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Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music( HELP)

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Apr 5, 2020 - 5:04:39 PM

Tonycrowe

Ireland

2 posts since 4/5/2020

Hello ive been researching tenor banjos to buy and ive found the gold tone 250 series, the IT250(irish tenor) and the TS250(tenor special). The it 250 would be perfect but its 17 frets and i have long fingers and it seems that the 19 frets are more favourable to most than the 17 frets. The ts 250 on the other hand is 19 frets and its standard tuning is not the gdae that i would want to play irish music. Im just wondering if anyone has the gold tone ts 250 and play Irish music with it and how it preforms. Is the only real difference between the 2 the 2 frets or are the specifically suited to their own different styles of tuning?
Or if the 17 fret would suit me?

Edited by - Tonycrowe on 04/05/2020 17:05:26

Apr 5, 2020 - 9:30:38 PM

rcc56

USA

2755 posts since 2/20/2016

The IT-250 has a scale length of 19 3/4", and the TS-250 has a scale of 22 5/8".

For Irish music and GDAE tuning, I would find the shorter scale to be preferable for melody work. It's less of a stretch to play a scale.
The longer scale banjo was designed with jazz chording as its primary function. There's more room for complex chord positions up the neck.

For the price of either of these banjos, you could instead get a good '20's Vega Tubaphone or Whyte Laydie, which would probably be my first choice. The Vega's also varied in scale length.  I would still choose an old US made instrument over a modern Asian instrument.  You also might want to check out older banjos made in the British Isles.

I have never lived with a long scale tenor. I do not find them to be comfortable for playing tunes.

I had a short scale Tubaphone was quite comfortable for Irish melody playing. I currently use a short scale trap door Gibson. The Tubaphone was a better banjo, but I like the look and quieter sound of the trap door banjo.

Edited by - rcc56 on 04/05/2020 21:45:46

Apr 6, 2020 - 8:21:34 AM

Tonycrowe

Ireland

2 posts since 4/5/2020

@rcc56 thanks for the reply, I left out the fact that I'm a lefty, do the old tubaphones and vintage banjos have that option?

Apr 6, 2020 - 8:34:21 AM

Emiel

Austria

9449 posts since 1/22/2003

There are a lot of, also professional players in the Irish style that do use a 19-fret tenor banjo. Also one of the best-known jazz players, Eddy Davis, prefers a 17-fret tenor… There are no rules.

Apr 6, 2020 - 8:52:26 AM
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rcc56

USA

2755 posts since 2/20/2016

quote:
Originally posted by Tonycrowe

@rcc56 thanks for the reply, I left out the fact that I'm a lefty, do the old tubaphones and vintage banjos have that option?


All you have to do to adapt any tenor banjo for left handed play is to replace or re-slot the "nut" [usually a piece of bone or ebony] that holds the strings  in place at the end of the fingerboard; and possibly slightly deepen the slots for the third and fourth strings in the bridge.  Any competent guitar or violin repair person can do that for you.

Apr 8, 2020 - 4:25:26 PM

10679 posts since 10/27/2006

Vintage Vega banjos do not have side dots on the neck. Adjust the nut and you're good to go.

Vegaphone/Style M (Tubaphone), Style R (Whyte Laydie), Little Wonder, Style N (less expensive Little Wonder) ... any will get you through a Celtic session without the stigma of having (gawdforbid!) a new banjo.

I disliked playing octave tuning on a 17 or 19 fret tenor. The strings are too floppy for the tone I liked. A 26"-27" plectrum was my ticket. I played cello and had learned to manage a much longer scale. It can be done. The Fender Robert Schmidt (Flogging Molly) signature banjo is a plectrum tuned GDAE bottom to top.

Apr 9, 2020 - 7:55:55 AM

Fud

USA

281 posts since 9/10/2013

Tony: Give a ring to Clareen Banjos over in Clarinbridge. They have used as well as new banjos. I've only heard high praise for their help and guidance, and they will help you find the right banjo.

Larry

Apr 9, 2020 - 3:04:08 PM

10679 posts since 10/27/2006

If on Facebook, join the Banjoheads group. Most appear to be on the other coast from you but playing tunes on 4-string banjos is what they're all about. Joanne O'Connor posts there all the time.

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