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Let's compare a Gold Tone OB-3 "Twanger" to a Pre-War Flathead

Jun 17, 2021 - 11:28:41 AM
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2118 posts since 4/18/2006
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I thought it would be fun to make a video comparing the new Gold Tone OB-3 "Twanger" to what it is a tribute to.  While the Twanger isn't on the same level as a real old Gibson, (nor is it meant to be,) the point of this video is to show that, for an imported low priced banjo, they are exceptionally good if not better than anything comparable in the price range.  The response is quick, the tone is fat and clear, and the notes feel and sound even across the fingerboard.  Hope you all enjoy!

 

Jun 17, 2021 - 1:56:24 PM

14083 posts since 10/30/2008

The old Gibson is a bit "drier" sounding, even through my crappy little computer speakers. But the Twanger sounds good!

Jun 17, 2021 - 5:13:51 PM

1361 posts since 1/28/2013

Gibson has a thicker heavier sound, but the Gold Tone really cuts through.

Jun 17, 2021 - 5:18:03 PM

2595 posts since 12/31/2005

Gabe (banjo1930) - can you share any setup pointers for the GoldTone?

Edited by - Brian Murphy on 06/17/2021 17:19:13

Jun 18, 2021 - 12:55:11 PM
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heavy5

USA

1765 posts since 11/3/2016

Interesting comparison Gabe ,
I saw mention but no pictures of the inward slanted resonator sides to project the sound on this Twanger . I did this to a 32 TB2 conversion back in the 70's & have posted the pic here several times & mentioned about the many people who have heard & commented on the banjos sound over the years .
I am 100% certain this res alteration not only projects the sound but also improves tone . There was recently posted here pics of an obscure very old banjo whose builder also added sloping sides to the res inside to obviously project the sound so that idea has been used for some time , but for some reason not replicated much .
Thanks for the comparison .
pic of my 32 I altered & still have .


 

Jun 18, 2021 - 1:40:33 PM

heavy5

USA

1765 posts since 11/3/2016

Edited by - heavy5 on 06/18/2021 13:46:25

Jun 18, 2021 - 4:25:14 PM

2118 posts since 4/18/2006
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I could see the slanted resonator side making a difference. I brought both banjos to a jam this afternoon and, while I played the PB-3 most of the time because it's my favorite banjo, I did play the twanger for a while and I was really impressed with how it projected in the jam and, more importantly, how big of a dynamic range it has.

As for set up pointers, basically, my main complaint with the banjo is that it didn't come set up well. Everything was too tight and it had pretty heavy strings. I approached setting it up like I do many banjos. I ended up redoing the coordinator rod connections (neck side and tailpiece side.) Coordinator rods being too tight (or too loose) can be a big factor in the banjo sounding thin or not really responding well. I made the heel tight (but not too tight) to the rim and then set the nuts on the tailpiece end of the rim to neutral. I loosened and evened out the head to around G# (maybe slightly under, will probably loosen it more to suit my style. I brought the tailpiece up so that it wasn't sitting on the tension hoop. I put light strings on it (JD studio set from GHS). I also did a slight truss rod adjustment. The bridge that came with it (new generation snuffy smith bridge) was a good match so I stuck with that.

After the set up it came alive.

Jun 19, 2021 - 1:15:42 PM

2595 posts since 12/31/2005

quote:
Originally posted by banjo1930

I could see the slanted resonator side making a difference. I brought both banjos to a jam this afternoon and, while I played the PB-3 most of the time because it's my favorite banjo, I did play the twanger for a while and I was really impressed with how it projected in the jam and, more importantly, how big of a dynamic range it has.

As for set up pointers, basically, my main complaint with the banjo is that it didn't come set up well. Everything was too tight and it had pretty heavy strings. I approached setting it up like I do many banjos. I ended up redoing the coordinator rod connections (neck side and tailpiece side.) Coordinator rods being too tight (or too loose) can be a big factor in the banjo sounding thin or not really responding well. I made the heel tight (but not too tight) to the rim and then set the nuts on the tailpiece end of the rim to neutral. I loosened and evened out the head to around G# (maybe slightly under, will probably loosen it more to suit my style. I brought the tailpiece up so that it wasn't sitting on the tension hoop. I put light strings on it (JD studio set from GHS). I also did a slight truss rod adjustment. The bridge that came with it (new generation snuffy smith bridge) was a good match so I stuck with that.

After the set up it came alive.


That's interesting because I thought all if these were custom set up by Banjo Ben's.  Or was that just the first few batches?

Jun 19, 2021 - 1:39:18 PM

2118 posts since 4/18/2006
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I believe that was just the first few batches. You can still get them from Banjo Ben though, and I believe Banjo Ben (or someone there) does a set up before they ship them out.  I got this one direct from Gold Tone.

Edited by - banjo1930 on 06/19/2021 13:50:53

Jun 20, 2021 - 9:35:34 AM

4295 posts since 6/15/2005

Those of a certain age will understand:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9pPFCjRPvM

Jun 20, 2021 - 11:46:58 AM

2029 posts since 10/9/2004

Hard to stay focused on the banjos in front of your pickin’, Gabe!
Cheers,
Quagmire

Jun 21, 2021 - 3:28:39 PM

1779 posts since 9/10/2003

Just wondering Gabe, do you have both heads tap tuned to the same pitch ?

Thanks, Brian

Jun 21, 2021 - 7:14:15 PM

12240 posts since 1/15/2005

Excellent Gabe ..... thanks. Of course your picking does both of those banjos proud.

Jun 22, 2021 - 1:20:36 PM

2118 posts since 4/18/2006
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Both heads are tuned to just under G# 

Edited by - banjo1930 on 06/22/2021 13:22:13

Jun 22, 2021 - 3:46:32 PM

1779 posts since 9/10/2003

quote:
Originally posted by banjo1930

Both heads are tuned to just under G# 


Thanks Gabe ! You make both banjers sound Great, that's for sure !

Brian

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