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

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Nov 2, 2021 - 6:47:13 AM
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380 posts since 1/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by YellowSkyBlueSun
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. 


Well I use that adjustability because i prefer playing antique banjos and using nylon/nylgut strings. Modern banjos have way too much back angle on the neck for nylon, so they have to be adjusted forward to prevent buzzing, and to get a higher action. The Gold Tone AC-1 does this better than the Goodtime. 

Even when it had steel strings on it, I still preferred the gold tone. 

I play several 120+year old banjos, and love the 0 degree angle of the neck. 

Blaine

Edited by - tbchappe on 11/02/2021 06:47:50

Nov 2, 2021 - 9:01:01 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15013 posts since 8/30/2006

YellowSkyBlueSun: This year I got to see the Lady Stewart found in a gunny sack in the snow at altitude, the neck just needs some inlay replacement, still straight. She's being restored.

I drove to Flagstaff which is 7000' to play the music festival , then drove back down the same day, and I had to adjust my truss rod a little.
So if I had had another neck that back bowed with no truss rod, I would be ironing.

Tell us more of your weather conditions out where you are and what steps you take to protect.

Nov 2, 2021 - 9:42:58 AM
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KevinV

USA

40 posts since 10/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

The Goodtimes we have seen all give a certain voice : High attack, low sustain and high decay, I have not seen one used by a group. Nor have I seen one used by an expert.

I ran across this video last night. I think the GT sounds great. 

Hard Times on Goodtime

Nov 2, 2021 - 9:53:51 AM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

612 posts since 5/11/2021

I take no steps to protect my instruments, nothing special anyway. Never had a problem either. The need for a truss rod is completely overblown. Are they a feature that you'd expect on a high quality instrument? Yes, of course. Are they absolutely necessary, and will most people ever even touch them? No. Especially if we're talking about a beginner buying their first banjo. Thousands of high quality professional instruments have been made and played for 100 years without the use of a truss rod. 

It kind of reminds me how lawnmower companies will include a 20+HP engine on their machines, just because consumers think "big number = better", but still use the cheapest hydrostatic transmission that they can find. My '78 JD 312 with a 12HP motor will pull the new 24HP X758 backwards.

It's got a truss rod, it must be better! Meanwhile 9/10 entry level players don't even know what a truss rod does, or how to use one. But they know they need one, that's for sure. I mean look above, you've got people talking about adjusting neck angle with the truss rod. Things that make you go hmmm...

Me? I'd be more concerned about the quality of the rim construction and the feel of the neck, personally. How does it sound in your ears, and how does it feel in your hands? That's what matters. Not useless features that 90% of people will never use.

OP asked about a Gold Tone AC-1 vs a Deering Goodtime. A plastic banjo-shaped-toy compared to an actual banjo. I question the wisdom of anyone that suggests these two options are even in the same realm of quality. It's absurd to suggest that an injection molded plastic toy is anywhere near as good as a real banjo.

There's not a person in the world that would compare these two options in person, side-by-side, and honestly say that the Gold Tone is the better option.

Edited by - YellowSkyBlueSun on 11/02/2021 10:04:59

Nov 2, 2021 - 9:58:33 AM

YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

612 posts since 5/11/2021

quote:
Originally posted by KevinV
quote:
Originally posted by Helix

The Goodtimes we have seen all give a certain voice : High attack, low sustain and high decay, I have not seen one used by a group. Nor have I seen one used by an expert.

I ran across this video last night. I think the GT sounds great. 

Hard Times on Goodtime


Clinch mountain backstep - YouTube

billy strings banjo - YouTube

Nov 2, 2021 - 2:43:28 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
 

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.


That's really useful information. Since I'm looking for something I'd actually like to pick up and listen to for a while, I think I'll give that Grafton a miss. How do you tell the difference between the 'bottlecaps' and the Saga rings? Is it all in the shape?

Edited by - Banjo Rich on 11/02/2021 14:50:21

Nov 2, 2021 - 2:44:48 PM
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188 posts since 6/15/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Rich
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.

Rich,

I so completely relate to this.  I didn't get into trouble, but I was utterly frustrated writing with those big soft pencils in the lower grades, then the crummy ball-point pens (biros) of the '60s.  I always had a dirty streak on the side of my left hand.  

BUT... the only things I do with my left hand are eat and write.  I do pretty much everything else with my right hand.  Or, things that require fine detail go to the left hand and things that require strength or endurance go to the right.  I paint a picture with my left hand.  I paint a house with my right hand.  I can do many things with either, including using mouse and most tools. 

But scissors belong in my right hand.  When I was a kid, they always gave me lefty scissors and they didn't work because I was trying to use them with my right hand.  I didn't fit in their pigeon-hole.  It was irritating.  I can use lefty scissors in my left hand, but I have zero accuracy with them.

I played cello when I was a kid.  I thought I was wired well for it:  fingering with my detail-oriented left hand and bowing with my endurance-oriented right hand.  Banjo is about the same.

 

But I agree with the advice:  go with what feels right for you.  Else you will be frustrated, won't enjoy it, and will probably stick it in the cupboard and forget about it after a few weeks.

 

Best wishes,

pj

Edited by - pianojuggler on 11/02/2021 14:45:12

Nov 2, 2021 - 3:03:34 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

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 meant to ask this as a follow-up to the comment I left on one of your YouTube vids: which sound do you prefer, the Gold Tone or Goodtime? I know you said you used the GT with Nylgut so maybe it's not a fair comparison. Would be interesting to know your thoughts seeing as you've got both.

Rich

Nov 2, 2021 - 3:59:05 PM

28 posts since 10/23/2021

quote:
Originally posted by pianojuggler
 

Rich,

I so completely relate to this.  I didn't get into trouble, but I was utterly frustrated writing with those big soft pencils in the lower grades, then the crummy ball-point pens (biros) of the '60s.  I always had a dirty streak on the side of my left hand.  

BUT... the only things I do with my left hand are eat and write.  I do pretty much everything else with my right hand.  Or, things that require fine detail go to the left hand and things that require strength or endurance go to the right.  I paint a picture with my left hand.  I paint a house with my right hand.  I can do many things with either, including using mouse and most tools. 

But scissors belong in my right hand.  When I was a kid, they always gave me lefty scissors and they didn't work because I was trying to use them with my right hand.  I didn't fit in their pigeon-hole.  It was irritating.  I can use lefty scissors in my left hand, but I have zero accuracy with them.

I played cello when I was a kid.  I thought I was wired well for it:  fingering with my detail-oriented left hand and bowing with my endurance-oriented right hand.  Banjo is about the same.

But I agree with the advice:  go with what feels right for you.  Else you will be frustrated, won't enjoy it, and will probably stick it in the cupboard and forget about it after a few weeks.

 

Best wishes,

pj


Thanks for replying. I'm kind of gambling on the LH instrument being the best option based on my gut instinct. Time will tell. I heard a nice quote the other day that went along the lines of 'your fretting hand is what you know, and your picking hand is who you are'. I liked it, even if it's not true. I guess I won't know until I try it and see how it goes.

Best wishes to you too,

Rich

Nov 2, 2021 - 7:09:28 PM
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380 posts since 1/26/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Rich
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 meant to ask this as a follow-up to the comment I left on one of your YouTube vids: which sound do you prefer, the Gold Tone or Goodtime? I know you said you used the GT with Nylgut so maybe it's not a fair comparison. Would be interesting to know your thoughts seeing as you've got both.

Rich


Even when it had steel strings, I preferred the gold Tone

Nov 3, 2021 - 12:57:31 AM
likes this

2112 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Rich

That's really useful information. Since I'm looking for something I'd actually like to pick up and listen to for a while, I think I'll give that Grafton a miss. How do you tell the difference between the 'bottlecaps' and the Saga rings? Is it all in the shape?


Bottle cap rims have the integrated flange which gives it the appearance of a bottlecap and usually uses 30 hooks. Saga rims are standard straight sided and use standard brackets for the usually 24 hooks and standard flanges on resonator models.

Nov 12, 2021 - 5:15:32 AM

121 posts since 5/8/2021

quote:
Originally posted by YellowSkyBlueSun

I take no steps to protect my instruments, nothing special anyway. Never had a problem either. The need for a truss rod is completely overblown. Are they a feature that you'd expect on a high quality instrument? Yes, of course. Are they absolutely necessary, and will most people ever even touch them? No. Especially if we're talking about a beginner buying their first banjo. Thousands of high quality professional instruments have been made and played for 100 years without the use of a truss rod. 

It kind of reminds me how lawnmower companies will include a 20+HP engine on their machines, just because consumers think "big number = better", but still use the cheapest hydrostatic transmission that they can find. My '78 JD 312 with a 12HP motor will pull the new 24HP X758 backwards.

It's got a truss rod, it must be better! Meanwhile 9/10 entry level players don't even know what a truss rod does, or how to use one. But they know they need one, that's for sure. I mean look above, you've got people talking about adjusting neck angle with the truss rod. Things that make you go hmmm...

Me? I'd be more concerned about the quality of the rim construction and the feel of the neck, personally. How does it sound in your ears, and how does it feel in your hands? That's what matters. Not useless features that 90% of people will never use.

OP asked about a Gold Tone AC-1 vs a Deering Goodtime. A plastic banjo-shaped-toy compared to an actual banjo. I question the wisdom of anyone that suggests these two options are even in the same realm of quality. It's absurd to suggest that an injection molded plastic toy is anywhere near as good as a real banjo.

There's not a person in the world that would compare these two options in person, side-by-side, and honestly say that the Gold Tone is the better option.


I don't have an issue with what's missing from the Goodtimes, I have an issue with the COST of the things. If Deering was selling them new for $200 (about what they should be worth) than I wouldn't have an issue at all. 

Nov 15, 2021 - 6:04:17 AM

PTOEguy

USA

172 posts since 10/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by YellowSkyBlueSun
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. 


and the construction of the Goodtime helps with this - in traditional banjo construction you have two pieces of wood on the neck that may expand or contract at different rates resulting in changes to curvature.  Because the Goodtime has a fretboard that is part of the neck there is no differential to cause potential changes with humidity, temperature, etc.

Nov 15, 2021 - 9:42:07 AM

731 posts since 2/15/2015

Am I missing something here? I don't understand why putting a right-handed banjo in the left hand set up would be that difficult. Wouldn't it be just a matter of reversing the nut & the bridge?

I'm just asking cuz I've seen lots of necked stringed instruments that have been turned into left-handers.

Edited by - geoB on 11/15/2021 09:42:49

Nov 15, 2021 - 10:02:43 AM

2112 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by geoB

Am I missing something here?


Yes you're missing the short fifth string and its tuner and the neck narrowing beyond the tuner.

Nov 15, 2021 - 5:34:12 PM

731 posts since 2/15/2015

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by geoB

Am I missing something here?


Yes you're missing the short fifth string and its tuner and the neck narrowing beyond the tuner.


Dang, I knew there was something different. I thought I was on theTenor page.

Nov 24, 2021 - 6:35:52 PM
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1174 posts since 11/22/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Banjo Rich


So is it worth paying the extra for the Deering Goodtime? Is the difference really enough to warrant the extra outlay?

Rich


Rich,

You need to play both of these in order to make this decision.

I've played both, I'd say the Goodtime is not worth the extra money. Tinny, thin sound.

Brian O.

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