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New Intermediate/pro level clawhammer banjo (UK)

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Jul 9, 2019 - 10:43:25 AM

1315 posts since 2/12/2009

it does sound bright but, sweet, dont overlook the fact that he is yanking those steel strings pretty hard, bright can be tamed. for what you get ie; case too the price seems ridiculously reasonable for an essentially custom banjo .

Jul 9, 2019 - 11:26:15 AM

945 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by DeepRiverRuse

It seems like this is more up my street than the grafton. Very much intrigued by lack of a metal tone ring.


Why is it more up your street? I am confused by the clip because it says it has a rich woody tone rather than "brash metallic tone of metal rings" but then provides a shockingly poor recording which make it sounds really poor and very brash. I wouldn't pay that much unless I'd played it.

I have a Gretsch G9541 Dixie Deluxe with a Whyte laydie ring and it it's not at all brash. It's really a Goldtone model with a Gretsch badged neck and half the price. Unfortunately no longer available although they come up on Ebay now and again.

Edited by - GrahamHawker on 07/09/2019 11:29:00

Jul 10, 2019 - 2:29:13 AM

28 posts since 6/22/2019

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by DeepRiverRuse

It seems like this is more up my street than the grafton. Very much intrigued by lack of a metal tone ring.


Why is it more up your street? I am confused by the clip because it says it has a rich woody tone rather than "brash metallic tone of metal rings" but then provides a shockingly poor recording which make it sounds really poor and very brash. I wouldn't pay that much unless I'd played it.

I have a Gretsch G9541 Dixie Deluxe with a Whyte laydie ring and it it's not at all brash. It's really a Goldtone model with a Gretsch badged neck and half the price. Unfortunately no longer available although they come up on Ebay now and again.


I have actually seen this come up on gumtree or ebay a few times. Not a huge fan of the look but it looks like a big solid rim on there...

Think I've seen one for about £400.

I was thinking, it's always possible to change a tone ring anyway, right? so if I did go for the clipper I could put a wood tone ring in it later if I wished?

About the essex, the description sounds exactly like what I want - I think it may have been the guys playing that made it sound so bad, but who knows... the Howson sounded gorgeous to me though I must say...

Of note, I may be going to the States this year. I could always take my cheap banjo over and bring a nice one home in the case? ;-)

Edited by - DeepRiverRuse on 07/10/2019 02:30:35

Jul 10, 2019 - 3:11:24 AM

945 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by DeepRiverRuse

Not a huge fan of the look but it looks like a big solid rim on there..
I was thinking, it's always possible to change a tone ring anyway, right? so if I did go for the clipper I could put a wood tone ring in it later if I wished?

The rim on the Gretsch is not that big - about 10mm so much less than the Grafton. Thinner rims give a more mellow sound.

I'm no expert but rims are cut so tone rings fit but wooden rings just sit on top of the rim. I imagine wooden rims are tricky to get hold of in the UK.

Jul 10, 2019 - 4:24:05 AM

28 posts since 6/22/2019

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

it does sound bright but, sweet, dont overlook the fact that he is yanking those steel strings pretty hard, bright can be tamed. for what you get ie; case too the price seems ridiculously reasonable for an essentially custom banjo .


Right, that's what I thought.

I do love the sound of the howsons but that's double the price... so worth considering this guy. Then again don't want to fall into the trap of buying a custom banjo because it's a custom... would be nice to hear it played properly.

Jul 11, 2019 - 4:59:03 PM

28 posts since 6/22/2019

quote:
Originally posted by AndyW

A few custom/small makers in the UK. Ballard banjers. Griffin banjos. Slim Jim Banjos. Mcleod banjos.

I've seen both a Ballard and a Slim Jim. Both very nice. Pricey of course.

I had a go on a nylon string Grafton last year. Seemed a step up from my Gretsch Dixie, with a bit more thickness to the neck.


 
Hey Andy - I played a 'Hampshire' Slim Jim today. Very impressed, think it has a walnut tone ring. I would possibly prefer Ebony though haven't found an ebony tone ring banjo yet...I hope to...found this second hand Slim Jim and very tempted.. but holding off for now... may be overkill!
Jul 23, 2019 - 2:24:10 PM

28 posts since 6/22/2019

hi guys, wanted to just post an update of experiences...

Played some more of Slim Jim's banjos and have to say I recommend them he is doing some amazing work. The price is testy for me... I'm mulling it over currently. I fell in love with two short scale banjos one walnut one cherry. I play very loud and aggressive and I found the cherry responded better when I played hard, more articulate and clear, the walnut was a little quieter and less clear... I think over all I still prefer the tone of Walnut. I am not a maple fan for some reason, I think it's too bright for me.

I may have to get an interim banjo as it may be too much for me now, but I can save....


There aren't many bespoke/handmade banjos going second hand with the specs I want here in the UK - I bet the US market is a bit more saturated. as I'm considering going over there at some stage, maybe I could wait and get one out there? the only thing that worries me is factoring in travel costs given the US is so huge, it may just turn out to be pointless. People tell me you can fly over with a banjo case and take one home but I'm not sure what laws apply to second hand instruments?

Anyway I'll keep searching... it's a shame it's so hard to find non-maple banjos! Else I might find something more affordable for the interim period. Most walnut seems to be laminate , not 3 ply laminate, which is probably the level of quality I want, I'm guessing. Otherwise it's going to be the same as what I have.

 

So in terms of getting the sound I want, a bit cheaper for now, I was considering ordering a Grafton and fitting my own Goat skin vellum (apparently it's more mellow than calf skin?) do you think it's easy enough to fit my own? I could mail it to the shop I suppose.

 

Also does the quality of skins vary a lot? Eagle music / ebay skins vs the more expensive ($50-60+) skins?

Edited by - DeepRiverRuse on 07/23/2019 14:26:04

Jul 23, 2019 - 2:35:07 PM

m06

England

7757 posts since 10/5/2006

Where to purchase a natural skin banjo head?

I'll get in as #1 recommender of John Balch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and watch the other ###'s recommendations pour in.

Top quality and 100% reliability from a highly knowledgeable banjo player who is a pleasure to buy from. As close as it gets to an obvious choice.

Jul 23, 2019 - 9:58:22 PM

945 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by DeepRiverRuse

 I am not a maple fan for some reason, I think it's too bright for me.
 

So in terms of getting the sound I want, a bit cheaper for now, I was considering ordering a Grafton and fitting my own Goat skin vellum (apparently it's more mellow than calf skin?) do you think it's easy enough to fit my own? I could mail it to the shop I suppose.


I don't understamd that if you're not a maple fan you would spend a reasonable amount on such a banjo.

However there is so much in the setup. My maple banjos with no knot tailpieces and thicker bridges are not too bright.

Jul 24, 2019 - 9:21:47 AM

28 posts since 6/22/2019

because I'd prefer to get a high quality maple rim with a tone ring I like, than a low quality Walnut rim that is many layers of laminate. I think I could mellow the tone of the maple one enough to get by, as you say. That's the main reason. Walnut banjos are seemingly mostly Chinese made and not '3 ply' or 'block' as seems to be the standard in the higher end Banjos. So I assume that means they're many layers of laminate.

 

As the Grafton is second hand, it'd also have a decent resale value (at least closer to what it would be if I bought it new)

Edited by - DeepRiverRuse on 07/24/2019 09:22:30

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