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Aug 1, 2019 - 8:19:47 AM
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13 posts since 7/21/2011

MY QUESTION IS NOW THAT THE GOLDTONE TWANGERS ARE OUT THERE, ANYONE THAT HAS BOUGHT ONE PROBABLY HAS PLAYED IT FOR A FEW MONTHS NOW. CAN ANYONE THAT HAS HAD ONE FOR A WHILE GIVE REVEIWS AS TO WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT THE SOUND OF THE BANJO. THANK YOU

Aug 1, 2019 - 12:01:10 PM
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10683 posts since 6/2/2008

Grand total of 36 owners. Not going to be many reviews. But there are some videos on YouTube now.

Here's a video of a buyer unboxing his.

Here's a video of the same owner playing Lonesome Road Blues on his new Twanger.

Here's Part 1 of another owner's Twanger demo.  And Part 2.

Fewer than 10 of the next batch of 36 remain available for pre-order.

My suggestion for anyone moderately interested is to trust the videos as well as the reputations of Ben Clark and Robby Boone and order one.

Aug 1, 2019 - 12:23:51 PM

2172 posts since 12/31/2005

There is also a "used" one in the classifieds. I use the term "used" loosely because it is probably no more played than shop worn banjos that go as new. From what I have heard they sound very good. Not "very good for the price range," but very good for any price range. I'm not going to hype it and say it put anything Jim Mills has at his house to shame, but nobody expects that. The issue with production banjos is whether you're getting a well constructed piece that is fitted and set up properly. Not an easy thing to accomplish. But it appears that they are doing it. I think it's a bonus that the boys in the cabin are working on these themselves. I would be confident buying from them as I have had several positive dealings with Ben in the past.

Aug 1, 2019 - 3:12 PM

10683 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy

There is also a "used" one in the classifieds.


Can't go wrong with this. $1500 shipped. That's $99 less than a new one from Ben.

These appear to go head-to-head against the RK Elite 75 and Gold Star GF100JD.

Aug 2, 2019 - 2:38:49 AM
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1750 posts since 2/4/2006

Its a Good banjo. Easily as good or better than the Gold Stars and RK's I have had. It notes out perfectly. Better than many banjos I have had. I have put about 3 hours playing time on it. Its a beautiful instrument as well. Excellent workmanship. Its as new. They come with a decent hardshell case, and the tuners are nice, not junk. Overall its a great buy!

Edited by - Kurt Kemp on 08/02/2019 02:39:37

Aug 2, 2019 - 7:06:16 AM
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10683 posts since 6/2/2008

How's the neck?  Other Gold Tones I've played (OB or BG models) have felt a bit big to me.

What about neck construction? One piece (not counting ears)? Built up heel?  Grafted peghead?

And what bridge? Generic?

Just curious about some of the details.

Judging from reviews, Gold Tone was already on the right track with the release of the OB-150 three years ago. That one was priced at the entry level set by RK 35/36.  I assume the Twanger has features that make it worth the additional $600.

Aug 2, 2019 - 8:16:50 AM

13 posts since 7/21/2011

Thank a lot for the replies, hopefully some of the 36 owners see this thread and tell what they think of the sound of the banjo.

Aug 2, 2019 - 8:49:38 AM
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1750 posts since 2/4/2006

The neck profile is excellent. It's not clubby or anything of the sort. One piece construction and looks like any other OPF neck. The quality of the whole banjo is very good. If Robbie says it's good it's good...and it is. It's not as "refined" as a Huber but it's excellent. The bridge is selected by the Banjo Ben folks. I am not sure what it is but I can put anything you want on it.

The sound is excellent. Has the bite many no holes do. It's a big round sound with some pop to it but a touch of mellow smoothness. It will hold it's own in a jam, no problem.

Hope this helps.

Aug 3, 2019 - 7:40:06 AM
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13 posts since 7/21/2011

THANK YOU

Aug 12, 2019 - 11:52:23 AM
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7 posts since 7/11/2019

The bridges we put on are Blades bridges, built by our own Josh Blades at the General Store, who also does a lot of setup work on the banjos.

I’d like to chime in, as a Twanger owner myself, as well as one of the guys from the store. I am very happy with my banjo and it has taken over as my primary banjo that I use. I can also say that I have personally played every Twanger that we have shipped out and they have all had a very consistent tone that beats any other new banjo that I have played recently, at least for what I look for in a banjo. I can say that my banjo has settled in some and is already sounding a lot better than the first time I played it (although it was great even then). I’m not convinced that I would get any more of the tone I personally like in any other brand banjo at any price range out there. The power is exceptional all the way up the neck on these banjos, which is one of the things that I think impresses us at the store most!

Aug 13, 2019 - 11:25:37 AM

Banjo Lefty

Canada

1881 posts since 6/19/2014

bobbob4rd , you don't have to shout. We can hear you just fine.

Aug 19, 2019 - 4:51:15 PM

13 posts since 7/21/2011

just used to typing in caps , sorry, wasn't shouting.

Aug 22, 2019 - 7:26:19 PM
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12 posts since 3/20/2010

I’m the owner of #23 (the one linked in the part 1 & 2 videos above).

I was nervous ordering a new banjo that was not out and I couldn’t play before buying. I own a 1998 Granada and about two weeks after placing my order for the Twanger I unexpectedly picked up an 03 Huber Kalamazoo. After I got the huber in I told myself I would cancel the order for the twanger. Something about it though had me intrigued and I elected to not cancel. I’m glad I didn’t. As stated above, this isn’t a banjo you can put up against some prewar, the quality my not be as refined as the “big names” but one thing for sure is it sounds damn good! It def has a older/croweish tone. The setup was good out of the box but I’ve been messing with it and trying see what else she has in her. I really enjoy this banjo and find myself grabbing it over my others. I agree that this can hold its own against more expensive options out there and I do not think you will be disappointed if you decide to buy one.  

 

Edit: I forgot to mention I also have an RK36, that Banjo is amazing for the money, but I always thought it lacked something.  In ant key above A I felt it got thin.   The OB3 it powerful in all keys and has is powerful down the neck.  Also has a great range of tone between the bridge and neck.  

Edited by - Ahmad310 on 08/22/2019 19:33:31

Oct 2, 2019 - 10:29:07 PM

1600 posts since 4/10/2005

I'm still having dreams about the Stelling Master Flower Robbie Boone demo'ed for the BBC outfit.

Oct 3, 2019 - 9:13 AM
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Emiel

Austria

9449 posts since 1/22/2003

As stated by Goldtone, they have been "replicating one of the most iconic banjos, played by the one of the most iconic banjo players of all time, JD Crowe's original RB-3 ("Banger")."

The strings they put on (see the specifications, goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldton...fications )
are: .011 .013 .016 .024w .011. This is rather heavy. The banjo should sound like J.D. Crowe's Banger, and JD uses very light gauge strings, I thought, at least if you have a look at his signature sets (GHS PF 135: .010 .011 .012 .020w .010 ; GHS PF 140: .0095 .011 .012 .020w .0095).

Why would they use such heavy strings, if they want to replicate the sound of that JD Crowe-played banjo?

Edited by - Emiel on 10/03/2019 09:19:53

Oct 3, 2019 - 10:06:47 AM
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7 posts since 7/11/2019

The heavier strings are just part of the standard setup that Gold Tone uses on all of their regular banjos. While the banjo is modeled after the Banger, the banjos still come from Gold Tone with the heavier strings, just as all of their other banjos. However, we at the Banjo Ben General Store are sending a set of GHS PF135s out with the Twangers starting with batch 2.

Oct 3, 2019 - 10:30:13 AM

Emiel

Austria

9449 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by aabanjo

The heavier strings are just part of the standard setup that Gold Tone uses on all of their regular banjos. While the banjo is modeled after the Banger, the banjos still come from Gold Tone with the heavier strings, just as all of their other banjos. However, we at the Banjo Ben General Store are sending a set of GHS PF135s out with the Twangers starting with batch 2.


Thanks for your reply. On the demo video we all watched, the heavy .11-strings were used? Sounds good. Or did you put lighter strings on that banjo?

Oct 3, 2019 - 11:12:38 AM
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7 posts since 7/11/2019

No problem! I believe we had put some lighter strings on it by the time we did the demo (PF135s I think). If you’ll look at the Banjo Ben Facebook page, though, Ben posted a short video of me playing one of the Twangers we were fixing to ship out which still had the heavier gauge strings on it.

There is also a video of Robby Boone talking about his personal Twanger (likely on the Banjo Ben Facebook page also), after he’d had it a while. At the end of that video, Robby and I play a song together on our Twangers. When we did that video, I had PF175s on my banjo, which are heavier than the PF135s or PF140s.

Oct 3, 2019 - 11:27:03 AM
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Emiel

Austria

9449 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by aabanjo

No problem! I believe we had put some lighter strings on it by the time we did the demo (PF135s I think). If you’ll look at the Banjo Ben Facebook page, though, Ben posted a short video of me playing one of the Twangers we were fixing to ship out which still had the heavier gauge strings on it.

There is also a video of Robby Boone talking about his personal Twanger (likely on the Banjo Ben Facebook page also), after he’d had it a while. At the end of that video, Robby and I play a song together on our Twangers. When we did that video, I had PF175s on my banjo, which are heavier than the PF135s or PF140s.


Thanks again for the detailed info. I'm hoping I'll win that banjo… wink

Oct 3, 2019 - 11:36:10 AM
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1534 posts since 10/12/2011


Thanks again for the detailed info. I'm hoping I'll win that banjo… wink


We all want to win that Banjo.

Nov 11, 2019 - 8:43:51 AM

7 posts since 7/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by bon vivant
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

As stated by Goldtone, they have been "replicating one of the most iconic banjos, played by the one of the most iconic banjo players of all time, JD Crowe's original RB-3 ("Banger")."

The strings they put on (see the specifications, goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldton...fications )
are: .011 .013 .016 .024w .011. This is rather heavy. The banjo should sound like J.D. Crowe's Banger, and JD uses very light gauge strings, I thought, at least if you have a look at his signature sets (GHS PF 135: .010 .011 .012 .020w .010 ; GHS PF 140: .0095 .011 .012 .020w .0095).

Why would they use such heavy strings, if they want to replicate the sound of that JD Crowe-played banjo?


How did they come up with those String Gauges ? I think for me. those are way too heavy...I use  Light .09 .11 .13 .18 .09. Black Diamond..Man They are Good!


That is just Gold Tone's standard set of strings they put on all of their regular banjos when they set them up.

Nov 12, 2019 - 6:02:08 AM

SBPARK

USA

345 posts since 2/25/2011

Wow, that Twanger does sound pretty incredible, and I just bought a new RK-36. I'm not feeling that bad though because I'm comparing the $900 I paid for mine to a $1,600 banjo, but if I had to do it all over again I may have ponied up the extra cash for the Twanger...

Nov 12, 2019 - 9:26:11 AM

45 posts since 1/7/2019

quote:
Originally posted by SBPARK

Wow, that Twanger does sound pretty incredible, and I just bought a new RK-36. I'm not feeling that bad though because I'm comparing the $900 I paid for mine to a $1,600 banjo, but if I had to do it all over again I may have ponied up the extra cash for the Twanger...


I wonder if anyone has played them back to back and can comment on how they actually compare. I have always coveted the RK-36. Is this one that much better? 

Jeff

Nov 29, 2019 - 7:29:41 PM

802 posts since 1/17/2011

Wonder how it compares to an RK 75 Elite?

Jan 31, 2020 - 6:28:40 AM
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BUBBY

USA

262 posts since 1/8/2004

quote:
Originally posted by teletodd

Wonder how it compares to an RK 75 Elite?


Anyone had a chance to compare? Would love to hear more feedback 

Jan 31, 2020 - 10:11:15 AM

1955 posts since 1/10/2004

I play a real (reissue) RB-3 and am a fan of the style, so I'm glad they brought these to market - very classy. My Gibson may be a few hairs "better", but they don't make them any more, you can't always just go out and buy one, and it might cost you twice as much anyway. Due to the limited number of Twangers built and sold I guess people are too busy enjoying playing them to comment much. But this model looks to me well worth considering if/when they get some more.

The RK-75 Elite is more trying to replicate a late pre-war RB-75 (with a longer scale) rather than an RB-3. What's the difference between an RB-3 and RB-75 flathead? Well not much really. Almost nothing. Period of construction, the likelihood of certain inlay choices. Esoteric differences in the rims maybe. The RB-75 was just the later incarnation of the RB-3, although extant examples sometimes resemble floor sweeps vs more catalog spec RB-3s. That has no real bearing on the Elite though. In the case of the Twanger it is a specific early RB-3 they are trying to reproduce, which is reflected in some of the components (tone ring for example). Do note that both models have an ebony fingerboard which is not technically "correct" to an RB-3/75. It's not a bad thing though, and I shouldn't be surprised that there are some early examples with ebony boards. Anyway, I expect the Twanger compares favorably with the Elite, both great banjos at a good price.

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