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Oct 1, 2021 - 9:43:32 AM
8 posts since 9/23/2021

Hi everyone
I'm a guitar player, but I picked up the banjo in April and have fallen in love with it since. I've been using a borrowed Flinthill banjo, and to be perfectly honest, it's hot garbage. The head isn't on right, the neck gap is huge, the neck is cracked, the drone string nut is half broken, the tailpiece is slanted, and a whole host of other problems. Suffice it to say, I've been in the market for a new, reasonably priced banjo.
Now, I was browsing guitar center online, as I am apt to do when I should be doing something useful, when I saw a used Dean Backwoods 5 (the fully acoustic one, not the acoustic electric) and an Ibanez B200. Which of these is the better banjo?

Oct 1, 2021 - 10:11:39 AM
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2625 posts since 5/2/2012

Here are 2 reviews of the Dean and a couple reviews of the Ibanez

Edited by - thisoldman on 10/01/2021 10:12:19

Oct 1, 2021 - 10:20 AM
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2740 posts since 12/31/2005
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What's your budget? Folks here will point you in the right direction. We love shopping for others. But the specific answers you will get to your question is "neither" and "Guitar Center sucks," which it does for anything banjo related (and some things guitar related).  Guitar Center does no real setup.  I watched one guy try one time, and he had no clue.  The last person that touched their banjos was likely a Chinese assembly-line worker.  It might buzz and have popping frets, or it might not.  The neck may be installed at an angle, or not.  You just never know, and nor does Guitar Center.  Buy from someone who does an inspection and setup.  I have seen so many people try to save $50-100 and end up losing $300 when they later learn of serious problems with their imports that nobody checked out or set up.  

Edited by - Brian Murphy on 10/01/2021 10:23:59

Oct 1, 2021 - 10:34:57 AM

8 posts since 9/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy

What's your budget? Folks here will point you in the right direction. We love shopping for others. But the specific answers you will get to your question is "neither" and "Guitar Center sucks," which it does for anything banjo related (and some things guitar related).  Guitar Center does no real setup.  I watched one guy try one time, and he had no clue.  The last person that touched their banjos was likely a Chinese assembly-line worker.  It might buzz and have popping frets, or it might not.  The neck may be installed at an angle, or not.  You just never know, and nor does Guitar Center.  Buy from someone who does an inspection and setup.  I have seen so many people try to save $50-100 and end up losing $300 when they later learn of serious problems with their imports that nobody checked out or set up.  


Ah... well, my budget is a max of $400. I'm a dumb broke kid. But that's good to know... who knew a place with "guitar" in the name doesn't specialize in banjos. But, the banjos I'm looking at are used, so perhaps they were set up prior?

Oct 1, 2021 - 11:25:22 AM
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Players Union Member

Blackjaxe47

Canada

1621 posts since 6/20/2014

Take a look in the "Marketplace" right in BHO. You might find a decent used banjo that is already set-up. As far as shopping in anyplace that primarily sells guitars, they are for the most part completely clueless when it comes to setting up banjo's. You would not ask a Electrician to fix your plumbing issues.

Oct 1, 2021 - 11:31:01 AM

2740 posts since 12/31/2005
Online Now

Nothing wrong with that budget. You're a richer dumb broke kid than I was. Not sure if you're dumber, but you're richer. Have you looked at the Classifieds here? You can sort/search them by price range. At $400, I would keep your eyes open for a : (1) Deering Goodtime 2; (2) a GoldTone CC-100; or (3) a Recording King R-25 (I think that's the correct model). Here are a couple of ideas that look a lot better to me than anything cheap and new from GC:

A reputable seller here with a wood rim, tone ring banjo: Mastercraft Banjo

An Epiphone Masterbilt being sold for charity by a guy that builds and sets up banjos.

Just watch for "new members" whose first and only contribution is to post something for sale.   Most are surely legit, or at least honest.  But plenty of regulars here sell stuff that passes through that you can trust.

Patience might be the key.  If nothing interests you today, banjos in this range pop up here regularly.  Within a few months you'll find something really good.
 

Oct 1, 2021 - 11:39:04 AM

8 posts since 9/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy

Nothing wrong with that budget. You're a richer dumb broke kid than I was. Not sure if you're dumber, but you're richer. Have you looked at the Classifieds here? You can sort/search them by price range. At $400, I would keep your eyes open for a : (1) Deering Goodtime 2; (2) a GoldTone CC-100; or (3) a Recording King R-25 (I think that's the correct model). Here are a couple of ideas that look a lot better to me than anything cheap and new from GC:

A reputable seller here with a wood rim, tone ring banjo: Mastercraft Banjo

An Epiphone Masterbilt being sold for charity by a guy that builds and sets up banjos.

Just watch for "new members" whose first and only contribution is to post something for sale.   Most are surely legit, or at least honest.  But plenty of regulars here sell stuff that passes through that you can trust.

Patience might be the key.  If nothing interests you today, banjos in this range pop up here regularly.  Within a few months you'll find something really good.
 


Thanks! I think I might be dumber too, you never know... I've been eyeing the Goodtime 2s (I'm looking for a resonator) but they seem to all be $500+, used. That Mastercraft looks lovely though. I'll keep my eyes open. Again, thank you guys so much, I'm 95% sure that I'm the only person interested in the banjo for a 15 mile radius... thank goodness for the internet.

Oct 1, 2021 - 12:35:09 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5634 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Duo Slinger


 

Thanks! I think I might be dumber too, you never know... I've been eyeing the Goodtime 2s (I'm looking for a resonator) but they seem to all be $500+, used. That Mastercraft looks lovely though. I'll keep my eyes open. Again, thank you guys so much, I'm 95% sure that I'm the only person interested in the banjo for a 15 mile radius... thank goodness for the internet.


A  "Member Search" of the Hangout shows 17 members from Sunnyvale (16 + yourself), though it appears only 2 or 3 show much activity on the Hangout.

One of the active members is a highly respected, very knowledgeable source of everything "banjo-related" , popular member Mike Halloran

https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/default.asp?method=adv&str=Advanced&username=&firstname=&lastname=&city=sunnyvale&state=CA&country=&experience=&submit=Search

Oct 1, 2021 - 12:38:37 PM

2057 posts since 2/4/2013

The Dean is the standard multiply rim rolled brass tone ring rebadged factory banjo. Nothing wrong with it as long as it's not too pricey. People often recommend the Recording King RK-R20. If that was in your list people would say go for it. It's really the same banjo. It's better specced than the Goldtone CC-100 which has been mentioned although Goldtone actually have setup and quality control. I think these type of banjos are probably better than the Goodtime 2 which might have a decent rim but seems lacking elsewhere.

The Ibanez is a bit different. It does have a flathead tone ring which moves it closer to the fuller bluegrass banjo sound although it is cheap with an unusual rim. I've read of quality problems which is perhaps not surprising considering the price. But setup I think it sounds more like the real thing than the others.

youtube.com/watch?v=bsT55HrQebI

Of all the banjos mentioned above on a limited budget I would get the Mastercraft if I wanted a resonator banjo for bluegrass.

Edited by - GrahamHawker on 10/01/2021 12:43:05

Oct 1, 2021 - 12:50:13 PM
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8 posts since 9/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat
quote:
Originally posted by Duo Slinger


 

Thanks! I think I might be dumber too, you never know... I've been eyeing the Goodtime 2s (I'm looking for a resonator) but they seem to all be $500+, used. That Mastercraft looks lovely though. I'll keep my eyes open. Again, thank you guys so much, I'm 95% sure that I'm the only person interested in the banjo for a 15 mile radius... thank goodness for the internet.


A  "Member Search" of the Hangout shows 17 members from Sunnyvale (16 + yourself), though it appears only 2 or 3 show much activity on the Hangout.

One of the active members is a highly respected, very knowledgeable source of everything "banjo-related" , popular member Mike Halloran

https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/default.asp?method=adv&str=Advanced&username=&firstname=&lastname=&city=sunnyvale&state=CA&country=&experience=&submit=Search


Woah, that's a feature? I guess I'm dumber than I thought. Awesome!

Oct 1, 2021 - 12:52:12 PM

8 posts since 9/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker

The Dean is the standard multiply rim rolled brass tone ring rebadged factory banjo. Nothing wrong with it as long as it's not too pricey. People often recommend the Recording King RK-R20. If that was in your list people would say go for it. It's really the same banjo. It's better specced than the Goldtone CC-100 which has been mentioned although Goldtone actually have setup and quality control. I think these type of banjos are probably better than the Goodtime 2 which might have a decent rim but seems lacking elsewhere.

The Ibanez is a bit different. It does have a flathead tone ring which moves it closer to the fuller bluegrass banjo sound although it is cheap with an unusual rim. I've read of quality problems which is perhaps not surprising considering the price. But setup I think it sounds more like the real thing than the others.

youtube.com/watch?v=bsT55HrQebI

Of all the banjos mentioned above on a limited budget I would get the Mastercraft if I wanted a resonator banjo for bluegrass.


Huh. Interesting. Thanks!

Oct 1, 2021 - 6:40:31 PM

9093 posts since 8/28/2013

A used banjo from Guitar Center might actually be even worse than a new banjo from that excrement hole. Guitar Center wouldn't know an abused and mal-adjusted banjo from a banjo that had been well cared for and properly set up.

For what it's worth, I can't even find a decent selection of banjo strings fro Guitar Center. At my local store, I have doebts about even finding a decent guitar. My sister, who plays and teaches guitar, won't go near the place.

Oct 1, 2021 - 7:38:03 PM

8 posts since 9/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

A used banjo from Guitar Center might actually be even worse than a new banjo from that excrement hole. Guitar Center wouldn't know an abused and mal-adjusted banjo from a banjo that had been well cared for and properly set up.

For what it's worth, I can't even find a decent selection of banjo strings fro Guitar Center. At my local store, I have doebts about even finding a decent guitar. My sister, who plays and teaches guitar, won't go near the place.


That's all very true, but where I am the only place I know of with budget instruments is GC. Which sucks.

Oct 3, 2021 - 4:36:58 PM
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2740 posts since 12/31/2005
Online Now

mikehalloran is in your city. He is a regular here. PM him for advice.

Oct 3, 2021 - 5:11:47 PM

11816 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Duo Slinger
quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

A used banjo from Guitar Center might actually be even worse than a new banjo from that excrement hole. Guitar Center wouldn't know an abused and mal-adjusted banjo from a banjo that had been well cared for and properly set up.

For what it's worth, I can't even find a decent selection of banjo strings fro Guitar Center. At my local store, I have doebts about even finding a decent guitar. My sister, who plays and teaches guitar, won't go near the place.


That's all very true, but where I am the only place I know of with budget instruments is GC. Which sucks.


Send me a PM. We'll exchange contact info and talk. No one has to twist my arm when it comes to discussing banjos. I even know how not to get burned buying used on Guitar Center if it comes to that.

Mike 

Oct 3, 2021 - 5:34:06 PM

cevant

USA

290 posts since 2/5/2020

Personally I would eat spaghetti for a coupla' weeks and go take a look at this.

goldcountry.craigslist.org/msg...0424.html

Oct 4, 2021 - 4:39:33 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14796 posts since 8/30/2006

Duo Slinger: welcome to the hangout. The two banjos mentioned will get you going,  Your learning curve will soon outstrip the capabilities of them, however.

The Recording King banjos are designed to compete, that's why they sell out.

I do rim changeouts and I get to see what's inside these rigs. 

Mr. Halloran is a Recording King Dealer.

A used banjo in your price range is just around the corner for you. Don't be patient. Read up and develop your specs.

You can learn to do your own setup here with us on the hangout, grasshopper.

have fun, get ready to rock.


Edited by - Helix on 10/04/2021 04:45:47

Oct 4, 2021 - 9:14:46 AM

8 posts since 9/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

Duo Slinger: welcome to the hangout. The two banjos mentioned will get you going,  Your learning curve will soon outstrip the capabilities of them, however.

The Recording King banjos are designed to compete, that's why they sell out.

I do rim changeouts and I get to see what's inside these rigs. 

Mr. Halloran is a Recording King Dealer.

A used banjo in your price range is just around the corner for you. Don't be patient. Read up and develop your specs.

You can learn to do your own setup here with us on the hangout, grasshopper.

have fun, get ready to rock.


Ready and willing, sir!!

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