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RK-35 & Rk-36 still considered a good bang for your buck banjo?

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Oct 15, 2019 - 8:49 AM

SBPARK

USA

283 posts since 2/25/2011

Started playing several years ago and quit and no longer have a banjo. Wanting to get back into playing. Wondering what the best "bang for your buck" banjo would be. I used to have an RK-35 and really enjoyed it. Anything else out there for the same price or even willing to spend a little more if it's worth it, or should I just stick with the tried and true RK-35?

Oct 15, 2019 - 9:30:52 AM
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334 posts since 5/30/2016

I love my RK-35. I was just playing it a few minutes ago. I will keep it for life. I don’t know of any other banjo out there that is considered MORE bang for the buck.

Oct 15, 2019 - 10:35:16 AM
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banjoez

USA

2326 posts since 7/18/2007

If you buy used for around $600-$700 then yes, good bang for your buck. Buying new at retail not so much. Lots of used Imported stuff on the market. Be patient and there are good deals to be had. Stick with RK, Goldstar, Goldtone for imports. There are even some steals on used American made banjos from Deering, Sullivan, Hatfield and others if you look around.

Edited by - banjoez on 10/15/2019 10:39:46

Oct 15, 2019 - 12:10:46 PM

10172 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by SBPARK

I used to have an RK-35 and really enjoyed it. Anything else out there for the same price or even willing to spend a little more if it's worth it, or should I just stick with the tried and true RK-35?


Holy smokes!  I don't know if this is Chinese tariffs kicking in or just overdue price increases, but online retailers are showing the RK-35 at $1150 and the RK-36 at $1300!!

The Gold Tone OB-150 -- also worth considering -- is $1015 at Sam Ash and $952 at banjoteacher.com (Ross Nickerson).

I guess that's the new entry point for a resonator banjo with 3-ply rim and sand cast bell metal tone ring.

All three of these banjos represent good value at their price.  But up until recently, the RK-35 was around $1,000 and the 36 was $1150.

These are really good buys used.

Also: For less than the $1300 price tag for a new RK-36 you can usually find a used RK Elite 75 or Deering Sierra. Sometimes a 1970s Ode Style C.

Have fun shopping.

Oct 15, 2019 - 12:47 PM

SBPARK

USA

283 posts since 2/25/2011

I've found the RK-35 for $899 and that may be before a possible discount for being a forum member. Maybe the prices you're seeing are list prices, but they can be had all day for $899 with a hardshell case from a few reputable dealers.

Oct 15, 2019 - 1:49:56 PM

1935 posts since 5/2/2012

I like the GT OB150 myself, but then I am a GT fan. Both about the same street price. Both a bit hard to find used and the RK seems to hold it's value, so finding a "deal" may require a wait.

Oct 15, 2019 - 3:07:02 PM

10172 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by SBPARK

I've found the RK-35 for $899 and that may be before a possible discount for being a forum member. Maybe the prices you're seeing are list prices, but they can be had all day for $899 with a hardshell case from a few reputable dealers.


I think "list" on these has always been even higher.  The prices at GuitarCenter and MusiciansFriend in the past have tended to match the prevailing street price on these -- except that other sellers usually throw in a case that the 35 and 36 don't include as a standard item.

I just saw that Banjo Ben, Banjoteacher.com and Amazon are still selling it for $1000, though not all with case.

BanjoWarehouse is also showing it at the new $1149 with case.

So probably a good time to buy one at $1,000 or less from sellers still offering that price.

Oct 15, 2019 - 4:26:51 PM

10435 posts since 10/27/2006

>So probably a good time to buy one at $1,000 or less from sellers still offering that price.<

Before the new 4th quarter price increases kick in. Oh wait...

And yes, tariff pricing is here.

MAP on the R36 is $1,1499.99 at the moment; $999.99 for the R35.

Oct 15, 2019 - 4:27:50 PM

rcc56

USA

2303 posts since 2/20/2016

The wholesale cost has gone up.
After all the older stock is sold off, they'll all be $1149.

Oct 16, 2019 - 9:51:51 AM
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SBPARK

USA

283 posts since 2/25/2011

Ended up pulling the trigger on a new RK-35 for $899 with a hardshell case and spikes installed, free shipping.

I started considering spending a bit more, and found some nice deals on higher end banjos for $1,200-$1,500, and also for a brief period rationalized spending upwards of $2,000 in the used market, but couldn't rationalize spending that much even if you can get a LOT of banjo in the used market for that money. I'm a guitar player who has dabbled here and there with the banjo over the years and really felt like the RK-35 for what I paid is still a pretty good value and if I did get more serious about the banjo down the line it's not going to leave me wanting/needing more.

EDIT: Got an email from the retailer telling me that they wouldn't be getting in any RK-35's until the end of the month but would send me an RK-36 for the same price that I paid for the RK-35. Decided to go with the RK-36!

Edited by - SBPARK on 10/16/2019 10:02:50

Oct 16, 2019 - 10:11:36 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

11931 posts since 8/30/2006

Congratulations on dusting off your Banjo lab, say goodbye, hitch a ride on the RK


 

Oct 16, 2019 - 12:11:57 PM
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Fathand

Canada

11502 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

The wholesale cost has gone up.
After all the older stock is sold off, they'll all be $1149.


A wise retailer will increase his retail price when his replacement cost goes up. Otherwise he may not be able to replace his inventory when sold.

Oct 19, 2019 - 6:03:47 PM

1676 posts since 9/10/2003

Just don't get in a hurry, theirs really cheap deals on RK 35's that come along on a regular basis on the BHO classifieds from time to time. Great banjos for the money. Good Luck !

Brian

Oct 20, 2019 - 8:41:46 AM

bill53

USA

300 posts since 3/26/2004

is still have mine if it werent for trading it on a earl scruggs, the 35 is a killer banjo

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