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banjo, what to look for

bet 05 Nov 12 - 08:44 PM
Charley Noble 05 Nov 12 - 09:10 PM
bet 05 Nov 12 - 09:45 PM
RichM 05 Nov 12 - 10:30 PM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 01:48 AM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 02:06 AM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 02:30 AM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 02:39 AM
Leadfingers 06 Nov 12 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 06 Nov 12 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,matt milton 06 Nov 12 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,matt milton 06 Nov 12 - 05:45 AM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 05:54 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 06 Nov 12 - 06:24 AM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 06:39 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 06 Nov 12 - 07:26 AM
Henry Krinkle 06 Nov 12 - 07:46 AM
Charley Noble 06 Nov 12 - 07:54 AM
Mooh 06 Nov 12 - 08:30 AM
Stringsinger 06 Nov 12 - 11:39 AM
bet 06 Nov 12 - 05:32 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Nov 12 - 03:21 PM
Henry Krinkle 07 Nov 12 - 03:34 PM
foggers 07 Nov 12 - 03:42 PM
Crowhugger 07 Nov 12 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 08 Nov 12 - 01:14 AM
Henry Krinkle 08 Nov 12 - 02:52 AM
redhorse 08 Nov 12 - 05:17 AM
Henry Krinkle 08 Nov 12 - 05:41 AM
maybelle_fan 09 Nov 12 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 09 Nov 12 - 10:00 AM
Artful Codger 10 Nov 12 - 10:48 PM
Henry Krinkle 11 Nov 12 - 01:13 AM
bet 16 Nov 12 - 05:56 PM
Rusty Dobro 17 Nov 12 - 11:34 AM
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Subject: banjo, what to look for
From: bet
Date: 05 Nov 12 - 08:44 PM

Hi all, It's been awhile since I've posted but once again I need some help. I have a VERY talented grandson, junior in high school, is in 2 different bands (sings lead and play bass and melody guitar). He is a self taught musician and has now taken an interest in the banjo. Though Kat and I had one in the home a lot of the time, I do not know what to look for when purchasing one. There are several used ones available. Any help you care to give will be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Nov 12 - 09:10 PM

Bet-

It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing the style of banjo playing your grandson might be interested in: bluegrass, olde timey, Irish tenor, or whatever.

There's also the question of who is available in your area to teach banjo, although there are many banjo players (including myself) who are evidently self-taught.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: bet
Date: 05 Nov 12 - 09:45 PM

Kage mostly plays rock but as I sit in the living room listening to him messing around with his music I hear almost every style, except classical, that there is. We are in the Tucson, AZ area so I know there are teachers available. I can hope that he will take some lessons but I'm thinking he will teach himself.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: RichM
Date: 05 Nov 12 - 10:30 PM

Gold Tone make nice banjos.

http://www.goldtone.com

And the Folkshop in Tucson carries them.

http://www.thefolkshop.com/


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 01:48 AM

I am happy with the Deering Boston banjo I recently bought used. I recommend buying American instruments used instead of Chinese new (Goldtone is Chinese). Help your neighbor and don't feed the corporate monster. Buy your neighbor's banjo and save 40-50% over a new one.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 02:06 AM

I read a review of a Goldtone banjo. If you have a warranty issue you are expected to pay for the shipping and insurance both ways. To Florida.
=(:-( 0)


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 02:30 AM

If money is no object:
A Real Man's Banjo


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 02:39 AM

Well. The link didn't work.
There's a $25,000 Brazilian rosewood Deering at ebay.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 04:55 AM

Trust The Krink to be 'helpful' !

As Charlie said , it depends what sort of music your grandson wants to play ! For Bluegrass , a five string , preferably with Resonator, for Song accompaniment , an Open Back is not so loud , and for Irish Tunes , a four string .
My personal belief is that , for a learner , a GOOD used is a better buy than the same priced new , as long as the neck is straight !


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 05:17 AM

Then theres instruments above but strung differently for traditional jazz. I think maybe you need to clarify what direction the banjo player is looking in - what has given him the inspiration to start his banjoing. You can also buy a banjo strung with six strings like a guitar - or even strung like a mandolin with eight strings.

I'm sure you'll find it easier when you have talked to a few banjo players. They generally like to tell you about their banjos and what they do.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 05:43 AM

If he's mostly into rock, I'd get him a resonator banjo.

That's what most people (i.e. the world at large, as opposed to folkies) think of as being What A Banjo Officially Is.

(Witness: Sufjan Stevens, Simple Kid, Mumford & Sons, other rock acts that use banjos...)


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 05:45 AM

in fact, it's probably worth getting him a resonator banjo with a fitted pickup. If he's in high school, he's probably going to want to play his banjo with other people, and those other people might well include drummers and electric guitarists...


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 05:54 AM

I can take the resonator and flanges off the Deering I bought. I can take off the 5th string too. So I can use it resonator, open back, 5 or 4 string. It's a flexible instrument. I get loud. Or quiet. And I have a transducer if I want to go amplified.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 06:24 AM

The most important consideration when buying a banjo is intonation. It doesn't matter what brand it is, where it was made, or how much it costs, if it sounds off when you play chords up the neck, it's not worth having. That's actually true of any fretted instrument, but banjos are notorious for their intonation ills. An instrument with poor intonation is a source of never-ending frustration.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 06:39 AM

That can just be a misplaced bridge. Have a luthier check it out.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 07:26 AM

Sure, intonation problems can just be a matter of a misplaced bridge, but there are banjos that no amount of bridge adjustment will help. To check the intonation, adjust the bridge until the thing is in tune in both open position and at the 12th fret. Then play all the notes in between, checking them with an electronic tuner and against corresponding notes on other strings. Don't expect absolute perfection, but if any notes are more than a few cents out, try another banjo.

Compensated bridges can be used to solve some intonation problems, but their use is more a matter of "fine tuning" an instrument that has acceptable intonation than trying to make a truly crappy one playable.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 07:46 AM

Go with a trusted maker. Deering, Gibson, Vega, etc.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 07:54 AM

bet-

Lots of good advice here.

I'd be careful purchasing a used banjo via e-Bay. Check it out first with the gang at the Banjo Hangout: http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=8

In fact reviewing some of the threads on that site might be very good "homework" for any aspiring banjo player.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Mooh
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 08:30 AM

My favourite bang for the buck banjo brand is Goldtone. Otherwise I like the Vega and Deering, old Gibson, and Orpheum.

If he wants the sound but not the different tuning and number of strings, a guitar-banjo might be suitable. Goldtone and Deering among others have them.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Stringsinger
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 11:39 AM

Define carefully what music he likes on the banjo, and go from there.

Once you know, then find what banjo the artist plays that he likes.

Don't buy the pig in the poke. Do research.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: bet
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 05:32 PM

Thanks to all of you. I knew you'd get me started so I wouldn't feel completely like and idiot. His mom is hoping this will be a Christmas present that he doen't know about so I'm trying to help. Now I can do some research and visit a couple of stores. I really appreciate your advice and time.
Leadfingers, I was thinking about you about a month ago when I was packing up all my things to move. I love the cups you sent me when you where my Secret Santa. Tea just taste better in them.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 03:21 PM

The Folk Shop (on Campbell just north of Grant) is banjo central for Tucson. You'll find a variety of new and used instruments and good advice (without pressure) there.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 03:34 PM

Buy American.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: foggers
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 03:42 PM

Hi- yup I agree that getting an idea of the style(s) of playing he is interested in is a good starting place. I also would go for Gold Tone as a value for money make. I have owned several including their Maple Classic 100 with removable resonator, which allowed me to do both bluegrass and more old timey stuff. If he is playing in a rock band with full PA the bright bluegrass sound of a resonator backed banjo may be best if it is intended to be a lead instrument.

And for amplification I love my Gold Tone banjo mike system because it is quick to put on and move to other instruments too.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Crowhugger
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 09:38 PM

bet,
Just a thought: The mom could keep it a surprise by wrapping up a fancy oversized "cheque" made out to your grandson in the amount of 1 banjo. And then after the holiday hoopla she can take him around to stores to try different ones himself and have the staff play them too. He already plays a fretted instrument so I'm sure he'll quickly learn 2 or 3 chords from the staff to help him get a feel. They can talk to him about tunings and the different types of banjos as well. Definitely used banjos are a better deal. I like a store that serves local professionals. Good luck!! This'll be a great Christmas in Tucson one way or another :-)


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Nov 12 - 01:14 AM

A round object with an arm coming out one side, and strings attached.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 08 Nov 12 - 02:52 AM

I had a pick (pun?) of two Gibson banjos at the store. An RB-3 and an RB-4. The RB-4 sounded magical. The RB-3 sounded ok. I bought the RB-3 because it was a little cheaper and the RB-4 had picked (pun?) up a couple of dings in the store. I wish I had bought the RB-4. The RB-3 is just ok. Maybe I'll get it setup. The Deering I bought is easier to play. Louder too.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: redhorse
Date: 08 Nov 12 - 05:17 AM

I'm with Becky on this one: I got my SS Stewart from the Folk Shop on Campbell 15 years ago. Lots of used banjos, helpful advice and no real feeling of sales pressure. One of the best instrument stores I've been in.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 08 Nov 12 - 05:41 AM

I hear the Recording King banjos are very good.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: maybelle_fan
Date: 09 Nov 12 - 01:49 AM

Old Harmony banjos and old Ventura banjos are the weapons of choice in my band. I've aksi heard really good things about Deering Good Tines banjos for a budget-priced starter.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Nov 12 - 10:00 AM

Actually all these people are misleading you. A banjo is a large grey animal with a trunk.

I believe you can order them from Harrods store in London.


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Nov 12 - 10:48 PM

What features would you look for? Aside from "resonator or not", "5-string vs. tenor", intonation and sound, what other things should one consider?


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 11 Nov 12 - 01:13 AM

Comfortable action. Good tone. Good tuners.
No cracks. No warping. No shoddy repairs. No missing parts.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: bet
Date: 16 Nov 12 - 05:56 PM

Just wanted to post a final thank you to ALL of you. I made a trip to The Folk Shop today and talked to them. Wow! What great people. I'm a little better educated and know my daughter can get Kage a banjo to his liking, at least to start with. We were introduced to several brands, their likes and dislikes. I think we've narrowed to a 5 string. I'm impressed with the Gold Tone. I saw a sweet 5 string, none resonator, didn't see any cracks, repairs or such the sound was great. Hope Melissa settles on that one.
Anyway, thanks to all. Bet


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Subject: RE: banjo, what to look for
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 17 Nov 12 - 11:34 AM

'Banjo, what to look for'

The door?


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