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Banjo Ben's Gold Tone "Twanger" (based on "Banger")

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May 29, 2019 - 7:06:47 PM
304 posts since 11/21/2018

store.banjobenclark.com/produc...VA5In0%3D

This sounds really nice in this recording anyway. No hole tone ring based on Crowe's 1929 Style 3.
What do you guys n' gals think? I'd like to hear one in a deader (carpet, etc.) room to compare with the video but
so far sounds very impressive to my ears.  Nice woody resonance from the resonator.

(I have no connection with the store, except as a customer.)  

Edited by - northernbelle on 05/29/2019 19:08:40

May 29, 2019 - 7:29:17 PM
Players Union Member

Foote

USA

238 posts since 3/25/2009

Sounds great, especially for $1600. I don't know anything about Gold Tone's quality control, but if production models are as good as this proto type it would seem like a great deal. I've done a lot of business with Ben and have only had positive experiences.

May 29, 2019 - 9:31:25 PM
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Scout70

USA

188 posts since 8/4/2006

Great picking; however, the banjo sounds pretty tinny to me. Just my opinion..

May 30, 2019 - 5:09:10 AM

1782 posts since 12/31/2005

Doesn't remind me of Banger (not as dry), but it's a good sounding banjo. Ebony board is an interesting choice as is their explanation. I did not know the rosewood was more scarce than ebony.

I prefer to hear samples un-capoed, but it does note very clearly and evenly up the board and across it. Guess they're going right at the GF100-JD business, which is smart. I played a couple of those and found Saga's quality to be inconsistent lately (played one from couple of years earlier -- hearts and flowers inlay -- and it was great so you just don't know). The marketing issue (market perception) GoldTone is going to have to address is convincing everyone it can build big boy banjos with the component quality step up and pros expect, especially quality of woods and the hardware. Banjo Ben's write-up does a good job of addressing each these issues and puts the credibility of Ben, Robby, and Jake behind the design, which is good enough for me. What they can't address yet (because none apparently have been made) is fit and finish of the first batch. The challenge to getting to real sales velocity also is getting people to pay almost twice the price of a Recording King 35 or 36. That to me is sort of the benchmark banjo. What do you get when you pay more?

May 30, 2019 - 5:12:39 AM

1664 posts since 9/10/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Scout70

Great picking; however, the banjo sounds pretty tinny to me. Just my opinion..


I'm with you Bob,  the banjo sounds pretty thin, I'll stick with my RK-35 for my kick around banjo. I get lots of complements on it from veteran players all the time.

Brian

May 30, 2019 - 5:55:41 AM

1782 posts since 12/31/2005

That's interesting because I don't hear "thin" at all. I think the tones have color and a fullness to them, but also a brightness (that "ping") that just does not remind me of Crowe. There also is excellent note definition in that recording (a lot to do with the picker). But Brian sort of reinforces my point. What is the motivation to pay about $1600 with the other stuff (including used Sullivan Festivals, etc.) out there competing? That will be the challenge. How does it compare? The endorsement of these guys certainly will help and the write-up does a great job of anticipating questions. I look forward to seeing how it does.

May 30, 2019 - 6:03:26 AM

315 posts since 8/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Scout70

Great picking; however, the banjo sounds pretty tinny to me. Just my opinion..


It is hard to tell with the loud backing track on the sample video. I mean, if you want people to hear what the instrument really sounds like, demo it solo.

May 30, 2019 - 7:18:48 AM

61 posts since 11/13/2008

Hey y'all, we're really excited about this banjo! Yes, solo demos are coming soon. The video posted is the "quick view" of the banjo because I wanted to use it in my last banjo lesson of Cherokee Shuffle. I will soon be releasing a comprehensive video of testimony, explanation, and both Robby and I playing it solo. It sounds more like Crowe when Robby plays it for some reason...haven't figured that one out yet! wink

We have 36 coming in the first batch and half are already sold. We expect this banjo to change folks' perspectives with Gold Tone regarding a bluegrass banjo. We attached all our names to it, which we don't do easily. I'm excited for y'all to get one in your hands and see for yourself!

May 30, 2019 - 12:00:47 PM
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304 posts since 11/21/2018

Ben, thanks for responding here. If you couild do a video in a relatively acoustically dead room (carpeted living room kinda sound) not a true dead/studio room it would be great to hear it. (Or outdoor front porch?)

A lot of youtube videos are recorded either with quite a bit of room reverb or or added reverb. (Deering has a number of those also). I feel that hearing an instrument in a more "real life" situation can really help sell an instrument whether is a banjo or a piano.

Anyway, I really like the tone from the video you've posted and look forward to seeing how this "step up" from Gold Tone goes.
Cheers, NB

May 30, 2019 - 12:06:12 PM
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1782 posts since 12/31/2005

Better yet, just give me one and I'll post a review. Kind of like having full figure gals model clothes. It's just more realistic. It would make a great raffle item here on the H.O. and get about a month of advertising enlightened

May 30, 2019 - 12:10:32 PM

61 posts since 11/13/2008

Brian Murphy I have considered giving one away here...just have to figure out if I can afford it!

May 30, 2019 - 12:15:55 PM

1782 posts since 12/31/2005

It is a huge investment in a business where margins are tight. I get that. We just get excited any time the shiny new thing comes around. I was shocked when Sullivans donated that V35. That had me checking every day to make sure the auto entry went through. Anyway, best of luck with the new model. You have good partners to work with. Wayne is an adventurous guy who loves a good experiment. I really owe him one for a project he did for me a couple years ago in building The Impervious (a metal and graphite banjo you can leave in the car) for which he charged me far too little.

May 30, 2019 - 12:38:30 PM
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61 posts since 11/13/2008

Here's a vid we shot a few weeks back when we finally approved a prototype. More video to come for sure: youtu.be/RdbMgY51ZrU

May 30, 2019 - 12:40:56 PM

260 posts since 2/6/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Banjoben1

Brian Murphy I have considered giving one away here...just have to figure out if I can afford it!


That would be great! Or some Banjo Ben hats...or Blue Chip picks...or t-shirts....I'll private mesage you my address.  :-0

May 30, 2019 - 12:57:47 PM

lazyarcher

Canada

7023 posts since 4/19/2004

If that Robbie Boone guy says its good then you better getcha one before they,re gone!!!!!

May 30, 2019 - 1:01:33 PM

1782 posts since 12/31/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Banjoben1

Here's a vid we shot a few weeks back when we finally approved a prototype. More video to come for sure: youtu.be/RdbMgY51ZrU


Good video in G.  But ya' gotta do the obligatory Fireball Mail or Cumberland Gap to show off the 4th string.   That's the string that sells banjos, the one you feel in the L1-L5 region.

May 30, 2019 - 1:13:49 PM
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1250 posts since 3/24/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy
quote:
Originally posted by Banjoben1

Here's a vid we shot a few weeks back when we finally approved a prototype. More video to come for sure: youtu.be/RdbMgY51ZrU


Good video in G.  But ya' gotta do the obligatory Fireball Mail or Cumberland Gap to show off the 4th string.   That's the string that sells banjos, the one you feel in the L1-L5 region.


I thought the 4th string sounded really good tuned down to C......if that Boone character could hit it right.......what a hack.

May 30, 2019 - 1:29:08 PM
Players Union Member

heavy5

USA

910 posts since 11/3/2016

quote:
Originally posted by Banjoben1

Here's a vid we shot a few weeks back when we finally approved a prototype. More video to come for sure: youtu.be/RdbMgY51ZrU


If that doesn't sound like Earl playing home sweet home ?? I think it's a great sounding banjo !

The brown drop down add on the site however is a bit of a PIA ----- it seems to want to cover at least half of the page ---  all the time ?

Jun 1, 2019 - 9:10:16 PM

h

616 posts since 2/20/2013

My hearing isn't as great as it used to be, but to me it sounds somewhat similar to an RK-35, as far as I can tell from that video. That's to say pretty close to a real pro model, enough for a knockaround or for an intermediate player on a budget.

I had a Gold Tone OB-250 for several years, it was always my "good enough" banjo. Build quality was outstanding.

Jun 3, 2019 - 11:00:09 AM

801 posts since 1/17/2011

Pretty sure the fiddle head Gibson RB250s were mahogany with an ebony fretboard. I once had a 1980 RB 250 with a GBB tone ring that sounded great.

Jun 5, 2019 - 9:00:06 AM

72 posts since 8/14/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Banjoben1

Here's a vid we shot a few weeks back when we finally approved a prototype. More video to come for sure: youtu.be/RdbMgY51ZrU


This certainly doesn't sound thin. I have played several Gold Tones and currently own a BC-350 which is a great banjo. If I still played Scruggs style, you bet I would pick up one of these!

Jun 7, 2019 - 9:08:24 AM

9957 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Banjoben1

Here's a vid we shot a few weeks back when we finally approved a prototype. More video to come for sure: youtu.be/RdbMgY51ZrU


Sounds good without capo.

Congrats on getting Gold Tone to make a banjo neck without that mile and a half of extra wood beyond the 22nd fret!

And congrats on selling out the first batch!

Perhaps your posted specs could include some more details, such as:

Tone ring: Bronze alloy? Brass? (Gold Tone has offered both) Sand cast? Die cast? 

Some more you could list about the neck: nut width, scale length, one-piece (not counting ears).

If the inlay is real MOP, it's worth saying so.  Otherwise, going to assume it's not. No problem. Inlay in Deering Sierra and the $5700 Tony Trischka Silver Clipper are plastic.

Besides satisfying the curiosity of banjo nerds (like me!) these are things that help buyers to compare the banjo with others in its price range.

Then again, seeing as you sold out the first run maybe buyers don't care!

Jun 9, 2019 - 11:13:57 AM

70 posts since 12/3/2005

I ordered one and am happy I did. I certainly did not need another banjo but I knew it would sell out so I jumped on it. I thought the new video of the prototype sounded as good as you can judge from a you tube video. In the promo they said the prototype pointed out where improvements had to be made and Goldtone did that with the first batch.

Looking forward to playing it out and see how it sounds with a band.

Jun 9, 2019 - 11:42:46 AM

304 posts since 11/21/2018

Please do report back with a "with the band" review. What banjo do you presently own and play for comparison?

Jun 10, 2019 - 7:08:26 AM

61 posts since 11/13/2008

For some reason the URL changed for the banjo and the original is not working. Here is another URL, and we do have ONE left! store.banjobenclark.com/produc...with-case

Jun 13, 2019 - 12:40:30 PM

9 posts since 3/20/2010

Sounding real good in this video. Im told there will be some more videos of i shortly so really interested in hearing it.

banjobenclark.com/lessons/lone...robuYYZs0

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