I think it's time for me to upgrade my banjo... I've been playing for a while now on a chinese banjo brand I won't quote. Very bad. Anyway...
The problem is that I live in Europe (France) which is NOT a place you can find banjos easily. so I looked up in Europe. Buying a banjo in the US or UK would result on a 40% price increase due to the VAT and Custom fees.
The other problem is that the very few shops in Europe that sell good banjos are rare. I was going for a Deering Sierra, but no stock and apparently, due to COVID, the wait is at least a year.
To the point now : I found a shop where they have two Deerings I'm interested in : Eagle II and Rustic Wrath. I found many sound examples/videos on the Eagle. It's nice, but I don't know, there's something a bit plain about it (I'm sure it's great, but it's just my feeling). In the other hand, I almost didn't find anything on the rustic Wreath. On the only two or 3 sound/videos examples I found, the Rustic sounds a bit harsh, with lots of highs and few bass. But the players played it very strong and near the bridge. In the other hand, I find it seems to have real music personnality/identity.
Do you have any experience with the Deering Rustic Wreath ? I know it's more like a pre-war Gisbon type, but is it also able to offer also a mellower sound, more controllable ?
I'm aware that buying such an instrument via internet is somewhat absurd, but keep in mind that pretty much don't have a choice, because of my location... And the Rustic is the most I can afford.
Thank you all, have a great day (and sorry for my English...)
While not familiar with the Rustic Wreath I will say that with a quality instrument you can usually tweak one in to get the tone you want. Am not sure I would put much credence on a video you listen to on the internet since the way a banjo sounds can be subjective to a particular player somewhat. The player could have set the banjo up to sound like he wanted it to and it may have sounded just the way you would want it to before any changes. Strings, bridges, technique, head tension, etc can do so much for a banjo's sound. It sounds like the Wreath is something you could connect with if you can get past the tone on the video. Go ahead, get past it. :>).
Edited by - BobbyE on 04/16/2021 09:02:24
The rustic wreath is as close to an old Mastertone as Deering ever got.
Undoubtedly with set up it could have about any Mastertone-range of sound that you want. Unlike, for instance, an old Stelling.
Can you check it out in person, or "on approval" if you have to order it? If you like the look and feel of it, I agree with BobbyE, get it. Then tweak it to the sound you like. As long as you're expecting something like a Mastertone sound. Head, strings, bridge and tailpiece adjustment can take the "PINGY!" sound out of any flat head Masterclone I'm aware of.
Good luck, the Rustic Wreath is a lovely banjo in the Deering family. Totally a professional-level banjo.
Edited by - The Old Timer on 04/16/2021 09:21:41
David Pratt is a member here , living in Spain
If you will contact him, you will get much more banjo for the same money.
In France, you still have Chestnut, we do not
I agree, who wants a heavy, tinny frequency clipper?
Seek the wooden tone that has great bass and midrange
Voice what it is Your heart wants to hear
Here’s a photo of 150 yr. old Chestnut in battle and only 7 lbs
Edited by - Helix on 04/16/2021 10:21:43
Rustic Wreath will have the "06" ring in it, an excellent ring. A good rim, too.
I have a Golden Wreath, mahogany, might be my favorite instrument. It stays in tune, is the banjo I have that "plays the easiest" (although my others are good), and has fine tone.
The Rustic Wreath has a little less "bling" (i.e., neck isn't bound) but has all the important parts "there".
You should realize that the Eagle II doesn't have a "Mastertone style" pot (the Wreath does). As such, it's going to "sound different".
One statement above needs correcting..the rustic wreath is NOT as close to the old mastertone as Deering ever got altho its close. The Golden Era and Golden Wreath and Golden Classic are the closest. Also you can make any mastertone style banjo sound as harsh or as mellow as you want depending on set up so you will never know how good a banjo sounds to your ears unless its set up like you like it. If the bluegrass sound is what your after The Eagle at its "best" set up will not sound as bluegrassy as the Rustic wreath with its "best"set up. Why? The Eagle is not a mastertone style pot if memory serves me correct. Ive played both and they're great banjos.
Oops I failed to see above that John already commented on the different pot construction.
brententz is right about my statement "as close to Mastertone"...
I didn't focus enough on the word "Rustic" and my mind went to the Golden Wreath. While the engine room of the Rustic Wreath is arguably the same as the fine Golden Wreath, it's a fact that the Golden Wreath is a better looking banjo (closer to a Gibson) in terms of stain, finish and binding.
I stand corrected. Happily.
“Rustic Wreath” is simply a name to up that banjo’s marketing success. There isn’t actually
Deering is not in the business of producing Mastertone-styled and Mastertone-sounding banjos.
There are NO lower-level “Deering DB-150s,” or “DB-250” type banjos; there are only the “Goodtimes,” which I seriously think are overpriced.
There would be absolutely nothing wrong with getting a good old Japanese import such as a Gold Star, rather than a “Rustic” Wreath.
Thank you all for your message and nice advices ! I came across a new possibility : I found a 2005 used Deering Maple blossom for sell. Price is 3000$ dollars which I think is a bit expansive but it seems to be really the tone I'm looking for : clear and crisp but not harsh... we'll see if I make the jump...
Thank you all once again and be safe !
]]]Deering is not in the business of producing Mastertone-styled and Mastertone-sounding banjos.[[[
Well. If they offer Mastertone-styled and Mastertone-sounding models, they are in that business. The Golden Wreath, Golden Era, Golden Classic, and now Rustic Wreath, are their Masterclone offerings, the Rustic Wreath being the equal of the others in "guts" and tone production, but cosmetically plainer.
And they've done a fabulous job at hitting the mark. The Deering Masterclones are peers without apology, with the other premium offerings out there. They do seem to fly under the radar, not sure why. Well, they're premium-priced, and there's a lot of choice out there of very fine Masterclones.
In this sense Deering is comparable to Ome, which puts out plenty of non-Masterclone models, but did superbly when they decided to put a Masterclone out there. The Ome Masterclones have their own thing going on cosmetically (lucscious, of course, in the Ome tradition), but tonally they're fabulous entries.
Edited by - ceemonster on 04/17/2021 15:47:28
Old Timer, you mean i'm not the only one that happens to? ; )
'c, d7, open' 1 hr
'Leaving the Bunker' 3 hrs
'Old Washburn E 329' 3 hrs
'Ten Broeck & Mollie' 3 hrs