Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

324
Banjo Lovers Online


Recommend me some banjos!

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jul 15, 2019 - 12:31:55 AM
133 posts since 9/24/2014

Hi!

I am in the market for a 5 string resonator banjo. I have been playing clawhammer for 15 years, but tried a bit of 3 finger style many years ago when I was just starting. So i’m familiar with the basics.

Been making music for close to 30 years....I play guitar, banjo, mandolin and pedal steel.

I’d really like to buy a great bluegrass banjo. My budget is around $3K, new or used. I’m not interested in a very modern take on a banjo.....looking for something a bit more classic. Vintage, used or new.

Please recommend me some makers and let me know your thoughts!

Thanks!

Jul 15, 2019 - 4:00:33 AM

1780 posts since 12/31/2005

You can search the classifieds by price range (Click on teh Advanced Search bar, choose banjos, For sale and a price range search field will pop up). No better place to buy than here, assuming the seller has a track record. For used, your choices will be vast and excellent. For new, there are two builders that come to mind that will build to suit and in that range: Arthur Hatfield and Tim Davis.  Both highly thought of and build top notch stuff at exceptionally reasonable prices.  Other great builders out there (Sullivan, Yates, Huber), but I believe their stuff starts with a 4.  Plus, buying new you know where it's been, that it hasn't been messed with, etc.

If you settle on something and want it used, I would be patient.  Just about every banjo model cycles through here at least once every six months.  

Jul 15, 2019 - 4:16:41 AM

244 posts since 5/29/2015

$3K used will buy a banjo that was $4K new.
A new banjo in its pristine condition is something that has to be worried over to keep it in its pristine condition.
Yet, some people who are selling their used banjo are just passing on their problem banjo.
Buying used from one of the reputable dealers who run every instrument through their repair shop and aggressively reject instruments that are problem instruments is a safe way to buy a used instrument.
Being able to sit in the same room and A-B compare a bunch of instruments is still the best way to choose an instrument based on everything from shape of the neck/playability, to sound and condition.
I would make a couple or three weekends to visit some stores that have a dozen or more banjos in your price range. You will not get the deal of the century, but leave knowing you got the banjo that was the best of the litter for your needs.

Jul 15, 2019 - 4:28:56 AM

3609 posts since 8/3/2012

For a new instrument in that price range, it's hard to beat a Hatfield, IMHO.
If you decide to go used, the field is wide open... Huber, Yates, Gibson......
I would suggest that you continue practicing BG on whatever you're using for CH until you have a better idea of what you're looking for in a BG banjo.
Go to jams & festivals and see/hear/feel/play as many instruments as possible.
Have you been to Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto?

Jul 15, 2019 - 4:37:59 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23043 posts since 8/3/2003

Are there any music stores near you that have a good variety of 5 string banjos? If so, go, listen, pick and choose the one that sounds best to YOU. Different banjos have different sounds and you need to be sure you get one that has the sound you like.

I'd try Gibson, Stelling, Deering, Ome, and any others they have.

If there's not that type of music store close to you, how about going to some bluegrass festivals and listening to different types of banjos until you find the sound you like, then look for that brand either new or used, according to your budget.

Jul 15, 2019 - 5:18:58 AM

176 posts since 6/25/2016

Hatfield. I'm a proud owner of a new Buck Creek and I can't say enough good things about it. I could go on but just go read the reviews about the banjos and the man that makes them.

Jul 15, 2019 - 7:20:02 AM

12014 posts since 10/30/2008

The world is your oyster with that budget. You can buy ANY type of bluegrass banjo you like, used.

Take your time, visit vintage music stores and TRY THEM IN PERSON to figure out what "speaks to you" and won't get out of your mind. Gryphon comes to mind for a vintage store near you.

Here are well known bluegrass banjo brands you can choose from, with "classic" vibes.

Gibson
Vega
Fender
Baldwin/Ode
Stelling
Deering
Cox
Neat
Hatfield
Robin Smith Heartland
Huber

And this list (not exclusive) doesn't even get into the best Asian made banjos.

Have fun.

Jul 15, 2019 - 7:21:53 AM

376 posts since 2/6/2011

I agree with @OldBlindGuy. go to Gryphon and try out a bunch of of their new, used, vintage inventory. Find an instrument that's just right for you.

Jul 15, 2019 - 7:26:35 AM

Banjo Lefty

Canada

1601 posts since 6/19/2014

Another vote for Arthur Hatfield. Pro-level banjos for under $3,000. I've had my walnut Special for four years and it just keeps getting better and better.

Jul 15, 2019 - 7:26:46 AM

10513 posts since 2/12/2011

Gibson, Stelling, Deering, Ome - hard to go wrong. I have a Gibson ESS and a Deering Tenbrooks Legacy with Kruger ring - love them both.

Jul 15, 2019 - 8:13:21 AM

dannyp

USA

133 posts since 3/27/2013

I believe you can get a brand new Sullivan roasted maple banjo for around 2200. Give Eric a call at first quality/Sullivan banjos. Their website isn’t up to date and does not list all of their models. I believe that you may be able to get their festival pro model with the V 35 tone ring for around 3k. You’d have to call to get a real quote. Great people, great banjos, definitely pro level.

Jul 15, 2019 - 10:50:18 AM

1780 posts since 12/31/2005

quote:
Originally posted by dannyp

I believe you can get a brand new Sullivan roasted maple banjo for around 2200. Give Eric a call at first quality/Sullivan banjos. Their website isn’t up to date and does not list all of their models. I believe that you may be able to get their festival pro model with the V 35 tone ring for around 3k. You’d have to call to get a real quote. Great people, great banjos, definitely pro level.


I didn't realize the prices were that low.  That is an excellent value.  The V35 banjo is the best new banjo I ever played.  Tried one at banjo.com when it was in Atlanta.  The only thing not Gibson about it was the name on the headstock.  Fantastic banjo.

Jul 15, 2019 - 11:05:36 AM

1163 posts since 2/10/2013

I own a Stelling and a Gold Star. If I were buying another banjo, I would probably buy a Hatfield. They are an excellent banjo, and will become harder and harder to find. That situation will increase instrument value. I get the impression that the Hatfield banjos are made buy one person. Even at the present time, used Hatfield banjos are in demand and hard to find.

Having said all that, buyers seem to have a high opinion of the quality of their Hatfield banjos. So they have little reason to sell them.

Finally, the best instruments I have purchased have been built in one man shops.

BTW, check out Nechville banjos as well.

Jul 15, 2019 - 11:07:29 AM

dannyp

USA

133 posts since 3/27/2013

Well I don’t actually work at Sullivan Banjo so I can’t give an actual quote! But that price is my best recollection for the roasted festival pro with a V 35 tone ring. Not the actual V35 banjo Which has fancier inlays and a fancier finish. I have a festival pro roasted maple with the v35 tone ring and its pretty dern awesome, I think!

Jul 15, 2019 - 5:18:26 PM

286 posts since 1/28/2013

If you have been playing Clawhammer for 15 years you probably are used to a wider neck banjo. Huber only offers narrow necks 1 3/16ths, with another option 1/32nd wider which is nothing. Huber will not build you a custom wide neck. I don't know for sure about Deering, all their necks are 1-1 /4, which is just standard, and not considered wide. I'd go with a Hatfield, Bishline, or Yates. They will gladly make you a neck to your specifications. You could get a quality used Bishline for under $3000, or new for not much more, that probably already has a wide neck. Bishlines tend to have wider necks. The wide necks allow for wide spaced bridges, which I'm sure you are also used to with Clawhammer. Also, Clawhammer is usually a 27 in scale. Most Bluegrass banjos are 26 1/4, but Deering, Vega, is 27 inch. Builders will also customize a scale for you also.

Edited by - jan dupree on 07/15/2019 17:33:22

Jul 15, 2019 - 5:47:03 PM

100 posts since 4/24/2007

Check out the Stelling I just listed...Hank

Jul 18, 2019 - 10:37:24 AM

133 posts since 9/24/2014

Been looking at Elderly, and there’s a few banjos catching my eye....

What are your thoughts on the following:

1. Gibson RB75 JD Crowe
2. Yates Ron Stewart
3. Frank Neat Little Roy Lewis
4. One Monarch Deluxe

All are on the Elderly site right now...

Jul 18, 2019 - 10:46:06 AM
like this

Mooooo

USA

7033 posts since 8/20/2016

The best banjo you can get for 3k is the one you have tried out and feels good in you hands and sounds good in your ears. Get out there and try out as many as possible. Who cares what anyone else likes? It's your choice. Asking what banjo you should buy is a question for you and you alone. I would never buy a banjo just because someone else wants it, that sounds silly to me. Each banjo is going to sound different in your hands than in anyone else's...even two of the same model. Get out there and find the banjo that makes you happy.

Jul 18, 2019 - 10:53:52 AM

255 posts since 2/6/2018

I've got a 2007 Gibson RB75 JD Crowe Blackjack and wouldn't trade it for the world.
Originally posted by rawchuck

Been looking at Elderly, and there’s a few banjos catching my eye....

What are your thoughts on the following:

1. Gibson RB75 JD Crowe
2. Yates Ron Stewart
3. Frank Neat Little Roy Lewis
4. One Monarch Deluxe

All are on the Elderly site right now...


Jul 18, 2019 - 10:59:30 AM

255 posts since 2/6/2018

...and considering you're looking at a retail outlet, and not an individual seller, that Gibson is a very fair price for what you'd be getting.
Originally posted by rawchuck

Been looking at Elderly, and there’s a few banjos catching my eye....

What are your thoughts on the following:

1. Gibson RB75 JD Crowe
2. Yates Ron Stewart
3. Frank Neat Little Roy Lewis
4. One Monarch Deluxe

All are on the Elderly site right now...


Jul 18, 2019 - 12:39:12 PM
Players Union Member

heavy5

USA

908 posts since 11/3/2016

Have purchased several banjos from 1200 to 4k from Elderly --- no problems & you can most times dicker w/ them .

Jul 18, 2019 - 1:58:23 PM

133 posts since 9/24/2014

Thanks for the responses. As I mentioned before, that bridge is no longer on the banjo, and it’s also been set up properly in terms of placement. PLEASE IGNORE THE BRIDGE PLACEMENT!!

Also, yes the strings have stretched and, yes, there are enough windings.

I will recheck the screw on the neck/rim joint and make sure it’s tight, as well as the tuners....

Edited by - rawchuck on 07/18/2019 13:58:41

Jul 18, 2019 - 2:52:38 PM

133 posts since 9/24/2014

M
Jul 18, 2019 - 4:14:15 PM

121 posts since 12/9/2007

The guys have already mentioned some great brands and builders! It might help you to keep your eye on the classifieds here on the hangout. You can find some good deals and the majority of the folks here are really upfront and honest. I've bought three from the hangout over the years and I've been pleased each time. You'll find the right one... patience always makes sure you find the right one! ;) 

Rian+

____

Rian Adams,

Captain (Ret.) USAF

Positive spiritual Tweets: https://twitter.com/RianAdams1

Jul 19, 2019 - 4:54:26 PM

Old Man

USA

2619 posts since 1/16/2004

Clancy is a member on here and he usually has a lot of different banjos.He is a great guy to deal with and he makes a very nice banjo.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.2890625