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Tone Rings Reviews

Tone Rings Don Bryant Skirtless Tone Ring
submitted 7/22/2015

Submitter

petemonster.334s (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


 Don recently did setup on my conversion, I built the neck,sent Don a pre-war TB-1 rim and and he had it fitted to his skirtless ring and Don set it up and sent it back and I am throughly impressed by the sound and clarity of the notes up and down the neck .I am also  impressed by the volume and power that it has.If you are looking for that prewar sound with a good prewar  rim conversion try one of Don's skirtless  rings,I think you will be very impressed as I am.   

Clifford Seales, Pearl cutter

 

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Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bryant Skirtless Ring
submitted 7/21/2015

Submitter

jrmorrow (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Overall Comments


I bought a pot from Don Bryant with the skirtless ring atop prewar rim 9383-22. AMB head one piece flange. I put a mahogany test neck on it and was very pleased with the clarity, tone and power and evenness up and down the neck. The decay was very quick. A little too quick. I put an old 60's Gibson mahogany neck on it and was absolutely blown away! Decay is perfect and still clear notes but also bells all over the neck better than any banjo I have had. I have had a few including a prewar conversion.  Also, I did test it out going from air conditioned house to outside on a hot humid day in front of the house under a nice shade tree. Jammed for a few hours. Never had a problem with the banjo choking up. The tone stayed consistent. I'm very happy with what this tone ring does for a banjo! I highly recommend it for a prewar rim in a good banjo. It just produces the right sound.

 

 

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Memphis Belle tone ring (Tim Davis)
submitted 7/16/2015

Submitter

JohnWaters (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Tim Davis

Overall Comments


I have known Tim to be passionate and meticulous about banjo sound for as long as I have known him.  However, when he told me he was making tone rings with his own formula, I was a little skeptical. I knew he had prior experience with casting, but this was a new and unproven formula, and there quite a few well-respected rings out there.

Well, I was surprised -- no shocked, to hear what this ring did for one of my banjos. I replaced the $700 ring (an extremely well-known and respected ring) in one of my pre-war conversions. I was amazed and delighted with the sound difference immediately. (It was very noticeable.)  I have held off reviewing until now just to be sure I felt the same way a week later. Yes!!!! I love this ring. 

One interesting observation: I suspended Tim's Memphis Belle ring and the other well-known ring by twine and struck them with a rubber mallet. Tim's ring sang an A (with very minor variation). The other ring hit pretty much every note on the chromatic scale. I do not know what this means, but the difference was quite surprising. Also, after installing Tim's ring, I can feel the vibrations clearly up the neck -- something I always notice in a great-sounding banjo. 

Sound is very difficult top describe, and taste may run different. This is a bluegrass ring. If you are aiming for the Scruggs sound, this may be your best choice. To my ears, it is most similar to the Huber vintage ring which is also a great sounding ring. (Those are getting harder to find.) 

So, if you are looking to upgrade, I can recommend the Memphis Belle without hesitation.

------------------------------

Another week past, and I still LOVE this ring! :-)

 

 

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Kulesh 20-hole tone-ring
submitted 6/13/2015

Submitter

Pickin furry paws (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music Co.

Overall Comments


The tone-ring was cast by Richard Kulesh of RKW Co., and is his version of the famous sand-cast 20-hole bronze tone-rings from the 30s Gibson Mastertones.

As a replica of 30s prewar tone-rings, the Kulesh is decent. The dimensions are considered "standard:" the tone-ring has a larger interior diameter than original prewar tone-rings, and the skirt (side) is shorter--.375 rather than the prewar spec .400 - .407. This makes it interchangeable with most modern Mastertone-style rims provided the rim's top diameter is around 10.860 - 10.900. The interior of the ring has the marks of either where a lathe held the ring during machining or from poor machining, since prewar rings are smooth on the inside without extra shapes, while the Kulesh is not. The rolled edge of the tone-ring leaves too much surface area for the head; pickers will find getting the right tone will require somewhat more head tension than other tone-rings.

The ring weighs heavier than most. My 20-hole weighed in at 3lbs and 4+ ounces, which is heavier than your typical prewar replica tone-ring. The plating is very substantial, quite thick nickel with modern brighteners. 

The tone is certainly "prewar." There are crisp highs, good lows, and the tone is generally very even and strong. Not as clean as a Bluegrass tone should be, but the ring is quite affordable and the tone reflects this. Apart from hitting the general high points of the prewar sound, the Kulesh tone-ring is somewhat less bell like than the prewar tone: it lacks a certain metallic clang that good prewar rings produce when properly set-up. 

When paired with a good maple rim that is not too heavy, and when the fit of the ring to the rim is a good "slip fit" (no unnecessary tightness requiring force to remove), the tone is pleasant and should please most pickers. As a replica, if you are looking for a prewar spec ring, this is not the best option, but as a tone-ring, it is a good option that outperforms many competitor rings in the same price range. The tone-ring is not weak in sound, it easily cuts through a jam of the standard Bluegrass instruments, and can be heard in a "cluttered" jam as well. A good upgrade ring for banjos that come with cheap tone-rings, but not a good replica prewar ring. 

Overall Rating

7


Tone Rings Blaylock
submitted 4/16/2015

Submitter

JHook (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Bill Blaylock

Overall Comments


   I had the honor of going to Grafton, Ohio and meet Mr. Bill Blaylock and have a tone ring installed in one of my banjos. What a great guy! After asking what sound I was looking for he had me play some of his banjos and pick the closest sound to what I was looking for. He then picked through his rings and found one that he believed was what I was looking for.

   While he worked on my banjo we talked about bluegrass and the many players he has met and just had a warm, comfortable visit. I never knew what all was involved in coming up with a great tone ring. When he finished he made sure I was happy with the tone and would change out the ring if I wasn't. The banjo has great lows and clear highs, slides on 3rd and 4th strings seem to really jump out.  If you are looking for a great tone ring and meet a fine man and incredible machinist, take the trip.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Skirtless tone ring
submitted 11/24/2014

Submitter

thumpic2003 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


To my ear this tone ring is as close to a prewar sound as anything i've played when coupled with a old rim. Has that growl on the 4th string everyone seems to want. you can't go wrong here, Give one of Don Bryants skirtless rings a try, i think you will be surprised!!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bryant Skirtless Ring
submitted 11/23/2014

Submitter

5drive (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


I would like to say that in 40 plus years of picking I have played a lot of banjos and this Skirtless ring has what I want to hear in a tone ring,clear highs,growling lows,and a tone that is hard to match! It's like hitting an anvil with a hammer! I have not had to make any adjustments due to weather or humidity. Also you can adjust the action without binding ring or anything else. It sounds the same everytime I pick it up! Also they are right at a full 3 pounds. As close to THE sound as I've heard.Also ,Don will be sure you are 100% satisfied in every way!   Thanks Don for such a fine product ,and for superb work!   Thanks,Jim

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bryant Skirtless Ring
submitted 11/23/2014

Submitter

David Wadsworth (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


Don has a fine new ring design!  His goal was to take humidity out of the equation to get consistent sound regardless of the weather.  Mission accomplished. Don's rings are top shelf.  Sound is nearly impossible to describe with words.  All I can suggest is that you visit Don's shop and test drive this ring.  If you like the characteristics of Gibson flatheads from the golden era you will appreciate Don's ring.  You won't pay for hype. If the shirtless ring doesn't ring your bell you can always have your rim turned for a full skirt ring.  I seriously doubt you would even consider doing that once you hear and feel Don's ring.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Arthur Hatfield tone ring
submitted 9/28/2014

Submitter

firemx220 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Hatfield banjos

Overall Comments


What a great tone ring! The best I've owned by far! Great lows and rings so sweet all the way up the neck!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Carbon Fibre
submitted 8/25/2014

Submitter

banjothrasher (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gary Vann - Australia

Overall Comments


Had a Carbon Fibre tone ring fitted to my Deering Sierra. 

I have to admit being a bit sceptical when I ordered this. I had Gary fit it for me. 

I did it mainly to reduce the weight which it achieved very well.  What I didn't expect was how it improved the sound.  Seemed to open up, especially after a few weeks to sound more punchy and clear than it had with the standard tone ring.

It also seemed to play more consistently up the neck than it had previously.

These aren't cheap but delivered me a better sound and a lighter weight so seemed like a new banjo for a fraction of the cost.  A really amazing innovation.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Don Bryant Skirtless Tone Ring
submitted 6/2/2014

Submitter

5drive (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


I might say that at first I was a little unsure how this ring would would perform,but after trying one I had to have it!!

I was amazed at the response it had, and the old pre-war sounds it produced.A bell-like tone with plenty of sustain,

tone,and what I would call that old metallic sound like you were hitting an anvil with a hammer.Mine is coupled with

a 28 'pre-war rim ,and it sounds the same no matter if it's humid or not! Any expansion or contraction of the rim due

to weather elements goes unnoticed !! Highly recommend this one for sure!!  Thanks,   Jim Fraley

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Don Bryant Skirtless Tone Ring
submitted 10/28/2013

Submitter

David Wadsworth (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


I recently had Don Bryant fit one of his "Skirt-less" tone rings to a pre war shoe-bracket maple rim.   After having the rim turned for the tone ring, flange and drilled for co-rods Don finished the bare wood (from the turning) to perfection.

Then I sent Don a neck to fit to that re-purposed pot.  He did a super job, the neck fits the pot like a glove!  I had never had Don do banjo work for me before but I certainly would have him do work in the future.  He is a stand up guy, honest, amiable, attentive to detail and he wants the customer to be satisfied with everything that comes out of his shop.  I certainly am more than satisfied and can't say enough good things about Don and his work.

I tried Don's "skirt-less" tone ring on a whim.  I heard the sound samples here on BHO and the whole "skirt-less" concept made sense to me.  As a bridge maker I know how wood expands and contracts with the moisture content or humidity in the air around it.  In humid weather a banjo that sounded great when the humidity was low can sound different enough to make me want to tweak with the set up.  That is often a big mistake!  Don's skirt-less ring minimizes the change in banjo sound during times of high humidity.  So I believe his concept works as advertised.

In my opinion the sound of the "skirt-less" tone ring is top shelf all the way.  I have tried way too many aftermarket tone rings across the last thirty plus years.  Don's ring equals or exceeds the very best of the very best.  It has "it,"  like the sound of firecrackers going off under a #10 washtub, the clank, the clang, the after note sparkle, whatever you want to call "it" of the best old flathead banjos.  Simply put Don's ring and workmanship provide what I want to hear in a banjo. 

As a result of this transaction I not only got a "great, old sounding banjo" I also made a new friend in the process!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bryant Skirtless Ring
submitted 10/4/2013

Submitter

eMike (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant

Overall Comments


Don Bryant of Thurmond, NC, is marketing a new "skirtless" flathead tone ring.  Since there is no skirt, swelling of the wood rim due to humidity changes will never be an issue as with tone rings that have a skirt.  This is a significant development that allows the ring to vibrate unhindered by contact between the rim and inside edge of the skirt.  The banjo head, hooks and compressive force will keep the ring centered.  It should sound the same outside on a hot humid day as it does inside your house.

The sound of this tone ring mated to a 1928 pre-war Gibson rim is amazing!  The volume of the banjo is consistent across all 5 strings, instead of the 4th being  louder than the others.  The tone of the banjo as set up with this ring, is very dry with excellent note separation and clarity from one end of the fretboard to the other.  The tone this ring produces is what I would describe as a metallic, percussive bell-like sound that has an extra little ring or edge to it.  I have had several after-market tone rings and have never heard this sound from any other ring.  It has a quick decay but you can vary the sound a lot by playing further away from the bridge.  

If you are looking for a great tone ring for your next project, send Don Bryant an email through the BHO.  He is a great picker and a fine gentleman to do business with.  He won't be satisfied till you are.  If you want to hear a sound clip or two of banjos with this ring, do a BHO search for "Bryant tone ring" or "Bryant skirtless ring".  I think you will really like the sound this ring produces.  I sure do!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Burlile Tone Ring
submitted 9/10/2013

Submitter

Pickin furry paws (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Direct from manufacturer

Overall Comments


The bottom line is this tone-ring is the finest of its kind made in the country today.

The reason for the perfect rating is for the product's unparalleled comparableness and Jim Burlile as a metallurgist and luthier.

Contrary to every other tone-ring on the market, Mr. Burlile's offering is an actual prewar ring that the 21st century picker can own. The only "con" is the product's lack of musical maturity, something which regular picking changes, and quite rapidly. This ring has the fastest "play-in" time of any prewar spec tone-ring I have tried, a fact which I attribute to both the high quality of materials and proper casting techniques. In fact, Jim has gone above and beyond the workmanship found in genuine prewar tone-rings. Whereas in the 20s and 30s it was common for two rings to be cast at the same time for cost efficiency, Jim pours each ring one at a time in a separate casting. This means that each tone-ring ends up with all the ingredients it needs; no other tone-ring in the pair ends up with a better alloy than another. 

In owning the ring, one does not simply "have a tone-ring to show for it;" rather, one pays the price (admittedly high) for the ring and Jim Burlile. Getting Jim more than justifies the cost to the picker, as he is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable, considerate, and honest luthier I have ever known. As many have already said, Jim never hypes or markets his product, whether verbally or through the Internet. Refreshingly, Jim chose to allow his product to speak 100% for itself. This is one of the many things money simply can't buy, and it ensures the prospective buyer alone decides what to make of it without frustrating seller hype. Nothing is worse than the luthier who fills a buyer's head with empty nonsense about what he thinks his own ring can do/sounds like. That is a decision the buyer should make on his own, and Jim more than allows for this. 

The tone-ring also offers its owner the satisfaction of knowing it was made with the finest ingredients. Unlike other makers, Jim refuses to use pre-made alloys and ingots for the tone-ring ingredients. This decision pays off in the added value of the ring's appearance and quality. Jim believes as the top chefs do: cooking begins with the best ingredients. Jim spares no cost in buying the metals; if a shipment is costlier than the last due to certain reasons, he pays it, since product consistency is more important to him.

Jim's attention to detail is not in the physical appearance of the ring, but rather in its construction. Many small but important casting facts are ignored by builders because of ignorance or R&D reasons, but Jim practices these special procedure. The result is a tone-ring that does not look perfect, but that sounds the way it should. All other rings have some kind of tonal imbalance or imperfection, but Jim's ring is a dazzling display of tone from the lowest D note to the high C. No one area of the ring is muted or less vibrant, in fact, the high positions sound stronger than the low positions. One does not have to consciously pick harder to keep the tone consistent. In addition, the rings have the lightest response to touch of any ring on the market. This allows the picker to completely relax and allow his/her tone, not technique, to be the focus. Better music results--music closer to the way real Mastertones sound. 

Many builders such as Deering with their Tenbrooks and '06 tone-rings make similar claims about the "musical purity" of their product. However, it is evident from their casting procedures that their rings only come close but do not equal all the aspects found in Burlile rings. As said before, you won't find Jim saying any of these things about his ring...I may be saying them, but not him...he simply builds them right. Isn't that the way Americans used to behave?  

True American craftsmanship of the 19th and 20th centuries existed beyond what people said about it. The builders built and said little to nothing about what they did, for they were inwardly proud about what they had done and had the discernment to know it was their buyers, not themselves, that had the power to say the glowing praise about their products. Jim continues in this now-rare tradition, and it is something on which no one can put a price tag. 

If you are a discerning picker, are undaunted by the asking price, and care about the quality of music you make (not how expensive a product you can own to brag about on the HO and with friends), I highly recommend purchasing one of Jim Burlile's tone-rings. Frankly, a picker cannot make a much wiser decision for their playing enjoyment.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings ARNOLD CLAYTON PYRAMID TONE RING
submitted 8/25/2013

Submitter

myork1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Don Bryant Pyramid Conversion

Overall Comments


When I started my "banjo-of-a-lifetime" project, a 1927 TB1 I bought for a conversion, Don Bryant walked me through what the process would be like, and it started with an ARNOLD CLAYTON PYRAMID RING. We never talked about anything else but that ring, and now that I have the finished product I know why. This banjo is AMAZING. The tone, volume, sustain, clarity, look, feel, WOW! Can't say enough about the process that Don made so easy and for recommending a pyramid ring from Arnold. Man, that is a KILLER BANJO in every way.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Rickaard Tubaphone Tone Ring
submitted 3/3/2013

Submitter

shannonhearne (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Overall Comments


A nother first rate product by Bill Riickard. I just put ths ring on a new long neck,and it is terrific. Sounds great, look great, strong and flawless construction.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bill Rickard Tubaphone Tone Ring
submitted 9/14/2012

Submitter

PickinFool (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Rickard Banjos

Overall Comments


Assembled a long neck banjo using a Gold Tone neck and the Rickard Tubaphone Tone Ring, rim, and parts. The sound, with only a few set up adjustments, was outstanding, better than I expected. Better than the Deering/Vega long neck that I once owned. I'm amazed at the clarity of tone coming out of this tone ring.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Tennessee 20 Tone ring
submitted 3/18/2012

Submitter

Hankon5 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

March 15, 2012

Overall Comments


Very musical tone ring. When mated to a good rim such a Wyatt Beech rim it rings like a bell all the way up the neck with excellant clarity! Up the neck tone is very melodic and musical. I am now playing more up the neck than I have in the past. Strumming a "G" chord up the neck sounds like a harp. As many have stated on the BHO, the bass response is one of the fine features of this tone ring. After a few days playing my banjo and giving it a little time to settler in, the 4th string had a great growl which I have been seeking. You can't go wrong with the TN 20 tone ring. I am extremely happy with this ring and the Wyatt Beech rim which to me is a marriage made in Heaven!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Sullivan Conversion Archtop to Flathead
submitted 12/25/2011

Submitter

banjobeat63 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

First Quality, Louisville

Overall Comments


I have a few days ago one Sulivan conversions ring on my 1927 Gibson TB3 mounted. This ring is great and sounds, in my opinion, very good! Is a sound sample on my homepage!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings ARNOLD CLAYTON PYRAMID TONE RING
submitted 9/29/2011

Submitter

Pre War Pyramid 9331-14 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Arnold Clayton

Overall Comments


I have received and am currently using an Arnold Clayton Pyramid Tone Ring in my 1929 Pre-War Gibson Pyramid Banjo. I had a chance to hear one of Arnold's rings in another conversion banjo and really like the sound. The ORIGINAL ring was great and had a sweetness to it that I enjoyed. Arnold's rings had a louder and just a bit more sustain and edge to it. If I had to compare them to something familiar to us all, I would say Arnold's rings sound more like a NO HOLE FLATHEAD compared to a 20 HOLE FLATHEAD. I am really enjoying the new found power in my already incredible sounding Pre-War 1929 Gibson Pyramid Banjo these days. Arnold is such a GREAT guy to deal with. He makes you feel like you are the most important project in his shop. Arnold also makes NEW Pyramid Banjos and they include his Pyramid Tone Rings. I would recommend Arnold Clayton to anyone looking for that PRE-WAR TONE on a budget. You don't have to spend 70,000 dollars. Just call Arnold Clayton !!!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bill Rickard Dobson tone ring
submitted 7/29/2011

Submitter

shannonhearne (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Bill Rickard

Overall Comments


Excellent!!! Could not be more pleased.

Bill and Bob are great people to work with.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Huber HR-30 Tone Ring
submitted 6/30/2010

Submitter

frankwing (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Steve Huber

Overall Comments


First of all, I wouldn't have spent this kind of money on a tone ring had I not had the opportunity to test-drive the thing. I walked into the Huber display at SPBGMA this winter and was greeted by Jim Runnels who gave me the lowdown on the new rings and rims,
and then had me play several instruments with the prototype rims
and the new HR-30 rings as well as a pre-war RB-3 for comparison. I was shocked. I had never imagined that I would play a new banjo that was indistinguishable from a pre-war instrument, but their prototype with the mahogany neck was just dead on right! I bought a ring right then, took it home and put it on a 1939 TB-75 raised-head conversion which I'd tried five different rings on and never really gotten it to sound like I thought it should. Until now. And it's been getting better ever since. Full, resonant,
rings like a bell all the way down, and has the kind of note separation that makes your playing really pop. I'm now saving up
for another one.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Huber HR-30 Tone Ring
submitted 5/31/2010

Submitter

Chris Quinn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Huber Banjos

Overall Comments


Those who know me at all, know that I am not a big tinkerer when it comes to banjos. I have set-up many, many banjos for my students, but I don't do much with my own banjos. I set them up, play them, and don't look back. Unless something is simply wrong with a banjo, I don't believe in switching parts often because I am firm believer in developing a playing relationship with a banjo ahead of looking to parts to solve my tonal needs.

Last Wednesday, my 1934 Gibson rim came home fitted with a new Huber HR-30 ring sitting atop. I put this, my main banjo for the last 20 years, back together, got the head to G# (higher than before at around F#), and got it all back to playable status.

Just so folks know the overall set-up, it is a 1934 Gibson KK-10 serial #9822, an older maple and ebony re-production neck, Presto tailpiece, Huber bridge, D'Addario lights.

I have done four shows since last week and the banjo has never sounded better! I would not call it a "night and day" change, but the banjo sounds better in every way. Until now, I had never had the head as tight as G# because I had never found that I could get that deep 4th string with that head tension. I had favored the deep, open 4th string over the sparkle on the 1st and 2nd strings up the neck. What I ended up with was a limited voice for the mid and upper ranges of the banjo. Now, I have both the deep 4th and the clear, cracking 1st and 2nd up and down the neck.

Among the more noticeable things that have changed; I have found that, although I have never been a particularly hard picker, I can play even more lightly and still get plenty of volume and tone. On those hardcore bluegrass numbers, I have not had any issues if I do dig in for volume; I have not hit the ceiling or had the notes break-up. The notes up the neck have a clarity and separation from one another that I have not had before. At 150 BPM, the notes are distinct and the decay of the notes is quick enough to enjoy great separation. In this regard, my banjo has actually become easier to play.

Over the last several days, I can hear that my banjo is settling in with the new set-up and ring and I am getting used to the change. I expect that it will continue to settle for at least another month or more. Arthur Hatfield and I have talked about the re-assembly of banjos and I agree with him that it takes longer than one might expect for a banjo to "recover" from being re-assembled; even if no new parts are introduced to the equation.

During the process of fitting my old rim to the new ring, my conversations with Steve Huber were quite involved and he was very professional and thorough all the while. I have known Steve for a few years now and I have always found his commitment to his products to be admirable.

Lastly, I don't want anyone to think that I am trying to sell people on this new ring. I am merely relating my experience. I don't think that this, or really any, new tone ring is going to benefit everyone. If a person has limited skill on the banjo, is not yet capable of controlling their current sound and tone on the banjo, or has not yet learned the range of their current banjo's sound; tossing a new ring into the banjo may not be the solution. I personally feel that spending this much money on a ring is not a great idea unless you have already explored the sound of your current set-up very thoroughly; and for me, that takes years. To mixed reaction, I have said this before; if you can't play Cripple Creek, a tone ring is a paperweight. That said, if you can relate to much of what I have experienced since I began trying the HR-30, I imagine you might enjoy the sound of it too.

Best wishes,

Overall Rating

9


Tone Rings Mitchel's Tone Ring Mate
submitted 3/1/2010

Submitter

jambusterG (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

From Mitch Personally

Overall Comments


I remember the first time I layed the steel to a banjo with the TRM installed in it. It was a 1936 style 4, which by the way can be heard on f5lfern's video list. I knew it was the "sound." But could it be duplicated? The answer is a resounding YES! I have played every banjo that is on f5lfern's list personally and I can tell you that they are all exceptional with the tone ring mate installed. I purchased a 1927 style 3 from Mitch with the TRM installed and played that banjo almost exclusively for two years except when I would get the chance to to lay one of Mitch's new models in the mic here and there. I have also played just about every banjo that has had the TRM installed and I can tell you that every one of them has that "sound." I sold the 3 recently when I went back to school, but now I am playing on a Kel-Kroyden pot, pre-war arch top ring with the TRM in it and I know it will not let me down. I hope to post some vids of my own soon. So before you cut down your pre-war rim, look Mitch up, talk to the man, you won't be sorry. And even if your rim is cut, he can work with that too. The TRM could be the last ring you ever put in your banjo. Mitch is easily approacable and he is passionate and sure of his product. His own banjo line is in my opinion, the best on the market today. Check it out for yourself. My two cents.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bill Rickard Dobson tone ring
submitted 1/24/2010

Submitter

Clawhamr (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Direct

Overall Comments


While I've been really happy with the sound of my Will Fielding "Rooster" openback, I'm an incurable tinkerer, always looking for that extra little "something" to enhance my tone. This 12" banjo ( with a custom Tony Pass sunken birch block rim) first went from being a woody to having Will fit a 1/4" brass hoop under the head. After playing it this way for a few years, I was speaking with Mr. Rickard at Clifftop last year when he said that his Dobson rings were now ready for sale. I first installed one in my Brooks Siverspun six months ago to replace the Bacon ring that was already in it and it gave this nylon-strung beauty a whole new dimension of tonal subtlety and volume. I ordered one for the Rooster ten days ago, and when it arrived I discovered that,indeed, the rim need to be lathed down a hair at the top to accommodate the ring. Not having access to a huge lathe, I packed up the rim and the ring and sent them down to Tony Pass in Arkansas. It's all together now, and I'm happy to report that the Dobson ring adds just the right measure of depth and definition to the tone of this already outstanding instrument. I heartily recommend Bill Rickard's tone rings to anyone building a new banjo or as a retrofit to an existing one.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Bill Rickard Tone Ring
submitted 1/21/2010

Submitter

LJ (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Overall Comments


I upgraded my banjo with a Bill Rickard Tone Ring. I spoke to him on the phone and he was very helpful.The guy is an artist. the tubaphone ring that I got was beautiful and what a sound. Clear and sharp but still a delightful tubby base.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Huber HR-30 Tone Ring
submitted 1/20/2010

Submitter

joshhymer (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

steve

Overall Comments


i know its hard to tell the difference between hype and the real deal. with that said i can say i feel i have a good understanding of what a good five is supposed to sound like. i thought my 30s 11 was a good one and it was good. now its great these rings are dead on and you dont have to take my words just go hear one. it has it all plenty of everything and could not be happier. on a scale of 1 to 10 i would have to say its a 110. but please dont take my word you owe it to yourself to hear it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the more i play this thing the better it gets if you want to feel it in your bones this is the ring for you.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Stelling Archtop Tonering
submitted 12/30/2009

Submitter

Patrick P. (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Stelling Banjo Works

Overall Comments


I have two Stelling banjos and I put a Stelling archtop tonering on my Golden Cross.
Very easy, nothing to change, done in 15 minutes.
Sound is very different and I'm a big fan of the archtop sound.
Very powerful and very clear !

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Huber HR-30 Tone Ring
submitted 12/11/2009

Submitter

double E (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Steve Huber

Overall Comments


The New Huber HR-30 Tone Ring is everything people have said. It still has the Huber sound, but with more power and tone than the orig. Huber ring. Its clearer up the neck than the old ring. Fit perfectly in to my Lancaster. I really like this ring!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Blaylock
submitted 11/29/2009

Submitter

double E (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Hangout Member

Overall Comments


Blaylock Nickel 20 Hole Bear Tracks Ring.This is a really sweet sounding ring with a lot of the Crowe sound. Sounds really good in my mahoghany banjo up and down the neck. Very broad color spectrum with warm tones.I like Blaylock rings and I think this is one I will be hanging on to.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Burlile Tone Ring
submitted 8/30/2009

Submitter

fitch5string (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

From Jim Burlile

Overall Comments


First of all, I was surprized to find that there were no reviews of the Burlile tone ring here. I have used these rings in several of my personal banjos for about 3 years and currently offer them as standard equipment in my Fitch banjos. I have tried the majority of tone rings on the market but nothing comes close to the Burlile for true prewar tone and power in my opinion.
While the $1500.00 price tag is a bit steep for most budgets, you have to keep in mind that these rings are very expensive to produce and, there was a huge financial investment made in developing them during the past 27 years. Noone knows prewar Mastertones like Jim Burlile. He has studied every aspect of them from the materials used to make them, down to the actual process involved. While he is a humble man and one that you will not find "hyping" his rings, all you have to do is play one to know that he has found that elusive prewar tone that we all seek. They sell themselves. From the huge 4th string to the crystal clear notes up the neck, to the ultra easy response which makes them a joy to play, I find them well worth the price and more. There is a reason why you dont see these rings on the used market very often. Once they are setup properly, you dont ever want to take them back apart. Jims rings are so close to real prewar flathead rings that the setup is even done the same as on a prewar. Then, there is the tremendous volume. You will have no problem being heard in an outdoor jam or cutting a mic again. I have found by experimenting that the Burlile rings sound great on a variiety of rims which makes them a good choice for upgrading your existing ring while maintaing the original rim although some minor machining of your rim will be required for a proper fit.
To hear one at its peak performance, try one on a prewar Gibson rim. I wouldnt even consider another ring if I were converting a prewar to a flathead. They are a perfect match. Should you decide to try a Burlile ring, make sure that the head is tight (tuned to an A or slightly above) and, make sure that the rings fits loosely on the rim with a small gap between the bottom of the tone ring skirt and the wooden bead above the flange on the rim. I also prefer a David Wadsworth or Snuffy Smith III bridge with these rings. A pre-EPA Remo head is also a plus if you can find one.
In summary, if you have tinkered and experimented with your banjo and still havent found the sound you want, try a Burlile ring. You wont be sorry. Nothing rings like a Burlile !

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Yates
submitted 7/1/2009

Submitter

double E (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

warren yates

Overall Comments


Purchased a V33 no hole unplated to try in another top of the line banjo. First I need to say Warren is one of the easiest and most down to earth people I have ever dealt with. The Yates ring is very impressive. The banjo plays effortlessly,powerful tone, excellent lows and highs. The thing that stands out most to me is how even the tone and volume is up and down the neck. Its really clean and clear between notes. Set up as Warren recommended, with 10-11-13-20-10 strings and a Yates Bridge. If you like the Ron Stewart sound, this ring should please you!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Kulesh "Big 10" Tone Ring
submitted 5/15/2009

Submitter

swoody1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Overall Comments


Made a significant improvement in my 2002 Granada. It had a 20 hole Kulesh in it when I got it but I could not get the sound out of it that I wanted. Tried a Huber and did not like it either.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Mitchel's Tone Ring Mate
submitted 1/31/2009

Submitter

banjosam (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Personally from Mitch Meadors

Overall Comments


I recently purchased a Mitchels Tone Ring Mate and and a Mitchels Tone Arch Top Tone Ring. I have an archtop banjo comprised of a First Quality pot with one piece flange. The neck was an unfinished mahogany neck which I got from Wyatt Fawley. Originally I had a 4 hole Gibson tone ring, which always seemed to have a rather thin sound, no matter what we did to it. A friend offered a trade for a name brand archtop to flathead conversion ring, which improved the sound, but still lacked the fullness of tone I was looking for. When I replaced that with the Mitchels Tone Ring and Tone Ring Mate the banjo came alive. The notes coming from it seem large and full, the bass is fantastic, and it has power the whole way up the neck! This was what I was looking for in the first place. I think it's great! I have played about a half dozen banjos with the Mitchels ring and they all sounded great. They ranged from several old Gibsons to several of Mitchels Mitch banjos. All were nice and crisp with full notes and good bass. I highly recommend the combination!

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Mitchel's Tone Ring Mate
submitted 1/29/2009

Submitter

dlottbanjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Directly from Mitch Meaders

Overall Comments


I have tried all of the name brand conversion rings on my 1935 Gibson one piece flange banjo.
I reinstalled the original 40 hole archtop ring and set the Tone ring mate on top.Used a remo head and tapped tune to A flat.
the banjo was noticebly different than any other sound i had experienced with other rings.
The thing i was impressed the most was the range of tones i could get in different locations playing from the bridge to the neck contact at the tension hoop.
I personally like a fat 4th string and i can honestly say it is bassier than anything i have ever tried.
I ended up retorqing the head to A and it absolutely come alive with volume and great sustain up the neck.
Prewar sound is not easily defined but one thing for sure this ring will give you plenty of different tones to experiment with.

Overall Rating

10


Tone Rings Mitchel's Tone Ring Mate
submitted 1/28/2009

Submitter

deering-dan (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Direct From Mitch Meadors

Overall Comments


I installed the Mithchel's Tone Ring Mate In my 30's Gibson TB-11 conversion with a 1934 TB-3 arch top tone ring. My 11 was originally cut down for a flat head style tone ring. After trying several different tone rings in it, I heard some pre-war banjos with the Mitchel's Tone Ring Mate and I really liked the sound I heard . I had my banjo body shimmed up for a arch top tone and installed a pre-war ring and the Tone Ring Mate. It gave my banjo more bottom end and really balanced the low's and high's. every note is clean and distinct no matter where I am on the neck. It fatten the sound of every string with a 3rd & 4th that will knock you over. I must admit this is the best my old Gibson has ever sounded and I'm not planning to look for something better, (I've already found it.) I would definably recommend the Tone Ring Mate for your banjo, verses conversion rings or cutting your original body's down.

Overall Rating

10


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