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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: GOLDTONE TWANGER


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/355872

bobbob4rd - Posted - 08/01/2019:  08:19:47


MY QUESTION IS NOW THAT THE GOLDTONE TWANGERS ARE OUT THERE, ANYONE THAT HAS BOUGHT ONE PROBABLY HAS PLAYED IT FOR A FEW MONTHS NOW. CAN ANYONE THAT HAS HAD ONE FOR A WHILE GIVE REVEIWS AS TO WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT THE SOUND OF THE BANJO. THANK YOU

Old Hickory - Posted - 08/01/2019:  12:01:10


Grand total of 36 owners. Not going to be many reviews. But there are some videos on YouTube now.



Here's a video of a buyer unboxing his.



Here's a video of the same owner playing Lonesome Road Blues on his new Twanger.



Here's Part 1 of another owner's Twanger demo.  And Part 2.



Fewer than 10 of the next batch of 36 remain available for pre-order.



My suggestion for anyone moderately interested is to trust the videos as well as the reputations of Ben Clark and Robby Boone and order one.

Brian Murphy - Posted - 08/01/2019:  12:23:51


There is also a "used" one in the classifieds. I use the term "used" loosely because it is probably no more played than shop worn banjos that go as new. From what I have heard they sound very good. Not "very good for the price range," but very good for any price range. I'm not going to hype it and say it put anything Jim Mills has at his house to shame, but nobody expects that. The issue with production banjos is whether you're getting a well constructed piece that is fitted and set up properly. Not an easy thing to accomplish. But it appears that they are doing it. I think it's a bonus that the boys in the cabin are working on these themselves. I would be confident buying from them as I have had several positive dealings with Ben in the past.

Old Hickory - Posted - 08/01/2019:  15:12:00


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Murphy

There is also a "used" one in the classifieds.






Can't go wrong with this. $1500 shipped. That's $99 less than a new one from Ben.



These appear to go head-to-head against the RK Elite 75 and Gold Star GF100JD.

Kurt Kemp - Posted - 08/02/2019:  02:38:49


Its a Good banjo. Easily as good or better than the Gold Stars and RK's I have had. It notes out perfectly. Better than many banjos I have had. I have put about 3 hours playing time on it. Its a beautiful instrument as well. Excellent workmanship. Its as new. They come with a decent hardshell case, and the tuners are nice, not junk. Overall its a great buy!


Edited by - Kurt Kemp on 08/02/2019 02:39:37

Old Hickory - Posted - 08/02/2019:  07:06:16


How's the neck?  Other Gold Tones I've played (OB or BG models) have felt a bit big to me.



What about neck construction? One piece (not counting ears)? Built up heel?  Grafted peghead?



And what bridge? Generic?



Just curious about some of the details.



Judging from reviews, Gold Tone was already on the right track with the release of the OB-150 three years ago. That one was priced at the entry level set by RK 35/36.  I assume the Twanger has features that make it worth the additional $600.

bobbob4rd - Posted - 08/02/2019:  08:16:50


Thank a lot for the replies, hopefully some of the 36 owners see this thread and tell what they think of the sound of the banjo.

Kurt Kemp - Posted - 08/02/2019:  08:49:38


The neck profile is excellent. It's not clubby or anything of the sort. One piece construction and looks like any other OPF neck. The quality of the whole banjo is very good. If Robbie says it's good it's good...and it is. It's not as "refined" as a Huber but it's excellent. The bridge is selected by the Banjo Ben folks. I am not sure what it is but I can put anything you want on it.

The sound is excellent. Has the bite many no holes do. It's a big round sound with some pop to it but a touch of mellow smoothness. It will hold it's own in a jam, no problem.

Hope this helps.

bobbob4rd - Posted - 08/03/2019:  07:40:06


THANK YOU

aabanjo - Posted - 08/12/2019:  11:52:23


The bridges we put on are Blades bridges, built by our own Josh Blades at the General Store, who also does a lot of setup work on the banjos.

I’d like to chime in, as a Twanger owner myself, as well as one of the guys from the store. I am very happy with my banjo and it has taken over as my primary banjo that I use. I can also say that I have personally played every Twanger that we have shipped out and they have all had a very consistent tone that beats any other new banjo that I have played recently, at least for what I look for in a banjo. I can say that my banjo has settled in some and is already sounding a lot better than the first time I played it (although it was great even then). I’m not convinced that I would get any more of the tone I personally like in any other brand banjo at any price range out there. The power is exceptional all the way up the neck on these banjos, which is one of the things that I think impresses us at the store most!

Banjo Lefty - Posted - 08/13/2019:  11:25:37


bobbob4rd , you don't have to shout. We can hear you just fine.

bobbob4rd - Posted - 08/19/2019:  16:51:15


just used to typing in caps , sorry, wasn't shouting.

Ahmad310 - Posted - 08/22/2019:  19:26:19


I’m the owner of #23 (the one linked in the part 1 & 2 videos above).



I was nervous ordering a new banjo that was not out and I couldn’t play before buying. I own a 1998 Granada and about two weeks after placing my order for the Twanger I unexpectedly picked up an 03 Huber Kalamazoo. After I got the huber in I told myself I would cancel the order for the twanger. Something about it though had me intrigued and I elected to not cancel. I’m glad I didn’t. As stated above, this isn’t a banjo you can put up against some prewar, the quality my not be as refined as the “big names” but one thing for sure is it sounds damn good! It def has a older/croweish tone. The setup was good out of the box but I’ve been messing with it and trying see what else she has in her. I really enjoy this banjo and find myself grabbing it over my others. I agree that this can hold its own against more expensive options out there and I do not think you will be disappointed if you decide to buy one.  



 



Edit: I forgot to mention I also have an RK36, that Banjo is amazing for the money, but I always thought it lacked something.  In ant key above A I felt it got thin.   The OB3 it powerful in all keys and has is powerful down the neck.  Also has a great range of tone between the bridge and neck.  


Edited by - Ahmad310 on 08/22/2019 19:33:31

ceemonster - Posted - 10/02/2019:  22:29:07


I'm still having dreams about the Stelling Master Flower Robbie Boone demo'ed for the BBC outfit.

Emiel - Posted - 10/03/2019:  09:13:00


As stated by Goldtone, they have been "replicating one of the most iconic banjos, played by the one of the most iconic banjo players of all time, JD Crowe's original RB-3 ("Banger")."



The strings they put on (see the specifications, goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldton...fications )

are: .011 .013 .016 .024w .011. This is rather heavy. The banjo should sound like J.D. Crowe's Banger, and JD uses very light gauge strings, I thought, at least if you have a look at his signature sets (GHS PF 135: .010 .011 .012 .020w .010 ; GHS PF 140: .0095 .011 .012 .020w .0095).



Why would they use such heavy strings, if they want to replicate the sound of that JD Crowe-played banjo?


Edited by - Emiel on 10/03/2019 09:19:53

aabanjo - Posted - 10/03/2019:  10:06:47


The heavier strings are just part of the standard setup that Gold Tone uses on all of their regular banjos. While the banjo is modeled after the Banger, the banjos still come from Gold Tone with the heavier strings, just as all of their other banjos. However, we at the Banjo Ben General Store are sending a set of GHS PF135s out with the Twangers starting with batch 2.

Emiel - Posted - 10/03/2019:  10:30:13


quote:

Originally posted by aabanjo

The heavier strings are just part of the standard setup that Gold Tone uses on all of their regular banjos. While the banjo is modeled after the Banger, the banjos still come from Gold Tone with the heavier strings, just as all of their other banjos. However, we at the Banjo Ben General Store are sending a set of GHS PF135s out with the Twangers starting with batch 2.






Thanks for your reply. On the demo video we all watched, the heavy .11-strings were used? Sounds good. Or did you put lighter strings on that banjo?

aabanjo - Posted - 10/03/2019:  11:12:38


No problem! I believe we had put some lighter strings on it by the time we did the demo (PF135s I think). If you’ll look at the Banjo Ben Facebook page, though, Ben posted a short video of me playing one of the Twangers we were fixing to ship out which still had the heavier gauge strings on it.

There is also a video of Robby Boone talking about his personal Twanger (likely on the Banjo Ben Facebook page also), after he’d had it a while. At the end of that video, Robby and I play a song together on our Twangers. When we did that video, I had PF175s on my banjo, which are heavier than the PF135s or PF140s.

Emiel - Posted - 10/03/2019:  11:27:03


quote:

Originally posted by aabanjo

No problem! I believe we had put some lighter strings on it by the time we did the demo (PF135s I think). If you’ll look at the Banjo Ben Facebook page, though, Ben posted a short video of me playing one of the Twangers we were fixing to ship out which still had the heavier gauge strings on it.



There is also a video of Robby Boone talking about his personal Twanger (likely on the Banjo Ben Facebook page also), after he’d had it a while. At the end of that video, Robby and I play a song together on our Twangers. When we did that video, I had PF175s on my banjo, which are heavier than the PF135s or PF140s.






Thanks again for the detailed info. I'm hoping I'll win that banjo… wink

buckholler - Posted - 10/03/2019:  11:36:10







Thanks again for the detailed info. I'm hoping I'll win that banjo… wink






We all want to win that Banjo.

aabanjo - Posted - 11/11/2019:  08:43:51


quote:

Originally posted by bon vivant

quote:

Originally posted by Emiel

As stated by Goldtone, they have been "replicating one of the most iconic banjos, played by the one of the most iconic banjo players of all time, JD Crowe's original RB-3 ("Banger")."



The strings they put on (see the specifications, goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldton...fications )

are: .011 .013 .016 .024w .011. This is rather heavy. The banjo should sound like J.D. Crowe's Banger, and JD uses very light gauge strings, I thought, at least if you have a look at his signature sets (GHS PF 135: .010 .011 .012 .020w .010 ; GHS PF 140: .0095 .011 .012 .020w .0095).



Why would they use such heavy strings, if they want to replicate the sound of that JD Crowe-played banjo?






How did they come up with those String Gauges ? I think for me. those are way too heavy...I use  Light .09 .11 .13 .18 .09. Black Diamond..Man They are Good!






That is just Gold Tone's standard set of strings they put on all of their regular banjos when they set them up.

SBPARK - Posted - 11/12/2019:  06:02:08


Wow, that Twanger does sound pretty incredible, and I just bought a new RK-36. I'm not feeling that bad though because I'm comparing the $900 I paid for mine to a $1,600 banjo, but if I had to do it all over again I may have ponied up the extra cash for the Twanger...

Gixxer340 - Posted - 11/12/2019:  09:26:11


quote:

Originally posted by SBPARK

Wow, that Twanger does sound pretty incredible, and I just bought a new RK-36. I'm not feeling that bad though because I'm comparing the $900 I paid for mine to a $1,600 banjo, but if I had to do it all over again I may have ponied up the extra cash for the Twanger...






I wonder if anyone has played them back to back and can comment on how they actually compare. I have always coveted the RK-36. Is this one that much better? 



Jeff

teletodd - Posted - 11/29/2019:  19:29:41


Wonder how it compares to an RK 75 Elite?

BUBBY - Posted - 01/31/2020:  06:28:40


quote:

Originally posted by teletodd

Wonder how it compares to an RK 75 Elite?






Anyone had a chance to compare? Would love to hear more feedback 

Bradskey - Posted - 01/31/2020:  10:11:15


I play a real (reissue) RB-3 and am a fan of the style, so I'm glad they brought these to market - very classy. My Gibson may be a few hairs "better", but they don't make them any more, you can't always just go out and buy one, and it might cost you twice as much anyway. Due to the limited number of Twangers built and sold I guess people are too busy enjoying playing them to comment much. But this model looks to me well worth considering if/when they get some more.

The RK-75 Elite is more trying to replicate a late pre-war RB-75 (with a longer scale) rather than an RB-3. What's the difference between an RB-3 and RB-75 flathead? Well not much really. Almost nothing. Period of construction, the likelihood of certain inlay choices. Esoteric differences in the rims maybe. The RB-75 was just the later incarnation of the RB-3, although extant examples sometimes resemble floor sweeps vs more catalog spec RB-3s. That has no real bearing on the Elite though. In the case of the Twanger it is a specific early RB-3 they are trying to reproduce, which is reflected in some of the components (tone ring for example). Do note that both models have an ebony fingerboard which is not technically "correct" to an RB-3/75. It's not a bad thing though, and I shouldn't be surprised that there are some early examples with ebony boards. Anyway, I expect the Twanger compares favorably with the Elite, both great banjos at a good price.

Moose_Roberts - Posted - 01/31/2020:  10:46:48


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Murphy

There is also a "used" one in the classifieds. I use the term "used" loosely because it is probably no more played than shop worn banjos that go as new. From what I have heard they sound very good. Not "very good for the price range," but very good for any price range. I'm not going to hype it and say it put anything Jim Mills has at his house to shame, but nobody expects that. The issue with production banjos is whether you're getting a well constructed piece that is fitted and set up properly. Not an easy thing to accomplish. But it appears that they are doing it. I think it's a bonus that the boys in the cabin are working on these themselves. I would be confident buying from them as I have had several positive dealings with Ben in the past.






I'm touring hte Gold Tone shop this summer as a pre-conference field trip. To my understanding they get everything as parts and do setup and assembly in house before anything goes to customers. I'm with you that it likely won't compete with most customs or those re-worked pre-wars and the like because ultimately it is a sum of it's parts, but they way those parts go together should be pretty solid. 

sswymele - Posted - 02/03/2020:  06:10:56


I just received my Twanger about two weeks ago. I have been playing the banjo for only about 5 months and started with the $150 Amazon model to dip my toe in the water. I cannot believe the difference in the Twanger. My wife says it fills the house with sound and it sounds like I'm playing two banjos (I think that is a compliment..but in hindsight maybe I should clarify). To me, it is like a completely different instrument.

I absolutely love it. I had an impromptu jam session last night...as much "jamming" as a 5 month old banjo player can have. We Cripple Creeked and You are my sunshined until our fingers hurt. My friend is a long time guitar player and said this is the best sounding banjo he has ever heard....I doubt due to my awesome playing.

Ahmad310 - Posted - 02/03/2020:  07:11:37


I think the comparison between this and any of the Recording Kings is very subjective. For me personally, i was looking to buy a "cheaper" 2nd banjo to play when i didn't want to take my Granada out. I originally had my sights set on the Gold Star JD Crowe model, but i was never able to find one locally to play and the prices were going up so i started looking at the RK line. I played two that The Banjo Store had in stock, a RK75 and 76 and for me personally i was not impressed, the were very well built and looked great but i didn't "love" the sound. A few weeks later i played a RK36 back to back with the 75 and felt the 36 sounded much better and was a good bit cheaper as well. I ended up buying the 36 and still own it and while it doesn't get much playing time i am always blown away at how it sounds given the price point.

I did get in on the first batch of Twangers and i have to say its a completely different animal than the RK. Sound wise, i think the Twanger sounds better, it def sounds like a more expensive banjo, deeper lows and more volume and sounds better up the neck. I do think the fit and finish of the RK is sightly better than the Goldtone but not enough that it should sway you from considering one. For the money both brands offer a phenomenal product that allows you to get pretty close the the sound of "traditional" brands at a fraction of the cost. My personal opinion is that if you are in the market for either and you can get your hands on one to try out, then by all means do it. As we all know, the banjo is a very sensitive instrument, the setup greatly affects the sound. Banjo Ben and his team did a great job and going over them and giving them a good setup so that it arrived sounding great out of the box.

In the year and half since buying my RK I have played many additional RK's and some were good and some not so great. If you are making the purchase sight unseen its always hard as you don't know what you will get but both of these brands have really stepped their game up and you will be hard pressed to find more value for the money and i think you will be very pleased with what you get. I have played many $3k + banjos from all the major brands that were not as good as either of these.

All that being said, i'll probably list both the RK and Twanger for sale soon as I have no need for 4 Banjos and buying an old Gibson is something i would eventually like to do. For me the Twanger wins over the RK75/76 line but if you are on the fence with either brand, i don't think you will be disappointed in either one you pick. If i get a chance I will try and do some comparison videos of the 2.

Ahmad310 - Posted - 03/31/2020:  17:09:08


Finally got around to making a quick video to compare the RK36 & OB-3 Twanger next to a Yates Skillet Head and a Gibson Granada. This was done in a hurry using a iPhone so the sound quality isn't the greatest. Maybe will all this time at home ill get a proper mic hooked up and do some better videos at some point.

youtu.be/cgy7GoLYcvU


All 4 Banjo's have been set up by Adam at @TheBanjoStore and ill give you little detail on each

- 2019 OB-3 Twanger #23 of 36 from batch 1. Has a new remo head, Med custom string set from American Made Banjo Company, 5/8 Snuffy Smith pegged Bridge. Head tightened to around 91 on a drum dial.

- 2018 Recording King RK36. Huber Head, Light custom string set from American Made Banjo Company, Stuffy Smith 5/8 Bridge, head at 90 on drum dial.

- 2012 Yates "Skillet Head" AMB Head, Light custom string set from American Made Banjo Company, Yates Bridge, head at 91 on drum dial

- 1998 Gibson Granada, Huber head & Huber Vintage Tone Ring, Light custom string set from American Made Banjo Company, Yates Bridge, head at 90 on drum dial.

As you can hear, they really all sound pretty close in this clip. The last 2 cost more than double and you would be hard pressed to say the sound is worth it price difference. Now what you cant tell is of all the banjos, the RK has the least amount of power and you have to dig in and pick it a little harder If your playing in a jam or somewhere loud.

The Twanger has more power/volume, heaver strings and is a little harder to play. Ive messed around with setup and if i set it up to match the others it doesn't sound as good so I've settled on heavier strings and a slightly higher action to get it to sound where I'm happy with it.

The Yates and Gibson are a lot louder than the other two and you would expect that, they also are easier to play in my opinion based on the set ups on them.

As I have stated on here before, if you are in the market and you want to spend under $2000 these are hard to beat. Ive played a lot of banjos in that area including the Goldstar GF100JD Crowe Model and The RK75/76 models and i do not feel they are better than either of these two. And i was quite disappointed in the ones I played. The OB3 gives you that RB3 sound, look and feel for a very nice price. The RK36 can be found regularly for under $1000 and is a the bargain of group, it can hang with banjos well out of its price league. In my opinion i would say the RK fit and finish is slightly better than the Twanger. Personal taste is ultimately what will drive you to one of them and if you can get out and play one (once we are allowed to again) i definitely recommend doing that and remember most stores do not have good set ups. I tried over 20 different bridges on these banjos and each one gave a very different sound, so a good setup will make all the difference. I cannot say enough good things about TheBanjoStore if you are in the market and Adam will definitely set it up right and have it sounding great when it arrives in your hands. Same goes for Banjoben1 and all the guys at the General Store!

If you have any questions feel free to message me and I'll do my best to answer them or if you want to see anything in particular in video just let me know!


Banjoben1 - Posted - 03/31/2020:  17:17:31


Good comparison and appreciate the kind words! I'll say that my Twanger and some others I have played like the PF135s and similar the best, though yours may be different (and different ears/hands). Good pickin' in the video!

BUBBY - Posted - 04/02/2020:  08:35:25


Thx for the comparison. Nice picking too. They all sound good. I believe I prefer the tone of theTwanger over the RK. Its definitely right there with the Yates.

Mooooo - Posted - 04/02/2020:  11:24:08


They all sound great on the first three frets. It would be nice to hear what they sound like in the middle, up the neck and way up the neck. Tone can change a lot as you go up the neck. Some banjos can't handle the really high notes on each string and end up sounding shrill or dead. If you can do a few nice 2-5 slides on the 4th string, that would be nice too.

Ahmad310 - Posted - 04/02/2020:  11:39:47


I agreed about down the neck and with capo on these each are very different. I’ll definitely try and get around to putting some different comparisons with different keys and down the next stuff.


Edited by - Ahmad310 on 04/02/2020 11:40:10

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