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1st Banjo - Can I top this Maple Blossom for $1,300?

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Jul 7, 2019 - 6:39:47 AM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

332 posts since 4/17/2019

The former player is a left hand 'strangler, he plays with dirty hands and files off his frets, note the lack of signs on the head, and the divots in the fingerboard.
otherwise Not every fret will need to be replaced. Others need dressing.

Maple/ Cherry/Mahogany can be a tonal continuum from bright to bass, some people can't handle Maple and they sell them.

Jul 7, 2019 - 6:42:31 AM
Players Union Member

Helix1

USA

332 posts since 4/17/2019

I jam some and get to see all the major brands and models.

Maybe ask for clarification about the sound being 'different'

Jul 7, 2019 - 8:44:13 AM

69 posts since 7/6/2019

All banjos sound alike to me that's the advantage of being a noob banjo player!

Jul 7, 2019 - 9:01:41 AM
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146 posts since 4/17/2011
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Deerings are said to sound "different" than Mastertone-style banjos due to their more shallow resonator. It creates a more "direct" sound, as compared to the more "hollow" sound associated with Gibson. That being said, there are several Deerings with a Mastertone-style resonator (and tone): the Golden series, the Terry Baucom, et al.

I played a comparable Maple Blossom for years and LOVED it. Great banjos. And $1300 is a good price. Get a little fretwork done and start picking.

Jul 7, 2019 - 12:23 PM

304 posts since 11/21/2018

The Deering Maple Blossoms and especially the Calicos have a (to my and many other's ears but ot everyone's) a very slightly "tubbier or midrange"-y tone than most Bluegrass Banjos made of maple. the Maple Blossom to me has a lovely overiding "sweetness" included in the midrange that most Bluegrass Banjos (Gibsonesque) don't have in the same "way".
That MAY be some of what's been intimated about them sounding "different" aside from that they are Deerings in particular.
They're a little more this "way" than I generally like to pick on, but when I tried the one at Dusty Strings I was greatly enamored with it's sound but decided I prefered the tone I had with my top tension pot.
The return shipping from Deering would seal the deal for me. Ask them to send some banjo luthiers to live in the Seattle area while you're at it wouldja? What is the turnaround time for them to do your work?

Oh yeah! An important thing you might not be aware of is that in '06 Deering changed to a new "improved" (opinions differ) tone ring that you should be aware of at least... I believe this included the Maple Blossoms...

Edited by - northernbelle on 07/07/2019 12:25:58

Jul 7, 2019 - 12:51:04 PM

69 posts since 7/6/2019

quote:
Originally posted by BigFiveChord

Deerings are said to sound "different" than Mastertone-style banjos due to their more shallow resonator. It creates a more "direct" sound, as compared to the more "hollow" sound associated with Gibson. That being said, there are several Deerings with a Mastertone-style resonator (and tone): the Golden series, the Terry Baucom, et al.

I played a comparable Maple Blossom for years and LOVED it. Great banjos. And $1300 is a good price. Get a little fretwork done and start picking.


Thaks BigFive its great to hear some like the Maple Blossoms. I don't much care what it sounds like on its own but how it sounds in the mix. Do they cut through or do they get lost?

Jul 7, 2019 - 2:06:17 PM

69 posts since 7/6/2019

quote:
Originally posted by northernbelle

The Deering Maple Blossoms and especially the Calicos have a (to my and many other's ears but ot everyone's) a very slightly "tubbier or midrange"-y tone than most Bluegrass Banjos made of maple. the Maple Blossom to me has a lovely overiding "sweetness" included in the midrange that most Bluegrass Banjos (Gibsonesque) don't have in the same "way".
That MAY be some of what's been intimated about them sounding "different" aside from that they are Deerings in particular.
They're a little more this "way" than I generally like to pick on, but when I tried the one at Dusty Strings I was greatly enamored with it's sound but decided I prefered the tone I had with my top tension pot.
The return shipping from Deering would seal the deal for me. Ask them to send some banjo luthiers to live in the Seattle area while you're at it wouldja? What is the turnaround time for them to do your work?

Oh yeah! An important thing you might not be aware of is that in '06 Deering changed to a new "improved" (opinions differ) tone ring that you should be aware of at least... I believe this included the Maple Blossoms...


The pre-2006 no hole tone ring in my Maple Blossom is the brighter design supposedly. The 2006 and later 'flat top' are about .200 inches wide and flat at the top of the angle. Mine is .100 inch wide and rounded. Mine in theory is brighter due to the top being more narrow from what I read.

Also discussed in the context of the Deering 'tone' is how tight the tone ring fits on the pot. They were fitted so tight they had to be installed with a pneumatic press and removal required heating the tone ring on a stove to expand the metal enough to remove it. Some reports where looser fitting tone rings improved the tone to the point it didn't really matter which tone ring was installed.

Tone ring fit seems to be one where you don't want them too tight or too loose but just right. Fit seems to be all over the map. Tight press fit. Snug to the point you have to whack in in place with the palm of your hand. Goldilocks fit just enough interference fit that it glides on slowly mostly under its own weight. To loose where it just flops on.

The Maple Blossom I purchased...the tone ring fit is Goldilocks fit. If you set the tone ring down on the pot it slowly lowers itself into place with just a gently push to seat it. So I don't know if that was the factory fit or if someone modified it at some point.

I pulled the trigger on the platinum service and refret at Deering today. The web site says the next step is they will contact me to discuss when to ship it and turnaround time.

Jul 7, 2019 - 3:28 PM

304 posts since 11/21/2018

Cool. Thanks for all the responses Coolidge. Keep us up to date on how things go.

Rudy, that's CSI level banjo forensics you've got going there ;-) I wondered how that much fret material got worn away. It seemed excessive even for something16 years old.
I've always been surprised that Deering has stayed with nickel silver frets with sturdier alternatives available.

Jul 7, 2019 - 4:26:05 PM

69 posts since 7/6/2019

I disassembled it completely, cleaned and polished it. I'm reassembling now. I didn't find any hidden surprises or damage so that's good just one loose tuner nut.

Jul 7, 2019 - 5:42:18 PM
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146 posts since 4/17/2011
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Coolidge
quote:
Originally posted by BigFiveChord

Deerings are said to sound "different" than Mastertone-style banjos due to their more shallow resonator. It creates a more "direct" sound, as compared to the more "hollow" sound associated with Gibson. That being said, there are several Deerings with a Mastertone-style resonator (and tone): the Golden series, the Terry Baucom, et al.

I played a comparable Maple Blossom for years and LOVED it. Great banjos. And $1300 is a good price. Get a little fretwork done and start picking.


Thaks BigFive its great to hear some like the Maple Blossoms. I don't much care what it sounds like on its own but how it sounds in the mix. Do they cut through or do they get lost?


It's...a banjo with a flathead tone ring. It'll cut. My Maple Blossom, for one, was LOUD. Really, really loud.

Jul 7, 2019 - 9:49:37 PM

adl1132

USA

114 posts since 12/18/2012

For future reference, a very good fret person in the south end Seattle area is Gary Wagner, in the Burien area. I've had him work on banjos many times and have always been pleased. Does lots of work on Martin guitars also.

Jul 8, 2019 - 10:16:05 AM

Alex Z

USA

3559 posts since 12/7/2006

"Deerings are said to sound "different" than Mastertone-style banjos due to their more shallow resonator. It creates a more "direct" sound, as compared to the more "hollow" sound associated with Gibson."

"The Deering Maple Blossoms and especially the Calicos have a (to my and many other's ears but ot everyone's) a very slightly "tubbier or midrange"-y tone than most Bluegrass Banjos made of maple. "

Direct or tubby/hollow?  Just a sign that opinions on the internet do not constitute facts, no matter how many votes one way or another.  smiley   

"I don't much care what it sounds like on its own but how it sounds in the mix."

Might not worry about "the mix" for now, just get the thing in good playable shape and start playing.  Your preferences in tone likely may change during the course of learning to play.

It's a fine banjo, a great price, and you're going to get it fixed up back in great  playable condition by the maker.  Can't do better than that.  No need to overthink at this point -- can do that later.  Enjoy!

Jul 8, 2019 - 4:15:24 PM

69 posts since 7/6/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Alex Z

"Deerings are said to sound "different" than Mastertone-style banjos due to their more shallow resonator. It creates a more "direct" sound, as compared to the more "hollow" sound associated with Gibson."

"The Deering Maple Blossoms and especially the Calicos have a (to my and many other's ears but ot everyone's) a very slightly "tubbier or midrange"-y tone than most Bluegrass Banjos made of maple. "

Direct or tubby/hollow?  Just a sign that opinions on the internet do not constitute facts, no matter how many votes one way or another.  smiley   

"I don't much care what it sounds like on its own but how it sounds in the mix."

Might not worry about "the mix" for now, just get the thing in good playable shape and start playing.  Your preferences in tone likely may change during the course of learning to play.

It's a fine banjo, a great price, and you're going to get it fixed up back in great  playable condition by the maker.  Can't do better than that.  No need to overthink at this point -- can do that later.  Enjoy!


Agree 100%. While I took it all apart, cleaned, reassembled and did a setup on it I think there are still some issues. Some strings sound great, others only okay. That older style tailpiece is wonky and missing a screw. The other two screws align with the rim of the head which seems wrong. There's some wear on the tension ring near the tailpiece so apparently its been an issue in the past. I purchased a new tension ring and the True-Tone tailpiece so I didn't fuss with it further. The head has a pretty good dent in it from the bridge and some wear spots I didn't want to over tighten it.

So I'll let the factory bring it back up to like new specs. At least then I'll know how it should sound if I need to replace the head or do a setup on it again in the future.

Jul 8, 2019 - 5:17:10 PM
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oly

USA

1347 posts since 5/27/2006

It sounds like you got a great deal and a great banjo. I hope that you have a great time with it, I own a Deering Boston, I love it( though I'm always looking for another).Damn B.A.S.

Jul 9, 2019 - 4:22:36 PM
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69 posts since 7/6/2019

Order 1 of 2 shipped today!

Deering Banjo head change package
Deering armrest
Deering True Tone tailpiece
24 J-hooks and nuts
ProPik thumbpick

Edited by - Coolidge on 07/09/2019 16:23:35

Jul 10, 2019 - 3:06:38 PM

69 posts since 7/6/2019

Connected with Sam at Deering today, estimate for completing the platinum service work and refret about 2 weeks I was happy with that. My 2nd order also shipped!

Jul 11, 2019 - 7:20:39 PM
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Players Union Member

spini

USA

354 posts since 9/10/2014

I have a 2001 Maple Blossom, I love it, I have 4 other banjos and love Bluegrass. I love the sound of my Deering, all banjos have different sounds. Most folks listening have no idea what type banjo you are playing. Deering banjos are top shelf, IMO built much better than most banjos out there. Get a luthier to clean it up, set up, dress the frets and it will be a lifetime banjo.

Edited by - spini on 07/11/2019 19:21:32

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