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There are banjos and there are banjos.

Posted by 5strings3picks1banjo on Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today I went to the local music shop, thinking of upgrading my banjo to a well known brand.

Played 6 banjos priced from $2500 to $6000.

I realized that what I have sounds excellent, and I would be mad to sell it. At $1400 my Goldtone OB250+ rocks. I know these top name banjos have a great history, but the new models didn't do it for me, not for the price. Only one banjo today impressed me and that was $4000 but still no better than mine in sound, maybe in quality yes.

I think when i'm ready to upgrade, I will order from a banjo builder who can put his love and skills into it and not a mass produced name brand  which never seem to be set up right when I go to music shops.

Today really put me off. Thats alot  off money for me, so I would feel alot better about it if I could talk to the man who built it and who can offer service if required, and has pride in his work and setup.



8 comments on “There are banjos and there are banjos.”

gkuchan Says:
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 @2:13:26 PM

Quite a few of them are Hangout Members...Chuck Lee, Kevin Enoch, etc. Do a little research and them e-mail them? See who seems the most responsive and go from there. From everything I hear Mr. Lee is supposed to be brilliant when it comes to communicating, as well as his artistry.

clio Says:
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 @3:59:24 PM

I recently bought a new Washburn B17 for $1400. New list price is $1700plus. It is lightweight and easy to carry, compared to my Deering, and it has the most wonderful sound I ever heard on a banjo, as good or better than the most expensive jos I've held. When I first picked it and heard that sound, I knew I had to have it. Now that's the kind of jo you want; one with the sound that blows you away.

Sy Lehrman Says:
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 @4:58:44 PM

All banjo shopping should be done blindfolded. Most expensive instruments sound just like the chea;er ones except for the gingerbread and self deception involved. If the heads are identicle and the strings are too there isn't really much difference among similarly built instruments and neither pearl nor gold do anyting for the sound or the player's technique. The brain, however, is mysterious and many of us play better on an instrument which we know has more pearl and some gold. So, shop with a blindfold, I say. From melbourne it would also be advisable to check on line prices as well. When I was there the selection was poor and the prices high.

5strings3picks1banjo Says:
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 @7:25:45 PM

Thank you for your comments. I agree, maybe we should should wear blindfolds when looking for instruments.

Also happy to hear your happy with your Washburn Clio. I guess not everyone needs a big buck banjo to be happy.

I also own a Morgan Monroe Cascade Foggy Mountain about $700US. It sounds alright but I bet a good tonering would would improve the sound. Maybe a JLS#12 for $200.

PruchaLegend Says:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 @1:23:36 AM

Sounds like it's time for you to think about building your own. Who would put more love into it than you? As a mechanic I'm thinking you have all the necessary skills or could master them with little effort.
Or, I love the sound of my Prucha. Made by Jaroslav Prucha in Czechoslovakia. He restricts his production to what he and his son can personally build.
Good luck in your search.

5strings3picks1banjo Says:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 @7:59:39 AM

I have thought about building my own. I just bought wood today to try and build a neck. Next will be a resonator. Gary Walhooey is lending advice on building. He has some good ideas for the handyman. This will be a challenge. At least I know I can buy good metalware from Prucha, and I love the JLS tonerings because they work and are on the cheap side as far as cost is concerned. Thanks for your comments PruchaLegend.

pluckyfingers Says:
Thursday, April 10, 2008 @5:12:52 PM

WOW!  Which local music shop in Melbourne had banjos priced like that, wasn't The Acoustic Centre was it?

5strings3picks1banjo Says:
Friday, April 11, 2008 @4:17:58 AM

Hi Bill. The shop was in Fitzroy, Gallins Music.

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