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Jan 19, 2020 - 7:00:01 AM
22 posts since 11/17/2018

Hi All!
So,started playing the banjo 2 years ago with a very basic open-back Harley Benton my parents gifted to me,but now I feel the need for something a bit better (also,the thing is falling apart).
I started searching for an RK ,possibly an R20,or RHK-05,for a budget of around 350€,and while looking I stumbled upon an Ibanez B200 for 300€(shipment included).
The banjo was in a shop in Verona(Italy) for about a year as exposition,but since nobody here in Italy plays the banjo ,it has been untouched since and is in mint condition.
I am very much inclined to buy this thing,especially since its absolute hell to find a banjo in Italy (apart from Thomann,which has a few).
Should I buy it? And if I do what kind of set up would it need (apart from strings)?
Thank you

Jan 19, 2020 - 10:12:09 AM

point

USA

5 posts since 1/16/2008

Hello Enrico

I would not buy It. I did purchase a B-200 and was instantly sorry I did. The only part I have not changed/upgraded is the resonator.

They are put together poorly and do not sound the way you would think a banjo with a tone ring would sound.



Happy Trails

Jan 19, 2020 - 10:20:15 AM

roydsjr

USA

646 posts since 5/17/2007
Online Now

I have one and it's not a bad banjo to play. I mainly tighten the head and it is a decent sounding banjo! I don't like the inlay pattern and you may need to focus on the side dots instead of the fretboard since it will confuse you on your location up the Neck. It has a good bass sound since it is a deeper pot setup. I may change that later if I keep it. I have several banjos to choose from so I swap around from time to time. I bought mine on ebay with a cracked Neck. I glued it and it is fine! I like the chrome plated parts since they don't tarnish like the Nickel versions. I plan to put another Neck on it later with a Gibson style inlay pattern. It has a thicker rim and a flathead tone ring, which the RK-20 does not or the RHK-05 . I believe it would be the better choice! The main difference of the B200 verses the B300 is the Resonator is fancier. I bought mine cheap since it was damaged from shipping. $111.00 with free shipping.

Jan 19, 2020 - 10:42:57 AM

1050 posts since 2/4/2013

I think for something that is better than the cheap banjos it's a good price. Apparently it has a flathead tone ring, although I've seem descriptions that say it has a rolled brass tone ring, and it has an unusual block rim for an Asian made banjo. I'm sure it is a combination of cheap components but once setup I've seen videos where it sounds OK. The main setup will be tightening the head as it's not unusual for the hooks to be a bit loose and positioning the bridge.

I have a feeling that the tone ring anomaly is due to the official Ibanez description. This sort of brand usually have little idea of what components their banjos have. Pictures I've seen show a flathead tone ring.

For 300 Euros you probably won't do better new.

Jan 19, 2020 - 10:54:43 AM

1332 posts since 4/13/2009

It isn't a top tier banjo, but you know that. It has a good neck and will sound pretty good if set up well ( check intonation and action, tighten the head, get a good bridge). Like Roy, I bought one with a broken neck on ebay, it doesn'nt sound like my Gibson, but it is OK.

Jan 19, 2020 - 11:33:51 AM

roydsjr

USA

646 posts since 5/17/2007
Online Now

I forgot to mention that I changed the bridge too, like deestexas said. The one that came on mine was not a good quality one and it did not sound near as good as the one I put on it. Setup makes a world of a difference!

Jan 20, 2020 - 3:52:52 AM

22 posts since 11/17/2018

So I guess first thing I'll do is check head tension ,action and neck shape ,possibly change the bridge and adjust the tailpiece.
Any advice on a good banjo bridge (not too expensive)?

Jan 20, 2020 - 3:55:24 AM

22 posts since 11/17/2018

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker

I think for something that is better than the cheap banjos it's a good price. Apparently it has a flathead tone ring, although I've seem descriptions that say it has a rolled brass tone ring, and it has an unusual block rim for an Asian made banjo. I'm sure it is a combination of cheap components but once setup I've seen videos where it sounds OK. The main setup will be tightening the head as it's not unusual for the hooks to be a bit loose and positioning the bridge.

I have a feeling that the tone ring anomaly is due to the official Ibanez description. This sort of brand usually have little idea of what components their banjos have. Pictures I've seen show a flathead tone ring.

For 300 Euros you probably won't do better new.


Pardon me for my deep ignorance in the matter ,what is the difference between the two types of tone rings? (Also I compared it with the Ibanez B300 and didn't find any difference except +100$ in the price)

Jan 20, 2020 - 4:54:05 AM

1050 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by IlCompagnoKoba

Pardon me for my deep ignorance in the matter ,what is the difference between the two types of tone rings? (Also I compared it with the Ibanez B300 and didn't find any difference except +100$ in the price)


Rolled brass tone rings are simple brass hoops mainly found on open back banjos and some cheaper beginner resonator banjos that are bettter than the real cheap ones.

https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/All_Hardware_and_Parts_by_Instrument/Banjo_Parts/Banjo_Tone_Rings/Five-Star_Rolled_Brass_Banjo_Tone_Ring.html

Flathead are much bigger and heavier and are the standard for resonator banjos. The cheaper ones are made with some sort of cheap alloy. This is a more expensive version:

https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/All_Hardware_and_Parts_by_Instrument/Banjo_Parts/Banjo_Tone_Rings/Five-Star_Flathead_Banjo_Tone_Ring.html

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