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Jun 23, 2021 - 8:03:09 PM
4 posts since 2/22/2021

Ive recently received a small inheritance and Ive decided to upgrade from my Deering Goodtime. Ive budgeted about $2000-$2500 (cad) Im very intrigued by Pisgah, Dogwood and Ricard. None are carried by local shops so I won't really have the chance to get my hands on an instrument for the sake of testing.

Any advice on narrowing it down? I know I want a 12 inch pot, a railing scoop and a metal tone ring (leaning towards Dobson or tuba phone) 

PISGAH seems to have an excellent reputation and offer spun over copper (which is cool but isn't make or break), they also seem like very cool people.

DOGWOOD I don't know that much about dog wood other than that every thing he makes is breath taking. He also just seems like a builder I want to support. Also seems like he would do the most custom work.

RICARD also have a pretty renowned reputation and are located just a few hours away, the only draw back is that my budget dosnt leave much room for customization with them.


Any advice is welcome.

Jun 23, 2021 - 8:12:35 PM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

204 posts since 5/11/2021

All three are good options.

I've never played a Dogwood but the necks are quite different on the Rickard and Pisgah. Going from that Goodtime neck to the Rickard neck will be jarring to say the least.

Jun 23, 2021 - 8:54:41 PM
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Edwards

USA

167 posts since 3/26/2014

I would encourage you to try all three. Find away to do so. The Richard and Pisgah I believe are comparable. With regard to having a longer history to say the least. The Dogwood Hope you had to play on one, but have heard good things. It will be a tough choice. And the gentleman above me is completely correct about the transition. Good luck with your search.

Jun 23, 2021 - 9:01:01 PM

antlerriver

Canada

4 posts since 2/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Edwards

I would encourage you to try all three. Find away to do so. The Richard and Pisgah I believe are comparable. With regard to having a longer history to say the least. The Dogwood Hope you had to play on one, but have heard good things. It will be a tough choice. And the gentleman above me is completely correct about the transition. Good luck with your search.


Unfortunately Ive never seen either a dogwood or pisgah north of the border, There are a fair amount of ricards arround though. Im pretty okay with different neck shapes. I have a ss stewart thouroughbred and its incredibly different from the good time. 

Tbh im leaning away from stewart because the lack of customization at my budget. 

Jun 23, 2021 - 9:20 PM
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302 posts since 10/18/2020

@antlerriver

Of the three makers you have mentioned I only have experience with Rickard I will say they have great customer service I have a 11 inch maple Whyte Laydie which I love I did have to do a bit of tweaking to get the voice I wanted which I was able to do by making a head change to a John Balch pre mounted goat skin head and a bridge change to a Doc Huffs bridge
the one thing you need to keep in mind which ever maker you decide to go with you may have to do some tweaking to get the voice you want from them

I would contact each maker by phone that you are considering and tell them what you are trying to achieve as far as a voice from the banjo you want to purchase and see what they can do for you
hope this helps

Jun 23, 2021 - 9:21:30 PM
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2591 posts since 12/31/2005

All anyone can tell you is that they are all quality instruments. Doesn't mean you would like any particular one, or even any of them. Those of us who have bought and sold over the years have always had banjos that were great instruments, but just did not grab us for one reason or another. But the same banjo does wonders in someone else's hands or for the music they want to make. You have to know sonically what you want, and then go find that. Nobody can tell you what you will like. Buying on reputation may insure that you get a good instrument, but it doesn't insure that you get the best one for you.

Jun 23, 2021 - 9:31:24 PM

302 posts since 10/18/2020

Agree 100% with Brian Murphy just because i like something does not mean you will ultimately @antlerriver you are the one that will have to decide what you like

Jun 23, 2021 - 10:01:09 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24828 posts since 6/25/2005

What is the extra cost to bring in a banjo from the. US that you won’t have with a Rickard?

Jun 23, 2021 - 10:35:31 PM
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316 posts since 4/3/2012

Some benefits of the Rickard are:

No shipping across the border.
Can pay in CDN funds.
Can probably get the banjo serviced by them down the road if needed.
Can meet the builders in person.
Can support local economy.
Get a banjo that is every bit as good as the others.

Easy choice for me.

But there are some other good makers around there too, like second life, county banjos, probably others.

Jun 23, 2021 - 10:57:24 PM

302 posts since 10/18/2020

@antlerriver I would also suggest contacting Bart Veerman he is also in Canada and his Dark Star Bridge and Archie bridges gave my Rickard a great sound also
but I ended up with the Doc Huff bridge on my Rickard the Dark Star and the Archie bridges I alternate between on my Bart Reiter Grand Concert because I cannot decide which one I like the most they are both great bridges
I am speaking once you have made your purchase and start tweaking

Jun 24, 2021 - 5:48:18 AM

53 posts since 12/27/2019

Ian Pattison and County Banjo Co. are a couple other Canadian makers I would consider long before Pisgah and/or Dogwood.

Jun 24, 2021 - 5:57:18 AM
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4145 posts since 10/13/2005

I'd be cautious about Dogwood. Many months ago I was looking at Dogwood's samples at Elderly and saw how the builder did not build his necks wide enough at the fifth fret and thereby cramping the string spacing. I wrote to Elderly to ask them to ask him to fix the fifth fret area but never heard back from them. Perhaps the situation has changed since then. Also I am concerned about the Dogwood unique pot to neck connection, it looks unstable but I could be wrong. Perhaps more knowledgeable people can weigh in on my dated concerns . banjered

Jun 24, 2021 - 6:25:43 AM
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R Buck

USA

2948 posts since 9/5/2006

I've played all three of these banjos. I liked them all. Go play as many banjos as you can as things open up. You will find one that speaks to you and plays and fits in your hands the right way. That's the one you want. Buying and selling of instruments is like fishing. Patience is a virtue to find what you really are after.

Jun 24, 2021 - 7:21:08 AM
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78 posts since 6/5/2006
Online Now

Without knowing anything about the sound and appearance you prefer I can't advise you about which banjo you would like but, if I were in Canada, I would seriously consider Rickard banjos all of which have the amazing 10:1 Cyclone tuners. Search Youtube for examples of Rickard banjos played by great players like Lucas Pool and Allison de Groot.
Checkout the half fretless Bill Rickard made for John Herrmann. Click on the "Video" menu option on the Rickard website.

Jun 24, 2021 - 10:09:14 AM
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200 posts since 9/14/2019

I have a Pisgah and love it, but one of the big things that helped me decide on it was that I could play it. If I'd had access to a different, well-made banjo that I could play I might have bought it.

Try to get your hands on whatever you buy if you are going to spend that much money.

Jun 24, 2021 - 2:35:05 PM
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839 posts since 11/27/2005

As stated above, with the Rickard you get Rickard tuners in the deal!
I have a few banjos, including a Rickard Maple Ridge and a Rickard Resophonic. I can switch between any of my banjos easily. The Rickard necks are very comfortable.
Plus, call them about any customization you'd like. You might be surprised.

Jun 24, 2021 - 2:52:53 PM
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13 posts since 10/28/2019

I was in a similar position a few months ago, trying to decide between a 12” Pisgah Rambler and a Rickard Maple Ridge, both with Dobson tone rings. I was also upgrading from a Deering Goodtime. Here’s a link to that BHO discussion if you’re interested banjohangout.org/topic/374338

After reading the comments and listening to as many sound samples as I could find, I ended up with the 12" Rickard. It’s exactly what I was looking for in terms of sound and playability. It's also a sweet looking banjo. The neck is definitely wider and thicker than the Goodtime but I haven’t had any issues with it, even with my small hands. In fact, the neck is easier for me to play. Good luck and have fun deciding!

Jun 25, 2021 - 10:57:02 AM
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Tailgate

Canada

17 posts since 8/7/2020
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As someone else mentioned, you should also check out County Banjo Co out of Prince Edward County. Dan uses Rickard hardware (I believe you can chose Brooks hardware as well, but his standard is Rickard). He will also customize to pretty much whatever you want, while making recommendations along the way.

He built me a 12" walnut with rolled brass tonering and Menzies goat hide head. I ordered it last November and received it in February. So far I'm really loving it.

His prices are also very reasonable.

Jun 25, 2021 - 11:33:07 AM

antlerriver

Canada

4 posts since 2/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Tailgate

As someone else mentioned, you should also check out County Banjo Co out of Prince Edward County. Dan uses Rickard hardware (I believe you can chose Brooks hardware as well, but his standard is Rickard). He will also customize to pretty much whatever you want, while making recommendations along the way.

He built me a 12" walnut with rolled brass tonering and Menzies goat hide head. I ordered it last November and received it in February. So far I'm really loving it.

His prices are also very reasonable.


His names come up several times. Plus hes fairly close to me, geographicaly. Its some goregeous craftsmanship. What you described sounds pretty close to what im looking for. The only difference really is that im hoping for a dobson or tubaphone ring. Do you have any clips/videos/pics? 

Jun 25, 2021 - 11:36:13 AM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

913 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

What is the extra cost to bring in a banjo from the. US that you won’t have with a Rickard?


To bring in a $2500 banjo from outside Canada will cost him somewhere around $1000-$1500cad extra with CAD-USD conversion, shipping + insurance, customs clearance and taxes etc.

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 06/25/2021 11:36:40

Jun 25, 2021 - 12:29:47 PM
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Tailgate

Canada

17 posts since 8/7/2020
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by antlerriver
quote:
Originally posted by Tailgate

As someone else mentioned, you should also check out County Banjo Co out of Prince Edward County. Dan uses Rickard hardware (I believe you can chose Brooks hardware as well, but his standard is Rickard). He will also customize to pretty much whatever you want, while making recommendations along the way.

He built me a 12" walnut with rolled brass tonering and Menzies goat hide head. I ordered it last November and received it in February. So far I'm really loving it.

His prices are also very reasonable.


His names come up several times. Plus hes fairly close to me, geographicaly. Its some goregeous craftsmanship. What you described sounds pretty close to what im looking for. The only difference really is that im hoping for a dobson or tubaphone ring. Do you have any clips/videos/pics? 


Pretty sure he uses Rickard for tubaphone tone rings, maybe dobsons as well.  The first instagram link is a video of mine when i first got it and the second is some pics.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLl4H_sBC7C/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKPaMsJhd01/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

http://www.countybanjoco.com/custom-banjo-price-and-options.html

Part of my decision was that I was happy to support a small Canadian builder, and Dan was great through the process.  The other deciding factor was exchange rate, shipping from US to Canada, duties, taxes, etc.  

Edited by - Tailgate on 06/25/2021 12:32:00

Jun 26, 2021 - 9:15:14 AM
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127 posts since 12/9/2018

Lots of good info above as well as the other conversation that Critterhead linked to.
I've owned and played at least a couple banjos from each of the builders mentioned and I put Bill Rickard's stuff at the top of the list, especially if buying new.
If you're looking to stretch your money and get something unique, County Banjo is worth checking out. Dan built me a damn nice 11" rolled brass tone ring model in cherry that was a joy to play. Great neck feel and a very solid build. Dan was easy to work with and his prices are quite reasonable.
Enjoy the process and let everyone know where you end up.

Jun 27, 2021 - 4:52:02 AM

4716 posts since 2/24/2004

Take a look & listen to my open back Lame Horse if you'd like an excellent banjo in that price range :)

maryzcox.com


Jun 27, 2021 - 6:57:14 AM
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4620 posts since 3/6/2006

To me, if I were a Canadian, it would be a simple decision; buy local, especially when "local" is Bill Rickard. His quality and service is unsurpassed, and there is no hassle and extra expense that goes with buying a US made banjo. Meeting and working with the builder one-on-one means that the communication will be better than you would have with any US builder. Use the money you'll save regarding importation fees, taxes, and exchange rate to be put towards any custom work you might have in mind.

Jun 27, 2021 - 2:27:11 PM

302 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by mainejohn

To me, if I were a Canadian, it would be a simple decision; buy local, especially when "local" is Bill Rickard. His quality and service is unsurpassed, and there is no hassle and extra expense that goes with buying a US made banjo. Meeting and working with the builder one-on-one means that the communication will be better than you would have with any US builder. Use the money you'll save regarding importation fees, taxes, and exchange rate to be put towards any custom work you might have in mind.


i agree 100% with your thoughts  the savings someone would save on fees alone would allow to spend a little extra with the maker on things you might be thinking about changing

What I do not understand the fees to have Rickard ship parts to someone in the US is not that high.

Why are the fees to get something shipped into Canada so high ?????????

I do agree with supporting local economy whole heartedly though

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 06/27/2021 14:30:12

Jun 27, 2021 - 3:14:11 PM

Big Ed

USA

35 posts since 4/12/2019

I really like my Pisgah Possum (WAY under your price point), but I gotta say, that spunover on Rickard's site is one of the purtiest bajos I can ever recall seeing.

https://rickardbanjos.com/products/brass-spunover-dobson-banjo

As was said, buying local would make it an easy decision for me.  

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