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Jan 24, 2021 - 9:43:51 AM

Banyo

Netherlands

2 posts since 1/12/2021

Right now I’m playing on a Chinese factory special. During my last video lesson literal screws started falling out of it in front of my teacher. It also sounds just awful and doesn’t hold a tune.

I think I’m committed enough to buy a decent banjo.

What I’m looking for:

-5 string for Scruggs style playing

-Slender neck because I have small hands

-Resonator

-preferably a sound more on the mellow side

-between $600-$1200

Thanks!

Jan 24, 2021 - 9:54:08 AM

2456 posts since 12/31/2005

That price range will get you a nice step up banjo, better than a starter.

The typical recommendations you will get in this range are Recording King 35 or 36 (https://www.themusiclink.net/), Goldstar (https://www.sagamusic.com/products/banjos/gold-star/), or upper end Gold Tone (https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldtone/products/banjos?sort=az).  Deering Good Times is a great starter banjo, but you may be able to shoot higher in your price range. Don't know what the Brexit implications have been, but Eagle Music in the UK is a big Deering dealer (https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/).

You have an instructor, which is good. He or she may have recommendation as to sellers if you are looking new or might know someone who will let go of a used model. That seems to be the best choice for buyers "over there." There are reputable players here that sell here on the hangout but many do not ship internationally.

Good luck to you.

Jan 24, 2021 - 9:54:38 AM

15080 posts since 12/2/2005

Okay - your budget gives you quite a lot of latitude here. That's great.

For the money, I think it's hard to beat a Recording King RK 35 or 36. Your budget topping out at 1200 actually puts you within reach of a new one; they run about a grand (without case).

If your location allows you access to a store that sells them, I'd recommend doing so. Thomann appears to carry these instruments for about Euros 930, and if you buy from an actual store they can probably help you with the initial setup so the sound is as you like it.

Edited by - eagleisland on 01/24/2021 09:56:15

Jan 24, 2021 - 10:18:12 AM

Banyo

Netherlands

2 posts since 1/12/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy

That price range will get you a nice step up banjo, better than a starter.

The typical recommendations you will get in this range are Recording King 35 or 36 (https://www.themusiclink.net/), Goldstar (https://www.sagamusic.com/products/banjos/gold-star/), or upper end Gold Tone (https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldtone/products/banjos?sort=az).  Deering Good Times is a great starter banjo, but you may be able to shoot higher in your price range. Don't know what the Brexit implications have been, but Eagle Music in the UK is a big Deering dealer (https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/).

You have an instructor, which is good. He or she may have recommendation as to sellers if you are looking new or might know someone who will let go of a used model. That seems to be the best choice for buyers "over there." There are reputable players here that sell here on the hangout but many do not ship internationally.

Good luck to you.


My only concern about Deering is the neck looks pretty wide. If I can get something more slender, that's what I'd rather have

Jan 24, 2021 - 11:49:44 AM

2387 posts since 5/2/2012
Online Now

I may be wrong about this, but modern/newer mass produced banjos are going have a wider neck width than they did years ago. You can check the specifications for nut width on some of the banjo seller's sites (like Gold Tone does that), which may give you a suggestion of a banjo's relative neck width.
Andy Banjo is a seller in the UK, but they are not shipping to the continent right now.
Thomann's is another seller (they have websites in different languages too). I took a quick look and they seem to sell the Recording King model suggested here (RK-35 at 929 euros, and the RK is a step above a beginner banjo) as well as Goodtimes (Goodtime 2 at 699 euros) and Gold Tones (BG 150F at 949 euros, again a step up from a beginner banjo) that may be within your budget.

Once you've looked at some banjos, and picked out a couple of options, you could get back her on the HO and ask which of the banjos has the slenderest/narrowest neck.

Edited by - thisoldman on 01/24/2021 11:51:48

Jan 24, 2021 - 12:01:16 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24395 posts since 6/25/2005

I doubt your hands are smaller than mine. My bluegrass banjo is an RK-35, mentioned above. No problem at all. In your price range, no new banjo comes close to the RK-35 and 36. They are pro-level. Instruments and will give you the best chance of learning successfully. My advice to beginners is to get the best you can afford. Here you have an affordable banjo that won’t need upgrading for some years, if at all. I’d go for it.

Jan 24, 2021 - 12:09:22 PM
Players Union Member

Edwards

USA

130 posts since 3/26/2014
Online Now

If at all possible, try out as many from your pics, there’s nothing like holding versus others opinions. You should spend a little more just so you don’t have to upgrade later, like the folks above me suggest.

Jan 24, 2021 - 12:12:37 PM

62 posts since 1/27/2015

I just bought a Gold Tone OB150 for 999.00 from Banjoteacher.com Ross is great to work with and it comes with spikes a hard case free shipping and some cool lesson stuff. banjoteacher .com.
Its Scruggs style easy neck and great quality. I also bought a Gold Tone WL250 a year ago.
He has other brands and types and prices.

Jan 24, 2021 - 1:06:46 PM

2456 posts since 12/31/2005


My only concern about Deering is the neck looks pretty wide. If I can get something more slender, that's what I'd rather have


Seek out the Recording King, Goldstar, or Gold Tone then.  THeir standard models use a more traditional prewar GIbson spec neck.  The assessments above about Recording King are dead on and are the consensus. 

FYI, what you are referring to is "width."  Some use "slender" to refer to the depth/girth of the neck.  You are lucky in that there has never been so many excellent banjos in your relative price range in history.

Buy as much banjo as you can.  Don't do the "I don't deserve" rationale and take baby steps up to what you really can afford.  You lose money with each transaction.  Buy once, cry once.  A good instrument will inspire you to play more.

Jan 24, 2021 - 1:28:08 PM

Wayne C

USA

38 posts since 3/8/2013

check out the adds on here i have goldstargf85 for sale on here that would do ya for along long time

Jan 24, 2021 - 2:12:46 PM
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KatB

USA

141 posts since 9/3/2018

quote:

My only concern about Deering is the neck looks pretty wide. If I can get something more slender, that's what I'd rather have



My hands are small also.  7" from thumb to pinky, short fingers to boot. I think as we get better we won't care so much about how thick or thin, long or short the neck is, etc., but as beginners everything that makes learning easier is GOOD. I was given the advice to look for 1 1/4 width nuts, which is what I ended up with for my second banjo. Its neck felt like a baseball bat to me though.  So I shaved it down on the sides just a bit, into more of a V shape. It still has exactly the same DEPTH from front to back, and of course I didn't change the nut width.  But the neck volume is now less and it feels very much better to me. 

My point is, pay close attention to the front-to-back dimension, and even more than that, the overall volume of the neck. If you are ordering sight unseen, may I suggest you ask the seller/store to do some measuring for you--they can just use a string--and then compare to your current banjo.

For reference I measured my banjo at the second fret, from top of the fretboard, around the bottom of the neck to the other side of the fretboard. It's 2.5 inches.  My goodtime is not quite 2.25," and has a narrower nut width. That tiny bit of difference is hugely noticeable. The goodtime is about as skinny as they come I think. 

Once I tried a banjo with a 1 3/8" nut width, and I didn't even notice it was wider, because the neck volume was small.  

Edited by - KatB on 01/24/2021 14:13:56

Jan 24, 2021 - 6:50:32 PM

103 posts since 9/23/2019

At 1200, you're into the territory of Used Vegas, Fenders, Richelieus, etc. Very well built, USA made, but (gasp!) older and used instruments.

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:24:29 AM

2387 posts since 5/2/2012
Online Now

KatB makes a good point - depending on the maker, necks may have a slightly different profile, and depth would be a factor. Width (at the nut and elsewhere) would be another factor. If you do a search here on the HO (click on the maginifying glass on the left side of the page), you will find at least one old thread on "neck profiles and shapes".

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:45:10 AM

KCJones

USA

1351 posts since 8/30/2012

Regarding neck size and comfort for small hands, I've found that the real concern is depth rather than width. I also have small hands, and my wildwood troubador has a wide but thin neck, and it's much more comfortable than my practice banjo that has a narrow but thick neck. I've always thought that the one thing that Goodtimes had was that the neck was very comfortable for players with small hands.

Jan 26, 2021 - 5:27:21 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13430 posts since 8/30/2006

I offer two options. My rim type holds a trademark, since 2007, I enjoy typing that.

Changing the rim for $275 which includes the shipping back to you, finish, setup and. Choice of Maple, Cherry, Walnut or Mahogany rim, your hardware and neck. I have many road warriors using pieces like this and keeping their fancies at home in the case. I reimburse shipping overages, overnights and have a shipping case buy back program for 50%, I build community along with the banjos.

Then I offer the same rim woods in an intermediate banjo for $777 + $50 case +$50 shipping $877 shipped and you don't get to sit and wait for it, you'll know along the way with a FEW photos and when you call, you get to speak with the owner. I may have an intermediate neck or use a Gold Tone kit neck.

Resonators start with the Recording King Mahogany with the two binding  circles on the back.  Maple is a premium..

The intermediate also includes Bamboo Jackrabbits, I have ten of them out there. Bamboo neck and rim , lightweight and "springy" meaning loud with tasteful tone that vintages quicker than any other type of banjo, it "tells" at the jam, a goober grabbed my banjo in the middle of my solo, no kidding. We all just laughed for a time. Urban legend is better, word of mouth is like lightning.  The last Jackrabbit also had a magnet mount resonator.  

Then my pro level banjos start at $1000 and can feature rims from Grapefruit, Black Cherry, Curly Maple, Catalpa and so forth.

I play bluegrass myself, but I have re-learned up-picking, frailing and clawhammer which I use during singing on stage. Fits right in.
You are free to contact me for information , no sale implied.

I have a lot of fun here on this hangout, hope you will, too.

My self promotion is mild and friendly. The gossip is that some people are getting cranky.

From left to right:
Birdseye Maple w fiddleback neck, Cavanjo head
next three are Black Walnut Midnight Zephyrs
Chestnut w Cherry Longneck
Sassafrass was built for a shorter person with small hands.  18 hook pattern, with the 18th shoe undrilled and missing so they won't hit their hand, a 19 fret A scale played in G.
Bamboo


Edited by - Helix on 01/26/2021 05:36:54

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