Hey guys. I had to sell my life’s worth of guitars, basses and banjos last year to help get my wife threw cancer. Most importantly, she’s doing great now. So it was worth it. Now I’m stuck in lock down with this virus situation and dying to play some music. I got laid off from work because of the virus so I can’t afford to buy what I really want. Just looking for suggestions on a cheap but playable open back. Thanks for any suggestions guys.
The Backyard Music Fireside kit is playable, and a tad quieter than a plastic or skin head banjo. The kit is only $125, and takes only an hour or so to put together with hand tools and glue, not including finish time for the oil and urethane to dry. The web site says they are currently out of stock, but if you contact Dave he'll let you know when they might be shipping. I'm in the process of building my second one now - gave the first one away to someone who lost her instruments in a house fire.
I second the recommendation of Zephyr Surplus. I got an RK-35 from their eBay site and one of my students got an RK-36. A small number of their instruments have structural issues that a good repair shop can take care of, and the price is low enough that you still come out ahead. Most of their instruments are cosmetic issues, and he describes the problems thoroughly in each auction.
Congratulations on your wife. Definitely worth the exchange.
I know you said open back. But the point in buying this is that you can take off the resonator and flange plate to play the banjo as a shoe-and-hook open back and still have a resonator in case you want to go back to that. Or sell the resonator, flange and thumbscrews for $50 or so on the Hangout.
Thanks guys. I’ll check that out. I sent a few messages to people on my local Facebook marketplace. I recently got out of wrenching for a living. Seeing if anyone of them would trade tools for a banjo. No luck so far but I’ll keep trying. I’ll check that eBay store as well.
Congratulations to you and your wife on her recovery!
Lots of good advice above. You might also look at the classifieds here. There are currently (4/7/20) over eighteen banjos at or below $500. Worth a look, and your purchase would help out another member. :)