The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #101019   Message #2034171
Posted By: BanjoRay
24-Apr-07 - 07:21 AM
Thread Name: OME banjos or Deering
Subject: RE: OME banjos or Deering
If it was my problem I wouldn't buy a Deering or an Ome. Both companies make banjos that are too bright for clawhammer playing. I recently went to an open day given by the main British Deering agents, which had Geoff Deering as a guest speaker. I got to play most of the different models Deering has to offer. They're beautifully made and very expensive, but the only ones I'd consider having for clawhammer would be the various low end Goodtime models, which sound more the way open backs should. I've also played high end Ome openbacks and was underwhelmed - too bright, more of a bluegrassy sound.
I would go for an openback made by one of the great specialist makers, like Kevin Enoch, Bob Flesher (Liberty), Mark Platin (Wildwood), Mike Ramsey (Chanterelle etc), Lo Gordon (Cedar Mountain) or Bart Reiter. I would choose one of the fine tonerings, like a Whyte Laydie, a tubaphone, a Bacon or a Lo Gordon rosewood tone rim. I've played different examples of all of these, and IMHO they're far superior openbacks to the Deerings and Omes. Some of the best Old Time players these days seem to be prepared to wait 5 years on Kevin Enoch's waiting list just for the honour of having one custom made. And if one of the few Riley Baugus banjos ever happened my way, I'd leap on it.
Personally I have a Lo Gordon and a Bart Reiter tubaphone with which I'm delighted. I also have a Deering Sierra which I rarely play, as it's a bluegrass banjo and the action (as usual) is too low for clawhammer.
If you're in the UK, I would seriously consider banjos by James Bowen of Shropshire (Griffin), by Dave Stacey of Letchworth or by Phil Davidson of Bristol. These guys are as good as the USA makers.
This is only my opinion, but I hope it helps.