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Aug 2, 2021 - 7:36:47 AM
14 posts since 3/11/2012

Hi,

My question is for Nechville owners. I am looking at purchasing a Nechville Phantom with a hybrid ring, although I am trying to decide on what wood to choose between mahogany, walnut, and maple. What wood do you recommend for bluegrass style playing and achieving more of a bluegrass tone? I suspect setup is probably more of a factor than wood selection, so maybe I am overthinking the importance of wood. If you you are Nechville owner and you play bluegrass style, what are your recommendations?

Thanks,
Kevin

Aug 2, 2021 - 7:57:57 AM
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673 posts since 8/14/2018

I guess it depends on what you mean by 'bluegrass tone'. If you mean, 'sounds like Earl on his Granada', I don't think the hybrid tone ring is going to do that no matter what wood it is. I just got a Midnight Phantom with the hybrid tone ring (maple rim) and it sounds great, but I don't care if it doesn't have a traditional Gibson tone.

Aug 2, 2021 - 8:02:59 AM
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2024 posts since 8/10/2005

Traditionally, I think the general feeling is that the maple banjos are sharp and loud and bluegrassy, and mahogany ones are also slightly mellower yet still bluegrassy, and walnut is in the middle.

I have a walnut Nechville Phantom, and I like it because it doesn't sound like a traditional bluegrass banjo in my opinion, it seems mellower to me (and I have an elite amber head on it). I also have a mahogany Stealth that is SHARP and traditional bluegrass sounding, and I have a maple Stelling and that too is SHARP AND LOUD and bluegrass sounding, those two woods being at the opposite ends of the general sound expectations.

So, I say I don't think the wood actually matters. I think it is all in the setup and the Nechville will sound radically different with just head tension changes. It can be mellow or it can be in your face sharp. I think far more important is the head type than the wood type, so I would recommend walnut because it is pretty, and then decide on heads.

Edited by - budbennett on 08/02/2021 08:03:39

Aug 2, 2021 - 8:35:44 AM
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3920 posts since 5/29/2011

When you discuss different types of tone woods all you can expect is generalizations.
I always like to point out that Earl Scruggs played a maple banjo with a dark, plunky tone whereas Don Reno played a mahogany banjo with a sharper tone, and Ralph Stanley played a walnut banjo with the sharpest, most piercing tone of all.
I think Bud said it best, setup is more important. Get the wood that you prefer and set up the banjo to your tastes. A Nechville won't sound like a Gibson Mastertone and it shouldn't. They are two different beasts.

Edited by - Culloden on 08/02/2021 08:39:36

Aug 2, 2021 - 8:48:09 AM
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Players Union Member

mud400

USA

64 posts since 5/30/2016

Did you chat with Nechville about it. They are very helpful.

Aug 2, 2021 - 9:24:52 AM
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14 posts since 3/11/2012

Thanks for the responses! It sounds like setup is more of the factor than wood choice. I appreciate the feedback!

Aug 2, 2021 - 10:49:03 AM
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65 posts since 3/3/2014

I have a maple with the hybrid ring, and really dig the sound. With Nechville's being more mellow than a traditional mastertone, I figured going with maple would be a safe bet.

But I will say, when I was at turtle hill banjo, Dave brought out various nechville bridges which tom had labeled with their weight on the bottom. It was pretty amazing to hear the difference in sound from a bridge that was 2 grams vs a bridge that was 2.8, etc.

I'm sure if you call them, they can certainly point you in the direction you're looking for. Very responsive!

Aug 2, 2021 - 5:36:01 PM
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Bill H

USA

1695 posts since 11/7/2010

I have a Nechville Moonshine with a mahogany pot and neck and hybrid tone ring. I bought it mainly for claw hammer, but find it great with finger picks as well. The hybrid tone ring has its own sound. I also have a Midnight Phantom with a 20 hole bronze ring. The are quite different, but both are the most articulate banjos I have payed.

Aug 3, 2021 - 6:49:35 AM
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alprice

USA

1146 posts since 9/9/2005

quote:
Originally posted by JustinK927

I have a maple with the hybrid ring, and really dig the sound. With Nechville's being more mellow than a traditional mastertone, I figured going with maple would be a safe bet.

But I will say, when I was at turtle hill banjo, Dave brought out various nechville bridges which tom had labeled with their weight on the bottom. It was pretty amazing to hear the difference in sound from a bridge that was 2 grams vs a bridge that was 2.8, etc.

I'm sure if you call them, they can certainly point you in the direction you're looking for. Very responsive!


Justin is right.  The bridge is an often ignored critical ingredient in finding the sound you want.  

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