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Oct 22, 2020 - 7:08:08 PM
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39 posts since 10/18/2020

I have made a decision I really like the looks of a Open Back Banjo and want to purchase one been looking at two different ones a Rickard 11" Maple Whyte Layde and a Bart Reiter Grand Concert
Both are close in Price and I know the question I am about to ask is subjective and comes down to a matter of preference

is one better than the other I am really leaning hard towards the Rickard but just cannot decide I need some opinions to sway me one way or the other

Thanks in advance

Oct 22, 2020 - 9:01:38 PM
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33 posts since 8/17/2014

I cannot speak for the Reiter, but I have a 12" Rickard spunover whyte laydie and it is spectacular. Old time sound but powerful, and a gorgeous looking instrument as well

Oct 22, 2020 - 9:19:59 PM
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3406 posts since 5/29/2011

I have never played a Rickard banjo but I understand they are as good as they come. I have played a couple of Reiter banjos and know that they are great quality. If I were an old time player I would like to have a Reiter but I don't know that they are any better than Rickard. I don't think you could go wrong with either one.

Oct 22, 2020 - 9:38:26 PM

39 posts since 10/18/2020

@Frailin_Brayden and @Culloden thank you both for your replies this is one tough decision I am trying to make I love the look of both and that is the issue i have found sound clips of the Reiter Grand Concert but have been UN able to find sound clips of the exact Maple White Layde its one of those decisions that if I purchase one I may regret having not chose the other the Reiter is used but in like new condition and the Rickard is new and I just do not know if a used Reiter is that much better then a Rickard that it should command the same money that's where my dilemma is rite now, they are both beautiful instruments though

the one thing that is different is the Rickard has a Frailing swoop and the Rieter does not and I would like to learn to play Clawhammer style so would it make it a little easier on the Rickard to learn clawhammer style or would it matter ???

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 10/22/2020 21:44:15

Oct 22, 2020 - 11:32:46 PM
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AndyW

UK

608 posts since 7/4/2017

A frailing scoop can help you get your thumb 'into' the 5th string if you play near the pot/neck junction (which can happen naturally in clawhammer) or over the neck(which is usually deliberate).

However, if you don't venture far up the neck (as is often the case in clawhammer) then a high bridge can do the same job. It will obviously raise the action, but lower on the neck not too noticeable.

Oct 22, 2020 - 11:37:12 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24100 posts since 6/25/2005
Online Now

The WL will have that tone ring’s characteristic “pop,” and be crisper and a tad louder than the Grand Concert. Quality is excellent either way. Choosing based on sound is strictly a matter of taste. I’m partial to banjos with the scalloped Electric-style ring; you may prefer a mellower sound. Another thought: buy the Reiter. It will always be resalable. If you decide you want a different sound, unoad it and buy something else. It’s getting harder to find Grand Conncerts, as Bart hasn’t made them for some years; now he’s retiring. That’s why that banjo will easily sell again.

Oct 23, 2020 - 5:37:53 AM
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33 posts since 8/17/2014

I personally love neck scoops, but obviously that is a personal preference. I do find that the scoop gives you another sweet spot, especially for a whyte laydie style banjo which; has more crisp and pop. Playing over the scoop doesn't get so mellow that it becomes undefined etc.

Oct 23, 2020 - 6:02:29 AM
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R Buck

USA

2848 posts since 9/5/2006

I like Bill Rickard's banjos. An old Reiter may be good but you should try to play the model of each banjo you are thinking of and then perhaps that will answer your questions better than anyone here can do.

Oct 23, 2020 - 6:14:13 AM
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574 posts since 7/10/2012

Have you stopped by The Folk Shop in Tucson? They will have loads of openback banjos for you to try. Reiter Grand Concert banjos are no longer made and do not pop up every day, so if you see one you can afford, I'd jump on it. Rickard is still making his line up, so availability is less of an issue.

I have played Rickards and own a Reiter Professional and prefer the Reiter, but Rickards play beautifully and have a really nice sound to them as well.

Edited by - dpgetman on 10/23/2020 06:25:34

Oct 23, 2020 - 8:56:39 AM

39 posts since 10/18/2020

@dpgetman I have already found both of these banjos on line and I know both are available to purchase I could drive to Tucson but do knot know if they would have both particular instrument I am considering
As for going and trying different instruments that is out of the question
The two instruments I am considering is for a reason both have a similar look that I am looking for which not all makers have that look both instrument are roughly the same price so that is not a consideration they are both just over 2 k
I was just trying to get some opinions to try and sway my decision the Reiter is used but like new in excellent condition and I know they do not come up that often the Rickard is new and I know the maker is still making instruments I believe both would hold their value if I chose to sell either once I purchase I have the opportunity to get which ever I choose to but am having a hard time deciding which one I do want I have found sound clips of the Reiter but can not seem to find any for the particular Ricard
Thanks everyone for your replies

Oct 23, 2020 - 9:32:36 AM
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Eric A

USA

872 posts since 10/15/2019

The Reiter like you are looking at have been going for over 3k lately. If you have your eye on one for 2k you should probably just grab it. Try it out and if you are not happy you can probably flip it for a profit, then go get the Rickard.

Oct 23, 2020 - 10:43:23 AM
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39 posts since 10/18/2020

@Eric A you may be rite except I hate dealing with people just to try to re sell something
Which ever one I do purchase I will end up living with my decision no matter how much I regret it that is just the way I am I do not upgrade things which is probably not the smartest thing to do but that is the way I am which ever one I decide on is the one I will have until I am gone so I want the decision I make to be the correct one for me guess I am going to have to put each ones name on a piece of paper and put them in a hat and which one I take out live with it LOL

Oct 23, 2020 - 7:20:44 PM
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103 posts since 12/9/2018

I've owned a couple banjos from each maker and you can't really go wrong with either.
If you're unable to play prior to purchasing, the biggest functional difference between the two are the necks. The Rickard is wider and thicker than the Reiter and is most likely shorter scale length as well.
Beyond that, since the Rickard is new, there's a good chance it'll have Rickard's new 10:1 tuners which are a very nice upgrade.

Oct 23, 2020 - 8:02:33 PM
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39 posts since 10/18/2020

@gratefulbiker thank you for your input that is the kind of input I was hoping for
I cannot go see and hold either as they are basically on opposite sides of the country from each other, so I am basically taking a chance which ever one I decide on I will like the feel of, I have larger hands so now i am wandering if the thicker neck on the Rickard might feel a little better to me the scale lengths are different the Rickard is 25.5 inches and the Reiter is 26. something I do not feel that is enough of a difference to sway my mind one way or another.
I also play a Mandolin and it took me forever to find one with a neck that I was comfortable with i like a wider neck on my mandolin and a wide nut I know you really cannot compare a Banjo to a Mandolin but it does make me wander about the thicker neck

Oct 24, 2020 - 2:23:12 AM

Dragonslayer

Mozambique

260 posts since 10/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959

@gratefulbiker thank you for your input that is the kind of input I was hoping for
I cannot go see and hold either as they are basically on opposite sides of the country from each other, so I am basically taking a chance which ever one I decide on I will like the feel of, I have larger hands so now i am wandering if the thicker neck on the Rickard might feel a little better to me the scale lengths are different the Rickard is 25.5 inches and the Reiter is 26. something I do not feel that is enough of a difference to sway my mind one way or another.
I also play a Mandolin and it took me forever to find one with a neck that I was comfortable with i like a wider neck on my mandolin and a wide nut I know you really cannot compare a Banjo to a Mandolin but it does make me wander about the thicker neck


FWIW I prefer a thinner neck on mandolin but a wider neck on banjo. Idk why, but that's how I am I guess 

Oct 24, 2020 - 5:43:15 AM
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Eric A

USA

872 posts since 10/15/2019

Sounds like you need the Rickard. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think nut width on a Reiter is 1 1/4" and a Rickard is more like 1 3/8".

Oct 24, 2020 - 7:32:39 AM
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103 posts since 12/9/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

Sounds like you need the Rickard. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think nut width on a Reiter is 1 1/4" and a Rickard is more like 1 3/8".


Those measurements are spot on with the models I've owned. The Rickards have one of the most "substantial" feeling necks of any banjo I've played, with the exception of a couple newer Chuck Lees I've laid hands on.

The Rickards also have a very slight V profile from the nut to the fifth string peg before transitioning to a more rounded shape up the neck.

I'm a big fan of the Rickards and find them very comfortable and easy to play. Very consistent and solid build quality as well.

Oct 24, 2020 - 7:07:43 PM
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KatB

USA

123 posts since 9/3/2018

the one thing that is different is the Rickard has a Frailing swoop and the Rieter does not and I would like to learn to play Clawhammer style so would it make it a little easier on the Rickard to learn clawhammer style or would it matter ???

There is debate over scoops, it seems that those that have been playing a long time say they aren't necessary.  I'm sure it's true that once you've been playing a while you can pick up most any banjo and make music, no matter the scale length, nut width or whether it has a scoop or not.  But from a fairly new player's perspective (2 years), I say go for the scoop. Playing over the neck gives you a really nice sound. Playing over the head gives you an equally nice sound, but different--more quintessentially "banjo" sounding, to the non banjo player, maybe. It's nice to be able to play over the neck.  As a new player, you will find it much easier to do that with a scoop.  Also, you can then stick to a 5/8" bridge, or whatever size the banjo was meant to have, rather than going taller to accommodate playing over the neck. It's awfully nice to have low action, especially at first. Being a mandolin player you might not care, your fingers are probably plenty calloused already. But going with a higher bridge can also throw off the intonation. 

Clawhammer (old time music anyway) doesn't require much above the 10th or 12th fret.  Much easier on your thumb to have a scoop there.  Yes as you get more experienced you won't "need" a scoop, you'll be able to play there just fine.  I find that I can now play in front of the scoop, over the frets with accuracy, but a scoop feels nicer on my thumb. 

Also, I think you said the Rickard had a 1 3/8 nut.  For me 1 1/4 is perfect.  But I am 5'2" with small hands.  So again, go for the wider nut if you have large hands.  Others seem to find that easier. Consider getting a bridge with slightly wider spacing, "crowe" spacing, also. 

Oct 24, 2020 - 7:07:48 PM
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39 posts since 10/18/2020

Well this has been one hard decision but here is what I have decided to do I never could figure out which of the two instruments i want more the Reiter appeals to me because of the collector part in me and the fact I have been told that Mr Reiter is getting ready to retire I may never have the opportunity to get my hands on another one so I am getting it while I can, and the Rickard appeals to me just be cause I find it equally as beautiful so what I have decided to do is just purchase both then I can try both and will not have to worry anymore about whether I made a mistake the Reiter i will store away and hope it gains value in the future
so there ya all have it have already made arrangements on the Reiter to be delivered and doing the same on the Rickard, I know I am crazy but that is just me

thank you everyone for your input it is appreciated

Oct 24, 2020 - 7:24:48 PM

39 posts since 10/18/2020

@KatB Thank you for your input it is appreciated

I have decided to just purchase both and one of the reasons is what you stated because of the scoop on the Rickard is the reason I am purchasing it the Reiter I am purchasing Because of the collectable factor either way I think I am going to be real happy for awhile LOL

Oct 24, 2020 - 9:12:44 PM

jayaw

USA

21 posts since 2/22/2018

Well, looks like I'm late to the party. If you've got that much money lying around, I guess buying both is the "reasonable" thing to do. I definitely did NOT have enough money to buy both, so I wrestled a long while over essentially the same issue, except in my case a Reiter (most likely the Buckbee), a Rickard Dobson or Maple Ridge, AND the Pisgah banjos (a few different models. Long story short: I ultimately bought the Rickard Dobson 11" on a probably once-in-a-lifetime road trip to Elderly. I played Reiters in Kansas, Pisgahs in Illinois, and finally the aforementioned Ricks in Mich. So many factors... American made vs. fancy vs. this vs. that... The Rickard build quality, though, was just impeccable, and it had the 10:1s, and the Dobson ended up being "the sound" that I was looking for. As soon as I saw, and then definitely as soon as I played the Rickard, I knew "this is it." For me, the price was waaay on the upper end of what I can only loosely call my "budget," but whichever I chose out of these $1K+ banjos would be my "forever" instrument, so I splurged.
All of which to say, if anyone truly having to make a decision one way or the other reads this thread in the future, I would suggest that you invest in the Rickard.

[For what it's worth, and at the risk of stirring up a hornet's nest, consider this: Bill won't be around forever, and when he's gone the collectability factor will (potentially) be even greater (than the Reiters) because his stuff is "nicer" and (all things being equal) more expensive in the first place. Mind you, I in no way am disparaging Bart's work; I'm just saying he has (as far as I know) produced more banjos (so they're relatively widely available), used good-but-average quality (certainly not "fancy") materials and components, and priced the instruments lower (with his top-of-the-line models coming in nearer Bill's low-end). I'm not a collector; I'm a player. Collectability and/or resale wasn't really an issue in my mind. But I did think "if I'm spending this much, I'm going to go ahead and get the Cadillac."]

Oct 24, 2020 - 9:18:04 PM
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jayaw

USA

21 posts since 2/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by gratefulbiker
quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

Sounds like you need the Rickard. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think nut width on a Reiter is 1 1/4" and a Rickard is more like 1 3/8".


Those measurements are spot on with the models I've owned. The Rickards have one of the most "substantial" feeling necks of any banjo I've played, with the exception of a couple newer Chuck Lees I've laid hands on.

The Rickards also have a very slight V profile from the nut to the fifth string peg before transitioning to a more rounded shape up the neck.

I'm a big fan of the Rickards and find them very comfortable and easy to play. Very consistent and solid build quality as well.


Jason, greetings from a fellow Jason and fellow fan of Bill's work! What you've said is spot on. His necks are for sure the most substantial of the two (or of nearly anything else I've tried) while still feeling very svelte. It's like driving a car with larger rims and leather upholstery – the feel is luxurious and inspires confidence, it's a smoother ride.

Oct 24, 2020 - 10:14:25 PM
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39 posts since 10/18/2020

@jayaw i know exactly how you feel I struggled to make a decision the Rickard was at the top of my list from the start but then I seen the Reiter Grand Concert and I was equally drawn to it I thought about this so hard that I was literally getting headaches, I decided to purchase both I have never made a purchase like I just did on one thing let alone two so I figured at 61 yrs old it was time to treat myself for a change instead of giving it all away I have worked vary hard to get to the point where I am and now it is time to play LOL, and the way i look at it I have two adult children and a grand son I figure they will get some nice instruments when I am gone,I have spent the last 8-10 years taking care of my wife because she has been Ill she has dementia i play instruments for her just to keep her smiling and to keep me sane, I made a decision this year that I was no longer going to worry about trying to keep a large bank account I was going to spend a little so I have

Oct 24, 2020 - 10:24:01 PM
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Eric A

USA

872 posts since 10/15/2019

Caregiving is a tough road. You owe yourself a treat. You have chosen...wisely. yes

Oct 24, 2020 - 11:19:04 PM
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39 posts since 10/18/2020

@Eric A you are correct it is a vary tough road April 1,2019 was really tough for me I was exhausted and had my wife's daughter to give me a much needed break from the task and it ended up being a day I would live to regret, I had not had a break in about 6 years so my wife's daughter offered to give me a break for a few hours,I went to visit with my family for a couple hours thinking my wife was in good hands she was with her daughter rite everything would be great, (wrong) I had no sooner got over to my moms and sat down thinking for a good visit my sisters were there some of my nieces and a few other relatives I had been there about an hour and a half maybe I get a call from a hospital my wife had slipped away from her daughter and was trying to find her way to me she ended up trying to cross a major street in phoenix AZ and was struck by a hit and run driver, she was alive but in vary serious condition I think I broke every driving rule I could have broke to get the almost 70 miles where my wife was, when I asked my wife's daughter what happened she said she just lost track of her because she was texting one of her friends needless to say I have not trusted my wife's daughter again so now she goes every where with me

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 10/24/2020 23:21:39

Oct 25, 2020 - 5:30:38 AM
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Dragonslayer

Mozambique

260 posts since 10/9/2019

Well, I would've recommended buying both if I knew it was an option lol. I think you made a great decision, but now you're gonna have to decide which one to play each day lol

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