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Aug 8, 2022 - 5:04:06 AM

TonyCMajor

France

24 posts since 9/22/2021

An

Aug 8, 2022 - 5:27:48 AM

TonyCMajor

France

24 posts since 9/22/2021

Sorry for the false start. has anyone any experience with 1925 Slingerland May Bell tenor (open or Resonator; 17 fret or 19 fret) for Irish Music?

Have you a comment on skin top and friction pegs and how to change them; G tuning or C tuning and string gauge?

I like this in Banjobarn

https://www.banjobarn.com/banjo/93086


Aug 8, 2022 - 6:06:02 AM

689 posts since 9/29/2009

Only my little opinion but you may want to ask the fellow to show a pic of the heel of the neck with the resonator removed. It looks to have been modified quite a bit. The thin tension hoop is not one of the better ones that Slingerland made and the hooks look to have been bent to go around the flesh hoop. It also looks like a slot was cut in the heel to accomodate the flesh hoop and there is very little if any room for head adjustment

Aug 8, 2022 - 10:23:54 AM

10024 posts since 8/28/2013

This is not a particularly good MayBell, but is probably serviceable,

These banjos were built with some odd features, for example, a metal piece at the bottom of the rim, almost like a tone ring, but actually more of a strengthening device.

I am thinking "fully restored" is a large exaggeration and I would never buy such a banjo without thoroughly checking it in person.

Aug 8, 2022 - 10:34:48 AM

TonyCMajor

France

24 posts since 9/22/2021

Is this just a slingerland quality thing. There are 2 other banjos that may be better than the slingerland. An Oriele and a Guild as below but I realy haven't a clue. what do you think.

https://www.banjobarn.com/banjo/93066

and

https://www.banjobarn.com/banjo/92760

Aug 8, 2022 - 12:18:55 PM

10024 posts since 8/28/2013

All three of thse banjos are not anything to write home about, but the Oriole might be worth a little more because it was made by Gibson. Peple tend to think all Gibson banjos are worth a lot, although not all are that good.

Aug 9, 2022 - 12:14:09 AM

TonyCMajor

France

24 posts since 9/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

All three of thse banjos are not anything to write home about, but the Oriole might be worth a little more because it was made by Gibson. Peple tend to think all Gibson banjos are worth a lot, although not all are that good.


It would help me a lot if you could point out why there're not so good. I'm really green on this but would love to find out how to evaluate an old banjo. Is it possible to get a good $400 Banjo? I can do some basic set up work and I have played tenor banjo for many years. This banjo is for a project. I would like to take my Irish Music out ont to the street where the banjo first saw the light of day in the hands of the traveler musicians of Ireland. With budget instruments (often Banjolines) they traveled the roads of Ireland with reels and jigs and popular music. My wife plays a lovely 1930s no-name tenor guitar and I thought a 1920s banjo would be good for what we want.

Aug 9, 2022 - 7:17:20 AM

10024 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by TonyCMajor
quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

All three of thse banjos are not anything to write home about, but the Oriole might be worth a little more because it was made by Gibson. Peple tend to think all Gibson banjos are worth a lot, although not all are that good.


It would help me a lot if you could point out why there're not so good. I'm really green on this but would love to find out how to evaluate an old banjo. Is it possible to get a good $400 Banjo? I can do some basic set up work and I have played tenor banjo for many years. This banjo is for a project. I would like to take my Irish Music out ont to the street where the banjo first saw the light of day in the hands of the traveler musicians of Ireland. With budget instruments (often Banjolines) they traveled the roads of Ireland with reels and jigs and popular music. My wife plays a lovely 1930s no-name tenor guitar and I thought a 1920s banjo would be good for what we want.


t can be difficult to point out what may be what because a lot d3ep4ends on experience.  Having dealt with some lesser instruments, I can offer a few pointers, but pointers sometimes are less important than playability, tone, and preference. 

Gretsch made a decent banjo, as did Slingerland, but neither of these two are among the greats. A couple of things were already pointed out about the May Bell by Billy Built, such as the thin metal tension hoop (tension hoop surrounds and holds the head) aqnd these all appear to be budget models meant for students.

The Oriole was a budget Gibson. (being a Gibson, it's value is basically from being a Gibson. 

I think perhaps until you've looked at a number of banjos and played a number of them that you should continue to seek guidance. It would help, too, if you presented a potential price range of what you can afford, and also your playing level (Some of us may have to settle for a lesser banjo, simply because of being poor). Some of value is price related--one doesn't want to spend good money on garbage, but also might want to pay a little extra if it's for something that's special and will last a lifetime.

As far as heads, that is mostly a matter of tone preference, although natural skin takes a bit more maintenance, and friction tuners are not usually preferred (i have no problems with friction tuners, but others do). The first thing is to get you a good banjo. There are a few tricks to changing tuners, but maybe that process should be saxed for another thread.

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:16:36 AM

TonyCMajor

France

24 posts since 9/22/2021

Ok. Thanks for the heads-up. I guess I can conclude that I should walk away from these three banjos and generaly not look at $400 instruments if I want any kind of quality and sound. Thanks for all your help.

Aug 10, 2022 - 5:37:27 AM

957 posts since 2/19/2012

I agree about walking away from the three you're currently considering. I trust George. However, there are good instruments to be had for $400, especially if you open up your search to open back banjos.

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Aug 10, 2022 - 7:29:48 PM
likes this

DSmoke

USA

1244 posts since 11/30/2015

I restore, repair, and setup tenor banjos for Irish trad playing. After having the same conversations with many people I decided to write the article (linked below) to help with buying a banjo. Please feel free to ask here or message me with any questions. BTW, I'm a Slingerland fan and they have some great banjos for very affordable prices. The one you asked about is not one I would buy for that price.

tradbanjo.com/pages/buying-adv...nor-banjo

Aug 12, 2022 - 3:27:44 AM

TonyCMajor

France

24 posts since 9/22/2021

Thanks Dan. That article is the best nonsense advice I have read in over 40 years of playing the Banjo. But now of course you will have to follow it up with articles on how the rim, neck, tension hoop, tone ring and tuners affect the sound and how to judge the nut, strings, bridge and tailpiece to get good setup.  Comparison between nut materials, tailpiece designs, bridge construction and head would also be very helpful. I know this has been done before and all over the internet but I think Irish music banjos in GDAE need special treatment and you'll have to look hard to find that advice. thanks again and check your email please. 

Thanks also to all the other great advice ye all gave me.

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