Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

868
Banjo Lovers Online


Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Dec 7, 2021 - 3:44:30 AM
5 posts since 4/10/2021

Hi all,
I'm looking to buy my next banjo, but struggling to work out what is right for me. I play predominantly three-finger bluegrass, and I have learnt on a Tanglewood Union series 5 string. I live in England, so my options for actually trying out various brands are limited, but there are some I like the look of. Obviously, everyone champions the RK R35, but these are hard to get your hands on in the UK. I really like the look of the Barnes and Mullins Troubadour, and the Ozark 2115g with bronze hardware. My preferences would be dual coordinator rods, tone ring and planetary tuners. Budget to around £800 tops. I know Deerings get a lot of praise, but unfortunately I often find their appearance not to my taste! If anyone has any thoughts about these banjos, or any other suggestions, I'd gladly appreciate the help. Jim

Dec 7, 2021 - 4:03:35 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15031 posts since 8/30/2006

Even a used Recording King will outplay those others.

Dec 7, 2021 - 5:45:11 AM

2251 posts since 1/4/2009

For the price of a new lesser banjo you can get a vintage gold star, one the Japanese made ones from the late 70s or early 80s can be found for 1000 to 1500 and they compete with any professional bluegrass banjo, I got one recently for next to nothing and it's become my second favorite banjo , I like it more than 2 of my prewars.

Dec 7, 2021 - 7:21:58 AM

2115 posts since 2/4/2013
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin Bob

I really like the look of the Barnes and Mullins Troubadour, and the Ozark 2115g with bronze hardware. My preferences would be dual coordinator rods, tone ring and planetary tuners.


These are not good choices unless you like the gold/bronze coloured bling. They are basic multiply rim rolled brass tone ring banjos which come very overpriced. If you are upgrading and want a resonator banjo get something with a full flathead tone ring otherwise you are only half upgrading and will soon want to upgrade again.

Dec 7, 2021 - 7:54:50 AM

5 posts since 4/10/2021

@GrahamHawker excuse my ignorance, but both these banjos claim a tone ring of sorts. I understand the difference between a flathead and an arch top, but assumed these were the only two types. Are there others? (also absolutely attracted to the 'bling' but not so blinded to completely overlook quality) ??

Dec 7, 2021 - 8:50:06 AM

HSmith

UK

439 posts since 12/30/2005

I agree that you'll get far better value if you look at used banjos. I get that they're a bit above your budget, but how about this Gold Star at John Alvey Turner johnalveyturner.co.uk/5-string...n-c-1986/ or this ibanez Artist at Vintage and Modern Guitars vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/...or-banjo/
These are both (IMHO) in a different league from the new banjos you mention, and would serve you very well for many years. They've both been for sale a while, you could try an offer.
Good luck with the search.

Dec 7, 2021 - 9:15:34 AM

2115 posts since 2/4/2013
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin Bob

@GrahamHawker excuse my ignorance, but both these banjos claim a tone ring of sorts. I understand the difference between a flathead and an arch top, but assumed these were the only two types. Are there others? (also absolutely attracted to the 'bling' but not so blinded to completely overlook quality) ??


Yes they have rolled brass tone rings. A small brass hoop that sits in a ledge at the top of the rim. Some banjos just have a brass rod that sits on the rim but not these Asain factory banjos. At present most banjos available new in the UK have these tone rings. Since the main factory closed no one is producing banjos with flatheads for the usual rebrand brands like Ozark so you're choices are something like a Goldtone OB150 (out of your price range) or the secondhand market.

Dec 7, 2021 - 10:55:12 AM

1668 posts since 1/28/2013

Goldtones should be easy to get. Maybe even a used one.

Dec 7, 2021 - 11:28:18 AM

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin Bob

@GrahamHawker excuse my ignorance, but both these banjos claim a tone ring of sorts. I understand the difference between a flathead and an arch top, but assumed these were the only two types. Are there others? (also absolutely attracted to the 'bling' but not so blinded to completely overlook quality) ??


Yes they have rolled brass tone rings. A small brass hoop that sits in a ledge at the top of the rim. Some banjos just have a brass rod that sits on the rim 


Let me emphasize that the operative word for rings Graham is talking about is "small."  The rod style ring that sits on top of the wood rim is typically 1/4-inch in diameter. The hoop style ring that sits in a routed space top outside edge of the rim is about 1/2-inch tall and 3/16 to 1/4-inch thick. It protrudes a bit above the rim so that the head bears only on it.

The only type of banjo that's a meaningful or worthwhile step up from what you currently have is one with a Mastertone-style cast brass or bronze alloy 3-pound (or so) tone ring. That's what's inside the RK-35, Gold Tone OB150, Gold Star GF-85 (or GF-anything).

If your budget is 800GBP tops, the Recording King RK-35 is right in your budget at 799 GBP from Thomann.

The Barnes and Mullins and Ozark banjos you name are essentially the same instrument (as each other). They are nothing more than higher level beginner banjos. Neither can hold a candle to the RK-35.

This is a no-brainer.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 12/07/2021 11:30:26

Dec 7, 2021 - 11:56:20 AM
likes this

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

Thin pickings on ebay but this goldstar is in the price bracket- usual disclaimer, no connection to he ad
ebay.co.uk/itm/Gold-Star-GF100...35-2958-0

Dec 7, 2021 - 1:17:58 PM
likes this

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

I hope  Ramblin Bob    comes back in time to see that Gold Star! That's not only an excellent next banjo for him, it could well be his last banjo!

There's a 2009 RK-80 in New York City that just hit the classifieds here for $825 US -- only 623 GBP. So maybe with international shipping still in his budget.  It's got some cosmetic issues -- consistent with being 12 years old.

The GF100 right there in UK has his name all over it.

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:04:56 AM

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

If it doesn't sell it might well be relisted, it seems to happen a lot with relatively higher priced banjos on uk e- still a few hours to go though.

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:05:21 AM

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

*ebay

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:09:54 AM

5 posts since 4/10/2021

I'm keeping an eye on it. Trying to scrape together the final funds (kids and Christmas and all that). I'll keep you posted as to how I get on...

Dec 8, 2021 - 4:20:09 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10032 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by JSB88

Thin pickings on ebay but this goldstar is in the price bracket- usual disclaimer, no connection to he ad
ebay.co.uk/itm/Gold-Star-GF100...35-2958-0


It's not so that you can just buy this for £750. It's the starting bid…

Dec 8, 2021 - 4:32:18 AM

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by JSB88

Thin pickings on ebay but this goldstar is in the price bracket- usual disclaimer, no connection to he ad
ebay.co.uk/itm/Gold-Star-GF100...35-2958-0


It's not so that you can just buy this for £750. It's the starting bid…


Absolutely, but it does have the 'make an offer' option - who knows, they might take £800? Also 0 bids with six hours to go, if it's the sort of thing your after its got to be worth a punt. Coupled with the fact most uk ebayers wouldn't know a Gold Star from a Blue Moon...present company exluded, of course ;)

Dec 8, 2021 - 4:37:59 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10032 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by JSB88
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
quote:
Originally posted by JSB88

Thin pickings on ebay but this goldstar is in the price bracket- usual disclaimer, no connection to he ad
ebay.co.uk/itm/Gold-Star-GF100...35-2958-0


It's not so that you can just buy this for £750. It's the starting bid…


Absolutely, but it does have the 'make an offer' option - who knows, they might take £800? Also 0 bids with six hours to go, if it's the sort of thing your after its got to be worth a punt. Coupled with the fact most uk ebayers wouldn't know a Gold Star from a Blue Moon...present company exluded, of course ;)


True…

Dec 8, 2021 - 12:49:48 PM
likes this

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel
It's not so that you can just buy this for £750. It's the starting bid…

It had zero bids with less than a day to go.

The auction ended with zero bids.

So anyone could, in fact, have bought that banjo for the opening £750.

They still can. Or maybe they can get it for less. The auction's been re-listed, now with the "Make Offer" option that I don't believe was there in the original.

Since there were no bidders at that price, I would imagine the seller expects the "Make Offer" price could be lower.

Dec 8, 2021 - 1:02:55 PM

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin Bob

I'm keeping an eye on it. Trying to scrape together the final funds (kids and Christmas and all that). I'll keep you posted as to how I get on...


If you're talking about the Gold Star, then you're lucky no one bid on it at 750 GBP.

But now that it's been relisted as an auction at that same starting price but with "Make Offer" you may not have the luxury of time.

This banjo could well go for under 700 pounds. I'd be inclined to offer 650 or 675 to open negotiations.

Are you close enough to pick it up live so that it doesn't have to be shipped?

Dec 8, 2021 - 1:28:55 PM
likes this

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

Obviously its a risk, but it seems banjos on ebay over a certain price point either don't sell or take several listings, so playing a waiting game might work, or at least you can ride it out until after Christmas. I get the impression most ebayers in the uk are looking for a starter banjo or a rite steal. There was a very nice Vega openback listed three or four times but it got no interest, and that is only one example of many similar I have seen this year. I suppose the market for reasonably quality banjos here is fairly tiny.

Dec 8, 2021 - 1:37:36 PM

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

Or they prefer the assurance of spending that sort of money in a reputable music shop

Dec 8, 2021 - 6:27:38 PM

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by JSB88

I get the impression most ebayers in the uk are looking for a starter banjo or a rite steal. 


Could be. If this banjo is a 21st century Chinese-made model, 750 GBP ($990/US today) is a reasonable price -- but not a steal. I think the price would have to be $800 (606 GBP) or less to be considered a steal.

On the other hand, if this is a late-1970s to early 1980s Japanese-made Gold Star, then that price is a steal. $1500 (1136 pounds) is a reasonable price for one of those.  

Dec 9, 2021 - 12:33:46 AM

64 posts since 12/12/2011

The owner tells me It’s a 2005 model.

Dec 9, 2021 - 9:07:11 AM

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Crane-o

The owner tells me It’s a 2005 model.


That was the first year of the Chinese-made Gold Stars, after a nearly 20-year lapse in production.

Here's the very informative Gold Star page from Paul Hawthorne's (RIP) excellent Asian Banjos website. Scroll down to see that after Saga revived the GF85 in 2004, they announced the GF100 at the January 2005 NAMM.

Dec 9, 2021 - 10:14:57 AM

JSB88

UK

295 posts since 3/9/2017

A couple of Gold Tones have gone on. A OB250 somewhat out of the price range but with a best offer, and a much cheaper BG150F. Might be of interest (I think the OB250 has been listed before so might be keen to sell, who knows)

Dec 9, 2021 - 5:06:19 PM

12579 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

OB250 is more of a bluegrass banjo than BG150F. Even though the number is lower, OB150 is a better buy than the OB250.

None of these is equal to the Gold Star GF100.

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.28125