I have a Gibson TB that has a 14" radius. I like it a lot.
Do not forget that there are also compound radius necks, where the radius varies from the first to 22nd fret. My Gibson TB4 conversion (Ode 27" scale) has an appx 7.5" radius at the first fret to appx 12" at the 22nd. Very comfortable playing banjo. I believe that Nechville banjos use a similar compound radius on some of their banjos.
While I prefer the radius board, I have no issues playing my other flat finger board banjos.
I suggest you try some different radius necks out (regular and compound) before deciding. Go to IBMA (or SPGMA?) if you can as there are many vendors there with a variety of banjos to check out.
Good luck in your quest.
Take it Easy ... MarK
Thanks, pardon the ignorance; IBMA or SPGMA?
IBMA = International Bluegrass Music Association. This "convention" is held in Raleigh NC during the last week of Sept - First week of October in Raleigh NC. It is a meeting of Bluegrass musicians over a week and consists of awards, many showcase (band) venues, etc as well as a a show case of vendors which includes instrument makers (Nechville, etc.) and instrument sales (Elderly, etc.) . As I live near Raleigh, I go every year and it is free to the public on Friday and Saturday. This includes Wide open Bluegrass for hearing multiple bands as well as the vendor venue being open to the public, As I go to this one, the number of vendors and bands here is amazing...
SPBGMA = Society for the Preservation of Blue Grass Music in America. Sorry that I left out the "B"..
This is held in January in Nashville TN. I have never been but I assume that vendors attend this as well. Check out the website.
IBMA is the one place I know of that you have the opportunity to check out a wide variety of instruments in a single location. My mind was blown the first time I went. As you are in NY, Raleigh is not that far and may be worth the trip for the experience. Except perhaps for SPBGMA, there is nothing else like it in the US for the number of bands one can hear, as well as the number of instrument vendors hawking their wares.
You do have Bernunzio Uptown Music in Rochester NY, who may have some interesting things for you to check out. So check them out first as they are close to Syracuse....
Aside from a trip to Elderly Instruments and Gruhn Guitars, these association meetings are probably the best places for checking out the widest variety of instruments.
Take it Easy .... MarK
"I have a local builder nearby (BHO advertiser that is well respected and reviewed)that will build a neck for $4-500. Anything more than that and I would wait and save my pennies for something else."
My advice to you is:
Wait and save your pennies for something else.
Or... do what Parker did above...
There's a nice Turtle Hill Woody listed with a radiusef neck. Might be money better spent at $1500. ?
Thanks for all the information, Mark! Raleigh would be a fun trip to make, but 10 hour drive time from home. Would definitely like to go!
I appreciate your insight. One of my big problems when I bought my Goodtime was actually finding somewhere relatively nearby to put my hands on it, and try it out.
After watching Bela’s banjos used in his videos, he specifically said, “a radiused neck gives me more room to dig out the notes.” I picked up an RB-12. Just because a neck is radiused, the nut and bridge must have the same radius. The Gibson nut was flat. When I refretted the banjo, I went from 12 to 7.25. Yes, 1-5 frets are 6.5” and the rest is 7.25”. 12” is superimposed by Gibson.
'2008 Deering Deluxe' 18 min
'Banjo Building Course' 31 min
'Deering 6 string neck' 2 hrs
'Yellow Jacket' 3 hrs
'Iida Banjo' 3 hrs