I got a little surprise the other day. I had the resonator off the banjo to repair the mounting brackets that got pulled loose . Waiting for the glue to dry I picked up the open back that was left and started picking….I was blown away with the volume and the pure banjo sound coming from that thing I had never heard before. They say the resonator was put on to drive the sound out front and now I know why…..its not an expensive banjo it’s a B16 Washburn but without the back it sounds like any good ones I ever heard…..anyone ever try this? Caution….the flange may leave deep red grooves in your thighs… lol
Somewhere I saw someone playing one with the res off and a steering wheel cover over the flange.
I've been playing mine without the back on for 4 or 5 months now. I took off the flange (shoe and plate) and am enjoying the added bass, volume and more control over the tone (depending on how much of the hole my stomach is covering). I just put the back on earlier today, played it for an hour, then took it off because it sounds better this way. Maybe it only sounds better to me because I'm behind it. Next time I'll get the opinion of someone sitting inf front of the banjo.
I use my top tension no hole ringed banjo without the resonator at old time jams. I also find that there is a greater variety of tones, "colors", dynamics available to me as the player using "body muting" angling the rim a bit, etc. I'm a Scruggs style/melodic picker but use box rolls at OT jams for now.
It works really well playing without picks where it's easier to add the same variety of tonal "colors"/sweetness than with metal picks. This can work really well on non traditional recording sessions (singer songwriter, etc.)
This particular banjo is very loud so it'll even work for bluegrass. The steering wheel cover is genius! Just what I've been looking for. I'll get around to trying one if it's the right diameter. I often practice at night when my wife is asleep and the reduction in volume sounds more musical than using a bridge mounted mute.
All of this, like most things, sounds best on a better quality instrument most of the time.
Edited by - northernbelle on 08/07/2020 12:40:13
I play mostly bluegrass, fiddle tunes....three finger style stuff. I also do local area barn dances for which I play clawhammer.
I took my spare resonator banjo's flange to the bench grinder. An hour or so later I had a flange...without extra stuff. I put the banjo back together and used it for a barn dance. It could have been easily too loud. I had to play it softly. When I got home, I took the Huber tone ring off of it and put a 2002 StewMac tone ring on it...it toned down a bit.
***On a side note, When I first assembled the banjo in 2002, I did not want to drill holes in the rim (Tony Pass Lost Timbre) for the resonator brackets. I found some resonator brackets that mount to the bracket hooks.....so no drilling the rim. I did have to move the resonator lugs.
Edited by - pperkins on 08/07/2020 15:31:48
'which banjo is this ?' 32 min
'DTs' 1 hr
'Roanoke - Butch Robins' 4 hrs