I'm new to the forum and to the world of banjos. I'm a 70+ year old and my hearing has long since been at its best.
So.... having just purchased my B50 to see if I intended to stick with this whole banjo idea, and having set it up using the advice of various folks on BH as well as others, I'm a little discouraged to hear that banjo disparaged as much as I have. I know there are lots of better banjos out there (maybe even at a better price), but I also know that even with factory built instruments no-one knows what it'll sound like until it's properly set up and properly played. I've played guitar for 57 years and I can make a $35 yard sale guitar sound better now than my Guild D25 40 years ago.
Somehow that analogy sound better in my head than it came out in print but I think I'll let it stand.
I've got nothing against suggesting one brand over another but I think people should be careful about what how and why they criticize.
Originally posted by Rnangle
I'm a little discouraged to hear that banjo disparaged as much as I have. I know there are lots of better banjos out there (maybe even at a better price), but I also know that even with factory built instruments no-one knows what it'll sound like until it's properly set up and properly played.
I'm not sure it's disparegment, it's more about knowing what you're getting. What I do know is that no end of setup will turn a banjo that has a basic cheap rim with a thin tone with somewhat harsh overtones into something that will compete with the next step up. And nothing will turn the next step up, a multiply rim and rolled brass tone ring, into something that will compete with something with a flathead tone ring. The B50 like any of the other banjos with different names on the headstock will never have that bluegrass twang and the sound will be lacking. Setup it will be useable to learn with.
Point taken. As I said I'm new to banjo and past prime at hearing. Consequently the nuances of a finer instrument will be of more importance to others. For me, it's fine.
The fact that you know about setup is a big plus in your favor. I wonder though how many parents go into a “big box store” and buy their kid an inexpensive banjo which has not been set up properly. The kid tries to learn on it but gets frustrated and quits. I picked up three Ibanez banjos at a local store and none of them were even close to playable. I had owned a 1976 Ibanez Artist which was a great banjo so I was curious about the new ones.
I'd read that the 70's Ibanez was a good banjo and was hoping that would be a plus even if they weren't of the same quality as their predecessor (not much else is so why be different). Even if set up doesn't turn it into a gem I think I got my money's worth compared to the few others I've tried.
Originally posted by Rnangle
I think I got my money's worth compared to the few others I've tried.
Yup, you sure did - these banjos are much more playable and sound better than other ones in that price range.
Never mind the nay-sayers, jump right in and have some fun already
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