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Jun 18, 2021 - 6:26:46 PM
264 posts since 12/9/2009

What was the stock tone ring for a 1988/late '80s Deering Golden Era? I have one that I'm setting up and have not quite got it taken apart. How would it compare to today's higher end rings? Would it be a short or long skirt?

Thanks- Dale

Jun 18, 2021 - 7:19:43 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

I believe its a short skirt. Kind of a run of the mill Bell Bronze ring they were buying from undisclosed source, is what the wonderful Janet Deering told me. I have a 94 GE i emailed her about years ago. Very very good ring. A free hint to get the best out of it...if it is not a slip fit as a lot of the Deerings were'nt back then, take a little wood off the rim to make it so. Turned mine into a Tone monster after years of..."this thing is lacking something." I have a great Hatfield ring in my Goldstar and my original Deering ring in the GE set up is a bit more tonally balanced to my ear. I'm not even tempted to try an 06 or 10 it's that good. Greg D. said the old ones will keep getting better if left alone and the 06 and 10 were designed to get a mature sound in a brand new banjo. I know thats more info than you asked for but just emphasizing the old rings are awesome on a slip fit rim. IMHO

Jun 18, 2021 - 7:21:42 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

P.S. some people suspect Deering bought JLS rings but this hasn't been proven.

Jun 18, 2021 - 7:22:12 PM

11859 posts since 6/2/2008

You could ask Deering directly about the skirt. You could also ask if it was the same ring as in their other bluegrass banjos.

Jun 18, 2021 - 7:41:45 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013 is a shirt skirt. As to Old Hickory's comment i believe at that point in the game which was still fairly early, i've been led to believe they were using pretty much the same ring in all their masterclones ie. Golden series. Now about Deerings other banjos made in their own design (not the mastertone design) i couldnt say. Like was mentioned Deering would be able to answer that i'm sure.

Jun 18, 2021 - 8:01:32 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Dale, if you end up talking to Deering please let us know what you find out. I'm curious to know more about our ring myself. And i meant to write it is a Short skirt, not a Shirt skirt.

Edited by - brententz on 06/18/2021 20:06:30

Jun 18, 2021 - 8:28:42 PM

2516 posts since 10/17/2013

Originally posted by brententz

P.S. some people suspect Deering bought JLS rings but this hasn't been proven.

Both the JLS #12 and #4 rings are long skirt rings.

 Unless Deering cut the GE rims to accept the prewar long skirt profile, Deering would not have used JLS rings.

 I suppose that there could have been several one-off short skirt JLS rings which Deering used on the earlier GE’s, but I doubt it. 

Jun 18, 2021 - 8:30:19 PM

2516 posts since 10/17/2013

I would think that being a close reproduction of a Gibson prewar Mastertone, that the GE rim would in fact have been cut for a long skirt ring.

Jun 18, 2021 - 9:20:41 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

I tried to put that jls #4 you gave me on the GE pot and the skirt was too long so i'm definately sure the Deering ring is a short skirt. The article I read once about the suspicion of Deering useing a jls early on mentioned the early rings had a ledge protruding from the inside of skirt straight across from the foot (that would sit on top of rim) and supposedly that was indicative of early jls rings but i can't confirm that this is a fact. Did early jls rings have a short skirt offering? I don't know but I agree it's very doubtful they would have made anything beside the gibson look alike long skirt and also my original ring does not have the protrusion i mentioned earlier.

Jun 18, 2021 - 9:41:17 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Intresting discussion in the archives if you google how to identify JLS tone ring. Talks about the GE as well and the protrusion on the early deering tone rings i mentioned earlier.

Jun 19, 2021 - 7:58:30 AM

264 posts since 12/9/2009

Thanks for the input and ideas. I'll keep you posted when I get it broken down.

Jun 19, 2021 - 8:18:39 AM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Thanks Dale, I'll definately be in painful suspense until then.

Jun 19, 2021 - 8:26:55 AM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

I'm going to add that if Dales' 88' ring HAS the ledge protruding from inside of the skirt then someone may have swapped out my original tone ring before i bought it. Like i mentioned earlier, my Golden Era is a 94 and I know of a 96 that has the little ledge on its original ring.

Edited by - brententz on 06/19/2021 08:33:44

Jun 19, 2021 - 9:03:04 AM
like this

237 posts since 5/13/2009

See attached the page from early Deering literature.


Jun 19, 2021 - 12:13:26 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Thanks SamCy! That is a great piece of info and totally new to me. I was unaware Deering ever made a solid ring. Im really starting to think the ring on my 94 is not an original as it is neither solid nor had the small ledge on the skirt side of it. It's strange that they offered the solid ring as standard but every GE ive read about has the mastertone style (hollow). I would love for my own curiosity to hear a GE with the standard solid ring. Thanks again for digging that up.

Jun 19, 2021 - 12:21:09 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Now that I think about it I have read a few people talking about their No-Hole tone rings in their early Deerings, thinking they had a masterone style ring only no holes drilled. I would bet they were actually the standard ring that was solid all the way through now that I've seen this enlightening info on the two offered.

Jun 19, 2021 - 1:39:54 PM

264 posts since 12/9/2009

Here are the pics of the tone ring and rim. It is a 20-hole and has the extra lip inside the ring. The dark areas you see are just where the it aged a bit. All the metal parts are chrome plated.

Jun 19, 2021 - 1:41:34 PM

264 posts since 12/9/2009

Another try on the pics...

Jun 19, 2021 - 2:26:43 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Very cool thanks! So just curious...was it kinda tight or did it lift off without resistance?

Jun 19, 2021 - 4:38:07 PM

264 posts since 12/9/2009

It actually fell off when I got the hooks off. Other Deerings I have had that were not GE have needed heating to get them off. It's a really nice banjo, it's a keeper for me for sure.

Jun 19, 2021 - 9:47:05 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

Thats interesting. Mine i would say was a tight slip fit. Yeah the Golden Era's are great banjos. I've had mine 12 years now and all the others have come and gone.

Jun 20, 2021 - 11:30:56 AM

237 posts since 5/13/2009

Is the resonator deeper on the Golden Era than those on the Flagship series? If so, how does that affect the tone?

Jun 20, 2021 - 6:52:57 PM

264 posts since 12/9/2009

Yes, I think thats in their descriptions. I really like the regular Deerings and their tone. The deeper resonator gives the GE a rounder tone, not quite so crisp much like the maple Gibson ESS. IMO

Jun 20, 2021 - 9:00:05 PM

166 posts since 3/2/2013

I also have found that to be true having played a sierra i owned and pretty much every jo the Deerings bring to Winfield. Pretty much the GE has the resonater dimensions that of the prewar Gibson Era.

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