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Aug 11, 2022 - 5:36:09 AM
75 posts since 8/17/2020

Apart from the 1" size difference what are the pros and cons of a 11" against a 12" and vis versa ?

J

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:59:41 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15839 posts since 8/30/2006

I like the 12's. They play all the notes. Some people find they are like driving a 4x4 everywhere. I like the extra "punch." Higher frequencies fall off sooner, bass travels further. The cello banjos are cool, but not as "social."

Aug 11, 2022 - 6:07 AM
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131 posts since 2/15/2011

Think my merlin longneck is a 11 1/2 inch pot Ill needa check

Aug 11, 2022 - 6:08:09 AM

4461 posts since 10/13/2005

Though it is only an inch, some are more comfortable holding/playing a 12" or 11." You have to try both sizes before you really know. banjered

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:39:24 AM
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703 posts since 7/10/2012

I posted this a while back in another thread about 11"/12" comparisons:

"I own, play, and make 11" and 12" banjos and I love both sizes, not for how they feel, but for how they sound. I don't really notice much of a difference in comfort swapping between 11" and 12" rims, they feel about the same to me, I notice the scale length of the neck a lot more than the rim size. They can sound quite different, though. For sure, you can pretty significantly influence the tone of a banjo by changing the head, bridge (plastic/hide), strings (nylon/steel), etc. However, 11" and 12" rims have a different range of tonal possibilities and different sweet spots. I like 11" for tunes that sparkle in the upper middle and upper register and the 12" for tunes that dip into the lower middle and low register. I play both kinds of tunes, so I play both kinds of banjos. I will admit, I favor the darker melancholy tunes and, as you'd expect, I also favor my 12" banjos."

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:40:25 AM

banjopaolo

Italy

1651 posts since 11/6/2008

a 12' rim will give you more bass responce...

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:25:05 AM

131 posts since 2/15/2011

Yep my merlin long neck banjo head is definitely 11.5 inch. So would I just be in the middle of those two darker/ sparkle tones? haha


 

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:46:12 AM

mjt0229

USA

430 posts since 4/20/2015

When I bought my Rickard Maple Ridge, I tried both 11" and 12" versions in the shop. The 12" was deeper and rounder. The 11" was more focused and clear. I bought the 11".

12" seems more fashionable at the moment. It's best if you can try both to see for yourself.

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:53:45 AM

doryman

USA

1232 posts since 11/26/2012

You can have both.

Aug 11, 2022 - 10:17:12 AM

703 posts since 7/10/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Gears_D_Husky

Yep my merlin long neck banjo head is definitely 11.5 inch. So would I just be in the middle of those two darker/ sparkle tones? haha


What a cool banjo!  Got any more pics?  I just tooled up to start making 11.5" rims, gotta come up with a middle term... darkle tones?

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Aug 11, 2022 - 10:52:33 AM
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131 posts since 2/15/2011

quote:
Originally posted by dpgetman
quote:
Originally posted by Gears_D_Husky

Yep my merlin long neck banjo head is definitely 11.5 inch. So would I just be in the middle of those two darker/ sparkle tones? haha


What a cool banjo!  Got any more pics?  I just tooled up to start making 11.5" rims, gotta come up with a middle term... darkle tones?


Here you go :) It's Bill Crofut's old banjo. Here's him playing it on a world tour in the 60's.

Its quite an odd merlin, its got a backplate for the 5th string tuner. Odd shaped peghead for merlin. This merlin is the only one with this peghead. It was built from the original blueprints. So it must've been the earliest version of merlin banjo. Bill crofut was Pete Seeger's student.   You can read more about him on here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Crofut   Wikipedia isn't always reliable ofcourse but theres some interesting info that leads to other sources that are written in stone. Such as his books and his playing for Kennedy etc :)   Its also got a signature on the bottom of the neck which I believe belongs to Henny Youngman? 


Aug 11, 2022 - 2:25:21 PM
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2968 posts since 3/30/2008

Several years ago I acquired a Langstile I tenor w/ an 11 1/5" calf head. I was immediately struck by the richness of the voice & the difference in response compared to the 11" head banjos I was used to. I would definitely look for an 11.5" head in the future, but perhaps not much larger, for fear it might start getting a bit tubby.

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:16:15 PM
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5521 posts since 5/9/2007

I have a 12”, 11” and a recently added an 11-1/2”

I’m favoring the 11-1/2 incher.

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:20:52 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26308 posts since 6/25/2005

I fid a 12” uncomfortable. Wouldn’t buy another. You may find them fine. That’s why to try each.

Aug 12, 2022 - 6:53:28 AM
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703 posts since 7/10/2012

quote:

Here you go :) It's Bill Crofut's old banjo. Here's him playing it on a world tour in the 60's.

What a unique instrument, thanks for sharing 

Aug 18, 2022 - 11:26:25 PM

HERMES

USA

558 posts since 2/7/2006

I'm constantly surprised at how uncomfortable 12" banjos are for me to play.
I like the sound of many of them...and like the bass response...but they often just don't cut enough.
I prefer deeper rims...in order to get more bass response....
3" deep 11" wide sounds pretty good to my ears...

Aug 19, 2022 - 9:28:55 AM

12345 posts since 10/27/2006

A 12" Tubaphone, Whyte Laydie or Regent with 30 brackets actually measures 11 13/16". If you find one with an original 5 string neck, the nominal scale is 28". These Professional Artist sized Vegas were designed for maximum projection on a vaudeville stage with the gut strings of the day 

Most of the ones on the market, however, are converted tenors (Style M, Style R and Little Wonder, respectively). Neck makers generally use 26" (Vega Standard) or 26 1/4" (Gibson) scales that, with modern metal strings makes for a mellower tone with less volume. For this reason, the 11 13/16" was worth a lot less money than the 11" (10 15/16") Professional sized pot.

Times and tastes change and nowadays, conversion prices are about on par. The only way to see if you like it is to play one.

Edited by - mikehalloran on 08/19/2022 09:29:24

Aug 19, 2022 - 1:05:23 PM

131 posts since 2/15/2011

First banjo was a 12inch, second was an 11, later I got a 10 and now I got an 11 1/2 :) Definitely happy with the 11 1/2 best for myself. The head is an 11 1/2 remo weatherking (made in USA) Tempted to swap it out for one of them black heads though, hard to know whether or not to switch heads just to try another.

Aug 19, 2022 - 1:50:44 PM

980 posts since 3/23/2006

I've got both, and I agree that an 11" pot gives a more focused sound -- fewer lower overtones? If I had the equipment I'd check on that guess.

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