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Dec 5, 2021 - 4:20:24 PM
86 posts since 10/16/2007

I have a Morgan Monroe banjo. It's my first one, so I'm wanting to keep it around. My question is, what would be a good but relatively cheap gold plated tone ring that I could put in it to improve the sound a bit?

Dec 5, 2021 - 4:32:55 PM

389 posts since 4/14/2014

Not sure if you could just pop a different tone ring on it as we do not know what the banjo is, aside from being a Morgan Monroe. If it would necessitate altering the rim, I wouldn't bother and just enjoy your first banjo for what it is. 

Edited by - Nic Pennsylvania on 12/05/2021 16:33:39

Dec 5, 2021 - 4:50:59 PM
like this

2669 posts since 5/2/2012

There is an old saying that goes something like you can have good or cheap, but you can't have both. As Nic said, you would likely need to add the cost of altering the rim. Gold plating, other than adding bling, probably won't significantly "add" to the tone. My advice? Take that money and put it in your "banjo jar" and start saving for that next banjo.

Dec 5, 2021 - 5:05:08 PM

1203 posts since 11/17/2005
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Justin E.

I have a Morgan Monroe banjo. It's my first one, so I'm wanting to keep it around. My question is, what would be a good but relatively cheap gold plated tone ring that I could put in it to improve the sound a bit?


I don't know anything about Morgan Monroe banjos. 

What model is it? Someone should be able to tell you if a normal mastertone tone ring will fit.

If it's a standard Mastertone style rim then I don't think changing the ring is a bad idea.

Dec 5, 2021 - 5:34:22 PM

86 posts since 10/16/2007

I don't remember the model. It's a maple banjo with the wreath inlay. The only reason I'm wanting gold is it has gold on the rest and a clear head.

Dec 5, 2021 - 5:35:03 PM

480 posts since 2/6/2011

why would you want a gold-plated tone ring? you probably wouldn't be able see very much of it and gold-plating would probably not change the tone.

Dec 5, 2021 - 5:37:39 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5680 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Justin E.

I don't remember the model. It's a maple banjo with the wreath inlay. The only reason I'm wanting gold is it has gold on the rest and a clear head.


Does it have a tone ring on it now?

Dec 5, 2021 - 6:07:40 PM

86 posts since 10/16/2007

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat
quote:
Originally posted by Justin E.

I don't remember the model. It's a maple banjo with the wreath inlay. The only reason I'm wanting gold is it has gold on the rest and a clear head.


Does it have a tone ring on it now?


Yes, it just doesn't have the depth of sound that I'd like. 

Dec 5, 2021 - 6:08:35 PM

86 posts since 10/16/2007

quote:
Originally posted by banjukebox

why would you want a gold-plated tone ring? you probably wouldn't be able see very much of it and gold-plating would probably not change the tone.


It has gold plating on everything else and a clear head. So it would be seen. 

Dec 5, 2021 - 6:25:25 PM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5680 posts since 10/12/2009

Get rid of the clear head.....I've found that the clear heads make banjos sound tinny, harsh, piercing, etc...

Put a good ol' top frosted Remo on it, see how it sounds before messing with tone rings

Dec 5, 2021 - 7:05:19 PM

1203 posts since 11/17/2005
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat

Get rid of the clear head.....I've found that the clear heads make banjos sound tinny, harsh, piercing, etc...

Put a good ol' top frosted Remo on it, see how it sounds before messing with tone rings


I agree with Scott. Get a new head and set the banjo up correctly and you will probably like it much better.

If you can gain access to a drum dial and get the head very even, it will make a difference. You might also try a new bridge. The right bridge can make a huge difference!

Dec 5, 2021 - 8:02:51 PM

1203 posts since 11/17/2005
Online Now

I had a walnut neck made for a style 11. I put a Yates V33 ring in it. It was good, but it was never great to me.

I recently bought a new tone ring + I already had an extra one. I was trying to decide which ring to put in it, when I bought a drum dial.

I wanted to play with the drum dial, so I evened out the head tension. It sounded much better!

Next I started trying different bridges. I think I ended up with a Sosebee bridge. The bridge had been on another banjo at some point. It wasn't a magic bridge on the old banjo, but it was perfect for this 11 with my setup.

I went from planning to replace the tone ring, to thinking it was absolutely perfect!

There is no way I would change anything about that banjo now.


 

Dec 6, 2021 - 6:46:06 AM

2669 posts since 5/2/2012

The all gold plated MM description got me to remembering some reading I did awhile back in another thread. If this is a vintage/older banjo the specs on it are top notch. The tone ring is probably a quality one. Does it have a block, as opposed to a ply, rim? I'm with Scott - replace the clear head with something else. Maybe try another bridge.  And check head tension, as other have suggested. 

Dec 6, 2021 - 10:35:32 AM

YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

616 posts since 5/11/2021

Define "relatively cheap". The cost of a gold plated tone ring will likely exceed the value of your entire banjo, without getting into the cost of turning a rim to fit it.

Consider that gold plating varies widely, and the gold plating on your new ring is unlikely to match the existing gold plating. If you want to change the ring, you're probably better off just finding the best ring you can afford and forget about plating concerns altogether. Especially because you can only see a small portion of the ring once it's all put together, realistically the only person that would ever notice that they don't match is you.

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