Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

329
Banjo Lovers Online


Discussion Forum

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Shopping Advice
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Banjos that sound similar to Gibson Granadas?


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/358627

dan_the_man - Posted - 11/15/2019:  11:08:45


I had the opportunity to stop at Gruhn’s a couple weeks ago and they had a 1925 and 1930 TB-Granada that (to me) both sounded amazing. I have about 9 months of banjo playing experience under my belt and starting to build an ear for what I like and don’t like, and, well, I really like the Granada sound. I stopped at Steve Huber’s shop as well and he had a VRB-G which sounded very similar.

I’m curious if Stelling, Frank Neat, Nechville, and other well known professional brands have similar models that try to imitate the Granada sound? Thanks

csacwp - Posted - 11/15/2019:  11:11:28


In all honesty I think any Mastertone-style banjo can get that sound. In a blind test nobody can tell the difference between a Granada, RB-3, etc., and while the wood type does influence the tone, the head tension and bridge have far more of an effect.

Brian Murphy - Posted - 11/15/2019:  11:34:07


OF the three you mention, only Neat routinely builds Gibson builds. Stellings are unique (and you may love that sound too). Same with Nechville. Great, but different from traditional Gibson sound. Another builder you may wish to consider is Tim Davis in the Charlotte area. Eric Sullivan's vintage line is awesome as well. I believe he is in transition from Louisville to South Alabam where he is building his new shop, so I doubt he is building right now. He may have something though. The Earl Scruggs models are essentially Granadas with nickel plating instead of gold. If you can hear the difference between nickel and gold you are in rare company.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 11/15/2019:  13:30:32


Most people would want to run John Cohen out on rail for saying what he just said, but I have to agree with him.

If you take any number of well set up Gibson Mastertone banjos and stick them in the hands of a competent player, the difference in tone and sound between the banjos can only be discerned by very few people.

I have played Granada’s that sounded and played terrible and ones that sounded great. I’ve played 1970s RB 250s that played and sounded fantastic.

90% of the sound is the player. 9.9999% is the instrument and the set up.

That .0001% is reserved for people like Earl, ect. They made the sound and no instrument or set up is going to make you or anyone sound like them.

MacCruiskeen - Posted - 11/15/2019:  13:34:47


Warren Yates is another builder making very nice Gibson copies.

rcc56 - Posted - 11/15/2019:  13:43:38


Several makers build Granada style banjos, but not Nechville or Stelling. Some of them make instruments that may aguably be much better than modern era Gibsons.



Look for banjos with maple neck and resonator, Mastertone styling, and Mastertone style tone rings.



I don't know how discerning your ear is, but you might find it difficult to find a modern banjo that to you sounds similar to one built before WWII.  Or, you might not be able to hear a difference at all.  Or, you might think that a well built modern banjo sounds better.



The 1925 Granada you looked at is not much more expensive than a new Huber Granada style banjo. You could make an offer to Gruhn-- most of their prices are negotiable.


Edited by - rcc56 on 11/15/2019 13:45:53

KCJones - Posted - 11/15/2019:  14:01:15


quote:

Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Most people would want to run John Cohen out on rail for saying what he just said, but I have to agree with him.



If you take any number of well set up Gibson Mastertone banjos and stick them in the hands of a competent player, the difference in tone and sound between the banjos can only be discerned by very few people.



I have played Granada’s that sounded and played terrible and ones that sounded great. I’ve played 1970s RB 250s that played and sounded fantastic.



90% of the sound is the player. 9.9999% is the instrument and the set up.



That .0001% is reserved for people like Earl, ect. They made the sound and no instrument or set up is going to make you or anyone sound like them.






 



Not a banjo, but this video illustrates your point perfectly. It's about the player, not the instrument.



youtu.be/600ykNF3md4


Edited by - KCJones on 11/15/2019 14:02:00

Bronx banjo - Posted - 11/15/2019:  14:44:16


I strongly agree with csacwp. There is no such thing as a Granada sound or an RB 75 sound. While blind tests have been conducted on Strad violins and expensive French wines with startling results, (ie experts failed to discern the differences), banjo players discount this method and the only reason I can ascribe to this is that banjo players revel in their mythology and don’t want scientific inquiry to muck things up. Blind tests may not be perfect, but what other tool can be used to separate fact from fiction? Until there is some validation to claims that have been made continually over the years, I remain unconvinced that Granadas sound different from other Mastertones, that gold plating makes a difference, that RB 3s sound different from RB75s, and that there is a prewar sound. Head tension, choice of bridge, general constructional features i.e. how well all parts fit together as well as the player him/herself are the real determinants of banjo sound.

The Old Timer - Posted - 11/15/2019:  15:43:40


A Gibson Earl Scruggs model is quite similar to a modern Granada.

When you get into comparing OLD Granadas, it's harder to say. An OLDER banjo with a Gibson style tone ring and and OLD wood rim, with a maple neck, should sound at least in the ballpark. Sonny Osborne stated that he felt the combination of old gold plate and old maple wood gave his Granada something "special" that really spoke to him, and never let him down. Others scoff at any potential contribution of microns of gold plating.

I think you've already gotten a good list of "modern" Granadas that might come close. Don't forget modern GIBSON Granadas either.

Sonny Osborne "The Chief" model makes Sonny happy about approaching the sound he likes.

I will suggest that it doesn't take a huge amount of experience to hear the difference between a maple necked banjo and a mahogany necked banjo, of the same style and vintage. There IS a difference.

I also agree that 90% of why JD Crowe doesn't sound like Sonny Osborne or Earl Scruggs, is due to the player, not the banjo.

Have fun shopping! Only YOU can decide what YOU like.

Don't ignore the Kel Kroydon (American Banjo Co.) Granada-like model. They turn up every now and then, used, at lower prices than Hubers.

dan_the_man - Posted - 11/15/2019:  16:41:21


quote:

Originally posted by Alvin Conder



90% of the sound is the player. 9.9999% is the instrument and the set up.






I've heard that before so maybe I should ask: why do different makers make different models if the setup can be changed to sound like one another of similar quality and wood types e.g. Huber's VRB series? Or for that matter if all Gibsons can be setup to sound like the Granadas that I tried in at Gruhn's should I just find the best reputable Gibson deal and take it to a professional to setup as a Granada sound? 

rcc56 - Posted - 11/15/2019:  17:34:36


I'm going to suggest that if a banjo doesn't sound pretty good to you to start with, changing the setup wtill might not satisfy you.

You might be better off finding a banjo that already sounds good to you, and has a neck that is comfortable to you. Then, you can start playing with the setup and find out what else the banjo can do. Then you might like it even better, or you might end up returning to the original setup.

After many years of working on instruments, I have found that each instrument has its own voice. While a good setup can pull the "best" out of an instrument, and may be able to color an instrument's voice a bit, you can't change the general nature of the instruments. Two instruments of the same model, and made the same day by the same people, are going to sound different from each other.

dan_the_man - Posted - 11/15/2019:  17:46:36


quote:

Originally posted by rcc56

I'm going to suggest that if a banjo doesn't sound pretty good to you to start with, changing the setup wtill might not satisfy you.






If that’s the case then I feel a bit better about my search for something that sounds good to me. For instance I tried mahogany and curly maple banjos whole in Nashville and I felt like curly maple sounded better to me. Robin Smith was the one who told me that setup can pretty much take care of any sound I want, but I just don’t see how the Stelling Staghorn I tried will ever sound like the VRB-G (or TB-G for that matter). 

Brian Murphy - Posted - 11/15/2019:  18:26:25


You are starting to figure out what you like. Stellings have a unique sound, as do the standard series Deerings, Omes, etc.. They are designed differently than Gibson. But lots of people make banjos to Gibson specs. Do you like feeling that fourth string in your backbone? You'll start thinking about sustain/decay, whether you like more of a "ping" or a "crack," and all the other different nuances of timbre. Forget the label. It may be a Fender Concert Tone that ends up grabbing you. Just keep playing them. Robin Smith is, of course, correct. But don't take that to mean you can buy any banjo and it can be made to sound like any other banjo. Set up goes a long way, but the banjo should grab you and speak to you before you take it home. Don't just buy "the best Gibson you can afford" and expect that it will become something it isn't. The running around and looking is a lot of the fun. You're definitely talking to the right people and going to the right places. Enjoy the hunt.


Edited by - Brian Murphy on 11/15/2019 18:26:48

jchipps_1 - Posted - 11/15/2019:  18:55:46


No two banjos (even of the same model) are gonna sound identical regardless of setup .... close maybe ... but not identical.



They all have their own unique sound and personalities depending on a multitude of variables.



As for Stellings and Nechvilles, they too have their own unique sound.



I'll add to what Bob rrc56 and Brian Murphy already said above.

If you try out a banjo and you're not happy with the sound, don't assume that you can magically turn it into a Granada, or something that you do like simply by setting it up differently after you buy it.



In other words, if you like the sound of a Huber VRB-G, (I do too by the way) get a Huber.

Don't get a Nechville or Stelling and try to make them sound like a Huber.



Good luck in your search


Edited by - jchipps_1 on 11/15/2019 19:02:30

Alvin Conder - Posted - 11/15/2019:  20:02:43


And this is the beauty of today’s banjo spectrum.

Unlike years ago, where one really only had one real option, a Gibson, and that being what ever model or year you happened to randomly run across, now we have options. Many, many options from Vintage instruments, the reissue Gibson’s and Instruments made from any of the fantastic builders that are out there right now.

I would say that if you are looking for a particular look, feel or sound, never before in history has it been so easy to track down and get just exactly what you want.

Play as many different instruments as you can get your hands on. When you find the right one, you will definitely without question know it. It will feel right. It will speak to you.

Have fun in the hunt and be prepared to be surprised.

dan_the_man - Posted - 11/16/2019:  10:30:12


quote:

Originally posted by Alvin Conder



Play as many different instruments as you can get your hands on. When you find the right one, you will definitely without question know it. It will feel right. It will speak to you.



Have fun in the hunt and be prepared to be surprised.






Great advice all. Thanks. I tried around 20 different higher end banjos while in Nashville and the 2 that resonated the most with me, that felt right to my ear, were the 1925 Granada and Huber’s VRB-G. 



Someone mentioned a shop in Atlanta area that has high end banjos, maybe I should stop by there next. Does anyone know of other shops close’ish to upstate SC? 

J.Albert - Posted - 11/16/2019:  14:53:57


Agree with Dick Bowden above.



If you want a banjo with "Gibson" on the peghead, get an Earl Scruggs Standard, gold-plated version, or an actual post-1988 Gibson Grananda.



For a "recreation" as good as it gets, get yourself a Huber Truetone, Granada-style or otherwise.



Also consider an Osborne Chief. They were fine, fine banjos (don't know if Sonny still sells them).

The Old Timer - Posted - 11/17/2019:  08:24:17


If you're shopping, check out the Classifieds here for double E's Huber Lexington. Standard disclaimer, I have nothing to do with the sale, but that's a fine banjo at a "nice price". Very Granada like. Gold, engraved, maple. Mastertone-like design in the pot.

1ST GEN CUMMINS - Posted - 11/18/2019:  07:46:58


Check out Banjo Warehouse in Atlanta. Geoff has a couple of Granadas there now I think. That's where I got mine.

Bradskey - Posted - 11/18/2019:  09:47:23


Up to a point a Mastertone is a Mastertone is a Mastertone. Some have more of "it", some a little less. Setup helps focus the instrument in and out of the range of what you want to hear, within the limitations of whatever that particular instrument is capable of. Mahogany vs maple and other variables introduces some subtleties also, but they are just that - subtle. I would include most of the slavish Gibson clones in this. There is a sort of a "Gibson sound" and most Gibsons and Gibson copies easily achieve it to one degree or another. I might almost say Huber alone sort of has its own sound, but it is a type of Gibson sound that he is after with incredible attention to detail and setup. Huber is basically the modern Mastertone sound that I hear in many contemporary recordings.

Now, Stellings, Deerings, Nechvilles and a few other makes that are not strictly Gibson copies tend to have their own distinct variety and coloration to the resonator banjo sound, although there is still lots of variation within each of them. Generally speaking they do not sound exactly like Gibsons, whatever that means. Here's the thing - you might call BS, and you would be right. Either I or a more informed expert might listen to blind samples and say, well that sounds like a Stelling to me, or that sounds like an old mahogany Gibson. Maybe I would be right 60-70% of the time if I were lucky. This isn't wine tasting, and there are always too many variables and possibilities. All I'm talking about is a "tendency" toward a certain type of tone, or a certain enigmatic tonal quality that is very difficult to articulate, but over time you come to know it just the same.

So really, in the end, all that's worth doing is trying to find a quality banjo that you like the sound of, regardless of the looks, the materials or the make.

O.D. - Posted - 11/18/2019:  11:09:27


youtube.com/watch?v=7Bh5tq0O6lU



 The word on the street is that these banjos are very Granada like.



 Might be worth looking into.



 



Everett

1ST GEN CUMMINS - Posted - 11/18/2019:  13:37:18


People that are worried about planting their ring finger needs to watch Russ in the above youtube.

Richard Hauser - Posted - 11/18/2019:  13:42:23


I advise novices to have a good banjo player sample an instrument before they purchase it. That way the buyer can hear the banjo's potential.
And, they might realize that their playing skills should be improved to correct most of their problems.

O.D. - Posted - 11/18/2019:  14:23:53


Reportedly wood from the same mill as Gibson

Alex Z - Posted - 11/19/2019:  12:20:19


There are always the same four perspectives:



1.  I can't tell the difference between two banjos, and therefore no one can tell the difference between two banjos, and consequently there are no differences in sound between two banjos.



2.  Set up is everything, and can provide whatever sound you want.



3.  Each banjo has its own character sound, and you can change that only a little.



4.  The player creates the sound.



smiley

dan_the_man - Posted - 11/20/2019:  18:45:20


quote:

Originally posted by Alex Z

There are always the same four perspectives:



1.  I can't tell the difference between two banjos, and therefore no one can tell the difference between two banjos, and consequently there are no differences in sound between two banjos.



2.  Set up is everything, and can provide whatever sound you want.



3.  Each banjo has its own character sound, and you can change that only a little.



4.  The player creates the sound.



smiley






Good write up of the different perspectives people have when comparing banjos. I've kind of been resistant to the people who say that any banjo can sound like any other banjo with the right set up (e.g. I don't see how any Stelling can be made to sound like a Granada). I think that when playing a song, the sound that the notes create will be dependent on the skill level of the player. I'm fairly certain that I heard differences of sound with banjos made with mahogany vs. maple, albeit subtle (but enough to desire a banjo with a certain wood composition). 



It seems that I'm gravitating the most to perspective #3. 



Anyway, I feel that I've read enough from everyone's responses to consider my OP answered. Thanks all. 

Ralph Stanley legend - Posted - 11/20/2019:  22:40:02


After 30 years playing Banjo, the only Banjo I can blind test sounds different to everything else out there is a Stelling. All other's sound within an inth degree exactly the same. Yes, I play a Stelling.

Regards
Dave

SBPARK - Posted - 11/21/2019:  07:10:39


quote:

Originally posted by Ralph Stanley legend

After 30 years playing Banjo, the only Banjo I can blind test sounds different to everything else out there is a Stelling. All other's sound within an inth degree exactly the same. Yes, I play a Stelling.



Regards

Dave






That's interesting. I have been playing guitar for just about 30 years, but somewhat new to banjo and I can definitely hear a difference between certain banjos. My Gibson ESS and RK-36 sound nothing alike, even though they both have the same string set, same head and head tension, same bridge and set-up specs and I can usually pick out a Deering because they have this sort of chime to them. I think the waters get murky when you start comparing the sound of banjos from a lot of the other boutique makers. They all sound great and their fit and finishes are spectacular, but dare I say they can start to sound a bit similar (which isn't a bad thing). Just swapping out a bridge can noticeably change the sound of a banjo. Kind of like Comparing high-end Telecasters from different boutique makers. They're all going to sound like Telecasters, and things like pickup choice are going to affect the sound more than anything, but still sound like a Telecaster.

 



To the OP: When someone asks what other banjo(s) sound like a Granada, it's very subjective. Put three different bridges on a Granada and they will all sound different, but it's still a Granada, so where's your baseline that is being used for comparison?


Edited by - SBPARK on 11/21/2019 07:13:59

Jbo1 - Posted - 11/21/2019:  07:29:52


Bronx banjo , are you saying that in blind tests experts can't tell the difference between a Strad violin and French wines? If that's the case I think they have the blindfolds on too tight.

9470 Granada - Posted - 11/22/2019:  06:28:12


quote:

Originally posted by dan_the_man

I had the opportunity to stop at Gruhn’s a couple weeks ago and they had a 1925 and 1930 TB-Granada that (to me) both sounded amazing. I have about 9 months of banjo playing experience under my belt and starting to build an ear for what I like and don’t like, and, well, I really like the Granada sound. I stopped at Steve Huber’s shop as well and he had a VRB-G which sounded very similar.



I’m curious if Stelling, Frank Neat, Nechville, and other well known professional brands have similar models that try to imitate the Granada sound? Thanks






Hey Dan, There are some variables between a 25, 30, and Huber VRB-G. I can't speak specifically to each banjo but I'd say the "common denominator" is a curly maple neck. To me, that is KEY to the "Granada sound". I'm one of those people who tend to believe gold plating has an effect on tone...just as i do nickel and chrome...BUT the "voice" is mainly in the neck of a Mastertone style banjo.



Of the 3 other makers you mentioned, I'd say Frank Neat would come closer to meeting the Granada sound since he sticks mainly to Mastertone style banjos.

pasdimo - Posted - 11/22/2019:  06:39:58


Neck, and resonator (if there is one). Try different resonators on the same banjo and you will hear an obvious difference

9470 Granada - Posted - 11/22/2019:  09:04:44


Regarding resonators, Any Granada type banjo will have a resonator. The normal material inside would be poplar. Every now and then maple. A big factor will be the radius of the bowl shape of the reso. The outside veneer for a Granada would obviously be curly maple but that's for looks.

Different resonators that are to the same specs can sound different for sure.


Edited by - 9470 Granada on 11/22/2019 09:05:28

dan_the_man - Posted - 11/22/2019:  12:28:36


quote:

Originally posted by 9470 Granada

quote:

Originally posted by dan_the_man

I had the opportunity to stop at Gruhn’s a couple weeks ago and they had a 1925 and 1930 TB-Granada that (to me) both sounded amazing. I have about 9 months of banjo playing experience under my belt and starting to build an ear for what I like and don’t like, and, well, I really like the Granada sound. I stopped at Steve Huber’s shop as well and he had a VRB-G which sounded very similar.



I’m curious if Stelling, Frank Neat, Nechville, and other well known professional brands have similar models that try to imitate the Granada sound? Thanks






Hey Dan, There are some variables between a 25, 30, and Huber VRB-G. I can't speak specifically to each banjo but I'd say the "common denominator" is a curly maple neck. To me, that is KEY to the "Granada sound". I'm one of those people who tend to believe gold plating has an effect on tone...just as i do nickel and chrome...BUT the "voice" is mainly in the neck of a Mastertone style banjo.



Of the 3 other makers you mentioned, I'd say Frank Neat would come closer to meeting the Granada sound since he sticks mainly to Mastertone style banjos.






Thanks, yes I think Curly Maple will be what I'm after in a new banjo. Is that a common wood used in banjos or is it limited?


Edited by - dan_the_man on 11/22/2019 12:32:14

9470 Granada - Posted - 11/22/2019:  13:26:52







Thanks, yes I think Curly Maple will be what I'm after in a new banjo. Is that a common wood used in banjos or is it limited?






@dan the man



Curly maple, straight grain maple, mahogany, and walnut are the main ones used. Each wood has it's tonal characteristics as a rule.

Old Hickory - Posted - 11/29/2019:  09:55:06


quote:

Originally posted by SBPARK

My Gibson ESS and RK-36 sound nothing alike, even though they both have the same string set, same head and head tension, same bridge and set-up specs



How about tone ring and rim?



I'm going to assume the rim in the ESS is older and made from older wood than the rim in the RK36. That could make a difference in sound.  Or maybe not.  The RK ring is reputed to be of an authentic pre-war Gibson formula as is the (Kulesh?) ring in your ESS.  But are they the same formula and weight? Who knows? Is the ring-to-rim fit the same on both? Some say there's a big contributor to sound right there. What do they know?



Anyway, I agree with everybody:  There are big differences. There are not big differences. It's all in the setup. Sometimes setup can't help. It's all in the player.  Some players can't get any banjo to sound good. A Stelling will never sound like a Granada (until you compare the sound of Alan Munde's first Stelling on Banjo Sandwich to his Granada on Traitor in Our Midst and Don't Give Up Your Day Job (original Huckleberry Hornpipe). Maybe the banjos sound different, maybe they don't. But Alan clearly sounds like Alan whatever he plays.



Your mileage may vary.

SBPARK - Posted - 11/29/2019:  10:40:56


quote:

Originally posted by Old Hickory

quote:

Originally posted by SBPARK

My Gibson ESS and RK-36 sound nothing alike, even though they both have the same string set, same head and head tension, same bridge and set-up specs



How about tone ring and rim?



I'm going to assume the rim in the ESS is older and made from older wood than the rim in the RK36. That could make a difference in sound.  Or maybe not.  The RK ring is reputed to be of an authentic pre-war Gibson formula as is the (Kulesh?) ring in your ESS.  But are they the same formula and weight? Who knows? Is the ring-to-rim fit the same on both? Some say there's a big contributor to sound right there. What do they know?



Anyway, I agree with everybody:  There are big differences. There are not big differences. It's all in the setup. Sometimes setup can't help. It's all in the player.  Some players can't get any banjo to sound good. A Stelling will never sound like a Granada (until you compare the sound of Alan Munde's first Stelling on Banjo Sandwich to his Granada on Traitor in Our Midst and Don't Give Up Your Day Job (original Huckleberry Hornpipe). Maybe the banjos sound different, maybe they don't. But Alan clearly sounds like Alan whatever he plays.



Your mileage may vary.






We can discuss and debate what variables contribute most and give each instrument its tone but if the person who is playing it can play worth a damn (myself in that catagory) all those other things are a moot point. I'm fine with just swapping out bridges to find one I like and spend rhe rest of the time just practicing. 

Old Hickory - Posted - 11/30/2019:  14:26:46


quote:

Originally posted by SBPARK

We can discuss and debate what variables contribute most and give each instrument its tone but if the person who is playing it can play worth a damn (myself in that catagory) all those other things are a moot point. I'm fine with just swapping out bridges to find one I like and spend rhe rest of the time just practicing. 




Of course we can. And I agree with everything you say here.



But one point of my previous comment is that you said your Gibson ESS and RK-35 sound nothing alike even though they have the same head, bridge, strings and set-up.  Since those aspects -- and the player --are the same, the difference in their sound has to come from somewhere else.  I suggested that the tone ring was the 3-lb gorilla in the room. Plus the rim and the fit of the two.



But those were just suggestions. I don't know why your banjos sound different.



I assume that most of us who own multiple banjos expect them to sound different. We'll adjust each to produce a sound that we like, but still not expect them to sound the same. I hope I could tell my banjos apart blindfolded.


Edited by - Old Hickory on 11/30/2019 14:28:32

waystation - Posted - 11/30/2019:  15:21:31


I've been working with Tom Nechville on a more bluegrass-sounding setup for his banjos. We've come up with a setup using all Nechville components that comes pretty close. So far we've set up two maple and one mahogany that are based on his Classic model. You can hear the difference here in the mahogany - same banjo, first with a standard Nechville lightweight brass tone ring:

youtube.com/watch?v=ILeJJitwYtA

And then with Tom's no-hole full weight ring and some other component and setup tweaks:

youtube.com/watch?v=GAftiVodnRs

One of the challenges is getting consistent tone and volume in all parts of the neck. Many Gibson copies thin out up the neck. This setup seems to solve the problem - at least, it has in the first three we've put together. You can especially hear the difference between setups in these videos in the high break of Fireball Mail. That 10th-15th fret area of the neck is, to me, the real test of a good-sounding banjo.

The Old Timer - Posted - 11/30/2019:  16:26:29


Richie you make a good point about playing up the neck. A ton of good Masterclones sound good in the open G position. And that's a good thing compared to some of the junk that came on the market 40-50 years ago.

However, a "good" modern Mastertone or Masterclone at least maintains its volume and "beef" from the 7th fret up. The opening slide up on Lonesome Road Blues is one test. The high break for Fireball Mail is another. The opening high slide on Sally Ann another. Then the highest possible G double-stop up near the tension hoop is also critically important. I'm glad to say MANY modern banjos of many brands do a good job in these positions.

The BEST two banjos I ever played (pre-war flat head original 5 strings) positively SHRIEKED from the 12th fret up. They actually seemed to get LOUDER and BEEFIER, like that was their sweet spot! Of course they sounded great down in open position too, but their high notes were unnerving in their power. I don't even hope to ever own such banjos. I'm perfectly happy with the modern "good" ones.

I do believe that in general modern Granadas (curly maple plus gold plate) do sound "better" up in these high ranges than modern mahogany banjos. Walnut is more "in between". To be completely fair, the two "best" banjos I mentioned above were mahogany banjos. I can't even imagine what an original flat head 5 string Granada would sound like up there by comparison!

waystation - Posted - 11/30/2019:  18:37:17


Dick, I've been told that prewars sound louder at the high frets because we're all conditioned by all the banjos we've heard that get quieter up there.

iluvearl - Posted - 11/30/2019:  21:41:05


I am biased but just bite the bullet and buy a Huber! He knows banjos, knows how to build them, knows how to set up each one for the best sound and he knows how a banjo should sound! You can save shopping time by just buying a Huber to begin with and use the time you saved to practice, practice, practice! One thing you should be aware of when you purchase a Huber: once you get home, you will play it until your wife will threaten to leave you or shoot you so remember to put that banjo in the case and eat a meal every four hours ! If you do not have a wife, you can get by with only one meal a day! You are wasting time reading this...go buy a Huber!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

8.007813E-02