Anybody ever compare a Deering John Hartford with a wood ring and a Nechville with a Timber-Tronic ring?
Any opinions or insights as to their relative merits?
(And it would be really nice if you could throw a Turtle Hill Woody into the discussion mix too!)
The Deering Hartford has a very warm sound even in the upper register. I had to work a bit to get any twang out of it, which is why I preferred it when I played with picks (I like a warm mellow tone). The Timber-tronic is more twang than warmth and seems pointed toward a market of Scruggs style players looking for lighter weight instruments. Just my two cents.
I second David's summary of the two instruments' sound characteristics. I owned a Nechville with the TT ring, and have tried a couple of Hartfords -- the Nechville Helimount rim makes it easier to adjust the head tension up or down to alter the tone.
The necks are different and the inlays may be a personal preference. The Hartford model typically is a flat fingerboard; Nechville standard necks are compound radius.
Depending on the model, most wood ring Nechvilles are about 8 pounds or thereabouts, but the Nechville Athena is about 6.5 pounds (I was seriously tempted to buy one a few years ago, I know two Seattle-area gals who perform with theirs). The Hartford is 8-9 pounds per the Deering site, depending on whether a pop-off resonator is involved.
Happy banjo hunting!
Thanks to both of you for the info. I had a Deering Hartford with a popoff resonator a few years ago, but I sold it.
Nechville banjos like the Zeus and others with the timbertronic rings interest me because you can adjust the ratio of steel to nylon ballbearings to fine tune the sound.
I think I would like more of a "woody" sound in a woody banjo, if that makes sense. Maybe more nylon ballbearings in a timbertronic would give me that.
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