's full review of the Banjo Bolster

 - Marc Nerenberg  Montreal West, Quebec


“I've tried many ways to stuff things behind my banjo head on several banjos (including a stuffed animal, foam and sheepskin), but this soft device Ric and Deb developed is the best yet

For years I’ve tried to control the over-sustain of my Gold Tone cello banjo via stuffing the back of the head with various materials.  Ric shared a sound analysis to compare my banjo with and without the Banjo Bolster. I’m pleased how the Banjo Bolster makes such a difference.  I get more clarity, yet maintain volume, enriching my iPhone recordings. Thanks for this creation of yours! I’m enjoying my cello banjo even more with it, truly!

I hope others give the Banjo Bolster a try if they're looking to improve tone, eliminate overtones, and want an opportunity to do some easy experiments on their banjos.”

- Janet Burton  Smartsville, CA


The Banjo Bolster does what it claims to do—it reduces overtones while maintaining clarity and volume. When I was a relatively new clawhammer player seeking to improve my banjo’s tone, I tried the laundry list: socks, T shirts, rags. Then I moved on to the kitchen, using towels, sponges, and cork from wine bottles. I also tried sheep skin and some wool from my wife’s knitting stash. Some of these worked, but they fell out while I played, and some things were awkward.

The ordering process on the Banjo Bolster website is pretty cool. There are clear easy to follow instructions to determine the size required. There are demo recordings to show the effect of using the Banjo Bolster on a few banjos as well. Online check out and ordering is pretty simple and my Banjo Bolster came in a few days.

I use it on my Rickard Fretless with a Dobson tone ring and my Lukas Pool with a whyte ladie tone ring. It’s the best stuffing option I have ever used. It works exactly as promised—you can maintain volume while removing overtones.  I am pleased with how my banjo sounds both solo and with others in our local jam. It’s easy to install and can be removed if you want the banjo’s original twang.

The ordering process is a cinch. No more socks or old towels!

- Clint Baer  Silver Spring, MD


“I've been using the Banjo Bolster in my my 1920s Whyte Laydie since the prototype days. I play gigs in all sorts of environments from coffeehouses and libraries to 300-year-old churches and outdoor festivals, and each venue has unique acoustic properties, and the Banjo Bolster helps me keep the tone I want.

Over the years I've tried stuffing the back with foam, washcloths, kitchen towels, and even a sponge, but they produce an unpleasant muted sound -- it's like listening to the banjo with earmuffs on. Those days are over! The Banjo Bolster never hides the true sound of your instrument; it just enhances it. It is easily adjustable and enormously helpful in optimizing my banjo's tonal quality.

I highly recommend the Banjo Bolster. Ric and Deb Hollander approach all their projects with precision and artistry, and the bolster is a fine example of that. 

I think every banjo player will want to have one!

- Maria Fairchild  Hicksville, NY


“As a forever student of clawhammer banjo, I'm always in search of the best tone I can get. I had the opportunity to try a Banjo Bolster in comparison to the myriad of other things I've used to stuff my openback. Rags, socks, foam, stuffed dog toys etc., all got me closer to what I was looking for, but there was always something not quite right. With the Banjo Bolster, what sounded hollow was now warmer and fuller, and what sounded muddy was distinctly clearer. The Banjo Bolster allows the notes to ring, but still gives good note separation as it reduces overtones. It's also pretty flexible in that you can change where and how you place it against the head, impacting the tone, for more or less overtone reduction.

I love how the Banjo Bolster retains clarity of tone without muting it. You can also easily play around with how the bolster is placed and hear differences in the sound produced. Mine just lives in my banjo full-time now.

Highly recommended!

- Ellen Torop  Ronkonkoma, NY


“I've got to tell you, THIS THING REALLY WORKS!

- Bob Packard  Centerville, MA


“The eagerly anticipated Banjo Bolster arrived today. There was nothing subtle about its effectiveness. It does just what everyone says.”

David Politzer  Pasadena, CA
(Banjo player and Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. David was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Gross and Frank Wilczek for their discovery of asymptotic freedom in quantum chromodynamics. He also does fascinating research into the physics of the banjo!)


I was surprised to hear the incredible difference the Banjo Bolster made in the sound of my banjo! I noticed it right away. It just cleared the notes. It eliminated a lot of the extraneous sounds you didn't want to hear!

- Tom Stearns  Chelsea, VT


Wow, I love this thing! It's the only thing I've ever tried that got rid of overtones without reducing volume! And it's invisible from the front, which is an added bonus!

- Becky Barrow  Canton GA


I ordered one for my favorite 11" banjo and I was astonished that it actually worked just as Ric described -- much better than the sheepskin that I had settled on after trying many ways to control overtones. It really has removed the overtones while maintaining the volume and sparkle.

I have recently been playing in jams with 3 or 4 fiddlers, and for the sake of volume I started bring a 12" with a Renaissance head. I was actually thinking of changing my 11" from the Fyberskin head to a Renaissance one for more volume. But now I don't think that I'll have to do it.

As Marc Nerenberg said, it's rare to find a new banjo device that turns out to be a keeper -- Banjo Bolster is a happy exception.


I'm going to measure my 12" banjos and place another order.

- Howard Weinberg  New York, NY


It does as advertised!
Neat idea!
I now carry it with me!

Dan Levenson (Clawdan)  Tucson AZ


Just love it!

It does everything that is advertised on their site. It just gets rid of the overtones. My banjo still has ALL its volume and tone and sounds so good.  It's fantastic!

My clucks are more defined too!

Man, do I love how my banjo sounds with the Banjo Bolster!

- Chris Griffith  Saint Charles, MO


“+1 on the Banjo Bolster.

Banjo players are inveterate tinkerers, and I include myself in that group. I've tried dozens of different dampening materials throughout my years of play, including foam, sponge, rags, rubber, cork, mousepad material, ad nauseum. All of them did something to the tone, sometimes something good, sometimes not so good.

I recently read about the Banjo Bolster on Banjo Hangout (banjohangout.org) and though skeptical, decided to give it a try.

I've been using it for five days now (on my 12" Ouren openback banjo w/ Dobson tone-ring) and I'm a believer.

It installs in seconds and offers a range of sound options, depending on where and how you lay the thing in. The best thing is it doesn't kill the tone. My banjo is still lively, with plenty of thump, but it sounds significantly better (punchier maybe?) with the Banjo Bolster then without it, and sounds better than anything else I've tried.

I know this must sound like I'm in the employ of the Banjo Bolster Conglomerate, but I'm just a pest like the rest of us. 

Now I want one for my Rickard and Wildwood openbacks as well.

Thanks Ric!

- Glenn Jones  Cambridge MA


“Here's another +1 for the Banjo Bolster. I bought one for my LeVan 12" A-scale and liked it so much I just ordered two more for my Vega and my Reiter fretless. I'd been using a wine cork under the dowel stick, but the Banjo Bolster is much better.”

- Rick Hadley  Decorah, IA


“I have used the Banjo Bolster in a couple of open-back banjos, and I recently had the opportunity to try their Bluegrass Banjo Bolster model in a resonator banjo. I'm very pleased with all of the results. The Banjo Bolster performed as promised in all of the banjos I tried; overtones were diminished, but the volume and projection of the sound were unchanged. The instruments also seemed to produce a more balanced sound.

For old-timey, clawhammer style playing the Bolster is a must-have, in my opinion. It's inexpensive, it works, and it certainly looks a lot better than a pair of old sweat socks.

The bluegrass model is a winner as well. Fewer overtones, but absolutely no loss of the powerful volume of my instrument. The same positives as the clawhammer version (minus the sweat socks).

A great addition for any player, IMO.

- Dave Chandler  Bethel Park, PA


“I'm very happy with my Banjo Bolster, which arrived here in the UK much quicker than I expected (and thanks for putting the discount through after I forgot to apply it!) It really tames the overtones but keeps the volume, so the banjo sounds more "open" than dampening the head.

- Mark Gentry  York, UK


“I want to let you know that I am very pleased with the Banjo Bolster. I’m currently trying different placements of the bolster in my open back Recording King banjo.

As I play more individual notes than strums, I’ve became bothered with the lack of clarity, an undesirable metallic, buzzy tone and overtones. I also found some strings sounded out of tune despite my best efforts. I’m not ready to purchase a better banjo, so I started to look for ways to improve these issues. I was pleased with the results from a new bridge, then I saw mention of the Banjo Bolster on banjo hangout and ordered it right away.

The best way I can explain the improvement is to describe an experience I had with watercolor paper. In my usual painting practice I used an intermediate weight of a high quality watercolor paper. In a watercolor class, the instructor had us use the same brand of paper, but in the heavy (and more expensive) weight. Suddenly, my control of my brushstrokes, water and paint were noticeably elevated. It was easier to paint, and I encountered fewer challenges with better results. I had not suddenly improved my control of my brushes, paint and water; the only variable was the heavier paper. That is how I feel about the Banjo Bolster.

So, thanks for reading this long note, and thanks for the Banjo Bolster. I really appreciated that you offered me a discount that I had not noticed was available. I was so pleased to see Tom Collins give you a great review, I’m sure you will get a lot of orders, so I’m glad I ordered early!

- Mary Ann Gillespey  Naselle, Wa


“I received and installed my bolster yesterday.

I am a 74 year old banjo-player-wannabee with bad hearing, but I like what it did to the sound of my Deering Goodtime banjo. To my ears it seemed to reduce the “hollowness” of my banjo . . . gave my banjo a more substantive sound.

But mainly I wanted to share with you another observation . . . which you are probably already aware of. I use an electronic digital tuner. And what I immediately noticed was that it became easier to use after I installed the bolster. Before, as I was tuning a string, the readings would jitter around a lot. It made it a little difficult to find just the right note.

But with the bolster, the tuner seems more solid. The needle jiggles around less as I am tuning. So the bolster seems to “stabilize” the notes of my banjo. I found that really interesting.

Anyway, thanks again for developing this product. It’s a keeper for me.

- Tim  Salt Lake City, UT


“Hey Ric! Tonight I got some time to record an A/B comparison of my banjo with and without the Banjo Bolster that I'd imagine you'd be interested to hear.

The result is pretty dramatic, as you already know, but I was surprised to hear just how much overtone yuck there is in the raw "without" clip. There's some whistling frequencies that are just a constant annoying presence that's almost like feedback in its quality. I would've notched those out via EQ if I wasn't trying to just leave it untouched for the honest comparison. But beyond those whistling tones, the whole things sounds more like it was mic'd further away (it wasn't) and there are overtones that are so overpowering that the fundamental note pitch on the 4th string tends to get almost completely swallowed up by competing frequencies.

With the Banjo Bolster in, all of that goes away and it's just the pure notes.

Side note: The more time I spend with this properly fitted bolster in, the more I'm enjoying it. In my San Francisco apartment I've always tried to appreciate on behalf of my neighbors that foam dampening also made my banjo quieter and, more importantly, less punchy. Last night I was playing around 10pm and realized how punchy it was now, so much so that I started worrying about noise but quickly decided that was a wonderful new problem to have because it's nice to have the punch back in the sound.”

- Ryan Harlin  San Francisco, CA
(Musician, Sound Engineer and Music Producer)
Hear Ryan's Recording of his OME Mira banjo with and without the Banjo Bolster


“I would confirm having received my Banjo Bolster for my Lyndon 12" Open Back Banjo and I'm really pleased with it.

It does exactly what it is claimed to do.

I'm so impressed I'll be ordering another for my 11" Banjo.

- Steve Parish  Ormskirk, UK


“After viewing Tom's (Collins) video last week, I ordered a Banjo Bolster.

Well, here's something that does exactly what it claims.

I have an 11 inch walnut Enoch Tradesman (for reference). Cuts the overtones nicely, but the real advantage is the clarity it gives to the notes. I'm very satisfied.

I do not know Ric or his wife and was not compensated in any way.

- Jerry  Clearwater, FL


“Received it. I LIKE IT!

- Lee Perkins  Ashville, NC


“Thank you!

In both banjos and they're great!

All the best,

- Rodney Owens  Harrisburg, PA


“Ric,

I just got it and I love it.

Thanks for developing this much needed device and for your great service.

Kevin

- Kevin Frederick  Bristol, TN


Just received my Banjo Bolster. It has far exceeded my expectations. I have an open back 12" Pisgah banjo with a Persimmon (wooden) tone ring. It never sounded so good! My banjo has now been upgraded in overall sound/tone. The banjo even feels easier to play now that I removed the sponge I had under the Renaissance head.

Thanks so much Ric & Deb! Keep up your good work.

Blessings,

Ken

- Ken Cappuccio  Myrtle Beach, SC


I have ordered a Banjo Bolster and I Love it!

- Caspar Noetzli  Waedenswil, Switzerland


“Who knew there would be a market for a better t-shirt, towel, foam, bandana, rag, etc. to stuff inside your banjo to damper the tubby overtones?

I was a bit dubious even after I saw Tom Collins' and Hilary Burhan's reviews...but I was also curious. Was it really necessary? Then, on a road trip from FL to MA, I stopped off and jammed with some friends, one of whom had a Banjo Bolster in her OME banjo and I was impressed. I ordered one for myself.

Dang! The Banjo Bolster works as advertised and works very well. Quite impressive! I'm a believer!

Also, I had a bunch of questions after placing my order and Ric went out of his way to call me with answers. The level of customer support is indicative of the thoughtful care that has gone into developing the Banjo Bolster.

Thanks Ric & Deb! Big smiles to you both.

- Russell Mofsky  Cummington, MA


I've tried rags, socks, sponges (among other things) to enhance the sound of my banjo, but nothing works like the Banjo Bolster. I was expecting something heavier, but it's surprisingly light. I also like the fact that it is made to an exact size to fit my banjo and can be easily adjusted to get the sound I'm looking for.

I highly recommend it.

- Dan Korb  Woodstock, NY


Wow, wow, wow! Superb in every way, just put it in my banjo and absolutely blown away by the difference it makes.

Look out for more orders from me :)

- Ciaran McElhinney  Belfast, Ireland


“Thank you, Ric and Deb!

No more funny-looking stuff "stuffed" into banjo pots.
Your Banjo Bolster is barely noticeable from the front on my ODE.

You have revolutionized banjoing!

UPDATE 1:
I'm still in awe at how your bolster enhances the quality of EACH stringYou and Deb will go down in "banjo history," for sure.  I brought the bolster to demonstrate it for the folks working at our Acoustic Music store, and they noticed how it maintained the volume and enhanced the clarity of each string from the various banjos hanging on their wall.

UPDATE 2:
Your bolsters for my Pisgah and Deering arrived today. I'm in hog's heaven now! I'm still intrigued at the wonders of your creation. I've been playing all three banjos now this afternoon and enjoying their new "voices!  Thank you!

UPDATE 3:
Ric and Deb,

After a month or so since receiving your first bolster and then the next two just recently, I am still  enthralled at the clarity and volume that they bring to each string! My Deering Goodtime has been elevated to Pisgah quality, and my Pisgah is now sounding heavenly!

- John Schneider  Salt Lake City, UT


“Hello,

Just wanted you to know that I received the Banjo Bolsters this afternoon — and they totally ROCK. I’ve been playing with them since they arrived (on my Rickard and cello 🪕 banjos).

Wow. Makes such a difference. Bravo! 👏🏼☺️

- Julie M Elman  Athens, OH


Mandy Tyner (Banjo Lemonade)

Mandy Tyner (Banjo Lemonade)
Watch Mandy's Video Review!


“I’ve owned and played at least 8 different banjos over the years, and I’ve reviewed banjo’s in my local music shop (so I’ve tested out more banjos that I didn’t own). In my experience, it’s funny I actually went with a wood tone ring to try and diminish some of the overtones that seem to happen with an open back banjo.

For me overtones are bad because they are uncomfortable for my ears and make them ring and pulse. With years of military, law enforcement, and just basic life I have some minimal damage to my ears.

So once I got into clawhammer I would stuff my banjo with dishrags and sponges in order to not have ringing ears. It wouldn’t matter if the banjo sounded absolutely amazing, I would still get these uncomfortable tones ringing in my ears to the point of pulses in my ears. So for years the solution was that deadened sound you get from rags and sponges touching the banjo head and squeezed in between the rod/dowel. And I’ve gotten very used to that deadened sound.

Enter the Banjo Bolster! It’s very unassuming when you receive it and you literally think - what makes this any different than anything else I use? Well a lot actually!! I got it and pulled out the heavy sponge I have been using for several years (I had changed from rags to sponges because the sponge would stay in place better behind the dowel). I had watched a video on the website of how to put it in. So I put it in the bottom (below the dowel if you are in playing position) and positioned it so it wasn’t touching the banjo head at all. I just snaked it in around the wood rim touching each side of the dowel. I braced myself for the ear pulsing (since I wasn’t stuffing it against the head).

I do not lightly say this - the banjo now sounds ALIVE, and NO ringing or pulsing in my ears. So now I have a much better sound, but no ear issues!! That is huge for me.

I played my banjo for a whole session and it was like I was playing a new banjo (the sound is so pleasant). I know that sounds crazy, and I’m not a technical person so it’s hard to describe other than it just sounds ALIVE now. Instead of sorta dead.

So when Ric originally contacted me asking if he could send me one I was definitely skeptical. It isn’t often when you find something seemingly so simple yet so great at the same time. I thought - ok you just fancied up a sponge or pillow stuffing or something. WELL - whatever he did - I love it is all I can say.

It’s such a subtle difference if you are the listener standing on the other side of the player. I had my husband stand and listen to me playing with nothing (ouch my ears) then with the bolster installed. He could hear a difference and described it as more pleasant. BUT - for me sitting behind the banjo - THE PLAYER - which we all are first, the difference is unreal. I also had him listen to me playing normally with the sponge, then the bolster. Again he said it’s a pleasant difference.

All of this for me to tell you - buy it and experience the difference for yourself. We all love trying new things, and when there’s even a chance that a player's experience can be improved I am all for that. We are the ones behind the banjo, doing the work after all, right?

 - Mandy Tyner (Banjo Lemonade) Renowned banjo player and educator
Banjo Lemonade (YouTube)
banjolemonade.com (Clawhammer and 2 Finger Banjo Lessons)
MandyTyner.com (About, Calendar, Bookings)
Folkcraft.com (Endorsed Artist for Folkcraft Instruments)


I play in a contra-dance band and in the past I’ve often felt like I’m working so hard to be heard I should take anything out that I’ve stuffed inside the pot to deal with overtones. No more.This is such a well thought out product. There’s no weight to it. It sits back there along the inside of the pot, but it’s not stuffed against the head, muffling your tone. All the sound is still there, but without the overtones. The Banjo Bolster isn’t a cosmetic solution you buy to upgrade from your husband’s gym sock wedged back there between the dowel and the head. You buy this because it’s a way more effective sound solution.

Ric and Deb have engineered a great product that’s nicely finished.

So get one. You’ll be glad.

- Kate Dwyer  Nevada City, CA


I found a dramatic improvement in tone with my bolster. Thanks!

- Carl Watt  Hood River, OR


Enjoying it already.  It sounds good on my custom made banjo but I was even more impressed at how it transformed the sound of my cheap little Recording King.  I can’t put it down.

- Elton Scifres  Nacogdoches, TX


This morning I finally got around to trying out the Banjo Bolster. I followed along with the 'how to' vid on the website and, after about ten-fifteen minutes of experimentation, I'm pretty convinced that this thing is going to become a permanent resident inside my primary banjo.

The banjo bolster tames unwanted overtones AND it's configurable. So far I've only used it around the house and when jamming with a couple of friends but I can clearly see how useful it would be in a recording and/or a live sound scenario.

Kudos to you and Deb for creating such an elegant solution to such a longstanding frustration!

- Ryan Spearman  Renowned Banjo Player and Educator
PlayBetterBanjo.com
Play Better Banjo (YouTube Channel)
RyanSpearman.net


I had read about the Banjo Bolster and watched Hilarie's (Hilarie Burhan) video and figured it was yet another gimmick.

Then I heard it being used at Clifftop. The player Bill, played with and without the device. The difference was remarkable. It sounded as if the Banjo Bolster vacuumed up all the weird overtones of his already lovely banjo and what emerged sounded clean and curiously a bit louder.

It ain't just a pair of underwear stuffed in the back. I ordered a couple.

- Tony S  Weymouth, MA


They are great. I have them in a modern banjo and one in a Jim Hartel Levi Brown banjo. Both sound so much better. I haven’t even adjusted them much. I love them

Thank you!

- Ann Hunt  Rockbridge County, VA


Just picked it up and plugged it in… and boy does it sound great! Amazing how sweet the tone is!

Thanks for a great product!

Best regard

- Pat Stanley  Placitas, NM


Ric, your invention is ingenious! It did exactly what I thought it would--focus the sound without changing the banjo's voice.

The Romero sounds less like it's being played on the front porch down in the hollow at dusk. Not that there's anything wrong with that sound too, but you just might not want it all the time.

Thanks very much. Best of luck with this and all your endeavors.”

- R.A. Manes  Nassau, NY


“Dear Banjo Bolster Makers,

I put it in my banjo as soon as it was delivered and haven’t taken it out. 

I love the Banjo Bolster, you make a great product - thanks!

Kind Regards,”

- Robert Rissman  Eugene OR


“Thank you so much for getting this to me!

I immediately tried it and I am amazed at how it cuts the overtones and increases the forward sound projection with no loss of volume.

I will put your cards out at my class on Saturday.

You really have a fantastic product.

Thanks again,

- Bruce Redick  Dayton, OH


Hey Ric,

The Banjo Bolster really does work!
I learned about it from Hilarie Burhans while at Clifftop last summer.

I may need a couple more. I've been using natural sponges and dish towels in my banjos like everyone else... your Banjo Bolster is better.

Thanks.

- Tommy Jordan  Athens, GA


“Hi Ric,

I’m really pleased with the Banjo Bolster! It fits perfectly and really improved the sound of my banjo!

I’ll be ordering another in the near future!

Happy Customer!

Thanks.

- Bill Lokes  Slatington, PA


“Hi Ric,

Just wanted to let you know the bolster made a very noticeable difference in the tone of my banjo. I was truly impressed and have it snugged totally up against the head which works great.

Thanks again for your advice and a great product.

Regards,

- Steve Kucey  Venice, FL


I would confirm The Banjo Bolster arrived yesterday and I'm really pleased.

I now have Three, and mightily impressed.

I have various Banjos dotted about the house and also lazy, so don't have to travel far to find one!.

Once again, Many thanks and a pleasure doing business with you.

Kind Regards.

- Stephen Parish  Ormskirk, UK


“Thank you, Rick. (Or is it Ric?)

Anyway, got my bolster and it fits beautifully. I appreciate the extra care you take with customers. It sets your company apart.

Quality customer service and a great product!

Happy New Year!

Leslie

- Leslie Beach  Arnold, MO 


“Hi Ric,

I took some recordings of me playing with the Banjo Bolster and compared them with some older ones without.. Made a very notable difference in tone for the better!

Thank you, so that being said I would definitely like one for my Tubaphone banjo when it's ready.. I have decided to have one built. I'll put in an order for a Bolster as soon I have the instrument.

Best wishes,

Tyler

- Tyler Barlow  British Columbia, Canada 


Ric,

With great anticipation, I finally received the Banjo Bolster. I have been searching many years for something to hold back the overwhelming sound and overtones coming from the back of my Ome 12 inch open back mahogany Wizard, without sacrificing the wonderful mellow tones of the instrument.

I am happy to report that the Banjo Bolster is as good as advertised.

You have a very satisfied customer.


Thanks.

Wayne Nugent  Richmond TX


“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.

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.

- Rick Jackofsky  Rocky Point NY 
   Rick is a member of the Homegrown String Band. Read Rick's full blog review post here.


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hollander,

A while ago I bought one of your Banjo Bolsters for my Gold Tone, and I am very happy with it.

It has really changed the sound of the banjo for the better.

Kind regards,”

Niels Dalgaard  Brabrand Denmark


“Just a quick note of appreciation;

To my surprise your product has quite transformed my Deering Goodtime 2. It’s a great little banjo but was too bright for my tastes. Upgrading the bridge and strings helped, but not enough. With the bolster inside the resonator, my banjo has a much sweeter, more musical tone with none of the harshness it had before. I’m not sure if the volume is reduced at all but its plenty loud and just sounds amazing.

Very well done, thank you.

Griff Crutti  Geismar LA


Okay, consider me convinced!

I was a bit skeptical at first. I play resonator banjo and stuffing doesn't work very well. But this is not about stuffing. What I like most about the bolster is that you can dial in the suppression of overtones with a high degree of granularity. I spent years wrestling with tones with my Stratocaster so I am familiar with notching/boosting, Parametrics etc.

I was experiencing an over-ring from my fifth string and I was able to just make it go away with the bolster. The configurations are limitless and I may never be done experimenting, but at some point you have to call it good.

And $28 for a handmade item? I spend more than that on a thumb pick. Any tool that gets you closer to the sound that you love is well worth the price, and is well worth 28 bucks just to find out (okay, it's refundable).

Thanks Ric!

Laurence Diehl  Bainbridge Island WA


“I've been using Banjo Bolsters for a few months now in a variety of different banjos.

I was very skeptical at first, but consider me a convert!

The Banjo Bolster is by far the best method of "stuffing" the banjo that I've tried, and I've tried many.

John Cohen  Washington, DC
(Banjo player and Editor of The Five-Stringer, the official organ of the American Banjo Fraternity.)


Dear friends,


After wondering what all the fuss was about online & fussing a bit myself, I went ahead and purchased a Banjo Bolster. What’s the point in having a banjo if you can’t buy toys for it?

I was surprised to hear the profound effect on the sound of my beloved Deering Sierra. Without affecting the overall tone, the notes now sound clearer, a bit more distinct.

Overall, I love my Banjo Bolster. For something so unsubstantial it’s pretty impressive!

Sincerely,

- Joseph Brosk  Carthage, NY


I’m skeptical of ‘magic feathers’ when it comes to banjo enhancement products.  It seems that special capos, 5th string capos, pick types, string types, etc. don’t always improve the playing and listening experience.

But the Banjo Bolster is different.  It does make playing playing, practicing, and listening more enjoyable.  I bought one for my RK85-A, which is a terrific, loud bluegrass jam banjo, but when using it to perform on stage, can sound quite harsh.  The bangy/twangy sound is not particularly blendy for slow songs or backing vocals, but the Banjo Bolster mutes the bitterness and leaves a wonderfully round tone. 

A week or two later I bought another one for my Scruggs Standard Mastertone and was similarly delighted. 

Banjo players have been forever stuffing their banjos but hey, knock it off!  Get a Banjo Bolster and that problem is solved. It will make your banjos sound better and most importantly, more fun to play.

Banjo Bolster is a terrific product that actually does what it claims to do. I'd recommend it to any banjo player!

- Ted Hilliard  Florence, SC


From a post by David Politzer on BanjoHangout.org

Recently, Ric Hollander invented a gizmo, which his wife now fabricates and they sell: https://banjobolster.com/.

It works to an astonishing degree to damp the metallic overtones and not the musical ones -- and has virtually NOTHING in common with the sponges, rags, and socks that people stuff between the head and dowel stick or co-rod at the neck.

David Politzer  Pasadena, CA
(Banjo player and Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. David was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Gross and Frank Wilczek for their discovery of asymptotic freedom in quantum chromodynamics. He also does fascinating research into the physics of the banjo!)


Just tried it.  Absolutely fantastic!!!!  Thank you

- David Ferreira  Taunton, MA


Hello,

I have one for my OME mogul tenor and it is fantastic. Thanks.


Second Customer Testimonial
"After reading several reviews, I found the review by Mandy Tyner (Banjo Lemonade) very in-tune with my banjo playing experience. All of my banjos are quite different than one other, but with one thing in common, they are powerful players, that cut through any session. In a large trad Irish session, and in a larger room, the volume and ring is not so much a problem (other than the fact that the sound can become muddy) - but with a smaller group (especially in a smaller space), the vibrational banjo ring can be overwhelming, in fact, painful.

After years of playing piano in trad and swing bands, my ears have been damaged to be sure. For me, the banjo ring results in persistent ringing of the ears, and at times, painful headaches.

I could not be more pleased with the banjo bolster, the painful ring is absent and, if desired, volume can be subdued. The bolster certainly appears overly simple, but as a retired physicist, I know this is not the case. With a couple of directional mics and oscilloscope , I found I can modify and measure the desired overtones and ring , as well as volume, by placement and 0+ head contact points.

The bolster will be in the following tenors: Nechville, OME mogul, B@D Silver Bell, and Vega Artist.

Thanks again"

- Morgan Olk  Martinez CA