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Oct 27, 2021 - 3:40:18 PM
26 posts since 10/3/2012

I am considering an open back. (‘Cause after all, you just can’t have too many banjos) I know what I would be looking for in a BG. What should I look for in a banjo to be used primarily for old time finger style? I’m thinking $2k or less. So new? Vintage? Either way, who should I look at? It is unlikely I will be able to play before purchase. Does that change your recommendation?

I know this is opening a can of worms. I’m sure I will be deluged with opinions. Just hoping to glean a couple of nuggets of wisdom.

Oct 27, 2021 - 4:14:26 PM
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246 posts since 12/13/2012

I always suggest these current builders in no particular order:

Stone Banjo Company (I have 2)
Zach Hoyt(have 1)
Ken LeVan(had 1 and will have another)

Ome makes awesome Open Backs that are just above your price range.

Bart Reiter is no longer building but made some of the best I've ever played.

Oct 27, 2021 - 5:07:42 PM

251 posts since 8/25/2009

Pisgah Banjo Company has a very good reputation and they have a number of models around $1600-$1800.


Home - Pisgah Banjo Co (

Oct 27, 2021 - 7:48:05 PM
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894 posts since 9/14/2008
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Originally posted by saw_woods

I am considering an open back. (‘Cause after all, you just can’t have too many banjos)  ...

Scientifically, the correct number of banjos per owner, where "N" represents the current number of banjos owned, is ...


Hey, don't hate the player, hate the science.

Oct 28, 2021 - 1:27:01 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


25392 posts since 6/25/2005

Whether you buy new or old is a matter of personal taste. Good choice# either way. For fingerpicking i’d look to a tone-ring banjo, a tubaphone or electric (whyte laydie) style. There are good offerings in your price range in the Hangout Classifieds.

Oct 28, 2021 - 4:39:05 AM

120 posts since 11/13/2007

Welcome to the other side! I made the transition to an open back several years ago and now own three. There are a number of options on the Marketplace in your price range. Decide on a pot size 11" or 12", tone ring would be a good idea. Other than that if you can't play it in advance choose a known builder of intermediate level banjos such as Pisgah, Zack Hoyt, Nechville, Deering.
Have fun with it!

Oct 28, 2021 - 7:37:30 AM

2676 posts since 11/25/2003

Wildwood Banjos

Oct 28, 2021 - 8:04:12 AM

26 posts since 10/3/2012

I have checked into all suggestions here. I have to say, the wildwood banjos have a little extra “bling”. I know it’s silly, but I do appreciate that, sound quality and playability being similar. Of course finding one may be another question.

It would be so nice to play some of these suggested instruments. Depending on how long it takes me to pull the trigger, I may head to Colorado’s front range, where there are dealers who handle more than just entry level instruments.

Keep those suggestions coming.

Thanks to all

Oct 28, 2021 - 9:37:08 AM

2676 posts since 11/25/2003

There is a nice looking Wildwood "Troubador" for sale on Might be worth a look.

Oct 28, 2021 - 9:47:16 AM

3985 posts since 5/29/2011

Along with the good suggestions that have been offered I would say check out Mark Hickler. He has a web site and is also a member here.

Oct 28, 2021 - 10:11:43 AM

182 posts since 6/5/2006

These days there are not many new banjos available at that price without a long wait but you can't know without calling the manufacturer. However, there's a Bart Reiter, a Dogwood and 3 Pisgah's at the Music Emporium in Concord, MA.
I'm tempted to drive over and tryout the Dogwood. N+1, right?

Edited by - restreet on 10/28/2021 10:12:45

Oct 28, 2021 - 11:44:04 AM

182 posts since 6/5/2006

I like the 12" Rickard Maple Ridge a lot and there's one for sale on the hangout for $1,400 including a case and shipping.

The Rickard price is $1,900. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the Cyclone 10:1 tuners Rickard is putting on all their banjos now.

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