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Dec 7, 2022 - 3:14:08 PM
29 posts since 9/30/2020

I would like to find a tenor banjo that is antique and desireable, similar to how everybody oohs and ahhs over Gibson mandolins from the 20s. What kinds of tenor banjos would be similar to that and how can you tell if they are playable and sound good? For example, how can you tell what kind of sound it's going to have and if there are any bad frets or other defect if all you have are smallish photos in the ads?

Dec 7, 2022 - 3:42:30 PM

3183 posts since 4/7/2010

DSmoke sbhikes2

Dan Shingler wrote an excellent paper on that subject. He posted it here on Banjo Hangout several years ago. You can do a search in the archives, or maybe he will repost on this forum, since it's been a while. Perhaps even have an update.

Bob Smakula
smakula.com

Edited by - Bob Smakula on 12/07/2022 15:47:10

Dec 7, 2022 - 6:05:10 PM

DSmoke

USA

1285 posts since 11/30/2015

Thanks Bob Smakula! Here is a link to the article. I'm always more than happy to talk banjos so feel free to reach out to me. Please note that I specialize in tenors for Irish trad playing, some aspects of the article might apply to other music, while some will be more important to playing Irish tunes.

Buying Advice for an Irish tenor banjo

Dec 7, 2022 - 6:51:19 PM

29 posts since 9/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DSmoke

Thanks Bob Smakula! Here is a link to the article. I'm always more than happy to talk banjos so feel free to reach out to me. Please note that I specialize in tenors for Irish trad playing, some aspects of the article might apply to other music, while some will be more important to playing Irish tunes.

Buying Advice for an Irish tenor banjo


Thank you. Do you have any advice for how to test out a banjo that is for sale on a web site? Maybe I'm better off hoping one comes my way in person, such as at a festival or a gathering or word of mouth?

Dec 7, 2022 - 7:01:26 PM

DSmoke

USA

1285 posts since 11/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2
quote:
Originally posted by DSmoke

Thanks Bob Smakula! Here is a link to the article. I'm always more than happy to talk banjos so feel free to reach out to me. Please note that I specialize in tenors for Irish trad playing, some aspects of the article might apply to other music, while some will be more important to playing Irish tunes.

Buying Advice for an Irish tenor banjo


Thank you. Do you have any advice for how to test out a banjo that is for sale on a web site? Maybe I'm better off hoping one comes my way in person, such as at a festival or a gathering or word of mouth?


Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to know exactly what you are going to get buying online. That is why you have to buy from a reputable dealer who knows what they are doing and stands by their work. There are plenty of qualified people on this forum who can help you find a banjo. What type of music are you interested in playing? Is there a certain banjo that you found online that you are interested in?

Dec 8, 2022 - 6:10:52 AM

29 posts since 9/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DSmoke
Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to know exactly what you are going to get buying online. That is why you have to buy from a reputable dealer who knows what they are doing and stands by their work. There are plenty of qualified people on this forum who can help you find a banjo. What type of music are you interested in playing? Is there a certain banjo that you found online that you are interested in?

Thank you. That's actually helpful to know that buying from a reputable dealer is maybe a good way to do it.

I want to play Irish music with it, but also it's fun to play old time music on a banjo like this, too. I don't know how to play 5 string banjo. I mainly play mandolin and fiddle.

I have been borrowing a tenor banjo from a friend and it's great fun. I may just buy this one from him. I think it sounds really good and the length of scale is easy enough for me to play. I have an Octajo and it's very hard to play. I have to shorten the length with a capo. The only thing I don't like about this borrowed banjo is that it is rusty and it seems like the 2nd fret is sharp on the lower strings. It has no label so I have no idea what kind of banjo it is.

I have only browsed the classifieds now and then but didn't know what I was looking at, how to determine the value and quality. I am not a professional but I am wanting to replace some of my lower quality instruments with better ones, instruments I can be proud of.

Dec 8, 2022 - 8:56:29 AM

2106 posts since 1/28/2013

The Epiphone Recording series are great banjos. I have the 1929 Concert modal. If you can find them their models are $2000-$3500, maybe less now. Tenor banjos are a lot cheaper than 5 string due to a lower demand.

Dec 8, 2022 - 10:00:32 AM

1055 posts since 6/25/2006

Clifford Essex Paragon tenor banjo is sought after for Irish-style - and as Jan mentions above, the Epiphone Recording banjos.
Weymann Orchestra tenor banjos are great for both Irish and jazz-styles - I own a Style 2 - they have a focused, punchy sound. Paramount banjos with the archtop tone-ring are also popular.
 

Edited by - hobogal on 12/08/2022 10:04:46

Dec 8, 2022 - 11:12:11 AM
likes this

29 posts since 9/30/2020

Thank you. I posted pictures of the one I've been borrowing in the Collector's Corner forum in case you had any opinions about it for me.

Dec 8, 2022 - 4:05:39 PM

DSmoke

USA

1285 posts since 11/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

Thank you. I posted pictures of the one I've been borrowing in the Collector's Corner forum in case you had any opinions about it for me.


That banjo could be a decent player....put some planetary tuners and a Renaissance head on it, make sure the frets are good, and with a proper setup, it should sound and play well. 

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