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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: I need a banjo. Lost everything a year ago. Decent cheap options?

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Paranoia In B Flat Major - Posted - 04/07/2020:  10:03:47

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.

ChunoTheDog - Posted - 04/07/2020:  10:08:17

Whats your ballpark budget? Assuming you're looking for a resonator banjo right?

eansprinkle - Posted - 04/07/2020:  10:08:17

the deering goodtime openback would be a good choice

Paranoia In B Flat Major - Posted - 04/07/2020:  10:29:47

Definitely an open back. Very small budget.

doryman - Posted - 04/07/2020:  11:15:27

The Goldtone AC-1, for about $200 new, is a surprisingly nice sounding and playing banjo.

DC5 - Posted - 04/07/2020:  11:36:23

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.

One note, the neck, though standard length, is a tad narrower than my other banjos.

wizofos - Posted - 04/07/2020:  11:41:50

I checked out Detroit's Craigslist and found a Harmony in the Flint area. Hard to see from the pics but appears to be an open back but no reason that you could not remove the resonator.

This one is near Ft. Wayne but in Ohio.

Not sure how far you are willing to drive but both of these are in the $100-200 range. 

MoJoBanjo - Posted - 04/07/2020:  12:11:43

Check out Zephyr Surplus on eBay. I've had good luck with them and if you don't mind a cosmetic blemish here or there, you can get a new instrument for cheap. Banjos, guitars, and more.

Congratulations on your wife kicking cancer. That's awesome. Good luck.

waystation - Posted - 04/07/2020:  12:35:47

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.

Old Hickory - Posted - 04/07/2020:  12:54:51

Another vote for Zephyr Surplus.

If I were in your situation, I'd seriously consider this Recording King Dirty Thirties resonator banjo for $199 shipped.

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.

Paranoia In B Flat Major - Posted - 04/07/2020:  12:57:33

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.

wizofos - Posted - 04/07/2020:  15:25:28

You might check out the MorganMonroe Bean Blossoms at this link, the advantage is that they don't use a flange to attach the resonator so it only takes about 5 minutes to remove it.

dow - Posted - 04/07/2020:  16:12:24

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. :)

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