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Jul 20, 2019 - 8:30:15 AM
7 posts since 7/20/2019

Hey every, i was sent here from a Facebook group.

I have never played an instrument...never too late to learn right? I’m wondering if anyone has recommendations for a 5 string and any tips or advice when looking at used banjos? The Facebook group recommended I see if there’s anyone local who may be willing to help me choose one or to look at used ones to ensure they’re properly setup?

I suspect in recent years you’ve seen an influx of new people here as interest in old traditions, trades, and hobbies has grown - I truly look forward to getting involved here and learning to play!

Jul 20, 2019 - 8:38:36 AM

1883 posts since 5/2/2012

freight Welcome to the HO. Finding someone local to help you out is a good idea, but you'll need to share your location -- oops, saw that you already did that -- Long Island.   Another option is to search here for a nearby teacher (look under the "learn" tab on the left side of the page). Go to "find a teacher" and plug in your state/zip code. Looking at used banjos is the way to get the most for your money. Check the Marketplace tab here to see what is available.

One of the things that will help future posters is to let us know what kind of music you listen to and want to learn to play. Another, when looking for banjo buying advice, is to tell us what your price range is.

Edited by - thisoldman on 07/20/2019 08:42:03

Jul 20, 2019 - 10:37:14 AM

7 posts since 7/20/2019

I listen to stuff like doc Watson, matthew heckler, David Johnson, Ola Belle reed, George landers etc.

My budget for now is fairly low, just don’t wanna get in too heavily if I discover my hands don’t agree haha

quote:Originally posted by thisoldmanfreight Welcome to the HO. Finding someone local to help you out is a good idea, but you'll need to share your location -- oops, saw that you already did that -- Long Island. Another option is to search here for a nearby teacher (look under the "learn" tab on the left side of the page). Go to "find a teacher" and plug in your state/zip code. Looking at used banjos is the way to get the most for your money. Check the Marketplace tab here to see what is available.

One of the things that will help future posters is to let us know what kind of music you listen to and want to learn to play. Another, when looking for banjo buying advice, is to tell us what your price range is.

Jul 20, 2019 - 11:17:05 AM
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RG

USA

2914 posts since 8/7/2008

Hey Freight, don't know what your budget is, but my advice would be to stretch out a little and buy a banjo that would still hold its value if "your hands don't agree." If you buy a low end banjo, you're going to own that thing for life or give it away, but if you find a used Enoch Tradesman or low end Pisgah (or the like), you'll at least be able to recoup your investment if you decide to move on. If not, I'd grab something like a Recording King "Dirty Thirties" https://www.amazon.com/Recording-King-RKOH-05-Dirty-Thirties/dp/B00EON6J22 and set it up to get that sound you like.

Best of luck!

Jul 20, 2019 - 11:19:08 AM

99 posts since 4/1/2016

You can also check Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Usually several used banjos in the $100 price range. When you try it out, make sure that it’s tuned in standard tuning using an electronic tuner. Then, check the intonation - each string fretted at the 12th fret should be one octave higher than the unfretted string. One cause of bad intonation could be a warped neck which, I think, is unfixable.

Jul 20, 2019 - 11:23:33 AM

1883 posts since 5/2/2012

So, "old time" music, played with clawhammer (Watson), two finger (Landers), maybe 3 finger style. Can be played with an open back or resonator banjo. Open back banjos, because of the construction differences, will be less expensive, assuming the same level of quality components. If you can find a music store (Music and Arts has banjos on their website, but may not have any on hand) nearby, you might take a trip (call ahead to see if they actually have banjos in the store) and try your hand with different banjos. Would not recommend Guitar Center, but if they have a banjo or 2 on hand that may be the best you can do. Sam Ash may have a banjo or 2 as well. Again, call ahead. Don't be surprised if the music store workers know little or nothing about banjos.

Jul 21, 2019 - 10:42:55 AM

7 posts since 7/20/2019

Hey guys, so I’m probably in the 250 range, and totally open to new or used, though I assume I can probably get more for my money if I go used?

Jul 22, 2019 - 10:03:41 AM

1883 posts since 5/2/2012

Don't get your hopes too high with a $250 banjo, but be assured that many banjo players started with banjos at that price point, and would suspect that many of those have held on to them. I didn't know anything about banjos when I bought my first banjo I bought new. Thankfully, it's not too hard to learn and do some set up on your own (lots of help here and on then 'net). With a good set up they can sound pretty good and provide a good serviceable instrument. Checked Long Island craigslist and the only banjo there (Hohner) seems a bit overpriced. You could try ebay if you're not risk adverse (and are willing to pay shipping if need be). If I were in your position, with that budget, I'd probably follow RG's advice and go for a RK Dirty 30s openback. About 6 months in you will know if you are going to stick with the banjo, then you can start throwing coins (and small bills) into your banjo jar and start dreaming about a step up banjo. Pick up an electronic tuner while you are at it.

Jul 22, 2019 - 7:36:16 PM
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7 posts since 7/20/2019

I’m in the process of finding a dirty 30s right now. I know that I can’t expect much on a shoestring budget, but I’ve never pursued an instrument so I’m sure at the moment anything will sounds good :)

Thanks so much for your help guys...I’m sure I’ll stick around here!

Jul 24, 2019 - 8:50:10 AM

307 posts since 6/12/2017

quote:
Originally posted by freight

Hey every, i was sent here from a Facebook group.

I have never played an instrument...never too late to learn right? I’m wondering if anyone has recommendations for a 5 string and any tips or advice when looking at used banjos? The Facebook group recommended I see if there’s anyone local who may be willing to help me choose one or to look at used ones to ensure they’re properly setup?

I suspect in recent years you’ve seen an influx of new people here as interest in old traditions, trades, and hobbies has grown - I truly look forward to getting involved here and learning to play!


Deering Goodtime, Gold Tone CB 100, or Recording King RK OT25.

Edited by - 6stringedRamble on 07/24/2019 08:50:36

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