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Mar 25, 2020 - 8:55:42 AM
42 posts since 9/23/2019

Hope everyone is healthy and doing well!

I'm sorry if this has been asked before, and if it has, maybe you can point me to an old post in the forums, but...

When is it time to upgrade to a better banjo? I just started learning Scruggs style in September, and am happy with the progress I've made. Overall, I think I have a pretty okay banjo for a beginner, but I'm just wondering when I should start saving my money.

Thanks!

Mar 25, 2020 - 9:05:29 AM
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hoodoo

Canada

692 posts since 10/6/2017

A new banjo won't make you any better per se, but it can motivate you to want to play better and more often and so on and so forth.

Mar 25, 2020 - 10:19:46 AM

2112 posts since 5/2/2012

If you still have that Kasuga, and it was built to Mastertone-like specs you may not need to upgrade for a long time. If it is set up correctly, plays easily and you like the tone you can pull the tone you want from it, then you may want to keep it for a bit longer (maybe forever).

Mar 25, 2020 - 12:35:55 PM
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12813 posts since 10/30/2008

Always be saving for the next banjo. Either that or develop a great credit score so you can borrow money for the next banjo.

It's always good to BE READY TO BUY when one pops up that you really want. Even if you don't know yet what it is you'll want.

Mar 26, 2020 - 8:40:52 AM

KCJones

USA

687 posts since 8/30/2012

If you're thinking about it, it's time.

Mar 26, 2020 - 9:13:10 AM
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RB3

USA

670 posts since 4/12/2004

I started learning to play the banjo when I was in college and I could only afford the cheapest of banjos. One day, I went into a music store in the town where my school was located and I noticed that there was a nice, used ODE model C on a music stand. I had been trying to learn to play Cripple Creek for about six months, but it just didn't sound right. I asked the store proprietor for permission to play the ODE and when I played it, it was the first time that I realized that I could indeed play something that actually sounded like Cripple Creek. I'd say you ought to get the best instrument you can find as soon as you can afford it.

Mar 26, 2020 - 9:28:10 AM
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68 posts since 3/10/2006

I think Dick hit it on the head. Also, always remember that much of the sound is from the picker. The instrument can help, but the right hand (and the left!) is very important.

Apr 1, 2020 - 9:26:13 AM

42 posts since 9/23/2019

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

If you still have that Kasuga, and it was built to Mastertone-like specs you may not need to upgrade for a long time. If it is set up correctly, plays easily and you like the tone you can pull the tone you want from it, then you may want to keep it for a bit longer (maybe forever).


Besides the adjustments I've made, I've not had it set up by a professional.  I think that would be a good next step, as I am happy with it and it's a masterclone.  

I'd been wanted to do that, but completely forgot.  

Apr 1, 2020 - 9:42:18 AM

54456 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

If you still have that Kasuga, and it was built to Mastertone-like specs you may not need to upgrade for a long time. If it is set up correctly, plays easily and you like the tone you can pull the tone you want from it, then you may want to keep it for a bit longer (maybe forever).


One of the finest banjos I ever played was a Kasuga.

I bought it from a guy who bought it from a guy, and Lawd Nose who had it before that.

Sold it to a friend who was just starting, since I had  a converted Gibson tenor. upon which I had installed a Stew-Mac neck.

Have been nagging at him, a little, every now and then, to sell it back. Finally gave up.

Heading to a jam, 60 miles away, and 40 miles out, realized I ahd ledft my banjo home!

Since he was going to be there, and lived NEAR there, I called him and asked if he could bring that one for me to use. (He plays his custom-made CLOVERLICK at that jam.)

Great banjo, still.

Apr 2, 2020 - 3:05:34 PM

2486 posts since 4/16/2003

It's probably time to upgrade now.

But... before you jump out and "impulse buy", set a "date in the future", and then work toward that, investigating different instruments you think you might like.

Can you tell us what kind of sound you're looking for?
And the players that get that sound?

Apr 16, 2020 - 7:22:34 AM

42 posts since 9/23/2019

quote:
Originally posted by J.Albert

It's probably time to upgrade now.

But... before you jump out and "impulse buy", set a "date in the future", and then work toward that, investigating different instruments you think you might like.

Can you tell us what kind of sound you're looking for?
And the players that get that sound?


If I do upgrade, I would like to keep it to 1,000 to 1,500, so I've been looking at 1960s Vegas and Fender Artists. Since doing some research, I got the impression that later Vegas have some quality control issues. And also, I'm just not a big fan of their tone. Sure, they sound like banjos, but I just don't think they have that heavy bluegrass tone that I like.

Apr 16, 2020 - 9:38:49 AM

2486 posts since 4/16/2003

I'd take a really good look at this one:
https://www.banjohangout.org/classified/80637
(no financial interest in this item, just passing it on)

Apr 17, 2020 - 10:34:48 AM

1737 posts since 2/10/2013

I don't recommend using a step-by-step upgrading program. Buy the best banjo you can afford. Remember, as you use the step-by-step upgrade idea instrument prices keep going up. Your "some day" banjo will be going up in
price. You can also lose money when getting rid of a banjo. Try to make sure your next banjo will be a "lifetime" banjo, or is one you will be satisfied with for a long time. This could save you money and make playing more enjoyable.

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