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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Best Beginner Banjo


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alsouch03 - Posted - 02/22/2011:  17:06:32


i have been playing guitar for a few years and decided i want to buy a banjo but i just cant decide which one
my guitar is an epiphone les paul so i feel bias toward the epiphone but i wanted opionions from people that acutally know about banjos

Epiphone mb-200
Washburn B9
Gold tone CC-50 cripple creek

Please help meee thanks

akpicker - Posted - 02/22/2011:  17:12:05


Deering Goodtime, i started on one and love it...when I upgrade i will keep it as a take anywere banjo, camping, vacation.....

charliebucket - Posted - 02/22/2011:  18:00:45


I started on a Jameson and then got a Goodtime. That was the real start of my love of banjo. The Goodtime was a dream to play. Later on I got a Recording King, but you don't need one of those to get a start on picking and grinning.

Klondike Waldo - Posted - 02/22/2011:  18:02:41


quote:
Originally posted by alsouch03

i have been playing guitar for a few years and decided i want to buy a banjo but i just cant decide which one
my guitar is an epiphone les paul so i feel bias toward the epiphone but i wanted opionions from people that acutally know about banjos

Epiphone mb-200
Washburn B9
Gold tone CC-50 cripple creek

Please help meee thanks



To answer the question you asked, The Epiphone MB 200 and the Washburn B9 are essentially the same banjo, made in probably the same factory or group of factories in China with different name brands. There is a range of "botllecap" banjos of that type at a variety of prices, from the lowest price Rogue B30 to the highest (at least the highest I've seen)- Fender FB54. The hardware on the Epiphone is better than that on the Fender at a lower cost. I've never handled a GT CC 50, so I can't advise on that one.

Sorry, just went back to a blog I posted earlier:
Not exhaustive, but an overview of the Asian entry level banjos currently available built on the ubiquitous 30 bracket aluminum rim/tonering.
Banjos based on the “infamous’ 30-bracket aluminum rim:

Epiphone MB-200 Banjo (several sources)
Chrome hardware, resonant mahogany body, and rosewood fingerboard with decorative inlays. (Hearts) 26-1/4 scale bolt-on mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, and 1-1/4" nut width. Waverly type tailpiece, Planetary tuners, geared 5th string peg.U.S. Remo head Golden Eagle on resonator back. $250

FENDER® FB-54 RESONATOR BANJO (several sources)
Mahogany resonator and neck, aluminum rim, rosewood fingerboard, gloss natural finish, 27.4" scale, guitar style tuners. Same fretboard and peghead inlays as Epi MB200, geared 5th peg, same armrest, plain tailpiece. $319

Oscar Schmidt OB5 Banjo- (Janet Davis, others)
Same neck, pegboard inlays as Epi MB200, same resonator and armrest. guitar tuners, geared 5th string tuner. Same tailpiece as Fender $219

Ashbury AB-35 5 str Banjo (Hobgoblin Music)
Same resonator an neck as Epi MB200 etc., dot inlays, “standard chrome tailpiece” (same as on Fender, Oscar Schmidt, Rogue, etc. Appears to have guitar tuners.apparently friction peg, $295

Rogue B-30 Banjo
Mahogany neck with a nato resonator. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Same peghead “snowflake as Epi MB 200,Fender FB 54,etc. rectangular fretboard inlays. Same "standard" armrest as Fender, Ocscar Schmidt. Remo head. Covered chrome machine heads (guitar tuners) friction 5th peg. $150
*
Washburn B9
* Same neck,resonator, arm rest as EpiMB200 etc., Waverly-style tailpiece, dot inlays, appears to have guitar style tuners ? and geared 5th string tuner *
List price: $415- did not find a dealer listed price.

Based on that, unless anyone has better info, I'd pass up the Washburn for the Epiphone.
Best bet- try them out and buy the one that speaks to you.

FirstPicked - Posted - 02/22/2011:  18:41:04


I wanted an inexpensive banjo to see if I would take to playing. I purchased The Oscar Schmidt ob-5 new for $215 from EBay. I love this banjo! I’ve been playing it for almost a year and it has never given me trouble. It holds its tune and looks the nicest of the above mentioned banjo's IMO.

Best bet is to scour the reviews and play them if you can. But mark this as one vote for Oscar Schmidt!

Pickin furry paws - Posted - 02/22/2011:  19:13:42


Gold tone. Their beginning models are hard to beat. They have a good tailpiece, nice rim construction, and if you're willing to spend a little more, the BG-250F is a great value for money, especially if you can find them used or at discount prices from retail stores.

mullie1 - Posted - 02/22/2011:  19:26:42


All of the above recommendations are great. I bought a Goodtime 2 and it was a real gem. Still have it and play it quite a bit.

dustinTN - Posted - 02/23/2011:  05:09:14


My vote is Goodtime. Holds value, sounds great, and you will probably want to keep it forever even if you end up with a $4K banjo down the line.

South Hills - Posted - 02/23/2011:  06:16:37


I recommend a Goodtime as a starter. I also have an Epiphone MB-250 that I bought when I started playing banjo. It is a decent tone ring banjo that runs around $600 new (not including a case).

The Goodtime is easy to play and travel with. Only minus is it doesn't have an adjustable truss rod, but that shouldn't be a major concern.

eagleisland - Posted - 02/23/2011:  06:34:38


Of the ones I've played, I think the Goodtime II (around $550 if shopped carefully) is the best starter banjo out there. But the Gold Tone CC 100R is less expensive by $100-150 and, properly set up, can play and sound pretty good.

Above prices are for new instruments; used can produce lower cost on both. Goodtimes do seem to hold their value a bit better.


Edited by - eagleisland on 02/23/2011 06:36:01

Joe Brown - Posted - 02/23/2011:  07:00:55


I purchased an Oscar Schmidt OB-5 about 6 months ago. I've played guitar for 47 years, but, wasn't sure if I'd like the banjo or not. It is a great beginner banjo-it's very light, which is a great help when just starting out. You will find that a banjo is very different from a guitar in a lot of ways. You can get an OB-5 from Amazon for about $215 with a 30 return policy. Try it, and if you don't like it, send it back. Mean while you can save your money for a better instrument. It may be all you'll ever need.

k-dawg - Posted - 02/23/2011:  08:54:29


I bought a Goodtime 2, and made my decision mostly by how it felt in my hands. I had only the Epi MB200, the Rouge 30, and Fender 300 to choose from at the local Guitar Center, I chose the Goodtime, and I managed to find a used one one line for $249, which is half of what they cost new.
It comes today via UPS, I hope it's in as good a shape as I've been told.
Pick on!
Ken

Majorbanjo - Posted - 02/23/2011:  09:25:22


I've got the Goodtime open back and love to play it...I've had it for going on ten years now....it's been to Iraq and Afghanistan....and it's still playing great....

1four5 - Posted - 02/23/2011:  11:06:57


My Goodtime was the 12th banjo I bought. I wish I would have bought it first, would have saved a lot of $. It's the one banjo I'll never let go of.

JoeFriday157 - Posted - 02/23/2011:  12:21:31


Doesn't answer your question, but I would vote for the Deering Goodtime 2 as well, if given the opportunity. A couple years ago when I was looking for a better first banjo than my bottlecap, I picked up a "used" (but essentially brand new one) for under $300 on eBay. Came with a Deering gig bag too. Not a ton of volume, but better tone than the aluminum rims IMO...

GW in Ohio - Posted - 02/24/2011:  11:21:38


Wow...a lot of folks cut their banjo teeth on the Deering Goodtime.

I did, too. The Deering folks build a lot of quality into these very inexpensive banjos.

firemx220 - Posted - 02/24/2011:  11:33:13


another vote for Deering

bearfoothillbilly - Posted - 02/24/2011:  11:40:51


I just got a Recording King RK-R20 and love it. I also asked here on BHO if it was a good starter and got a big yes.

It was in the 375 range but had at lease a rold brass tone ring unlike the washburn b9 with an alum, pot.

But it is up to you as to the tones you like and the price you can pay.

Good luck in picking your dream banjo and play on dude.

dustinTN - Posted - 02/24/2011:  11:53:01


quote:
Originally posted by bearfoothillbilly

I just got a Recording King RK-R20 and love it. I also asked here on BHO if it was a good starter and got a big yes.

It was in the 375 range but had at lease a rold brass tone ring unlike the washburn b9 with an alum, pot.

But it is up to you as to the tones you like and the price you can pay.

Good luck in picking your dream banjo and play on dude.



Yeah, that's a good choice, too. Personally, RK would be my first choice for an import. Was really impressed with RK's last time I got to play them.

Old Man - Posted - 02/24/2011:  12:39:48


I have a goodtime I bought when I started and will still have it as long as I play.Goodtime everytime.


Edited by - Old Man on 02/24/2011 12:40:19

k-dawg - Posted - 03/02/2011:  13:27:48


Does anyone have experience with the Morgan Monroe line? Specifically the Matterhorn or Cascade?
Any good?

Mike Buchman - Posted - 03/02/2011:  13:47:25


I bought a Gold Tone CB-100 from banjoteacher.com, with a hard case and a few goodies for around $530. Open back, copped neck, brass tone ring. I'm VERY happy with it after a year. I found the Goodtimes much too bright for my ear.

blockader - Posted - 03/02/2011:  17:01:18


i've picked up a few morgan monroes at various stores and they seem like they aren't too bad. they are not american made which turns a lot of folks off. you can get something better for the same or not much more money. deering goodtime or gold tone specifically. though i do believe gold tone is assembled in US but manufactured in asia somewhere? i might be wrong on that.

i'm selling my zeppified goodtime if you're interested, it was my beginning banjo.

banjohangout.org/classified/20530


Edited by - blockader on 03/02/2011 17:07:09

Nancy2555 - Posted - 03/02/2011:  19:15:08


I started playing a year an a half ago...and got the Epiphone mb-200. I thought it sounded ok enough at first, but what did I know. nothing. Four months later I knew I needed something better and upgraded to the Recording King Elite. A world apart.



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