Posted by davidppp on Sunday, November 24, 2013
There's general consensus among players and builders regarding the qualitative effects of various choices in instrument design and set-up. But one issue that puzzled me was the role of rim height as it effects tone of an open-back. The technical people with strong music interests whom I contacted with this question would not speak with confidence, save advising me to try some careful, comparative measurements. That set me on a great adventure, described in the write-up linked below.
It included a tour of the Deering factory by Greg, himself. Whether your favorite banjo is a Deering, that tour is AWESOME --- especially if you have any interest in machine tools and industrial arts. Anyone who builds 100,000 banjos is a hero in my book.
Deering built three Goodtimes for me, identical except for rim height. One of them was so mellow and fine that a friend who always insists on stuffing (rag or sock) under all his heads loved it just as is --- no stuffing whatsoever!
I fabricated a "synthetic belly" --- something to replace my own belly and allow precise repetition of playing the banjos. Long before I got to geeky numbers and equations, I realized that many players already understand what's going on and use it. David Holt and Adam Hurt are just two that I quote.
I tried to make my write-up something any banjo player or music acoustics enthusiast could enjoy. You can see the banjos and belly somewhere nearby and hear examples of a couple of the banjos. The full chronicle and all four accompanying sound files are at
You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.
'Gibson banjo' 27 min
'Banjo Art' 43 min
'The Tracker' 1 hr