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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles

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:

CJThomson7 - Posted - 06/23/2020:  16:55:02

Hi there! Newbie here, I recently purchased a Deering Goodtime 19 Fret Tenor Banjo (5 string) on accident... I had never seen a regular Goodtime in person and didn't think to count the frets. The store I purchased it from is currently closed, so I am not sure how a return would work, but if no return is possible, would I have trouble playing clawhammer on this type of banjo? I'm a true beginner with a small small amount of Scruggs style learned, but I am switching to clawhammer and now I'm worried I messed up lol
Any advice is appreciated, including fun styles and music to learn on this style banjo if I'm keeping it lol

tdennis - Posted - 06/23/2020:  17:10:31

Clawhammer is usually played on an open back 5 string. If you bought a 4 string, you might consider exchanging it for what you really want.

CJThomson7 - Posted - 06/23/2020:  17:52:33

It is a 5 string- I 'll link to the banjo i purchased.
I purchased this-

When I meant to purchase this-

It was unmarked at the store and i didn't think to check the amount of frets

rcc56 - Posted - 06/23/2020:  18:23:57

If the banjo you bought is identical to your first link, it is a four string tenor banjo and unsuitable for clawhammer playing.
If that is the case, you should return the banjo immediately.

But if it indeed has 5 strings, with the 5th string tied to a tuner a third of the way down the neck, it should be OK.

The exact number of frets is not an essential. The 5th string is.

CJThomson7 - Posted - 06/23/2020:  18:54:52

Huh, you're right. It is 5 strings, but it is the size of the 19 fret and has 19 frets. I was confused since it is small and has 19 frets, is a deering, but has 5 strings.

CJThomson7 - Posted - 06/23/2020:  20:51:58

Ok I figured it out! It’s a Deering Goodtime Parlor Banjo.
I paid the full price for a Deering Goodtime but I really like the Parlor’s size, it seems to be discontinued so I can’t find a price point for it. Any advice on what one of these costs new? Should I contact the store and let them know or not worth the hassle?

rcc56 - Posted - 06/23/2020:  21:45:57

The most common recent price I could find on a new Goodtime Parlor banjo was $489.

There were also a couple of listings for a little less, probably from dealers who wanted to unload surplus stock.

It's your call on whether or not to contact the store.  The standard Goodtime is listed at a street price of $499.

Edited by - rcc56 on 06/23/2020 21:49:27

AndrewD - Posted - 06/24/2020:  10:03:02

I've got a Goodtime parlor as my travel banjo. Great banjo for starting and learning clawhammer if that's what you want to do. It's sold as a parlor banjo not an A scale banjo. I keep mine in G tuning with regular medium strings even though Deering suggest using light gauge strings. Mines almost 10 years old now and hasn't warped or twisted. Can't remember what I paid for mine but it wasn't much either way from a regular Goodtime.

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