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Feb 23, 2021 - 4:21:09 PM
6 posts since 4/24/2017

I have an off the rack gold tone cc100+. I'm pretty happy with the sound but one to know if there are any opinions on Upgraded bridges I could try? I am a guitar/mando guitar player that has been killing the covid blues with my banjo and loving it. I have a messed uo half old timey half finger picking style. Also could use a suggestion of what gauge strings might be appropriate. Thanks for your interest.

Feb 23, 2021 - 4:59:52 PM
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8 posts since 8/7/2007

In my opinion, Purcell banjo bridges are outstanding. Top quality woods, impeccable workmanship, affordable and bring out the best tone possible for your banjo. purcell-banjo-bridges.com/

I recently discovered these bridges and Octacore banjo strings, made in  Tennessee and the combination of the two really improved tone, sustain and tunability of my banjos. Try these out and you will not be disapointed.

https://www.mapesstrings.com/product/octacore-banjo-strings/

Edited by - markschleich on 02/23/2021 17:11:20

Feb 23, 2021 - 5:17:01 PM
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Eric A

USA

1112 posts since 10/15/2019

I'm constantly having fun swapping in different bridges, thinning bridges, you name it. The bridge can have a monster effect on the tone of a banjo, for better or worse, plus it's cheap and easy to do. Eventually you'll find one or two that make your particular banjo sound better than any other, but there's no way I can tell you which one it will be! Though I'm pretty confident it WON'T be the stock bridge that came with the banjo.

I'd start you off with one from Tim Purcell, one from Mike Smith (Kat Eyz), one from Richie Dotson, one from Bart Veerman. Then I'd go on ebay and get some cheapie chinese ones too (I think the last bunch I bought was something like $40 for ten of them), plus some 80 grit sandpaper from the hardware store. Get a cheap ($10) gram scale while you are on ebay. Weigh all your bridges, keep a spreadsheet on them, and you'll soon find out what your banjo likes. Have fun with it! (measure your old bridge, it's probably 5/8". Stick with that height, unless you really have some reason not to)

String gauges are a personal thing. That being said, I believe Gold Tones come from the factory with some super heavy strings on them. 11-13-16-23w-11 according to their website. The majority of players are using lighter strings than that. There is no consistency among brands of banjo strings. "light" for one outfit is "medium" for another. In my mind any set that starts with a 10 for the 1st and 5th qualifies as a medium set. If it's a 9, I call it light. I ignore what the makers call them. You just have to try some different sets to see what you like.

Oh, and buy a drum dial. It's the only way you know you are keeping a consistent head tension while you tinker with these other variables.

Feb 23, 2021 - 5:46:06 PM
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KCJones

USA

1442 posts since 8/30/2012

Strings and bridges are personal preferences. Within reason, there is no "better" or "worse". There is just different factors that give different tone.

For strings, I always recommend the lightest strings you can tolerate. I prefer GHS strings as a brand for my own personal reasons, but I think most brands are good provided that they're packaged in individually sealed bags. My go-to strings are GHS PF135 (10-11-12-20W-10). I've done a massive amount of experimenting with strings and always end up coming back to the PF135 set. But I think you should use whatever feels best. One note: Don't go above 15 plain steel, or 26 wound. Heavier than that and they sound terrible, like metal rods rather than strings.

For bridges, it's all about finding the tone you want. Bridges are not commodities, and even within the same brand and model there will be differences. Your primary concern should be weight. Heavier bridges give different tone than lighter bridges. My recommendation: Buy a new bridge once a month for the next year. Weigh every bridge (to the 10th of a gram) and record the weight on the bottom of the middle foot for future reference. Notice how different weights give different tone. Use the one you like the best. That's what you'll end up doing anyway, might as well dive in.

 

Oh and by the way, if you haven't checked your head tension yet, you probably should. I bet a dollar that it's loose. 

Edited by - KCJones on 02/23/2021 17:48:48

Feb 23, 2021 - 6:01:38 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24583 posts since 6/25/2005
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Buy several and experimet. I have found that I like the sound from light all-maple bridges (i.e. no ebony on top). But it depends on the banjo and the rest of the setup. I have been blaying many years, and have used may bridges. When I find a sound i like i stop messing with that banjo and start tweaking a different one. Bridges are a cheap and easy way to find new banjo tones and sounds. But you must be willing to experiment.

Feb 23, 2021 - 6:11:44 PM

6 posts since 4/24/2017

Thanks Bill, sounds good.

Feb 23, 2021 - 7:35:21 PM

6 posts since 4/24/2017

Lots of great advice. I will try different bridges and see what I like. I definitely like a clear ringing tone which this banjo can handle. I haven't changed the strings yet so that's a go also.
And yes, the head was loose. How do I know? One of tthenuts fell off yesterday. I tightened then all down (gently).
Never heard of a drum tensioning thingy but will look into it. Thanks again!

Feb 23, 2021 - 11:20:48 PM

Wayne C

USA

44 posts since 3/8/2013
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your truly better off upgrading to a better banjo , their are much better starter banjos out there , deering goodtime or many others in that price range will give you a much better sound right off the bat ....

Feb 23, 2021 - 11:28:46 PM

Wayne C

USA

44 posts since 3/8/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayne C

your truly better off upgrading to a better banjo , their are much better starter banjos out there , deering goodtime or many others in that price range will give you a much better sound right off the bat ....  i had that same banjo when i bought my first one and was hooked after that i wanted better tone and wound up waisting more$$ then if i would of invested in a better banjo right off .  

 


Feb 23, 2021 - 11:34:04 PM

Wayne C

USA

44 posts since 3/8/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayne C
quote:
Originally posted by Wayne C

your truly better off upgrading to a better banjo , their are much better starter banjos out there , deering goodtime or many others in that price range will give you a much better sound right off the bat ....  i had that same banjo when i bought my first one and was hooked after that i wanted better tone and wound up waisting more$$ then if i would of invested in a better banjo right off .       not sure how i made this a quote but oh well 

 


 


Feb 24, 2021 - 12:14:32 AM
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130 posts since 1/7/2019

I have a CC-100+ and I think it is a great little banjo. I have tried quite a few bridges on it and the one that I think sounds best so far is a 1.72g Snuffy Smith. I have also tried a lot of other things on the banjo because I like to experiment to see what range of sounds I can get out of it.

As for strings, I use GHS mostly. and light sets seem to do well with the 100.

BTW: I am in MA as well and love to tinker around with banjos so, if you ever need help with anything just let me know

Below is a pic of my current setup. 

Jeff


 

Edited by - Gixxer340 on 02/24/2021 00:23:31

Feb 24, 2021 - 12:44:53 AM

1590 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Wayne C

your truly better off upgrading to a better banjo , their are much better starter banjos out there , deering goodtime or many others in that price range will give you a much better sound right off the bat ....


As this is the Goldtone CC100+ then it's a very decent banjo and much better specced than beginner banjos. Even if was just a CC100 I'd choose it over the Goodtime everyday. I think you'd be hard pressed to find "many" better beginner banjos.

Feb 24, 2021 - 1:56:38 AM

Wayne C

USA

44 posts since 3/8/2013
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i suppose thats were differant tastes comes in to play ..... the one i had i didnt have long thats for sure ....

Feb 24, 2021 - 4:12:51 AM
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6 posts since 4/24/2017

Bought my GT used, didn't want to drop a bundle on a first try. Actually, very happy for the time being with it. Nothing to complain about, tone is very good, action good, plays better than anything I tried in the same piece range. Been playing strings since 1964.

Feb 24, 2021 - 4:39:24 AM

Wayne C

USA

44 posts since 3/8/2013
Online Now

i stand corrected on this subject you have way more playing experiance then i do as i was just born in 1962 lol i bought mine new back when i started just didnt work out for me , but hey some like chevy some like ford some dodge ..... as long as it works for you thats all that matters ...

Feb 24, 2021 - 6:30:11 AM

6 posts since 4/24/2017

Actually, I had been keeping an eye on the goldtone CC 100+ ever since I saw a very competent old-time player jamming at a festival, Thomas point Beach , a bunch of years ago. I fell in love with the sound (and the price). I have a BG 250 F that’s sits in my closet, mint condition and never play it. I was looking for the open back sound. I tried taking the back off the 250 but didn’t do it for me so I kept an eye open for a used 100+ and snagged it for a good price. I know there are much nicer banjos that I would love to own but for now this will do. Very solid instrument.

Feb 24, 2021 - 8:14:20 AM
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2056 posts since 2/12/2009

I have been killing time during lockdown by making a few bridges, my own interest at this time is one piece (no rosewood cap !) bridges for nylon string finger picking , I have tried a bunch of woods and it is a cheap hobby and lots of fun. I would recommend anybody who is curious about different bridges to give it a go.

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