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Jan 24, 2022 - 7:42 AM
Players Union Member

arlum

USA

33 posts since 1/19/2022

My new Davis Don Reno Bluegrass 5 String Resonator Banjo arrived yesterday. Since this is my first banjo I don't want to screw anything up. It seems to be perfectly set up. The string alignment to fret edge is dead on. That's the most important part for any guitar I purchase so that's the first thing I looked at. The sound is incredible. It sounds nothing like the Resonator banjos available in any of the music stores in my area. Rather that sounding "raspy" or "metallic" or "overly top end" is has the most beautiful "bell like" voice. There's a richness to it. A depth of tone I'm not used to hearing from the random banjos I've tried out over the years. I'm truly in awe. I'm also happier than a pig in sh*t!!!!
What are the the checks you folks do on receiving a new banjo? Banjos have a lot more nuts, bolts, separate pieces, etc. than guitars do. All I've done so far is take off 4 pieces of tape that were over bolt heads around the rim that I think might hold the resonator to the rim. The tuning was almost perfect and the intonation is dead on. Those four bolts I mentioned. Should they always be screwed down tight? There was a little play in two of them so I tightened them up. The neck feels perfect. The banjo sounds perfect. I love this instrument! So ...... I don't want to make any mistakes. What are my next steps that I should be checking or doing?

Thank You,
Rick

Jan 24, 2022 - 7:48:21 AM

14694 posts since 10/30/2008

Finger tightening those resonator thumb screws was the right thing to do. If they are REALLY loose they can sometimes back out, fall off and get lost!

Other than that, if you don't hear anything buzzing or rattling when you play, you're good to go.

Just play the thing and enjoy it!

The next most usual question will be "how soon should I change strings and what strings should I get?" Ask the maker what strings came on it, in case you want to get more of them.

The major advice is what NOT to do. Don't leave it sitting around in a chair, leaning against the wall or in an instrument stand. When you're not picking on it, keep it safely in the case.

I trust you have picks and a capo, right? Maybe a strap if you're gonna stand up to pick.

Congratulations and good luck.

Jan 24, 2022 - 7:49:14 AM

4332 posts since 5/29/2011

The thumb screws that hold the resonator on should be tight enough that they won't jiggle loose. No more.
Congratulations on your new instrument. I understand Tim Davis makes fine banjos.

Jan 24, 2022 - 8:01:20 AM
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2299 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer


The major advice is what NOT to do. Don't leave it sitting around in a chair, leaning against the wall or in an instrument stand. When you're not picking on it, keep it safely in the case.


I tend not to agree with this although it's dependent on the presence of pets and children. I've seen a number of times when people put there instrument in a nice case and put thecase away somewhere as a case makes for a big thing to have lying around. And then they hardly ever play. Sometimes it goes in the cupboard never to seen again. I guess this uis a fairly expensive banjo which is more reason for a case. I think it depends on where the case is and how accessible it is. I keep instruments very accessible for playing.

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:30:12 AM
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1020 posts since 10/4/2018

First, play it. Second, ask your wife to sleep in another room for a while so your banjo has a nice place to rest. You can pick her before you sleep and right when you wake up.

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:31:17 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1467 posts since 10/15/2019

Sounds like she arrived perfect. Just get her in tune and play the crap out of her. The sound will be imprinted on your brain forever more.

Jan 24, 2022 - 10:06:50 AM

leehar

USA

82 posts since 2/18/2018

The only thing you might want to check is bridge placement. In shipping this can move. Just tune it and check the noting at the twelfth fret. Give her a good name but Nellie is already taken!

Jan 24, 2022 - 10:52:27 AM
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754 posts since 8/26/2009

A little advice from a nobody:
Check setup procedures from BHO or a site like Stelling and write down the measurements if you like the sound and playability as it is now, so you can go back if anything changes.
Write down the truss rod deflection, string height from 12th fret and 22nd fret, get somebody to measure with a drum dial head tension as it is now, and maybe mike string gauges. etc.
Always good to be able to get back to where it sounds best.
Especially if you change anything.
Phil

Jan 24, 2022 - 12:46:28 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5766 posts since 10/12/2009

Me? New banjo?  I would have removed all 4 of the thumbscrews, taken the resonator off and looked inside, Make sure there was no play/movement on the co-rod nuts, see how the tone ring looks/fits.

Then I would check the head tension, make sure it hasn't stretched a little bit since installation, or in shipping (from temperature changes, etc..)

If everything is in order, put the resonator back on, tune it up, check bridge position, then start pickin' the thing !

Enjoy your new banjo!!

Jan 24, 2022 - 1:25:26 PM

5062 posts since 5/9/2007

Enjoy

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Jan 25, 2022 - 4:31:14 AM
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Buddur

USA

3194 posts since 10/23/2004

Hug it every day and tell it how much you love it.

Then let us know what your Wife says.

Jan 25, 2022 - 4:57:37 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27163 posts since 8/3/2003

Some good advice? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you like the sound of it and it stays in tune, just play it and enjoy.

Jan 25, 2022 - 8:08:17 AM
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5483 posts since 12/10/2003

We really appreciate your purchase of your New Davis banjo and we're here should you need any help with any setup questions or problems, thanks so much

Jan 25, 2022 - 6:14:59 PM

432 posts since 4/2/2009

I got a new Davis a while back too. Hang on to it!! These banjos are going to be very popular in the not too distant future. Soon as the rest of the world finds out about them.
Mine was good to go right out of the box too. Tim is a great guy to deal with, and Im sure he will take good care of you.

Jan 26, 2022 - 7:35:27 AM
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Alex Z

USA

4823 posts since 12/7/2006

Since this is my first banjo I don't want to screw anything up.

It seems to be perfectly set up.

The string alignment to fret edge is dead on. . . .  

The sound is incredible. . . .

has the most beautiful "bell like" voice.

There's a richness to it. A depth of tone I'm not used to hearing from the random banjos I've tried out over the years.

I'm truly in awe. . . . 

. . . The tuning was almost perfect and the intonation is dead on. . . . 

The neck feels perfect.

The banjo sounds perfect.

I love this instrument! 

 . . . I don't want to make any mistakes. What are my next steps that I should be checking or doing?

The BHO is a hammer, and everything looks like a nail.  smiley  They'll want you to strip down the thing into tiny parts, reassemble, and, measure and set every every item the way each individual does it on their own.

The object of such an exercise is to have you describing the banjo with even more praise and desirability than you already have.  An unlikely occurrence.

Since you play the guitar, and since you like the banjo so much, and since you are new to the banjo, maybe play it for a few months -- see if anything is not sounding or feeling so good anymore.

Enjoy your new instrument as is for a while.  smiley

Jan 26, 2022 - 8:39:45 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10113 posts since 1/22/2003

This banjo will probably sound great from the start. After some time, you will notice that it doesn't sound that good anymore. That's because, when new, plastic heads stretch a little bit. That's when you have to tighten the head a bit; your banjo will then sound again like it should.

Jan 26, 2022 - 8:54:30 AM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

This banjo will probably sound great from the start. After some time, you will notice that it doesn't sound that good anymore. That's because, when new, plastic heads stretch a little bit. That's when you have to tighten the head a bit; your banjo will then sound again like it should.


You're right, but too often banjos move away from sounding great so slowly that people don't notice. 

It would be very nice to have a drum dial to see where the head tension is now and then check it occasionally. 

Jan 26, 2022 - 9:17:11 AM
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58981 posts since 12/14/2005

Just HAD TO read the comments, see if ANYBODY would tell you that the first thing to do is:
"Take it out of the box"

Congratulations on getting a very nice banjo for starts.

It saddens me to think of the THOUSANDS of potential players who got a cheap, crappy banjo for starts, couldn't get a decent sound, and gave up, never to know the JOY of sharing banjo music.

Jan 27, 2022 - 5:04:22 PM

516 posts since 3/25/2007

Congratulations on starting with a great banjo! Just play it and learn all you can! Enjoy!

Edited by - pickinon5 on 01/27/2022 17:05:01

Jan 27, 2022 - 6:33:41 PM

202 posts since 8/31/2008

If it's the Don Reno Model the first thing you should do is play a Don Reno tune! Have fun even if you have to play other styles every once in awhile.

Jan 28, 2022 - 1:23:30 PM

7885 posts since 9/5/2006

first thing is too make sure wife is in the kitchen,,, put sockeye on the turntable then strip down to your birthday suit and put the newly purchased banjo in the middle of the living room and dance in time with the album on the player around the banjo until she walks in the room.... just kiddin ! 

 do your set up. and pick the fire out of it 

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 01/28/2022 13:24:58

Jan 31, 2022 - 8:17:51 AM
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Players Union Member

arlum

USA

33 posts since 1/19/2022

This is all coming together perfectly. I've been hung up doing 8 and 12 hour midnight shifts on overtime and that ends tomorrow. Yesterday I received the last of my new banjo equipment, (a ProPik, (X2), for the thumb and a pair of Sammy Shelor Stainless Steel finger picks, (X2) + lesson books from Tony Trishka and a 3" wide cradle strap from Lakota Leathers. When I finish tonight's midnight shift, (7 AM Tuesday morning), I'm off until Saturday afternoon. My Subaru Outback has an appointment for it's 24,000 checkup at 7:15 AM just up the road from work. I should be home by 11 AM at the latest. The weatherman says rain coming in during the early afternoon Tuesday and then turning to freezing rain by early evening, ice by late evening and then snow overnight that should continue to fall until late Thursday creating an accumulation of 10"+ inches. I'm going to be snowbound with all my new banjo stuff and no work scheduled until Saturday. It's a dream come true !!!!!

Feb 2, 2022 - 2:13:15 PM

11138 posts since 6/17/2003

Play it. He sells a fine banjo. As with any new banjo, it will settle in and might need a little head tightening down the road, but don't fool with it such that you eliminate the set up you have. As a new player concentrate on your playing skills instead of switching out parts to get a "better" sound. The better sound will be your skills as time goes on.

Feb 4, 2022 - 5:47:37 PM
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Players Union Member

arlum

USA

33 posts since 1/19/2022

So now it's Feb. 4th. I've had time to get acquainted with my Davis Don Reno Banjo as well as take it to a few music stores in the area to compare it to other banjo's I'd passed on during my search. I so freakin' scored. Tim Davis pretty much wiped the slate on anything I had available locally. Note* Locally I had checked out Recording King, Gold Star, Deering, Goldtone, Washburn and Blueridge. I also tried out a few friends banjos made by Bishline, Huber and Stelling. Note* They bring home more bread than I do. Still ..... I found a couple of Bishline banjos for sale and passed on them for the Davis. The Huber and Stelling line must be pretty high end because my friends that own them could pretty much own whatever they want. Yet ....both of my wealthier friends were surprised at how good my Davis played and the tones it produced. They agreed that nothing I'd tried out locally compared to the Davis. Two friends did point out that the Deerings that were available for me to try out weren't Deering's "high end" range but neither of them owned a Deering so they must have had a reason for owning the Stelling and Huber banjos they'd chosen.

I'm new to this. I don't really know how to compare one brand to another other than looking for tones that appeal to me, build quality and information I found available on the internet. Locally ..... nothing compares. I couldn't compare my Davis to any "high end" Deerings so let's leave it at that. My two banjo playing buddies that owned the Huber and Stelling were impressed with my purchase and, honestly, when I consider the price they paid to get the instrument they own and then compare it to my very first banjo .... I think I knocked it out of the ballpark. Truly ........ I couldn't be happier with my decision. Compared to banjos that cost 1 1/2 to twice the price, in my newbie opinion, my Davis Don Reno at least equaled them. In pure truth ... I liked my Davis better than any of the banjos I compared it to. Maybe it's just one of those "it was made for me" things but dam*. I love this banjo. If I had plans for any further banjo purchases and won a powerball or something I would have to consider other brands, although I Know of none I would like better. For a lifetime banjo I think I scored a bullseye !!!!!

Tim ..... if you're listening ............ Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. You Rock! Oh. Wait. This isn't an electric guitar site. Ummm. Tim .... if you're listening ............. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. You ......... I'm screwed. I don't know what to say. This is all so new to me. I'm seeing lot's of stuff that works with electric and acoustic guitars but I'm not sure how they would work with a banjo loving crowd. Tim Davis. You are a fine banjo builder who should have a long and profitable banjo building adventure in front of you. I'm sorry I'm a newbie because a long time players opinion would mean so much more. Still .... if you'll take the opinion of a 60 + year old guitarist and multi instrumentalist .... your work is equal to folks who've been doing this for fifty plus years F**k *t. You Rock!

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