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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: anyone ever electrify a banjo?


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bcf211 - Posted - 10/29/2009:  23:33:06


I'm putting new hardware on my old banjo and realized it would be fun to electrify it. I've seen specially made banjo pickups that attach to the truss rod, but they are over a hundred dollars. Are there cheaper pickups, like ones that attach to the head? Has anyone ever done something like this (successfully or not)?

Juice

Banjowen - Posted - 10/30/2009:  02:20:49


After hearing BuckTrent playing his electric banjo on an old Porter Wagoner show It just amazes me why anybody would want to electrify a banjo......ugh! But I guess if you like the noise sound they create then you gotta do it.

Owen.

http://www.banjohollow.ic24.net/index.htm

Definition of Cricket by Robin Williams, "Cricket is basically baseball on valium"


1four5 - Posted - 10/30/2009:  02:35:59


I have a Gold Tone SMP in my Goodtime. $89 from Instrument Alley. A lot of fun, especially outside of bluegrass, for rock and country and seasonal and even Church stuff etc. It's great for blues with my friends. But for bluegrass and gigs and clean acoustic music, I prefer a mic.

Dean

banjologist - Posted - 10/30/2009:  03:26:20


Check out the JTS CX506 & 508, these are Chinese copies of the AKG C418/9 condenser clip-on mics but 1/3rd the price. These hyper-cardioid units are max-feedback-resistsant so can be used within limits naturally with other electric players. Also naturally you'll need either Phantom-Power from the amp or D.I. - or inline battery.

Jon Priebe

Poisoned Dwarf - Posted - 10/30/2009:  04:07:49


I had a fishman pickup but the sound made me prefer to stand in front of mic anyway.

Keep a song in your heart. Lawrence Welk

xnavyguy - Posted - 10/30/2009:  04:33:18


I took an earpiece out of an old wireless telephone, glued it to the middle of the resonator on my banjo and hooked it up to an amplifier. It made my banjo sound exactly like my old '57 Fender Stratocaster.

Jerry

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance."

jpiperson2002 - Posted - 10/30/2009:  05:05:20


quote:
Originally posted by bcf211

I'm putting new hardware on my old banjo and realized it would be fun to electrify it. I've seen specially made banjo pickups that attach to the truss rod, but they are over a hundred dollars. Are there cheaper pickups, like ones that attach to the head? Has anyone ever done something like this (successfully or not)?

Juice



Hello Juice,

This is a recurrent topic on the forum in case you want to do a quick search on pickups or amplifying and so forth. Lots of people try it at some point. The piezoelectric pickups are small and usually attach directly to the head from the inside or hang close. They are very sensitive and tend to have a metallic quality which amplifies well but doesn't really sound like an acoustic banjo.

Microphones usually give a more natural sound but they're prone to feedback as the head of the banjo starts to resonator in sympathy with the sound from the speakers. Dual piezo-microphone arrangements are available which allow you to balance the signals in an attempt to mimic a loud rather than amplified banjo sound.

Lots of competing models and opinions a big factor is what you intend to do with the amplified sound - play along with other amplified instruments or just vibrate your house with a big banjo sound. You'll get lots of opinions on specific models of pickups and microphones if you search the other discussions on the topic.




John Piper

Big Smokey - Posted - 10/30/2009:  05:08:34


"After hearing BuckTrent playing his electric banjo on an old Porter Wagoner show It just amazes me why anybody would want to electrify a banjo......ugh! But I guess if you like the noise sound they create then you gotta do it."

I happen to dig Buck Trent, he is a monster player and a great innovator. His tone is more like a telecaster than a banjo. But it sits well within an electric band. "Noise sound?" No. Of course~ that is my opinion which is no less valid.

http://www.bigsmokey.com

mike gregory - Posted - 10/30/2009:  05:45:14


I stuck a $1.00 piezo bujzzer on the underside of the head of one banjo, and tucked a $14.95 contact mic under the tailpiece of another, and taped the element from a tape recorder mic to the co-rods of yet another.

That might have been $5 or so.

But, mostly, I don't use them.

=):{ )
Mike Gregory, Banjo Maker Infraordinaire
When I say my instruments are as good as anything Gibson or Martin ever made,
I mean MEL Gibson and DEAN Martin!


My banjos can be seen on my own website
http://littlebanjos.lunare.net

See me & my SQUARED EEL banjo on the Y'all tube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97EfvhFgRBY

Tim-mater - Posted - 10/30/2009:  06:29:27


GHS makes a guitar sound hole mic that works pretty good. It is a microphone so the reproduction is essentially acoustic sound.

Myself - I went electric banjo crazy! Ultimately got a Nechville Meteor to scratch the itch. I guess my point is: be careful, putting an internal mic/transducer/pickup in your banjo can be a gateway drug! LOL

Glenn Tate - Posted - 10/30/2009:  06:40:15


I have tried the internal microphones, pickups, etc., on my banjos. Even though I got some good sounds, I lost control over volume dynamics. I prefer a microphone on a stand, so I can move closer to it, or further from it, at my discression.

"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."

Glenn

fynger - Posted - 10/30/2009:  06:59:17


You can see Alex 'possum' Carvidi and the 'Pine Box Boys' here playing his 'Deering Crossfire'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FKTyYpA2ko

-----------------------------------------------
Have you hugged your Banjo today ?

Trewq36 - Posted - 10/30/2009:  07:07:31


Well I used a piezoelectric pickup. But as Glenn said no volume control. So I got an Erine Ball volume pedal and as I was going to add one pedal, I figured, "Why Not try some others."

After some experimenting I found some combinations and settings that got it sounding more Bluegrass like. Added a chorus/delay pedal and then Mic the Banjo as well as using the wired pickup, so now I can play backup with myself.

Although it can be fun messing around with a wahwah, heavy metal or punk sound too.

Never play the same thing once......yoR


Edited by - Trewq36 on 10/30/2009 07:09:15

BrittDLD1 - Posted - 10/30/2009:  07:22:35


Here's the BHO member you want to talk to:
http://www.banjohangout.org/my/electricbanjoman

HE's the one who DID buck Trent's banjo!


Best-
Ed Britt

A good fiddle tune will bring two or more people together who might otherwise be enemies.

bcf211 - Posted - 10/30/2009:  10:50:36


Glad to hear I didn't start a riot with the purists out there; I just want to experiment with my old banjo, I also just started doing some (very) basic recording with a mic and recently heard a local band play with amplified instruments and thought it sounded really cool. If it can be done easily I think I'll still try it out, and check out other forum discussions on amplification.

Cal

Ronnie - Posted - 10/30/2009:  11:29:01


I have an old Bill Lawrence humbucking pickup he made for the banjo years ago. I don't know if he still makes them.

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com

steve davis - Posted - 10/30/2009:  12:05:38


There's a big difference between the Buck Trent electric tone and a Jones pickup.

Banjowen - Posted - 10/31/2009:  02:23:03


quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

There's a big difference between the Buck Trent electric tone and a Jones pickup.



Lets be honest Steve, nothing could sound much worse....

Owen.

http://www.banjohollow.ic24.net/index.htm

Definition of Cricket by Robin Williams, "Cricket is basically baseball on valium"


steve davis - Posted - 10/31/2009:  05:45:37


I have an Ernie Ball volume pedal,but I don't use it much.
I vary the volume of my amplified banjo by varying my picking pressure
just like I would do playing acoustically.

kirbonite - Posted - 10/31/2009:  05:57:47


I went through this a few months back. I ended up with a Schatten pickup with volume control. However: I still play into a mic. I think the ghs would be a good option. I have one,, haven't tried it yet. but then to get a good sound you also need a DI box or a preamp. Many pros like bela Fleck use something like a shure beta 98c clip on condenser. this requires a phantom power source. the nice thing about the ghs is it is powered by batteries.(no phantom power needed) it's about
$69.00. the jones pickup can be trouble to install. you might have grind your resonator or something. I just didn't want to do that.. the schatten is by far the easiest.

Even with all that, I saw Scott Vestal in the Sam Bush band recently. they all had pickups. You couldn't really tell the banjo from the mandolin or guitar most of the time. I saw Steve Martin with Steep Canyon Rangers using condenser mics.. awesome sound.

the schatten pickup is availabe at http://www.bluestarmusic.net

the ghs is available at. htttp://www.jdmc.com

good luck

kirbonite - Posted - 10/31/2009:  06:18:41


quick word on Buck Trent.

Looks like he has his own overproduced show with ridiculous outfits now.

BUT he is now using a clip on condenser on his banjo. check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aOVNe84QCE

Ikaika - Posted - 10/31/2009:  11:19:40


Yikes - horrible - the show, not the mic. Let's put on a show and treat our audience like they are a bunch of kindergartners.

quote:
Originally posted by kirbonite

quick word on Buck Trent.

Looks like he has his own overproduced show with ridiculous outfits now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aOVNe84QCE




http://www.myspace.com/imthefid

diarmaid - Posted - 10/31/2009:  13:43:00


Boog is the the man for the electric banjo...and Beefus too...check them out!

XXXris - Posted - 10/31/2009:  14:44:10


check out "jammer" here on the bho; i think on his homepage he has some of his electric/rock banjo, which is pretty amazing.

1four5 - Posted - 10/31/2009:  19:42:26


quote:
they all had pickups. You couldn't really tell the banjo from the mandolin or guitar most of the time


That is exactly why I went back to mic's most of the time. It kind of sucks to play your heart out, and have someone say "that was good, but I couldn't tell who was playing what".

Dean

ctrent - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:00:08


Hey, islandboy, go to his show and see how he really treats his audience before you talk out'a your ass again.

quote:
Originally posted by Ikaika

Yikes - horrible - the show, not the mic. Let's put on a show and treat our audience like they are a bunch of kindergartners.

quote:
Originally posted by kirbonite

quick word on Buck Trent.

Looks like he has his own overproduced show with ridiculous outfits now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aOVNe84QCE




http://www.myspace.com/imthefid

ctrent - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:04:18


well, not really
he did make dad (and me) some tuners, but credit for the first electric banjo goes to Buck and Shot Jackson

quote:
Originally posted by BrittDLD1

Here's the BHO member you want to talk to:
http://www.banjohangout.org/my/electricbanjoman

HE's the one who DID buck Trent's banjo!


Best-
Ed Britt

A good fiddle tune will bring two or more people together who might otherwise be enemies.

steve davis - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:13:12


It's OK not to like someone's show.
I never liked the sound of Buck's electric banjo.


Edited by - steve davis on 12/25/2009 07:14:11

ctrent - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:22:45


After you have won numerous awards, played all over the world, and had your custom instrument on display in the CM Hall of Fame, then you too can overproduce your show and wear a ridiculous outfit like Merle Travis, Hank Thompson and Porter Wagoner.
Until then, stick with yer bow tie and keep fixin' false teeth.

quote:
Originally posted by kirbonite

quick word on Buck Trent.

Looks like he has his own overproduced show with ridiculous outfits now.

BUT he is now using a clip on condenser on his banjo. check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aOVNe84QCE



ctrent - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:28:29


That's ok - Don Rich, Fred Newell, Merle, and host of others did.
btw - his first electric banjo, the first electric banjo ever made, can be seen the in the CM Hall of Fame.

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

It's OK not to like someone's show.
I never liked the sound of Buck's electric banjo.

steve davis - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:29:23


I think it was very clever and different.

ctrent - Posted - 12/25/2009:  07:33:13


and is what separated him from all the other banjo players in Nashville.
It has the balls of a tele, the abilities of a steel guitar, and there's only one!

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

I think it was very clever and different.

kirbonite - Posted - 12/25/2009:  08:40:54


Yes this has been discussed often. My interest came from playing with guys that
didn't know the chord changes and having to wander away from the mic to tell people what key we are in. If you are well rehearsed and experienced musicians just use the mic I think. The best sounding band I've seen (I don't mean favorite just best sound) is Mountain Heart. They have DPX $600.00 acoustic cordless condensers attatched to all the acoustic instruments. Beta c98 does a good job for about $400.00 less. they played after bands playing into mics and pretty much blew them off stage. they also have a private sound guy that knows how to set up the mics.

I also saw. The Sam Bush Band later at the same venue.. Great band but horrible sound IMO. they all use pickups. I think Scott Vestal might use a fishman.. not sure
The mandolin and banjo had the exact same tone. couldn't tell one from the other.

Saw Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers at Chastain Park ATL.. all high end mounted condensers. ( Great sound)

Me and some others on here use the pickup and still play into the mic. I only use the pickup if it's a big venue. A mic is the only way to reproduce the acoustic sound be it banjo or guitar. I use a DI box go straight into the board and use the mic for
most of the sound.. just use the pickup to help the sound guy balance the sound if I need to wander around stage.. hope this helps. K.

kirbonite - Posted - 12/25/2009:  08:47:41


Out of all the vidoes I've watched. the Deering Crossfire has the best electric sound to me. (sorry other electric banjos)



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