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Deering Goodtime vs Gold Tone AC-1 - Is the extra money worth it?

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Oct 26, 2021 - 7:15:17 AM
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301 posts since 7/29/2011
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GuitarCenter just posted a used left-handed Goodtime on their site for $319

Oct 26, 2021 - 1:45:55 PM
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28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Michigan Rich

GuitarCenter just posted a used left-handed Goodtime on their site for $319


Unfortunately I'm currently in the UK! I should've said in my original post. Thanks for the heads-up though.

Oct 26, 2021 - 1:48:29 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Barnacle Joe

If you see a second hand Grafton Clipper (or certain other models, but the Clipper was most-made) I might jump on it. Graftons were UK based, same general idea as Gold tone (ie Good parts from Chinese factories, assembled and set up domestic). I like mine a lot.

They served a small market so there won't be very many lefty models floating around, but I have seen some on eBay before. Archive of their old website is here.


Thanks, Joe. I will look out for the Grafton make. I saw one recently, a lefty version, but I didn't know which model it was and I didn't really know anything about the make either. It also had an alloy pot and I'd read conflicting opinions about whether that was desirable or not.

Oct 26, 2021 - 4:05:03 PM
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28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Lefty
 

Not dumb at all.  Remember that left-handedness is a spectrum affecting about 20% of the population, ranging from those who can do a little bit with their left hands, but mostly use their right, through those who are truly ambidextrous, all the way to those who can't do anything with their right hands.  People who tell you that they are left-handed but have learned to play righty for convenience are not likely in the latter group, but more probably fall somewhere along the middle of the line.

Also, you have to consider that, although righties have many more instruments from which to choose, in fact you only need one -- right now, that is, although BAS may set in at some time in the future -- and if the Goldtone AC is a lefty, you should buy it.  Goldtone offers lefty versions of all their instruments at no extra charge.  As a complete beginner, you are not going to be able to notice the subtle differences of tone offered by various brands and models; what you need is a half-way decent banjo on which you can learn to play (and the Goldtone is certainly that).  Later on, when you are ready for an upgrade, you can afford to get picky.


I've pretty much decided to stick with a left-handed banjo. I emailed a company here called Eagle Music and they have a guy who plays the banjo and who's a lefty. Apparently he always recommends that LH players play a LH banjo, so I'll go with my gut instinct.

It'll be very cool to having something that's specifically made for my handedness for a change instead of having to adapt. I got into amazing trouble at school for smearing my handwriting across the page. I did buy LH scissors once as I couldn't even use RH scissors with my RH, but this will be one of the first things I've bought that will cater for being left-handed. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks again to everyone for the feedback and replies.

Edited by - Banjo Rich on 10/26/2021 16:07:25

Oct 26, 2021 - 5:10:38 PM

Banjo Lefty

Canada

2454 posts since 6/19/2014

Have a look at Leftyfretz.com. It's mostly for guitar players, but some of the articles dealing with left-handed playing are interesting, and applicable to almost any stringed instrument.

Oct 26, 2021 - 6:14:32 PM
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Helix

USA

15036 posts since 8/30/2006

An alloy pot is perfectly fine. They Can be set up to learn on slinky action
A Grafton lefty, please relocate and buy it and get going
Show us photos

My wife hid an alloy banjo she had when she met me, like what would I think

You are correct to want to learn the repetitive left hand patterns with your right brain. And the 14 banjo chord patterns with your right hand. There is Trig in both wrists

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:04:20 PM
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GeorgeG

USA

60 posts since 9/13/2019

Check out the lefty Goodtime Americana that I have for sale in the marketplace. It's in great shape and I'm sure I can beat even Gold Tone's price. I'm a lefty too and you're all right by me.

Oct 29, 2021 - 7:03:44 AM
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2 posts since 2/8/2017

For a first Banjo, I suggest being patient and finding a good used Deering Goodtime. It will serve you well. If you stick with the banjo you will not be disappointed in the instrument and should you decide to sell it or trade up you will be glad you bought the Deering. (I bought mine used for $200 with a case and some instruction books and it is like new.) Your knowledge of piano will serve you well also as you learn the fretboard of the banjo. Good Luck and Best Wishes, Dave

Oct 29, 2021 - 8:19:58 AM
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20 posts since 2/7/2019

I have an ac-5 acoustic & its pretty good for sure.

Oct 29, 2021 - 8:35:04 AM
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swilbur

USA

5 posts since 5/13/2021

I am left handed, started also on piano. When I started on guitar years ago I went right handed for ease in finding right handed instruments. I did the same with my banjo when I picked up playing it 5 years ago. BTW I have a Goodtime and love it. I have had no problem, and I think it is probably easier for a lefty to play right handed than a righty to play left.

Oct 31, 2021 - 9:34:22 PM
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PTOEguy

USA

172 posts since 10/14/2014

I've owned a Goodtime and I still own a Gold Tone AC-4 (tenor version of the AC-1).   I think it comes down to where you think you'll be in the future.   I'd do the Gold Tone if it were me because I think its the best cheap banjo on the market, and I tend to like either really cheap instruments or expensive ones.  I believe in buying the cheapest and moving on to something that really speaks to me once I've got enough expertise built up to know what that is. 

But the Goodtimes are a quality product, the neck feels great and everything is very well built - and they have good resale.  Hard to go wrong here either way.  

Edited by - PTOEguy on 10/31/2021 21:50:48

Nov 1, 2021 - 5:26:46 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

An alloy pot is perfectly fine. They Can be set up to learn on slinky action
A Grafton lefty, please relocate and buy it and get going
Show us photos

My wife hid an alloy banjo she had when she met me, like what would I think

You are correct to want to learn the repetitive left hand patterns with your right brain. And the 14 banjo chord patterns with your right hand. There is Trig in both wrists


The left-handed Grafton is here on eBay:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/224650707897?hash=item344e39c3b9:g:zKwAAOSwusRhbBki

Apart from the alloy pot, which mightn't be an issue at all, I don't know what model it is or anything else about it. I've no idea what it would sound like. The other thing that puts me off is the flange and resonator as I really want an open back. But then lefty used banjos seem so rare maybe I shouldn't be so fussy.

Edited by - Banjo Rich on 11/01/2021 17:36:14

Nov 1, 2021 - 5:33:51 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Dave Belmont

For a first Banjo, I suggest being patient and finding a good used Deering Goodtime. It will serve you well. If you stick with the banjo you will not be disappointed in the instrument and should you decide to sell it or trade up you will be glad you bought the Deering. (I bought mine used for $200 with a case and some instruction books and it is like new.) Your knowledge of piano will serve you well also as you learn the fretboard of the banjo. Good Luck and Best Wishes, Dave


Thanks for the kind regards, Dave. 

Strangely enough, a used Goodtime left-handed banjo has appeared on eBay over the last couple of days. Maybe take a look at the link and tell me what you think. I'm not sure the condition is that great. I asked the seller whether it had been stained from the original pale maple. He didn't seem to think so but then it's not his instrument. I think someone's stained it darker to get rid of the white coloration. It doesn't come in its box, or with a gig bag or hard case. And I wonder if the frets are worn under the strings. The seller said they seemed in good condition, and then said he wasn't an expert, but it's hard to tell from the photos. There are little scratches on the tuning pegs which makes me wonder how much it's been used.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284509371367?hash=item423e147be7:g:TbUAAOSwZYRhfUT3

Edited by - Banjo Rich on 11/01/2021 17:35:47

Nov 1, 2021 - 5:52:56 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by GeorgeG

Check out the lefty Goodtime Americana that I have for sale in the marketplace. It's in great shape and I'm sure I can beat even Gold Tone's price. I'm a lefty too and you're all right by me.


Hey George. I'm in the UK or I would've seriously considered it. It's a beautiful instrument. I saw it for sale a couple of weeks back. Hopefully you'll find someone to take it off your hands soon.

Nov 2, 2021 - 12:57 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15036 posts since 8/30/2006

The goodtime lefty is one of the new headstocks.
The Grafton lefty is an aluminum rim called a "bottlecap." They have better necks.
Suit yourself.

Nov 2, 2021 - 2:09:02 AM

2124 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

The Grafton lefty is an aluminum rim called a "bottlecap."


Grafton aluminium rims are not bottlecaps. They used Saga aluminium rims.

Nov 2, 2021 - 2:37:31 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15036 posts since 8/30/2006

It looks like a bottlecap, are we splitting hairs?

Nov 2, 2021 - 3:45:51 AM

2124 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

It looks like a bottlecap, are we splitting hairs?


No I'm wrong. That is a bottlecap. I've never seen a Grafton banjo with a bottlecap rim. The ones they listed on their website always had Saga aluminium rims. So I guess it's some non standard creation.

Nov 2, 2021 - 4:30:05 AM
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2 posts since 2/8/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Rich
quote:
Originally posted by Dave Belmont

For a first Banjo, I suggest being patient and finding a good used Deering Goodtime. It will serve you well. If you stick with the banjo you will not be disappointed in the instrument and should you decide to sell it or trade up you will be glad you bought the Deering. (I bought mine used for $200 with a case and some instruction books and it is like new.) Your knowledge of piano will serve you well also as you learn the fretboard of the banjo. Good Luck and Best Wishes, Dave


Thanks for the kind regards, Dave. 

Strangely enough, a used Goodtime left-handed banjo has appeared on eBay over the last couple of days. Maybe take a look at the link and tell me what you think. I'm not sure the condition is that great. I asked the seller whether it had been stained from the original pale maple. He didn't seem to think so but then it's not his instrument. I think someone's stained it darker to get rid of the white coloration. It doesn't come in its box, or with a gig bag or hard case. And I wonder if the frets are worn under the strings. The seller said they seemed in good condition, and then said he wasn't an expert, but it's hard to tell from the photos. There are little scratches on the tuning pegs which makes me wonder how much it's been used.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284509371367?hash=item423e147be7:g:TbUAAOSwZYRhfUT3


I looked at the link and that banjo does appear to be darker (as possibly stained). As you said it is hard to tell by the photos but I have never seen one that dark and it does show some wear (and/or dirt) on the fretboard). I bought mine off eBay also but it was like brand new and came with a very nice padded gigbag, strap and books (a very good buy). My advice is just be patient a little while longer and "the right one" will present itself. As for fret wear, have them photograph the lower frets (bend the strings away from their normal position) close up with a little side angle and this should reveal any fret wear. It is unlikely that it would be severely worn. Thanks for the reply to my comments and hang in there. The right one will come along and you will know it when you see it.

Best Wishes, Dave

Nov 2, 2021 - 4:30:19 AM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by Helix

It looks like a bottlecap, are we splitting hairs?


No I'm wrong. That is a bottlecap. I've never seen a Grafton banjo with a bottlecap rim. The ones they listed on their website always had Saga aluminium rims. So I guess it's some non standard creation.


Does that mean it should be avoided? The seller claimed it's 'new'. But the seller also has another eBay account that sold another left-handed banjo a few months ago. I'm kind of suspicious. Also, could I convert the Grafton to an open back?

Nov 2, 2021 - 4:44:58 AM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Dave Belmont
 

I looked at the link and that banjo does appear to be darker (as possibly stained). As you said it is hard to tell by the photos but I have never seen one that dark and it does show some wear (and/or dirt) on the fretboard). I bought mine off eBay also but it was like brand new and came with a very nice padded gigbag, strap and books (a very good buy). My advice is just be patient a little while longer and "the right one" will present itself. As for fret wear, have them photograph the lower frets (bend the strings away from their normal position) close up with a little side angle and this should reveal any fret wear. It is unlikely that it would be severely worn. Thanks for the reply to my comments and hang in there. The right one will come along and you will know it when you see it.

Best Wishes, Dave


Yeah, I think it's been stained, and badly too as you can sort of see where it the stain has 'pooled' around the pot's brackets. Although it's maybe just an aesthetic thing, it makes me think it's not been well looked after. Thanks for checking it out anyway.

Nov 2, 2021 - 5:23:39 AM
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2124 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Rich

Does that mean it should be avoided? The seller claimed it's 'new'. But the seller also has another eBay account that sold another left-handed banjo a few months ago. I'm kind of suspicious. Also, could I convert the Grafton to an open back?


Bottlecap rims are associated with really cheap banjos. They tend to sound harsh and while initially it might seem ok people often get a bit fed up with the sound. The Saga aluminium rings Grafton usually used are much better. It's easy to convert, just take off the resonator.

I can only guess that it was put together with whatever parts they had in recent times when getting hold of Saga rims was difficult or impossible.

Nov 2, 2021 - 5:39:18 AM
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380 posts since 1/26/2020

As far as the original question, I have both banjos for traveling. I prefer the Gold Tone AC-1. It's more adjustable because it actually has an adjustable rod in the neck, accessible through the peghead, whereas the more expensive Good Time doesn't

Blaine

Nov 2, 2021 - 6:23:19 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15036 posts since 8/30/2006

Remember Guild guitars? Their Japanese import banjo was the Madiera, high grade tempered aluminum, low void and low slag.
Remember Washburn? same aluminum but a competitive metallurgical formula.
Then the Iidas with thin cast flanges, not even a good bottlecap, higher void, higher slag.

I own all three types of aluminum rim so I can jam with real wooden banjos to demonstrate their advantages.

They are spec banjos just like the other Deerings you are looking at, your eyes are playing banjo, your soul wants to play and grow.
There is an aluminum banjo players group here on this here hangout
As noted before, these can be set up to play slinky to learn on.
The inside of any of these banjos can be stuffed with a towel, sponge, clothespin mute or other thing you yourself invent and or adapt.
The Grafton shown is definitely a jobber's imported spec. banjo., with adjustable neck.

True your original question is about the Gold Tone import or the Deering export, and the usual lefty/righty advice from different brains.
I strongly suggest the Gold Tone. I've seen the new Rover composite, I have one because I do rim changeouts.

The Gold Tone gives you options for your own growth later.

The Grafton would get you going NOW.


Edited by - Helix on 11/02/2021 06:27:04

Nov 2, 2021 - 6:36:53 AM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

612 posts since 5/11/2021

quote:
Originally posted by tbchappe

As far as the original question, I have both banjos for traveling. I prefer the Gold Tone AC-1. It's more adjustable because it actually has an adjustable rod in the neck, accessible through the peghead, whereas the more expensive Good Time doesn't

Blaine


I see people mention this before and I truly don't understand why it matters. How much are you adjusting the neck relief on your banjo? I've owned dozens of banjos over the last 15 years and have never had to adjust neck relief on any banjo unless it was actually damaged and I was doing a repair. I've got professional-quality $1500+ banjos from the 80s and 90s that don't have a truss rod and I've never missed it. I've got a banjo from the late 1800s with no truss rod and the neck is just fine after 120 years of playing. 

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