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Jul 24, 2021 - 3:00:17 PM
19 posts since 2/11/2014

Ive had a rk 80 for a long time,im intermediate,66,so one last banjo,should i just keep it? i dont want to go over 2000.00,what should i do?

Jul 24, 2021 - 4:03:27 PM
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2570 posts since 5/2/2012

Do you jam? Play in a band (for fun, semi-professional, or professional)? I assume your age is 66, so you've got quite a few good years left. I'll also assume you like your current banjo. I'm wondering if a $2000 banjo would be a lateral, rather than upward move? Are you thinking about selling the RK and using that money to fund a different banjo, or are you thinking of keeping the RK AND buying a new (sub-2000$ banjo).

Jul 24, 2021 - 4:15:54 PM
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12160 posts since 6/2/2008

It will be difficult to find anything demonstrably better for $2000 or less.

The best Asian banjos that cost under $2K new are essentially differently decorated versions of what you currently own. Maybe the necks of the Gold Star or Gold Tone competitors have different profiles, but I don't think the RK-Elite, Gold Star GF100JD or Gold Tone OB3 Twanger are inherently better banjos than your RK80.

Your US options will all be used. 1970s Fender Artist and Ode Style C definitely sell at your budget. Ode Style D sometimes. If one appears, grab it.

Old dot inlay Deering Sierra is a sub $2k banjo. Sometimes the post 2010 model with fancy inlay and 06 tone ring. Deering Eagle 2 occasionally appears at your price, as does a Maple Blossom.

If you want the pride of owning a Gibson, 1970s RB250 in good condition can be had at your price. Search the Hangout for in depth discussion of that era to be aware of potential issues. I think a post 2000 RB250 was recently in the Classifieds for just over $2K.

The older US banjos I just listed also aren't necessarily better than what you own. But since you already own a top-of-the-line Asian banjo, I think it makes most sense at 66 and an intermediate player to treat yourself to a well made US banjo.

My three banjos were a commissioned small builder instrument and two parts projects. At 67, I sold some guitars and equipment I wasn't using and treated myself to a heavily modded, fair condition, 1970s RB250.  Bought it for its sound and name.  It's my main player these days.

Good luck and have fun.

Jul 24, 2021 - 4:39:14 PM
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22464 posts since 7/6/2005

I have 2 Fender Artists, a 1928 Granada, 2 RK75 Elites,an RK 85 Maple elite, a Sullivan Festival DeLuxe, 2 Harry Lane custom top-tensions. The banjo I choose to play most of the time is my RK-75 elite. All of the upper-end RK's have the same rim and tone ring, so your RK-80, should be all the banjo you need. If you WANT another banjo, up your budget and buy whatever sound good, looks good and plays easily. I would like to own an upper-end OME, just because.

Edited by - beegee on 07/24/2021 16:40:02

Jul 24, 2021 - 5:42:49 PM

12160 posts since 6/2/2008

There's a 1999 Gibson RB250 in the Classifieds for $2200 if bought with a Tony Pass rim installed and the original rim included, or $1900 if you don't want the original rim. Gabe Hirschfeld selling it on behalf of a friend. 

If I were in the market, I'd be all over this.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 07/24/2021 17:50:48

Jul 24, 2021 - 6:49:45 PM
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4649 posts since 11/20/2004

We seem to be similar at 66. I say upgrade while you can and enjoy it as long as you can. I do not doubt what Beegee says and have not played his banjos, but my experience has been different. The RK banjos I have played did not sound, to my ears, as well as most of the older Fenders, Gibson, Sullivan, Hatfields, etc. that are domestic builds. You may have to add slightly to your budget, but most come up near 2000 at times.

Jul 24, 2021 - 8:52:44 PM

12160 posts since 6/2/2008

There are several Gibson RB250 from different periods in the classifieds at or near the $2k price.

For a few hundred more there are some very interesting options, including a pre-war MB conversion with an unmolested rim, nearly 100% original hardware and a Hatfield neck for $2200. This is another I'd think about if I were liking. Heck, I'm not really looking and I'm thinking about it!

For $1000 US there's a 70s RB100 from Canada that you could convert to a tone ring model and still have less than $2000 in it. 

Edited by - Old Hickory on 07/24/2021 20:53:58

Jul 25, 2021 - 1:11:38 PM
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19 posts since 2/11/2014

Thanks for all your advice

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