It seems many banjo players find a make that really suits them, for example the Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard Mastertone, which one of my friends always speaks very highly of.
The dealer I bought most of my banjos from doesn't seem to have a particular brand but he highly prefers early 1900's tenor banjos.
A guy I met at a guitar store once said he almost exclusively plays Rickard banjos for their comfortable neck shape and warm tone.
Personally I prefer 5-String Long Neck banjos over any other variant, and prefers Vega and Vega-Deering long necks over any other brand.
What's your favourite?
My favorite commercial brand at present is Recording King.
My favorite custom banjo is Harry Lane
My favorite otherwise is my California Fender Artist
I’ve got an old Gibson TB-1 conversion, a 1978 ODE Style C, and a recent Recording King 77 Elite. I love’em all, but the Gibby has the nicest tone. I’ve tried a Chief, an early ‘90’s Granada, and a Bishline, Nechville, Stelling, and some Gold Stars - all very good banjos. The Stelling was impressive.
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
Pre-WWII Clifford Essexes
Well, it's fairly easy to see by my avatar what banjo I prefer: Stelling, of course.
Current Makers -- Turtle Hill (open back)
Vintage -- Vega Whyte-Laydie and Tubaphone (I play both equally)
Nechville takes it from me!
I've been on a bit of an open back buying binge lately, in an effort to find out if I have a favorite. No conclusion yet, but I have to say my 1966 Gibson RB-170 keeps performing above expectations in head to head battles.
Gibson, Gold Star, and Deering.
Midnight Special by Hugh Hunter. Hugh used to assemble Banjos for Rickard so I think he knows what he's doing. :o)
Gibson. Then the old Fairbanks and the earliest Fairbanks by Vega.
Of CURRENT banjos Huber is my favorite.
Stony Mountain. Of course, I say that with prejudice.
In my experience, Stelling make the most consistently great instrument. Played some fantastic Gibsons, and some shockers too. The modern RKs are incredible for the price.
My favorite that's being made currently is Sullivan's. I love a good Gibson conversion though and hope to own one someday.
Between my Morgan Monroe and my GoldTone, I'd have to pick the GT as my favorite brand.
[Edit: A while back a guy was trying to show me some relatively simple roll. Although he's 35+ years ahead of me on experience and light years ahead on talent, I nevertheless asked: "How come when I do it, it doesn't sound anything like when you do it?" He replied by pointing to the "Deering" logo on his nearby case.]
Edited by - Owen on 07/12/2020 07:49:25
There are brands I would like to have the opportunity to play. Hatfield and Prucha for existence. My favorite banjo brand is the Stelling. I just know what sounds I prefer, and would not recognize some of the "classic" sounds players seek in a banjo.
I have a Gold Tone WL 250 and A Gold Tone BG250f. I think Gold Tone makes great banjoes in a price range I can handle.
Each time I upgraded that was my fave.
I was perfectly satisfied with my StewMac Vintage kit (main banjo for 13 years) ,but when the shop forman of my local Woodsounds Studio told me the owner had a Gibson tenor that would make a great conversion and he was in a "selling mood".I offered him a few hundred bucks and he said "Yes".
A complete,low-miles '29 tb-2.
8 weeks after I took it to Jimmy Cox he called and said,"Your banjer's done."
As soon as I played Grandfather's Clock on it in his shop I knew my banjo hunting days were behind me.
Jim said,"It sounds real good today,but it will gain over time as everything settles in."
Boy,was he ever right.
Edited by - steve davis on 07/12/2020 16:14:18
i like nechvilles alot and old smelly gibsons the most
old vegas, vintage vegas and, pre war vegas !!!
I couldn't pick just one. There are so many great ones.
i love my gibson 27 conversion all original except a coordinator rod and a neck rim uncut it is a time machine for me, but i do have an earl standard that is a barn burner . I had a rk 35 which was a fantastic banjo
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