Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

223
Banjo Lovers Online


Shopping for a beginner banjo - opinions of a Goodtime 2 with resonator

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Nov 27, 2023 - 10:08:53 AM
493 posts since 6/19/2005

I'm looking for a lightweight bluegrass banjo with a good tone. Considering a Deering goodtime 2 with a steel tone ring and resonator. I'm figuring that could also double as my clawhammer banjo in a pinch.

Any opinions or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

Nov 27, 2023 - 10:32:19 AM
like this

4197 posts since 7/12/2006

A decent beginner banjo for the money. Not much to look at but they stay in tune and note okay. Its a low end banjo but probably best in that price range. Anything cheaper you probably dont want to mess with

Edited by - stanleytone on 11/27/2023 10:34:26

Nov 27, 2023 - 10:36:12 AM

493 posts since 6/19/2005

Any alternatives you recommend?

Nov 27, 2023 - 10:47:34 AM
likes this

BEEFUS

USA

537 posts since 10/11/2006

As Stanleytone said, you want it to "stay in tune and note OK." There are 10000 canoe paddles out there that are utter junk and won't meet that minimum requirement.

The Goodtime is pretty good. RK "Dirty 30s" is also an option. It's more of a trad banjo than the Goodtime. It should sound OK, stay tuned, etc.
Here's a link (not necessarily recommending you buy from Elderly though)
elderly.com/products/recording...tor-banjo

It also has "shoe brackets" so you can take the back off for clawhammer.

Edited by - BEEFUS on 11/27/2023 10:49:46

Nov 27, 2023 - 11:42:58 AM
like this

KCJones

USA

2858 posts since 8/30/2012

You're better off getting the standard Goodtime 2 without the tone ring. Save some money, the tone is still good, and the rest of the banjo is pretty much the same.

For the price of the Goodtime 2 Special with tone ring ($1200), you can get a Recording King RK-R36. A much much better banjo.

Edited by - KCJones on 11/27/2023 11:43:37

Nov 27, 2023 - 11:44:10 AM
like this

2337 posts since 2/9/2007

If you're going to spend that much, and can handle a heavier banjo, look at the Recording King R-35, R-36 and/or the Gold Tone OB-150.

For lighter weight, and lower price, see the RK R-20 "Songster" and the similar, (but a bit fancier) Gold Tone BG-150F.  I'd expect those to compete well with the Goodtime for playability and tone.

Edited by - Dan Gellert on 11/27/2023 11:46:58

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:03:42 PM
like this
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10393 posts since 1/22/2003

First of all: no banjo stays in tune…

Second: the OP is looking for a lightweight banjo. I would tend to buy the Recording King Dirty 30's Resonator Banjo.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:06:01 PM
likes this

280 posts since 4/19/2012

I'm pulling for Recording King here. An R-35/36 will get you a full-fledged, stage & jam ready banjo with a classic brass Mastertone flathead ring. The Goodtime Special will just get you a steel ring, which could be had for much cheaper elsewhere.

If you're set on the Goodtime, I would go for the Goodtime 2 as opposed to the Special. That price is just a bit too high for a mid-range student banjo, unless you're grabbing it used. It will also be lighter weight.

It's a bit of a cliche to talk about the fact that Goodtimes don't have truss rods, but I do think it matters. It makes it harder to justify them from a "buy it for life" perspective, which IMO -- disincentivises spending more than $800 for one.

Edited by - ObsidianSpike on 11/27/2023 12:07:27

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:25:29 PM

14804 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ragtimejoe

I'm looking for a lightweight bluegrass banjo with a good tone. Considering a Deering goodtime 2 with a steel tone ring and resonator. I'm figuring that could also double as my clawhammer banjo in a pinch.

Any opinions or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.


In my opinion, a Goodtime 2 resonator banjo with a steel tone ring is a Goodtime Special, and at $1099 new pales in comparison with the similarly priced RK-35. If you prefer a gloss finish in mahogany, choose the RK-36 for maybe $100 more. The Gold Tone OB-150 also competes at this price point.

If you're looking for, or have found, a used one, expect to pay about 75% the current cost of new, or about $825. For that same money, you can buy a used RK-35 or 36.

Again, in my opinion, the only things the Goodtime with steel tone ring has going for it are the three-ply rim, a neck profile identical to Deering's higher level models, a good tailpiece, and resale value.

For the same money, the RK-35 and 36 give you a full-weight, sand-cast, bronze alloy, Mastertone style, flat head tone ring; cast zinc alloy Mastertone style one-piece flange; a neck with a true separate fret board; an adjustable truss rod; 8 more US-threaded tension hooks, substantial notched tension hoop.

I believe there are more banjo players playing gigs on RK-35 than Deering Specials.

The only thing you give up in choosing the RK-35/36 is the ability to play it as a conventional open back with the resonator removed. It still needs the flange to hold it together and that can be inconvenient or uncomfortable.

A used RK-25 ringless resonator banjo converts easily to open back since it has a two-piece flange. Remove the flat flange plate and the tube portion remains to hold the pot together. Not many of these were made before the model was discontinued going on 10 years ago. It would do what you're asking. But they can be tough to find.

You asked for opinions.

Edited to add:  I started composing this message quite a while ago before several others gave exactly the same advice for the same reasons. Goodtime with steel ring is a souped beginner's banjo at the price of a truly professional grade banjo. No comparison.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 11/27/2023 12:37:45

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:31:47 PM
like this

KCJones

USA

2858 posts since 8/30/2012

One thing to note that gets lost in online discussions is playing comfort and neck profile. The Deering, regardless of model, will have a much more comfortable neck than any other option. But the steel tone ring seems unnecessary.

The RK-R25 is a great option but the last one I saw was nearly a year ago and it was nearly $900 used which seems like a lot to me.

As far as truss rods go, I've got 100+ year old banjos without trust rods and they play just fine. If that's not buy it for life I don't know what is.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:40:33 PM

213 posts since 1/17/2019

I started with a Goodtime 2. Lightweight, easy to play and converts to claw hammer. If you want used they are out there in the $500 range….Craigslist or FB market place. Probably find one that someone bought new and lost interest playing or upgraded…so maybe in like new condition.

Many many many other opinions here. Have fun!

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:47:44 PM

14804 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

One thing to note that gets lost in online discussions is playing comfort and neck profile.  . . .
The RK-R25 is a great option but the last one I saw was nearly a year ago and it was nearly $900 used which seems like a lot to me.


I'd guess that's scarcity pricing on the RK-25. If $900 is too high, go find another one!

I just played an OB-150 for the first time last month and thought its neck was very comfortable -- very similar to the feel of my 70s RB-250 neck after being reprofiled by John Boulding. RK-35 and 36 feel good in my hands, too.

Even with its steel tone ring, resonator, and flange plates, the Goodtime Special weighs in at only 5.5 lbs.

I agree with an earlier comment that the RK-20 Songster -- especially the current version with the "Madison" series headstock -- is better choice at lower price for someone who wants to play both closed and open back.

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:53:32 PM

493 posts since 6/19/2005

We're off on a topic of full weight tone rings. I specifically do not want a banjo that heavy. I need to keep it light an relatively cheap. Thanks

Nov 27, 2023 - 12:57:49 PM

3269 posts since 5/2/2012

The pluses I see for considering a Deering banjo are that they are well thought of, seem to hold their value well, and are US made. I'm a Gold Tone fan and I think (this is my personal opinion) you get more banjo for your buck.   Recording King and Gold Tone have banjos within your budget that will serve you well.  Those have been recommended already.  

You can have a BG banjo or a lightweight banjo, but rarely do you get both. The "standard" for a BG banjo is a (heavy) bell brass tone ring. It is my understanding that those who want to go lighter get a banjo with a wood tone ring, like one offered by Nechville or what I think of as integrated tone rings, like Romero or  Hickler offer.   Those last 2 are open back banjos, but that's the general idea of a wood tone ring.  Personally, I'd stay away from a steel tone ring.  I have a Fender Leo that has a mystery (to me) metal tone ring that, while it does affect volume, doesn't seem to give the same tone as a brass tone ring. It IS lighter than a banjo with a brass tone ring.   All that said, you can play BG music on an open back banjo, with or without some sort of tone hoop or ring.  

ADDENDUM:  Looked at your profile, and see you have some REALLY nice open back banjos.  I guess if I was in your position, I'd think of buying a Dirty 30's if I wanted to give BG a try.  Or, with your budget, the "Songster" which has a rolled tone ring.  

Edited by - thisoldman on 11/27/2023 13:18:44

Nov 27, 2023 - 1:12:35 PM

213 posts since 1/17/2019

Hmmm. So my former Goodtime 2, my current Bishline patriot and my nechville Zeus…all known as lightweight banjos…are not blue grass banjos? Guess I won’t three finger anymore.

Nov 27, 2023 - 1:18:46 PM

493 posts since 6/19/2005

you want to sell any of them under $1,000?

Nov 27, 2023 - 1:21:18 PM

3269 posts since 5/2/2012

stevebsq My first banjo was a GT CC-OT and I frequently pull it out and play 3 finger and even (gasp) BG tunes on it.

Nov 27, 2023 - 1:47:19 PM
likes this

493 posts since 6/19/2005

I just came across a Gold Tone AC-5. It appears to be a great option. Opinions?

Nov 27, 2023 - 2:04:57 PM
likes this

280 posts since 4/19/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Ragtimejoe

I just came across a Gold Tone AC-5. It appears to be a great option. Opinions?


Gold Tone's composite banjos are one of the best options if weight is a major consideration. If you're willing to forsake wood (but not tone!) it's a no-brainer over the Goodtime.

Nov 27, 2023 - 2:12:37 PM

KCJones

USA

2858 posts since 8/30/2012

Gold Tone AC banjos are made of plastic. You can decide for yourself if you want to spend good money on a plastic banjo...

If lightweight is your goal and you want a resonator, the RK-R25 is your best bet but they are hard to find. Your second best would be the Goodtime. Personally I don't think the offerings from Recording King or Gold Tone hold up against the Goodtime, just my opinion. Try them side by side and see for yourself, there's a reason that Goodtimes are as popular as they are and there's a reason they hold their value.

Nov 27, 2023 - 2:59:03 PM

14804 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ragtimejoe

We're off on a topic of full weight tone rings. I specifically do not want a banjo that heavy. I need to keep it light an relatively cheap. 


Then, if you're buying new, RK-20 at $600 is the better buy. There is nothing in the Goodtime Special that makes it worth $500 more than an RK-20. The only way a Goodtime is better is in the 3-ply rim. Otherwise, the RK-20 has everything you need.

Yes, you did say lightweight at the outset. Sorry for missing that.

Nov 27, 2023 - 3:07:54 PM
likes this

14804 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ragtimejoe

I just came across a Gold Tone AC-5. It appears to be a great option. Opinions?


Great value. Especially used.

I've played an AC-1 and found it surprisingly good sounding and fun to play.

Gold Tone's wood-rimmed competitors to the Goodtime -- the Cripple Creek 50, 50RP and 100 are generally better values than Goodtimes (in my opinion). Still in the lightweight camp, since they have multi-ply rims with rod tone hoops.

I think Goodtimes are great beginner banjos that cost too much new. They're much better values used.

Nov 27, 2023 - 3:45:13 PM

186 posts since 3/7/2011

I second the Recording King Or Goldstone banjo , much better banjo for the money

Nov 27, 2023 - 3:54:35 PM
likes this

4197 posts since 7/12/2006

Okay,stays relatively in tune...
quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

First of all: no banjo stays in tune…

 


Nov 27, 2023 - 5:18:21 PM
like this

rjoster

USA

3 posts since 1/24/2010

My first banjo was a Goodtime w/t resonator (Gumby head). I did months of research to find the pros and cons of an entry level banjo. The features you gota have, and the nice to have. Deering’s Goodtime checked all the gota have boxes (good tone, stays in tune, etc.) for a solid beginner banjo. Someone commented that it’s not very pretty - sadly it is basic looking (at the time just white maple). In the end playability and great tone trump good looks any day. Sure you are going to pay more for a Deering, but you are getting more than a name, you are getting a solid beginners banjo. I had my Goodtime for 8 years and finally moved up to a Deering Sierra.

Nov 30, 2023 - 4:41:41 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17437 posts since 8/30/2006

Adding a plate to 16 shoes with rez does not a better sounding banjo make.
Both the Recording King and Gold Tone models are imports with customer support with American jobs here on shore. And they have great customer service.
Look on the hangout for used banjos with better features. There will be plenty in your budget range.

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.515625