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Anything equivalent to an OME but lower priced ?

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Aug 13, 2019 - 8:07:08 PM
182 posts since 4/17/2007

Over the years I have owned Stelling and Deering banjos but to me, none compared to the Ome that I once had. Unfortunately my skills (and pocket book) dont deserve an Ome at the current prices, even for a used one, but that Ome had,IMHO, a very comfortable neck and just resonated throughout my body when I played it...I wish I had never sold it. In your opinions is there any other banjo on the market that is comparable to the Ome ? Everyone has different opinions on what appeals to them and perhaps I will have to find an OME to satisfy my desires. I have purchased several less expensive banjos and have always wound up selling them 'cause I just didnt bond with them...spoiled perhaps. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Aug 13, 2019 - 9:09:20 PM

1952 posts since 12/31/2005
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What Ome did you have? Model/year? What kind of price range are you looking at?

Aug 13, 2019 - 9:12:46 PM

Alex Z


3669 posts since 12/7/2006

Prucha.  Doesn't sound the same as an Ome, but has a similar characteristic tone -- deep (but not bassy) and rich, and clear and sustaining highs.  Ome and Prucha are not "masterclones."

Pocketbook is a different issue. smiley

Aug 13, 2019 - 10:11:19 PM

51 posts since 4/24/2019

I used to own a bottom of the line Ome open back, and wish I'd never sold it. I tried to escape the banjo, but it clawed me back again.

Aug 13, 2019 - 10:24:01 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)


22533 posts since 6/25/2005
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Tone ring, model and year are important with Ome resonator banjos. Even if out of you price range right now, you should play some of the current ones to see if any have the tone you seek. You may need to get an older one to find it. Over the years Ome has had significant changes in its resonator 5-strings.

Aug 14, 2019 - 2:56:18 AM

1820 posts since 4/4/2008

'The quality remains, long after the price is forgotten'

Quote by Mr Rolls or Mr Royce of Rolls Royce Motor Cars, applies also to banjos! I do appreciate that the pricings differ, but there are more Vintage/Veteran and used RR motor cars, still on the roads today and not in the scrap yard!

Aug 14, 2019 - 4:34:53 AM

182 posts since 4/17/2007

Thanks for the responses...I dont know the year, but it was a top tension Gold Monarch as the best I can recall. I took it to Ome booth at the Walnut Valley Festival one year and they said they thought it was the first top tension they had built. As much as the tone of the banjo, it was the feel of the neck...really easy to play. I had a 90s Gibson Les Paul Custom that I swapped for it at a Dallas Guitar Show probably in the 90s. I am pretty sure that I sold the Ome to someone in Florida on this forum years ago...I remember they replied that they loved it. I wouldnt pay more than $2k for a banjo these days. Thanks again.

Aug 14, 2019 - 4:53:32 AM
Players Union Member



5269 posts since 8/19/2012

Have you considered having someone build you an instrument with the same neck configuration as the OME. There are several small builders on here that might be willing to work with you for about $1000 or so if their web sites are correct.

Aug 14, 2019 - 5:17:03 AM



273 posts since 3/20/2011

You have answered many of your own questions. Now paying for one is your only issue. I play an Ome Silver Monarch, and love the tone and volume. I have owned 42 banjos over the years, bought, sold, traded, and some were high end. The Ome is my favorite. I guess our ears hear something different, that touches a nerve.

Aug 14, 2019 - 5:47:56 AM
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14400 posts since 12/2/2005

Have you considered a used Ode model C or D? Agree that the Omes are a bit different, but Chuck Ogsbury's design philosophies developed before the current brand. Sometimes Cs and Ds show up on the used market in your price range.

Aug 14, 2019 - 6:44:56 AM

487 posts since 7/10/2012

Originally posted by wizofos

Have you considered having someone build you an instrument with the same neck configuration as the OME. There are several small builders on here that might be willing to work with you for about $1000 or so if their web sites are correct.

I second this suggestion.  I am not doing custom work currently, but I had an OME North Star with a neck I really loved so I spec'd it out to make a copy before I sold it.   If you have a mate on the hangout with the same model banjo, you could ask them to spec the neck for you and have another made out of the same wood.  I'd say that would get you as close to what you had as anything you could find on the market.  Perhaps a good suggestion would be to inquire from a neck maker what specs would be needed first and then hit up a current owner.  

Also, Ome sells their tone rings on the website, or some of them at least.  That's half the pot right there :).  


Aug 14, 2019 - 6:48:17 AM

487 posts since 7/10/2012

Also, there's this: 

No relationship with the seller, just noticed it after you posted.

Aug 14, 2019 - 7:43:03 AM

2597 posts since 10/13/2011

I agree with Alex. I owned a Prucha Fall-In-Love for several years. If you're looking for the fuller, more bass-y tone of an Ome, the older Pruchas are more in that sound range, but above the $2000 mark. I'm referring to the pre-2014 (or thereabouts) Pruchas with the Stelling-like flange, definitely sounds different from the current models with the Gibson-esque flange.

A Deering Tenbrooks Legacy model also may be in the sound spectrum that you're seeking. Again, even used, above the $2K price point.

Aug 14, 2019 - 9:24:51 AM

3717 posts since 10/13/2005

Sound and playability. Sometimes you don't know what you had until it is gone. If I knew a make and model that I really wanted, somehow I would acquire it. I traded out a $2500 for a used $800 banjo that for me has better sound AND playability (less eye glitter but that is OK). Neck profile is SO important! Good Luck! banjered

Aug 14, 2019 - 9:28:10 AM

12339 posts since 10/30/2008

Any way you can get to Gruhn's in Nashville to check out a vintage Ome Monarch at $1350?

Aug 14, 2019 - 9:36:06 AM
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darryl k.


697 posts since 1/12/2006

I had an Ome Monarch. Loved everything about it but the weight!! No more or less than other makes i suspect, but I just quit playing it for that reason. Getting old and lazy?

Aug 15, 2019 - 5:12:07 AM



1548 posts since 3/11/2004

Yeah, there’s something special about them. I love my Triple-X, but mine has a Silverspun ring and rim - I’m guessing yours had more of a Mastertone-type pot, since it was top tension. The Ome neck profile is slim and fast, and the tone, as others mentioned, is more open and full range than the punchier Gibson sound. I haven’t come across anything else like that. Used may be the way to go.

Aug 17, 2019 - 6:11:22 PM

182 posts since 4/17/2007

I decided to go to almost the opposite extreme and wound up purchasing a GT composite arrived today and I was amazed at the way it sounded and played and the weight...not like an Ome, but for $350 I figured I couldnt go wrong...I decided my skill level, time I would spend playing it, budget, really didnt justify spending a lot of money for the Ome. I spend more time playing guitar, lap and pedal steel than banjo, so this suits my needs. Thanks for the responses, I found them interesting.

Aug 17, 2019 - 11:54:45 PM

Bart Veerman


4483 posts since 1/5/2005

Originally posted by banjerpicker47


that Ome had,IMHO, a very comfortable neck and just resonated throughout my body


Yes, a neck that feels comfortable is hugely important to feel at home on.

When you mention it resonated throughout your body - does that mean that the other banjos you played, and/or owned, did NOT resonate throughout your body? If so, that simply means that the heads on those banjos were not at the proper tension. Any decent banjo vibrates against your body and their necks vibrate in your hand when their heads are properly tensioned, that is a simple matter of proper setup. If they don't then 99% of the time their head tensions are too loose so that should not be a reason to score a banjo's quality or capability as that is not the banjo's fault...

Edited by - Bart Veerman on 08/17/2019 23:55:45

Sep 10, 2019 - 3:11:35 PM
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182 posts since 4/17/2007

I just purchased an Ome banjo used from a fellow forum member...I am excited to get it...I will keep my GT composite as a back up for now, but I know it wont even compare to the Ome... :) I have just joined a local Gospel Jubilee as their pedal steel guitar player and am hoping down the road I can play the banjo on a few numbers there as well. BTW I ordered Alan Munde's Gospel Banjo book to get me going on some numbers in that area.

Sep 11, 2019 - 6:12:18 PM
Players Union Member



447 posts since 4/17/2019

I would say anything I built took more time. I am allowed to have an opinion?  Personally I would never attempt to copy or tribute to Chuck Ogsbury, that's an insult to him and me both. 

I build race cars.  Lots of road warriors use Helix.  It's the sound.  that's content.  Notice how small the star is on my longneck headstock = low bling. 

Ode and OME are some of the best banjos ever made. Look how many are still available.

Edited by - Helix1 on 09/11/2019 18:18:45

Sep 11, 2019 - 6:24:37 PM
Players Union Member



447 posts since 4/17/2019

I like your composite choice, Gold Tone is always ahead. I just did a rim change out (Mahogany) on a ROVER composite.

So when you get ready for a race car, I do change outs for $275. Able to leap tall people in a single bound.

( ):)===='== :: }

Good luck with your new OME, now study set up.

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