Hey all.. I just ordered a Deering Sierra. Will have it mid January. Soto my question.. in my older banjo I have used a Fishman Rare earth pretty much exclusively for the past 15 years. I've been on and off the phone with Deering since I ordered the banjo. The strongly suggest the kavanjo. So one... who has extended experience with one and two... there is a humbucker literally attached to the head. In my thinking it would affect the tone of the head. Am I wrong? And three and most important. How's it sound in comparison to the fishman. I'm likely going to just throw the fishman in the Sierra
But id like y'alls input on the kavanjo. Thanks in advance! -Donny.
It is attached to the head, so yes will affect the acoustic tone.
It is slightly different in it's function than the Fishman. It is directly picking up the string vibrations (like any electric guitar; and requires nickel/steel strings to make magnetic field). Not based on picking up the bridge, head or resonance of the banjo. The Fishman is uses metal a metal shim under the bridge for magnetic field, so it's vibration from bridge and head.
The amplified tone will be likely be a bit different than Fishman. I imagine similar to acoustic guitars using soundhole humbucker; it relies an EQ and maybe effect processing to try get it to sound more acoustic (but I have yet to hear one that actually sounds "natural"). It will come down to if you like the sound or not.
On the plus side... it will likely give more gain before feedback.
IMO, stay with the Fishman, especially if you know how to tweak it to your taste already. It's still one of the best off the shelf banjo PUPs and lots of pros use them. If you want a magnetic pickup like the Kavanjo, you can always install a Gold Tone SMP or the more expensive EMG down the road (neither of which will attach to the head). The advantages that those magnetic pickups have over the Fishman is some feedback resistance and they play a little nicer with electric guitar effects pedals and stuff like that.
I would have enjoyed working your specs with you before you bought from a factory. For me, you are the perfect candidate, a teacher, player, you work in a music store so you know what you want to hear and what not.
My dog can tell some of the differences you want to know about. I'm sure you've read about people with the wrong head too low to keep off the metal strip.
I have installed the Fishman, SMP and Cavanjo. I use my little 10" Peavey amp out in my shop. I find the Fishman and SMP to be able to be dialed in nicely
They are inside the banjo rim. Personally, I'm not fond of interfering with sound moving out of the banjo. I want the work space to keep clear. The trouble with amplification is that after a few drinks who the heck cares.
I haven't been able to get any of these to feed back. Besides my little Peavey, I have a warrior's Peavey Stereo chorus 400 with 2 12's. I live where I can crank it up. When I played on the road, blah,blah.
When I say these pickups are "full", it's subjective.
What paxflyer said. We all want what works. I'll be researching that option.
The canvanjo won't feed back at all, at least I couldn't get it to . I don't have extensive experience with it in performance. I attended a gig where one of my customers was using the cavanjo in the mix, seemed to blend well.
Ask the maker how much their banjo weighs .
I jam frequently and often, so I get to hear all the major and minor players, different models and how people struggle with trying to be heard or project with equipment that may have suffered from hype. Hype falls away like morning dew.
I find them to be heavy. You may already play a 12 pounder with bronze on board, thus you would be used to the Fishman.
The Cavanjo just installs, that's it, no dialing in. just play.
Frankly, I don't mess around with electric banjos, nor their weight.
Wooden resonators weigh at least one pound with hardware. ( my spoons only weigh 11 oz.) see photo.
I haven't heard of anyone using a Cavanjo with open back or claw, but they definitely weigh less. I was worried about the phono jack in the head, but it wasn't a problem when I played.