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Jun 13, 2021 - 11:33:46 AM

5thfrets

England

7 posts since 8/10/2018

Hi my son is a guitarist but does play banjo as well. I want to get him an instrument upto £300 and wondered if anyone had any suggestions.

Jun 13, 2021 - 12:04:29 PM
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15260 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by 5thfrets

Hi my son is a guitarist but does play banjo as well. I want to get him an instrument upto £300 and wondered if anyone had any suggestions.


It would help to know what style of banjo he plays. Old Time/Americana? Bluegrass? Irish Traditional? Dixieland Jazz? There are significant differences between the instruments for these different styles of music.

Jun 13, 2021 - 12:06:41 PM
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57698 posts since 12/14/2005

FIRST!
Check the USED banjos for sale right here on the HangOut.
Since they were owned by people who are just a bit CRAZY about banjos, they were probably well cared for, and would be in very good shape.

After being played a few times, EVERY banjo is a used banjo.

As an alternative:
Suggest that he convert an electric guitar into a banjo.
If I can do it, he can do it.
Used electrics are well below your £300 budget.


Jun 13, 2021 - 12:19:03 PM
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1845 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

FIRST!
Check the USED banjos for sale right here on the HangOut.
 


Not many UK banjos get listed except for the more expensive types.

Jun 13, 2021 - 12:44:02 PM

1845 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by 5thfrets

Hi my son is a guitarist but does play banjo as well. I want to get him an instrument upto £300 and wondered if anyone had any suggestions.


I agree we need to know if he wants one with a resonator on the back, normally for bluegrass stuff played with picks on the fingers, or an open back, traditionally for more folky playing (although of course there is no restriction on what you play on what type).

I think this is great bargain.

https://www.browndogbanjos.co.uk/saga-ss3--5-string-resonator-banjo-5410-p.asp

This has an aluminium rim. Many cheap and fairly nasty banjos have an aluminium rims but the Saga rim is far better. I have essentially the same banjo but without the resonator under Saga's Rover brand. Resonators are easily removed and then you have an open back although for comfort that metal plate round the edge, called a flange, needs removing as well.

Some banjos don't have the flange and are thus very easily converted including many of the cheaper models which are not recommended. £300 is quite restrictive for new banjos these days but with a bit of patience options do appear in the secondhand market.

Jun 13, 2021 - 12:56:28 PM
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1845 posts since 2/4/2013

This is what I think of as a decent beginners instrument in the price range. It does have a small brass tone ring which helps a lot. It's an open back. It does need to be strung properly.

https://hobgoblin.com/ozark-five-string-maple-open-back-banjo

Jun 13, 2021 - 1:55:01 PM

5thfrets

England

7 posts since 8/10/2018

He tends to like playing more bluesy/country style when I’ve heard him play, not sure if that helps

Jun 13, 2021 - 2:53:01 PM
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15260 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by 5thfrets

He tends to like playing more bluesy/country style when I’ve heard him play, not sure if that helps


Well, that's a start. At least we know he probably tends towards a five string.

Would it make any sense to spill the beans? Or does this need to be a total surprise?

Jun 13, 2021 - 3:16:56 PM

5thfrets

England

7 posts since 8/10/2018

It needs to be a surprise as it’s a birthday pressie

Jun 13, 2021 - 3:19:25 PM

11867 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker

This is what I think of as a decent beginners instrument in the price range. It does have a small brass tone ring which helps a lot. It's an open back. It does need to be strung properly.

https://hobgoblin.com/ozark-five-string-maple-open-back-banjo


Good looking banjo for the money. Strung up incorrectly, as these usually are.

Jun 13, 2021 - 3:19:45 PM

5thfrets

England

7 posts since 8/10/2018

Hi guys thanks for all the responses really helpful, I maybe misled you, he can play but he has a very old beaten up banjo which was very cheap. He needs an upgrade.

I saw these on Pmt any views

https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/products/instruments/banjo

Edited by - 5thfrets on 06/13/2021 15:22:22

Jun 13, 2021 - 3:28:47 PM
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57698 posts since 12/14/2005

For a REAL surprise, put it in a rectangular box, with a shoebox glued to the wide edge, about halfway up, a stripe of tape up the middle, and a few cheap plastic airplanes glued to it.
He'll think he's getting a large toy aircraft carrier.

Jun 13, 2021 - 6:22:31 PM

15260 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by 5thfrets

Hi guys thanks for all the responses really helpful, I maybe misled you, he can play but he has a very old beaten up banjo which was very cheap. He needs an upgrade.

I saw these on Pmt any views

https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/products/instruments/banjo

 


Unfortunately, that page doesn't load usefully for those of us in the Colonies.

Jun 13, 2021 - 8:06:21 PM

57698 posts since 12/14/2005

Opened for THIS wild colonial boy.

Jun 13, 2021 - 8:28:16 PM

12 posts since 8/23/2006

I prefer the tuners behind the headstock rather than on the side. So on the PMT link you sent that leaves the B&M Empress, B&M Troubador and I like the Gold Tone AC-5 Composite 5 string even though the tuners are on the side. Tough material not subject to the whims of temperature and humidity as a full wood banjo. FWIW
Willie

Jun 13, 2021 - 10:28:32 PM

1845 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by 5thfrets

Hi guys thanks for all the responses really helpful, I maybe misled you, he can play but he has a very old beaten up banjo which was very cheap. He needs an upgrade.

I saw these on Pmt any views

https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/products/instruments/banjo

 


There's not much here to really recommend. Certainly nothing in your price range. The only banjo there I would consider is the Goldtone CC100 but really that's not that different to the Ozark banjo I mentioned above besides the presense of a resonator . It's out of your price range though. For £300 you're not likely to find anything half decent new unless you get very lucky. Secondhand there will be options.                                     

Jun 14, 2021 - 5:16 AM

Mivo

Germany

83 posts since 9/13/2017

quote:
Originally posted by 5thfrets

Hi guys thanks for all the responses really helpful, I maybe misled you, he can play but he has a very old beaten up banjo which was very cheap. He needs an upgrade.

 


The question is whether anything you can get for 300 pounds will be a meaningful upgrade to what he has. This money still only buys an entry level banjo. It may be better to put the money toward a substantially better banjo (and have him pay the rest) instead of buying something that may just be a side-grade or marginal improvement.

With Eagle Music, you have the probably best European store right in the country. They might do gift cards.

Jun 15, 2021 - 12:53:12 AM
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AndyW

UK

807 posts since 7/4/2017

The saga cast aluminium rim banjo Graham pointed to is a pretty decent sounding banjo.

It's much different from the crappy 'bottlecap banjo's' which are much thinner aluminium and are not cast but are somehow pressed into shape, and still better than those with wooden rims made of large amounts of plys (as opposed to 2 or 3 ply rim).

To beat it next cheapest you are probably looking at is £500+ for a Recording King OT25. Some may suggest used, but finding a decent sounding used banjo in the UK is very much a waiting game as they come up pretty infrequently plus you need the knowledge of what to look out for.

(I'd add that with instruments it's easy to buy something that the player would stay away from if they were making their own purchase, so if you are spending £300 it's probably better chatting about this rather than making it a 'surprise'.)

Edited by - AndyW on 06/15/2021 00:56:19

Jun 16, 2021 - 12:50:28 PM

JSB88

UK

229 posts since 3/9/2017

I know its an auction so you may not get it in your price range, but you could do worse than this https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Deering-Goodtime-Maple-Prince-Leader-5-string-Banjo-/255019334495?_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286
And he would be able to sell it fairly easily if he didn't like it

Jun 16, 2021 - 12:51:33 PM

JSB88

UK

229 posts since 3/9/2017

Jun 17, 2021 - 5:21:50 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14221 posts since 8/30/2006

Planetary tuners are easy to install, first you have to enlarge the hole to 10 mm.

I prefer the washburn, better necks, real fingerboard and two way truss rod. Low slag, low void casting.

The Goodtime is an insult, but that one does have the planetaries. However, no fingerboard, nor truss rod, low feature, the price is right,


Saga is high void, high slag aluminum. Casting and extruding are just two methods of producing banjo rims in a competitive market.
Some aluminum is like fine cookware, My wife has the Madiera by Guild , I also have the Washburn and I have the Iida which is one of the worst of them. I have the two aluminum because I do rim changeouts.

I reserve those aluminium rims for guitar students like your son. I get them playing in open G tuning while I'm building their banjo.

The UK should be a reserve of vintage banjo parts. For later, find a vintage pot in a pawn shop like Peggy Seeger and her brother Pete did.

Remember, Peggy is an American Girl, you boys treat her right. She won't come back here til we get our medical story straight.

Good luck, buy the most banjo you can afford, Washburn.


 

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