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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Harmony Resotone vs Roy Smeck


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XXXris - Posted - 01/11/2012:  21:12:04



Hi Folks:



I know this is a laughable topic for the "collector's" page, but wasn't sure where else it might go.



I'm looking for a real cheapie resonator banjo, $100 or less, and was thinking about one of the bakelite Harmony Resotones. While looking for one, I have seen a lot of the Harmony "Roy Smeck" banjos on ebay (though mostly at 4x their value). Is the Roy Smeck the same thing as the Resotone, only with Roy's name at the top? Or is there some difference?



I will not be offended by Harmony jokes on this thread!



Chris


tdennis - Posted - 01/11/2012:  21:22:05



Chris,  Don't be apologetic about having a hundred dollars,  & wanting a banjo, it's a tough position to be in,  for a musician.  I just passed up an exc cond Harmony 5 string   Resotone banjo at an outdoor flea market this Sunday for $100.    If you're in S Calif this weekend we could probably track it down , I know where to go  ! !.  


Rizo - Posted - 01/12/2012:  05:25:19



I had one of those Res-o-Tones for a while. I like it, and used it for busking and playing in adverse conditions. I couldn't get used to the small neck so I wound up selling it. I think I paid $100 (and it already had a geared 5th string tuner!) and I think I sold it for $150. If you can get used to the small neck, they're good sounding little instruments.



Deals are out there, but Dennis is right, you'd do better at a flea market or from an individual as opposed to eBay. Just make sure the plastic's not cracked or anything.



Edited to add: I'm not sure, but I think the Smeck version is basically the same, but with bigger inlays and a bigger headstock. 



Edited by - Rizo on 01/12/2012 05:27:20

SFI - Posted - 01/12/2012:  06:02:51



The Harmony Resotone and the Harmony Roy Smeck are the same instruments.  I believe the Roy Smeck labeled instruments came before the Resotone.



 



I think they are the best banjo you can buy for not much money.



 



Bob Smakula


xnavyguy - Posted - 01/12/2012:  06:22:18



If you want to know how good one of those things sounds with a good bridge and setup, this recording was made with one of the banjos that was donated to the Wounded Warriors project.  It's a Harmony, has a steel- reinforced neck, very easy to play.




Blackberry Blossom Played on a Harmony Reso-Tone Bakelite Banjo

   

Hotrodtruck - Posted - 01/12/2012:  08:31:34



A Roy Smeck Harmony was my first banjo. I still have it. Mine was an old one with a skin head and a heavy bridge. Years later I put a REMO head on it and a good bridge, and got results like xnavyguy. I agree that it is the best buy for the money out there. I bought my grandson one a couple of  years ago that already had a REMO and a decent bridge. $40.00 at a pawn shop.



 



Mike


mikehalloran - Posted - 01/12/2012:  22:59:23



quote:


Originally posted by SFI




The Harmony Resotone and the Harmony Roy Smeck are the same instruments.  I believe the Roy Smeck labeled instruments came before the Resotone.



 



I think they are the best banjo you can buy for not much money.



 



Bob Smakula






My recollection is that some had Roy's name on them; others did not. AFIK, they were produced simultaneously.



I agree that, properly set up, they sound surprisingly not bad. I have a soft spot for Kays of the era due to the adjustability of the neck angle. The Harmony might sound a little better.



We need someone to a play-off of the two to see which sounds better. Yea... maybe we can get the Myth Busters to do it. What do you think?



 


mikehalloran - Posted - 01/12/2012:  23:00:35



quote:


Originally posted by xnavyguy




If you want to know how good one of those things sounds with a good bridge and setup, this recording was made with one of the banjos that was donated to the Wounded Warriors project.  It's a Harmony, has a steel- reinforced neck, very easy to play.






That does sound really good - especially when you know what it is.


Hotrodtruck - Posted - 01/13/2012:  10:28:41



I forgot to mention that the two Harmony banjos I bought have different color Bakelite. The older one, the Roy Smeck signature banjo, has black Bakelite. The newer banjo (not Roy Smeck signature) is reddish color Bakelite. They sound the same though, so any vintage should be good.



 



Mike




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