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Aug 5, 2020 - 2:26:51 AM
5 posts since 10/21/2019

Hi all,
I'm considering getting a new banjo (oh really), and I'd be thankful for any suggestions or recommendations you might have.
I'm based in Europe, budget around 1200 Eur/1400 USD, although I'd rather buy in EU directly so to avoid any custom fee and so on, I'm aware that this kind of limits the choice...
Specifically, I'm thinking about an open back banjo, frailing scoop, warm, deep and woody sound for clawhammer style, possibly 12'' rim.
I already own a Deering Goodtime Open Back, not the Americana model, and I'm quite happy with it but I'd like to step up a bit, I consider myself an intermediate player.

- The BC-350: Bob Carlin Banjo looks and sounds pretty good but....I'm not sure about the brass tone ring, I'm afraid that the tone ring might result in a different sound than the one I'm looking for.

-There's the Goodtime Americana, available also with a frailing scoop, but I wouldn't mind trying something different.

- Also, some of the Bart Reiter models or Pisgah Possum 12'' might be an option as well, finding them in Europe might be another issue tho.

Any opinions or ideas about this?

Thanks :)

Aug 5, 2020 - 3:33:39 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23880 posts since 6/25/2005

I would look for a pre-1950 Clifford Essex. A number of models would suit your purpose, and save a little bit.

Aug 5, 2020 - 5:19:16 AM

StefUK

UK

25 posts since 7/6/2020

Why not spend a little bit more, get a tailor made banjo and support an individual UK maker? Have a look at
wgfhowsoninstruments.co.uk
I don’t have one, but his banjos look beautiful. His website says you can get one for £1450. He is NOT a relative of mine!

Aug 5, 2020 - 7:34:04 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

792 posts since 10/15/2019

Amazing that the great innovative banjo makers of the past spent decades designing louder and brighter banjos, great tone ring innovation, real genius, and all the rest, and yet today's clawhammer banjo buyer is scared off of anything with with even so much as a plain brass hoop.

Don't get me wrong, a player should get the banjo he wants. But the irony of it all is just stunning.

Aug 5, 2020 - 8:21:20 AM
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669 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by StefUK

Why not spend a little bit more, get a tailor made banjo and support an individual UK maker? Have a look at
wgfhowsoninstruments.co.uk
I don’t have one, but his banjos look beautiful. His website says you can get one for £1450. He is NOT a relative of mine!


Hi @banjo_kbd I have a Howson 12" cherry rim. It's really really nice. Most of my YouTube videos are done with that. I'm cerddoriaeth fynyddig / mountain music on YouTube. Have a look.

He's a really friendly, knowledgeable luthier. Give him a call. You can buy Will's banjos from Eagle music, but Will is very easy to work with, so go direct is my advice.

Have fun!

Andy

Aug 5, 2020 - 10:07:25 AM
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63 posts since 12/6/2019

If I were in the UK I'd check out Ballard banjos. Havent played one, but they look well built and he seems to have a solid reputation. From the looks of his website, open back banjos with tone ring and some inlay are at the top of your price range, but he's got a few budget models around 850 euro. Good luck and hope you find something that sings for you! Just to be clear, I've got no affiliation with Leon, and I havent played any of his instruments. these just look like nice banjos in your price range

ballardbanjers.com/banjos-in-s...ping.html

Aug 5, 2020 - 10:14:30 AM

82 posts since 9/14/2019

quote:
Originally posted by BanJoe_KBD

Hi all,
I'm considering getting a new banjo (oh really), and I'd be thankful for any suggestions or recommendations you might have.
I'm based in Europe, budget around 1200 Eur/1400 USD, although I'd rather buy in EU directly so to avoid any custom fee and so on, I'm aware that this kind of limits the choice...
Specifically, I'm thinking about an open back banjo, frailing scoop, warm, deep and woody sound for clawhammer style, possibly 12'' rim.
I already own a Deering Goodtime Open Back, not the Americana model, and I'm quite happy with it but I'd like to step up a bit, I consider myself an intermediate player.

- The BC-350: Bob Carlin Banjo looks and sounds pretty good but....I'm not sure about the brass tone ring, I'm afraid that the tone ring might result in a different sound than the one I'm looking for.

-There's the Goodtime Americana, available also with a frailing scoop, but I wouldn't mind trying something different.

- Also, some of the Bart Reiter models or Pisgah Possum 12'' might be an option as well, finding them in Europe might be another issue tho.

Any opinions or ideas about this?

Thanks :)


I own a Pisgah Woodchuck and have played a Possum.  The Possum is great but not sure any are available at this time.  I think they almost have a new batch of banjos ready but not sure if Europe is on the list.

I wouldn't worry too much about the brass tone ring.  The Woodchuck has one.  When I want a little bit more thump I put a sock in it.

John

Aug 5, 2020 - 3:32:30 PM

5 posts since 10/21/2019

Thank you guys for all your suggestions.

StefUK @Andyrhydycreuau, those banjos do look definitely gorgeous, but I'm afraid it's a bit out of budget for me right now, but in general it makes sense, wait and spend a bit more to get a quality instrument, I totally agree.

@Eric A, I see what you mean; we do also have great electric guitars, amps, effects, music production software, but still, quite a few people insist playing resonator guitars, ironic, but to each his own, it's a matter of choice.

@Strewthday47, I'll check ballardbanjers.com/banjos-in-s...ping.html out, I wasn't aware of that.

@watercarving, true, the Possum isn't available pretty much anywhere, I didn't consider the Pisgah Woodchuck tho, I'll check some sound samples.

Aug 5, 2020 - 10:36:53 PM

793 posts since 6/25/2006

Here is another suggestion for a 'woody' tone (would mean upping your budget to $1500). : http://cliffordessex.net/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=873

There are also vintage Clifford Essex banjos to be found.  I recently acquired a vintage woodhoop Clifford Essex on Ebay but they don't come up often - it would need set-up work to make it more playable for clawhammer. 

Edited by - hobogal on 08/05/2020 22:38:31

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