I see Paramounts style B made with mapple and other made with walnut. Is there a significant difference ? Is one more valued ?
Where is the style X in the Paramount hierarchy (A,B,C., etc...) ? the construction seems very similar to other models
Kenneth K I really enjoyed looking at that link. Lots of banjo parts candy there!
I really enjoy too, but it doesn't answer my first question
My gut reaction is that the sound is probably pretty comparable; both banjos will have a paramount tone ring and variations in tone can be attributed to other factors (setup, etc.). I do have a 1926 Paramount catalog which states that the Style A ($130) came with Maple while the Style B ($150) came with walnut; whether that price difference was from wood choice alone is unclear as the cosmetic appointments are different, but it seems that, based on this observation, Paramount at least valued walnut above maple. Whether that translates to a distinct tonal difference is unclear and doubtful in my opinion. As for the value, I also doubt there'd be a significant difference, but I also don't collect Paramounts. I'd assume that any price difference (give the Style B's already low price point) is marginal and due to differences in condition or seller rather than a difference in tonal quality or rarity. Again, not 100% sure about value difference and someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
Style A was considered the most basic, each progressive letter became more expensive as I understand it, someone here once published a flow chart of the original prices of Paramount and several old lines of banjos, the most expensive were roughly comparable with the price of a model T at the time. I just looked at that catalog link provided by ekvin and it does answer several of your questions, the X was valued at 85$, the B was valued at almost double that at 150$. Also differences in wood and inlay, just dots in the X which is obviously a cheaper way to make them. So the X is lower in value than the A, as is the Junior and the Langstile models, Blue Banner and so on. And just like Gibson and Martin,more than half the valuation differences can be put down to the bling factor. They were inconsistent in wood use with the B style in particular as you noted, some maple and some walnut, but with the Paramounts I've played and had, tone is affected more by what type of head you use (and I favor the Remos with the frosting on the bottom, don't forget that the Paramount head size is 11 1/8", not 11") than with the woods involved.
The Style X, as well as the "Junior" were developed later than the A,B,C etc. They were a response partly to the great depression, and were therefore less fancy and lower priced. There was also one rather large difference in construction. The earler models used shoes bolted through the rim to hold the head tensioning brackets, but the X and Junior mounted the brackets through a flange held to the rim with an aluminum band.
If I remember rightly, it was the earliest Style Bs that were walnut, and the later ones were maple.
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