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Deering Price !!! Is it just me ?

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Jan 24, 2020 - 12:16:47 PM
318 posts since 7/28/2016
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I get a weekly email ad from Deering. This week advertising the Rustic Wreath banjo. I took a look and it sure is a beautiful instrument. Nice inlays, tone ring, peg head, etc. Advertised as affordable ? $3699. I'm looking at my 5 banjos. Gibson RB-170, RK-85, Bacon Special #1 with 5 string conversion neck, Deering Goodtime Parlour, and Dean Robinson walnut and some other exotic woods and all together I paid about $4500. Maybe none of my banjos compare to the Rustic Wreath but I don't consider it affordable. Please delete this entry if I've overstepped the boundaries here.

Jan 24, 2020 - 12:33:17 PM

4978 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by gbisignani

I get a weekly email ad from Deering. This week advertising the Rustic Wreath banjo. I took a look and it sure is a beautiful instrument. Nice inlays, tone ring, peg head, etc. Advertised as affordable ? $3699. I'm looking at my 5 banjos. Gibson RB-170, RK-85, Bacon Special #1 with 5 string conversion neck, Deering Goodtime Parlour, and Dean Robinson walnut and some other exotic woods and all together I paid about $4500. Maybe none of my banjos compare to the Rustic Wreath but I don't consider it affordable. Please delete this entry if I've overstepped the boundaries here.


Patents are expensive.

I think that voicing an opinion on pricing is perfectly reasonable.  The pricing is advertised publicly. 

Jan 24, 2020 - 12:35:35 PM
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Mooooo

USA

7425 posts since 8/20/2016

But they throw in a case too!

Jan 24, 2020 - 1:02:20 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

58 posts since 8/9/2019

Well, banjos are definitely NOT affordable instruments. Considering one needs to spend at minimum 1k-1500 to get an instrument that's just okay. In a world where $3k gets you barely in the midrange, the Rustic Wreath could be interpreted as "affordable". It's all relative. But I agree with the OP. Mind you, banjos have always been outrageously expensive, if you look at 1930s prices and adjust for inflation, you'll find prices haven't changed much. 

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 01/24/2020 13:04:04

Jan 24, 2020 - 1:08:49 PM

12517 posts since 10/30/2008

It's astounding to me what today's banjo makers have to charge to stay in business. And I honestly believe they have to charge that much. Of course the biggest ones sell most of their banjos at wholesale, to dealers, so that price is "suggested". They're usually discounted at least a little by the dealers.

The used market seems to show what the "real" general valuation is for a certain banjo. An EXC condition major maker banjo sells at steep discount to suggested new price on the used market. Now of course "someone" had to buy that new banjo in the first place, but for whatever reason they generally experience a significant loss (depreciation anyone?) when they turn it over.

Now I'd love to have the new Deering Trischka Golden Clipper, but not at suggested retail price!!! Maybe someday one will turn up used somewhere and we'll see how most banjo buyers would value them.

Jan 24, 2020 - 2:07:19 PM

28 posts since 7/15/2013

At new price they are factoring in marketing, materials, labor, and all other sorts of overhead while trying to compete with smaller makers who use more off-the-shelf parts.

Their operation is not cheap to keep running, and their competition is not priced drastically cheaper either.

3k isn't an amount to sneeze at, but if the market could not stomach it they wouldn't be open today. Having large chain stores such as Sam Ash in their web doesn't hurt either.

Jan 24, 2020 - 2:11:10 PM
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2044 posts since 12/31/2005

Compared to prices for a new Stelling, Huber, Yates, and other top brands, it's very reasonable. Deering quality is fantastic. You may have a preference for one brand or the other, but they are all top notch in terms of quality. The Rustic Wreath is one of the most reasonably priced new banjos. Adjusted for inflation, it also is a bit cheaper than new Gibsons when they were made.

There is value to being the first driver of a banjo (or a car). You know it's history and you know what you are getting (or have a warranty to protect you if it's not what you expect). You can hope that used banjo you buy has been treated right over the years, but all you really have to go on is the name that was on it when it shipped out. A lot can happen when people start tinkering and "setting up" a banjo. Much of it is reversible/fixable, but not everything.

Jan 24, 2020 - 5:25 PM

437 posts since 1/28/2013

Looked at Martin Guitars lately? I just paid $5000 for a 7 year old used D-28 Authentic. And that was a rock bottom price. They sell new for $7500-$8000.

Jan 24, 2020 - 5:37:04 PM

471 posts since 8/14/2018

Good banjos are never going to be cheap. Good instruments generally require a fair bit of skilled labor and expensive materials. And Banjos are a tiny niche market that’s been abandoned by the big music companies, so there’s no economy of scale to be had.

Jan 24, 2020 - 5:40:19 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22902 posts since 6/25/2005

That’s Deering’s list price. They have to leave enough margin above wholesale cost to allow dealers to discount. That said, I’ve always thought Deerings to be at the high end of the price curve at best. But...They do quality work. They have remained in business where Gibson, another premium-price line, failed with banjos. So....I can’t carp too much about Deering. They have made relatively affordable quality banjos in the Goodtime series, and they did rescue the Vega marque from Asian cheap makers. l Note: l do not own any Deering, and likely never will.

Jan 24, 2020 - 6:02:49 PM

2044 posts since 12/31/2005

I have never figured out how they actually kept it going as a manufacturing company (not a boutique builder) in California with its high labor costs, taxes, and regulation. Add to that the fact that the bread and butter volume wise is a banjo line (Good Time) that competes with imports. That's impressive.

If I recall right, a RB-250 in 1980 was $1,500. That's the equivalent of about $4,700 today. So this is about $1,000 less than what an RB-250 was and unquestionably much better than that vintage of Gibsons.

Jan 25, 2020 - 2:54:14 PM

2404 posts since 4/16/2003

Deerings run a little "on the high side".
I sense that trying to do business in their area of California has a lot to do with it.

Jan 26, 2020 - 5:57:46 PM

banjoez

USA

2337 posts since 7/18/2007

All I can add to the conversation is that modern Deerings with the 06 Tone Ring and Violin Grade rims are pretty awesome sounding banjos and the craftsmanship is impeccable. Price-wise you can buy them below MSRP if you shop around so compared to other modern day builders they are right in the ball park. To be honest I've not found a modern banjo that sounds any better at any price and I've had a BUNCH. 

Edited by - banjoez on 01/26/2020 18:07:46

Jan 27, 2020 - 3:53:32 AM
Players Union Member

spini

USA

386 posts since 9/10/2014

You can get them cheaper than MSRP. Deering quality is second to none. Customer service as well. American made!
What I like most is they make or have specifically made for them most all their parts. For sure all the main parts.
I have seen some small builders sell banjos for $4000 or more that have their name on it but didn't build one part. They used just say, Neat neck, Huber tone ring, so and so pot, so and so tuners, so and so bridge........ you get the point. Then they slap their name on it. To me thats just a very nice parts banjo.
I own Deerings and an RK and others, all nice banjos but side by side my upper end Deering blows my RK35 and others out of the water in every category.
My wife can tell when I am playing one of my non Deering banjos. She will tell me, "You weren't playing your usual banjo were you?" I would ask how she knew? She will say "It sounded tinny, not as musical or pretty sounding!" And in my opinion only, she is right.

Jan 27, 2020 - 7:52:57 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

9077 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

Loved my Deering Sierra, and will always regret letting it go. Really like my Goodtime Classic. Not sure if there is another Deering in my future or not, but I would not hesitate if I found the right banjo. I have met Greg and Janet, they are very nice people, and the company stands by their product. When one of my tuners went on my out of warranty Goodtime, they over-nighted me a new one at no charge. Great company, run by great people with a great product.

Jan 27, 2020 - 9:18:46 AM

1933 posts since 1/10/2004

I consider that affordable for a *new* American-made professional quality banjo. And there have been models at that level from the big names and builders going back more than 10 years that were priced higher in the $4-5k range and beyond, depending on features, materials, labor and bling. There are also used instruments that aren't too far removed from that price. If $3699 is just the list price then you can likely get it for less anyway.

Jan 28, 2020 - 12:26:33 AM

5828 posts since 7/12/2004

I bought a used Good Time special with steel tone ring, But no resonator, for practice, It is so loud that I put a sponge between the rod and head, by sliding the sponge back and forth. I can get some very good tone from it. Most all other Deerings are to high for Me. I guess most of You know when Stelling started out with His wife Gretchin, Greg, built all the first banjos. Then after awhile He just built all the necks. I think today Stelling is the most costly banjo out there.

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