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RK35 vs. Deering Goodtime for clawhammer

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Feb 18, 2020 - 3:05:23 PM
1 posts since 2/18/2020

Hey all, I'm venturing into the banjo world for the first time and have found a couple of seemingly good deals on Craigslist near me. Option 1 is an RK35 for $450, and option 2 is a Deering Goodtime (open back) for $300, both of which look to be in great condition from the photos. I'll mostly be playing by myself so I'm planning to learn clawhammer, which I know tends to fall towards the open back side of things. However, everything I've read on here leads me to believe that the RK35 is the ideal banjo for anybody in the beginner/intermediate range trying not to spend a fortune. I've also seen a few videos of people playing clawhammer on an RK35, and it sounds pretty good (to somebody with an admittedly very untrained ear).

So my question to everybody: For somebody interested in clawhammer, does the quality of the RK35 make it worth considering over a Goodtime?

Feb 18, 2020 - 3:11:27 PM

424 posts since 2/6/2018

The open back is more akin to clawhammer, but the RK35 is a great deal for $450. The resonator also provides the option to learn Scruggs style too. I love Deering, but between the two for value, based on your description, go with the RK35.

Feb 18, 2020 - 3:25:18 PM

245 posts since 3/29/2018

RK35

Feb 18, 2020 - 3:27:34 PM

KCJones

USA

644 posts since 8/30/2012

RK35 for sure.

Worst case scenario you can sell it for 800 and get something else.

Feb 18, 2020 - 4:03:01 PM

conic

England

691 posts since 2/15/2014

I have both banjos and both are very good quality banjos but the goodtime is a fraction of the weight of the rk35 approx 15lb.
You can remove the resonator off the rk35 but not the flange unless you fit a thing called a "Bracket Band Assembly".
You can play clawhammer on both of these and tinker around to get the tone you like so if the weight does not matter, for the money I would get the rk35 and a good strap

Feb 19, 2020 - 8:15:11 AM
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Emiel

Austria

9358 posts since 1/22/2003

The RK-35 works fine for clawhammer. Here's a little demo I recorded:
 

Feb 19, 2020 - 10:48:46 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23212 posts since 6/25/2005

I recently bought an RK-35 to resurrect my bluegrass, and found it’s also a fine clawhammer banjo. I’ve played a Goodtime. Between the two, the RK-35 is the better banjo, for any style, imo. Unless the weight issue overrides quality, the RK-35 is the way to go.

Feb 19, 2020 - 12:20:30 PM
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3780 posts since 5/12/2010

The RK35 is much more banjo than a Deering Goodtime.


It always tickles me to read stuff like "The resonator also provides the option to learn Scruggs style too."

Does this mean I can't finger pick my open back any more?


 

Feb 19, 2020 - 12:24:13 PM

424 posts since 2/6/2018

Nope. Not allowed. It's in the Banjo Hangout bylaws. Sorry.  ;-)
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

I recently bought an RK-35 to resurrect my bluegrass, and found it’s also a fine clawhammer banjo. I’ve played a Goodtime. Between the two, the RK-35 is the better banjo, for any style, imo. Unless the weight issue overrides quality, the RK-35 is the way to go.


Feb 19, 2020 - 12:25:42 PM

424 posts since 2/6/2018

Nope. Not allowed. It's in the Banjo Hangout bylaws. Sorry.  ;-)
Originally posted by OldPappy

The RK35 is much more banjo than a Deering Goodtime.


It always tickles me to read stuff like "The resonator also provides the option to learn Scruggs style too."

Does this mean I can't finger pick my open back any more?


 


Feb 19, 2020 - 1:11:40 PM

290 posts since 2/26/2012
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by OldPappy

The RK35 is much more banjo than a Deering Goodtime.


It always tickles me to read stuff like "The resonator also provides the option to learn Scruggs style too."

Does this mean I can't finger pick my open back any more?


 


laugh

Feb 19, 2020 - 7:12:12 PM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12345 posts since 8/30/2006

You will outgrow the shoebox banjo too quickly. Get used to the weight of an RK, you'll never look back. Later, explore some options with one of the smaller builders like me.

Half of my customers play bluegrass
Half of my customers play old time
The other half won't cooperate and plays anything they like. Some girls like to dance, some girls like to sing, some girls like to bob their hair, honeysuckle do they wear and do most anything.


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