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Mar 1, 2021 - 9:22:01 AM
1 posts since 3/1/2021

hi just starting out after having played 4 string as a kid. i think i want to try 5 string. i know i like the sound of a great resonator. but don't know much more than that. I'm willing to spend a decent amount. can anyone provide tips on what to buy? thanks. kevin

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 03/01/2021 11:49:47

Mar 1, 2021 - 9:24:19 AM

256 posts since 1/26/2020

Look at the Gold Tone AC-1 with detachable resonator. Very good banjo for the price. I think they have another bluegrass beginner as well.

Blaine

Mar 1, 2021 - 9:35:28 AM
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2113 posts since 1/4/2009

If you want to play bluegrass look for an ilda 235 , 70s mastertone copy from Japan, you can get them cheaper than new banjos of lesser quality from goldtone and the like.

Mar 1, 2021 - 9:45:38 AM
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2435 posts since 4/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by kyleb

If you want to play bluegrass look for an ilda 235 , 70s mastertone copy from Japan, you can get them cheaper than new banjos of lesser quality from goldtone and the like.


Lots of potential & bang for the buck in those 70's Japanese masterclone banjo's. They don't sound too bad to start with & with a few tweaks here & there, can be made to sound quite respectable. They  were made under a variety of names having different peghead shapes & inlay patterns but the basic pot, flange & tone ring design are good. they  show up now then in the classified's on the Hangout.
 

Edited by - monstertone on 03/01/2021 09:58:43

Mar 1, 2021 - 9:52:25 AM
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57013 posts since 12/14/2005
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Welcome to the HangOut.
The banjos for sale on the HangOut have been owned by people who are just a WEE BIT CRAZY about banjos, and so, may be in slightly to MUCH better shape than the average Craigslist offering.

Mar 1, 2021 - 10:14:02 AM

134 posts since 9/23/2019

I'll add my vote for a 70s Masterclone. Most I've seen were made by the Kasuga company. I started on one for about a year, and it was a good banjo, especially for under 400 dollars.

I know it might be difficult, but take your time when it comes to choosing a banjo and stick with the same one for a year or so.

Mar 1, 2021 - 10:17:01 AM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5450 posts since 10/12/2009

Mar 1, 2021 - 11:15:03 AM

6041 posts since 10/13/2007
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Gold Tone AC-1 not the easiest playing banjo. The op said he is willing to spend a little. You can do better.
ken

Mar 1, 2021 - 11:40:11 AM
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1005 posts since 1/28/2013
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Go with a Bishline or Deering, you can get good ones used for $1800-
$2000, and probably be the only one you will ever buy, unless later on you find out you need a custom built one.

Mar 1, 2021 - 11:53:48 AM
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6041 posts since 10/13/2007
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I just saw and heard this 60's Baldwin Ode for $1,000 and it sounded GOOD.

https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/373185/#4734151

ken

Mar 1, 2021 - 11:57:11 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24584 posts since 6/25/2005

Depending on budget, the Recording King RK-35 is a pro-level banjo for an excellent price. You may well never need to replace it.

Mar 1, 2021 - 2:06:55 PM

2443 posts since 5/2/2012

Here's my take. There are about 4 price points for banjos. In the $300-400 range you have banjos that are targeted for beginners who don't want to spend a lot in case they don't want to stick with it. You get what you pay for, and this is true for banjos in general. Gold Tone and Recording King make banjos in This range. At about $500 to maybe $650 you get a good decent beginner's banjo (GT, RK and Deering (Goodtime2)  banjos are examples). If you're looking at vintage banjos, you can find some really nice banjos in this price range, but you need to do your reading, looking and asking (here on the HO) to make sure you are getting a quality banjo at a reasonable price. The Iida 235 is a good example here. At $1000+ you're getting into the intermediate (some might say professional) level. The RK35/36, Gold OB150 and some Goodtimes (if you're thinking new) are examples. You could get a REALLY nice used (newer and vintage) banjos at this price point, like the ODE mentioned here. I'm guessing that when you are getting close to the $2000 level and above you are getting a banjo that is highly sought after and prized, one that could be a lifetime banjo.  At that $2000+ level, you are at the point where you might start thinking of going all in and getting a custom made banjo.

Edited by - thisoldman on 03/01/2021 14:12:27

Mar 1, 2021 - 2:21:51 PM

190 posts since 11/11/2020

I've had an RK35 and regret selling it. I found someone selling a GT OB150 and literally picked her up today, just changed the strings, tightened the head to 90, swapped out the bridge and moved it around until she sounded just right. She's good to go. Going on looks the OB150 has it over the RK with the peg head. I like the tail on the 150 better although it looks ugly She's more functional, and the wood looks really nice in that creamy tone. The RK had a beautiful brown purplish color. Over all I'm happy with the OB150, found her mint condition (he said he just tuned it). Called Goldtone a gentleman told me the warranty is good to go, lifetime transferable warranty.

Edited by - No1up on 03/01/2021 14:22:47

Mar 4, 2021 - 11:35:35 AM

256 posts since 1/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by From Greylock to Bean Blossom

Gold Tone AC-1 not the easiest playing banjo. The op said he is willing to spend a little. You can do better.
ken


I only mention it because it was my first banjo. I though it was very easy to play. I think it's easier to play even than the Deering Goodtime, and all of my antique banjos, save for my A-scale Fairbanks & Cole. Then again, I don't play bluegrass. I play overhand, and up-picking. It's the neck that I think makes a Gold Tone easy to play. They aren't fancy, and mine is just painted a flat black. Makes it very easy to go up and down the neck without any friction.

I've tried a number of the Rogue banjos that they sell at guitar center, and I was not at all impressed by any of them, and the finish on the necks were very sticky. Terrible for slides or anything else on the left hand.

Blaine

Edited by - tbchappe on 03/04/2021 11:39:19

Mar 4, 2021 - 7:58:13 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13809 posts since 8/30/2006

How heavy was your 4-string tenor or plectrum?

Recording King RK R-30 is a full feature 24 hook entry level resonator rig. easy to set up and get slinky.

Gold Tone Ac-1 is a great upgradeable banjo with new features for good value. A single rod banjo can still be slinky. 16 hooks.

For the classifieds, you can type in $999 and see what's available.

RK dirty '30's and entry level Deering Goodtimes are just lower feature entries.

A member here just bought a '60s ODE longneck and they gave him trade-in money for his heavy empire standard 12-pounder.

Read up on specs and what you want to jam with. Will you be playing out or standing or just private enjoyment?

Notice the breadth of response.


Edited by - Helix on 03/04/2021 19:58:27

Mar 4, 2021 - 10:03:58 PM

rcc56

USA

3410 posts since 2/20/2016

If you want a new or barely used instrument for around $1000, the RK 35 is a safe choice.

Don't buy the souped up Deering Goodtime Artisan or Blackgrass models in that price range. Although they have had fancy trim added which increases the cost, they still share the low-end construction of the basic $500 Goodtime models. The RK 35 and the Gold Tone OB 150 are both instruments of much higher quality construction.

If you want a new banjo for around $500, the basic Goodtime is an ok choice, but you'll have to add $190 to that if you want a resonator. But you can get a new RK 20 "Songster" with resonator and a simple tone ring for $550 if you can find one.

If you want a used instrument in the $1000 to $1500 range, you have loads of choices.

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