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Nov 12, 2019 - 5:34:53 AM
5196 posts since 12/20/2005

Solid Rosewood rims are not common, but you do see one on occasion.

I believe the Paramount used one in their model F. I've also read they used one in their Leader.
I have a Paramount Leader.
I replaced the head once, from the top, I could see the rim was not solid rosewood, but the rim had rosewood veneer.

I do have a banjo, solid East Indian rosewood. Both neck and 12 inch block rim. Has a Dobson tonering.
The tone, to me, is crisp and sweet. Surprisingly, I have never been able to get much volume.
Sounds really good 3-finger style, but it simply lacks enough volume to play it with a group.
Maybe I have not set it up right ? I don't know.

I was curious about anyone's experience or observation of rosewood rims or complete rosewood banjos.

Many Thanks

Nov 12, 2019 - 6:10:30 AM

12330 posts since 6/29/2005
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I am familiar with "rosewood" Paramounts, and the person who taught me a lot had one.  The rim was probably maple and had rosewood veneers, the neck was rosewood.  The banjo had a very distinctive sound, hard to describe, not really loud, and I recognized one from a distance outside at a country fair by the sound.

The sound comes from the particular complicated construction of the n metal parts Paramount used, which is unique as far as I know, and I'm sure the heavy rosewood neck increased the sustain and added tone color.   I think a rosewood neck would have a much greater affect on the sound than a rosewood rim, although a rosewood block rim would be plenty stiff and you wouldn't need a tone ring—it would be a "self-woodie".

Nov 12, 2019 - 6:26:46 AM

5196 posts since 12/20/2005

Complicated is an appropriate descriptive term. That is a unique design.
I'd hate to know I had to build a replacement neck.
I don't play a 4 string. I got this Leader on a trade.
I like it though. I have it tuned so that I can strum it some.
It has a great be feel. The original case is lined with blue velvet, which extends over the top of the banjo on both sides. There is a large zipper up the middle.
It's just a cool banjo.

Nov 12, 2019 - 6:42:32 AM

7444 posts since 1/7/2005

A friend of mine owned a Paramount Leader--an original five string. I played it occasionally, and it sounded good but not great for bluegrass. I also recall that it was not a particularly loud banjo. It's primary appeal was in it's rarity and considerable beauty.

DD

Nov 12, 2019 - 7:04:01 AM

794 posts since 3/23/2006

I have a 20-year old Cedar Mountain model L-2 made by Lo Gordon. It has an 11" rosewood block pot and integrated rim which sounds great. It has a lot of volume and gets many compliments. The 25" D-shape neck is tiger maple stained to perfectly match the pot. The only drawback is the weight -- rosewood is heavy and the pot is not thin.

Nov 12, 2019 - 8:35:43 AM

12330 posts since 6/29/2005
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Drabek

A friend of mine owned a Paramount Leader--an original five string. I played it occasionally, and it sounded good but not great for bluegrass. I also recall that it was not a particularly loud banjo. It's primary appeal was in it's rarity and considerable beauty.

DD


Your observation is the same as mine—it was not loud but had what I would loosely describe as a "complex" sound. It didn't sound "tight".  On his, the rosewood neck had been extended 2 frets by John D'Angelico, who did a masterful job of matching the marquetry and inlay.  The extra neck length in rosewood gave it more sustain, I'm sure, than a rosewood neck would aleady have.

Nov 12, 2019 - 12:49:15 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

11987 posts since 8/30/2006

Hi Leslie

I’m going to say if you have a 12” block rim of exotic and you are hearing less than desirable volume, I would blame the Dobson. They work but I find them to be mutatious.
I have a 12” rolled brass that I would bet on, just my opinion

I doubt whether the exotic neck would fail to do its acoustic job

I know you’re sold on the Dobson stamping from brass sheet and the sweet sound you describe in my opinion is simple  under-development of the Banjo as a whole = Slick tires on an ice rink. Plenty of fibers per sq in and a fabulous tap tone by species
I just haven’t experienced Dobson Joy yet

make your self a silver tone ring from flatbar and see what happens

Edited by - Helix on 11/12/2019 12:58:13

Nov 12, 2019 - 1:08:12 PM

5196 posts since 12/20/2005

Helix I am inclined to agree with you. I do have a 12in Rickard tubaphone tone ring. I would like to replace the Dobson was the tubaphone.
But that's not something I can do myself. Eventually I will give that done.

Nov 13, 2019 - 11:17:56 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

11987 posts since 8/30/2006

The Dobson usually just lays down over the outside of the rim. Yours may have the round stock hoop like the original

You have a lot of rim left there, the tuba phone doesn’t use much depth, but it’s wider than mine. If you install it later, you won’t lose much

A 12” tubby can dredge the Little Arkansas and keep a clear channel

Nov 15, 2019 - 2:31:47 PM
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10475 posts since 10/27/2006

For years, Deering used Brazilian rosewood in their top of the line banjos. The sound was a bit different and they were certainly pretty.

Nov 16, 2019 - 5:17:54 AM

12330 posts since 6/29/2005
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by mikehalloran

For years, Deering used Brazilian rosewood in their top of the line banjos. The sound was a bit different and they were certainly pretty.


Mike,

I never heard of them—very interesting, and Brazilian, no less.  Were they solid rosewood, or maple with a veneer? and what was the neck made from?

I can remember a LONG time ago, when Martin couldn't get any more Brazilian for backs and they started doing the three-piece, using the smaller stock they still had, and adding in a triangle of East Indian.

Nov 16, 2019 - 1:11:48 PM

10475 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by mikehalloran

For years, Deering used Brazilian rosewood in their top of the line banjos. The sound was a bit different and they were certainly pretty.


Mike,

I never heard of them—very interesting, and Brazilian, no less.  Were they solid rosewood, or maple with a veneer? and what was the neck made from?

I can remember a LONG time ago, when Martin couldn't get any more Brazilian for backs and they started doing the three-piece, using the smaller stock they still had, and adding in a triangle of East Indian.


Not sure of the pots. It was the necks on the Gabriella and another (Ivanhoe? GDL?). The big color catalog that Deering had out for years mentioned these and has a closeup of the heel carving on one of the BRW necks. MusicManSteve has fuzzy pictures of it online but I can't read the pages.

http://musicmansteve.com/paper/catDeering95.htm

I may still have that catalog unless it's one of the ones I sold to him about 15 years ago.

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