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Oct 28, 2021 - 2:19:35 PM
6 posts since 11/5/2019

Looking to buy and set up a no-frills baritone banjo - limited modification and upkeep preferred, as I have no workspace.

Figure I need:
12" pot (tone, bridge-in-center)
26+" scale-length (tone, heavy strings)
1 3/8+" nut-width (playability, heavy strings)
Dual co-rods (durability, heavy strings)

And would like, if possible:
Open-back pot w/ tone ring
Frailing scoop
Fyberskyn/Renaissance head
Planetary tuners

The idea is to buy a "standard" banjo with these traits, then widen the nut/bridge string-slots and install Gold Tone Baritone Banjo Strings, to make a layman's version of Béla's Missing Link! I would like to keep it under $700 total, if possible.

Versions of this have been done by user Timothy Perksen on YouTube, who used the same strings on an Ibanez B200 resonator banjo (~$450 new),
youtu.be/FyQm51UnAdM
and by our own Paul Roberts here on Banjo Hangout, who seems to have used silver-wound cello-banjo strings on a Gold Tone Carlin model!
banjohangout.org/archive/353516

[If you haven't listened to his Banjos Dreaming album, go do yourself a favor - then come back and help me!]

My thinking at this point is to simply buy the Gold Tone CC-Carlin 12 - it has every feature I want (minus planetary tuners in most cases) and the price is right.

Other new options include the Deering Americana - domestic manufacturing and better QC, but lacks many of the features I want, and costs more. Used instruments are usually my way to go, but these features at this price-point are almost always assembled from the living parts of dead banjos - I love these "rat-rods" generally, but they tend to be somewhat fragile and finicky in my experience.

I have a lightly-used set of those "light" cello banjo strings and a standard-ish banjo that can (temporarily) receive them, so I'm going to check that out - I have also ordered the GT Baritone strings, and they are on their way.

What have I failed to consider? What am I wrong about? Anybody have a good option they'd like to part with on the (relatively) cheap? If this goes very poorly or very well, Zach Hoyt makes such beautiful cello banjos (and everything else!) so reasonably priced, I will almost certainly land there... just don't want to put cart before horse, ordering a custom without enough experience to know exactly what I want...

I welcome any and all advice!

Edited by - FightingForItAll on 10/29/2021 06:51:46

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