I have played Bass and guitar forever, but I'm new to claw hammer. I love Pisgah banjos but wanted to ask for some advice from those of you who own one. I plan to use my banjo primarily just for playing in my home and also want to be able to sing with it. I want a warm, rich tone, with some volume to it. I love the way the Possum sounds, but wondering if it's too mellow or would get lost when playing with other instruments. I like how the Dobson sounds but wonder if it will be good to sing with. Also if anyone has a Pisgah Wonder and wants to share a sound clip that would be great. Hard to find anything online about that one. Possum owners: can it be heard if you're playing with other instruments? Dobson owners: does it have a good tone to sing with? Thank y'all.
Now you know why most of us own multiple banjos. Lol. I have a Rambler Dobson I made at a workshop with Patrick and I can say that it sounds great with a REN head on it. It would cut through any mix. With a fiber skin head it is great to sing with. The Dobson has a great range but if you aren’t careful you can overdrive it. That’s my 2 cents...
Matching your banjo to your singing is a journey. What kind of songs do you sing? Folk? Blues? Minstrel? Irish? Pop? If you have a loud, strong voice you need a banjo perhaps to match. If you have Bella Fleck fingers you'll want a full fretboard with no scoop. Most folks have a 1&1/2 octave range which on a banjo goes from the open 4th string to the fifth fret on the first string. Took me years to understand why I couldn't sing with a regular banjo tuned to standard G – I would be straining to reach notes on the high end or on the low end. Turns out I sing OK (pitch-ways anyway) in the key of C or D and in standard G pattern tuning which I like/prefer converts C tuning to cGCEG and D tuning to dADF#A. I've ended up with a short scale Saga Pony banjo (19&3/4" scale) tuned to open C and an Enoch Tradesman with Aquilla Minstrel strings lowered down to D. Skin head, nylon strings for my softer voice folk/ballad songs. I installed a brass tone ring in the Tradesman for a tad more sustain. Were I starting over again the Pisgah Possom would be up there for a close examination. Also the Ome Minstrel. Any ring beyond a hoop would be too metallic for me. Here on BHO when the topic of tuning comes up people from a chordal guitar background chime in and just say use regular G tuning and play any song you want in any key. That's OK for chordal backup but I pretty much play the actual notes as I sing so pitch/tuning is paramount for me. I have a steel-strung Mogi banjo for fiddle tune jams so yes you may need more than one banjo to do it all. But as is often said here on BHO, "It's your banjo kid, play it any damn way you like." So far I have been extremely lucky, I haven't been arrested yet for impersonating a musician. banjered
I’m also thinking about getting a Pisgah Possum sometime in the future and would like feedback as well. Been learning clawhammer on my Goodtime for several months and would like to upgrade to a 12” pot with a mellow plunky tone someday. From the Pisgah banjo videos I’ve heard on YouTube, I’m drawn to the tone of the Possum best but am also curious about the Wonder. Pisgah’s website has sound samples of each one and I like the sound of both.