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Mar 4, 2024 - 10:24:39 AM
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5 posts since 11/4/2023

I have a 1997 Deering Sierra maple-backed five string banjo In pristine condition. It sounds beautiful and mellow when playing a slow song, and bright and snappy when playing a fast bluegrass tune. I've been told it's worth upwards of $2000 no sweat.
Here is the problem: I am sixteen and bought an old ford as my first truck, which has been sucking the life out of my bank accounts with breakdowns and awful gas mileage.
I don't have the money to keep pouring into it, and I am digging myself into a hole with no way to put down the shovel.
I love playing the banjo and don't want to give it up, but is there a cheaper banjo (maybe a Deering Goodtime?) that would be a good replacement if I were to sell mine?

Don't make fun of my Ford. It's a great truck, and has got itself out of every mess it's got itself into.

Edited by - Deerin my sights on 03/04/2024 10:27:45

Mar 4, 2024 - 10:29:11 AM
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1651 posts since 11/10/2022

Get rid of the Ford. Buy an electric bike. Mooch off your friends rides. Keep the banjo.

Worry about vehicle maintenance down the road.

Mar 4, 2024 - 10:30:37 AM
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5 posts since 11/4/2023

I don't mooch off other people. I try to be there for other people to mooch off of me.

Mar 4, 2024 - 10:31:30 AM
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5 posts since 11/4/2023

Also, an electric bike would die on our mountain road.

Mar 4, 2024 - 10:43:04 AM
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3470 posts since 11/29/2007

Sorry for the tough spot you find yourself in. The problem with a drastic step down in banjo quality is you will really notice the difference and not likely to want to play as much. I guarantee you your ability to play music and love of it will last a lot longer than any car or truck. There are some banjos that cost less than $2K that will still play well but the difference if you sell the Deering wouldn't get you far. If possible, downsize the vehicle and not the banjo. Trying to replace the banjo a few years down the road will cost a lot more than holding on to the one you have. Try to keep the two items separate in your decision making if you can.
Good luck with whatever you decide you have to do.


Mar 4, 2024 - 10:51:18 AM
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1651 posts since 11/10/2022

"I don't mooch off other people. I try to be there for other people to mooch off of me."

So you buy your own food and pay rent? Amazing for 16. just kidding

I was just saying youll regret ditching the banjo more than the ford.

FWIW My electric bikes eats these western mountains and yearns for more. Maybe your referring to the cold weather in WA. That I get.

Good luck.

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:17:35 AM
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421 posts since 5/29/2009

So what will you do when the money you make from selling your Deering runs out? The problem is the truck. But it’s your decision.

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:18:04 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


29975 posts since 8/3/2003

Sell the old money grabber, buy a less expensive vehicle that's in better shape and keep the banjo. No old truck is worth putting more and more money into it, it will just keep having problems and costing you money.

More years ago than I can remember my husband had an old '40 Ford that he was going to restore. Unfortunately, it kept having problems, engine, transmission, etc., until it ate into money for our rent and kids food. He finally sold it, got over his need to restore and life went on.... better and more financially secure than before.

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:18:08 AM

5 posts since 11/4/2023

I'll try separate my truck and my banjo in my mind. Thank you for the kind advice.

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:45:26 AM

1 posts since 4/6/2004

Just an FYI, I just purchased a Deering Goodtime banjo simply because my Gibson is so heavy and I wanted something lighter so that I will practice more and can travel with. It is a great sounding banjo for the money! Love it!

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:46:40 AM
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Eric A


1870 posts since 10/15/2019

You might get different answers on the "Old Ford Truck Hangout". :)

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:55:45 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)


27886 posts since 6/25/2005

The Sierra is a lifetime banjo. You really won’t have to ever buy another one. That doesn’t go for the “Fix Or Repair Daily” truck. If you sell the banjo you’ll have a lesser one you’re unhappy with to go with the truck you’re unhappy with. If you keep the banjo, at least you’ll be happy with it.

Mar 4, 2024 - 12:04:51 PM
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5061 posts since 2/20/2016

I know very well that cars are very expensive now. I just had to replace my 20+ year old van, and wasn't prepared for how high they've gotten.

All that having been said, if you can find a way to hold onto to the banjo, it will probably last longer than your current truck or whatever used vehicle you might be able to replace it with. I don't think that you would be very happy if you replaced your Sierra with a Goodtime. But if you have to, you have to.  There may be an alternative, though.

Springtime is almost upon us. Now is a good time to clear brush; and lawns will soon need mowing. Perhaps you can raise some extra cash doing yard work.  Do you have any neighbors who need help keeping after their yards?  If you lived near me, I could give you some work right now.

Edited by - rcc56 on 03/04/2024 12:12:05

Mar 4, 2024 - 12:15:44 PM
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2115 posts since 2/22/2006

It's a nice banjo, and as mentioned elsewhere it is one you could be happy playing forever. I have an older Deluxe and it is exactly what I wanted and all I'll ever need (although I have a couple others). What people say you can get for it and what you might actually get when you try to sell it are two different things, and soon the money will be gone and you will be left with a banjo that isn't as good as the Sierra - or all the money will go into the truck and you will have no banjo. Keep the Sierra and play it.

Mar 4, 2024 - 12:17:30 PM
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1984 posts since 4/12/2004

If you can sell the Deering for $2000, do so. Then sell the Ford, and buy a Toyota, and a used Goldtone Twanger.

Mar 4, 2024 - 12:17:48 PM

61937 posts since 12/14/2005

How about a used motor scooter (120+MPG) for when it's not raining, or you're not hauling something big, and let the truck sit?

Is there a TRADE SCHOOL nearby that teaches AUTO REPAIR?
See if you can take a course, or better yet, can you offer them your truck to rebuild, and return to you (or some kind of reasonable price) afterward?

As others have said: That's a top of the hill banjo, and you'll regret selling it, especially if you pour the money into Old Rusty.

Mar 4, 2024 - 12:59:45 PM
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4815 posts since 10/13/2005

Asking banjo-holics? Whatd'Ya expect? banjered

Mar 4, 2024 - 1:25:08 PM
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2933 posts since 8/30/2012

What you've described is an operational budget deficit (negative cashflow), and your solution is a capital fundraiser (cash injection). The problem with this, is that you've applied a one-time solution to a continuous problem.

Your truck is going to continue to cost you money. That is not going to change, no matter what happens. The proceeds from your banjo sale will fix this issue once, and only once. And next time your truck costs you money, you won't have another banjo to sell.

You need to fix your cashflow issue by either increasing your recurring income or by reducing your recurring expenses. Selling your possessions will not solve this issue, and a month from now you'll find yourself in the exact same situation with even fewer solutions than before.

Also, just for a reality check, you are never going to get $2000 for a 1997 Sierra. 

Edited by - KCJones on 03/04/2024 13:31:16

Mar 4, 2024 - 5:29 PM
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760 posts since 11/9/2021

If its a OLD Ford truck, you should be able to fix just about anything on those. Straight 6 with no EPA crap on it? Heck my grandson could fix those, they are like stone ax and wooden club simple.

Mar 4, 2024 - 11:31:03 PM



571 posts since 3/9/2017

Sell the banjo, sell the truck, buy a cheaper banjo and a cheaper to run truck. As mentioned before, 2k will quickly be gone if the truck keeps needing money spent on it. Your 16! Remember how the banjo and the truck made you feel and in ten years or so you might be able to afford recapturing both, or 15 years, or twenty. You have plenty of time. 
You'll also have your first 'banjo's loved and lost' story. 'I had a Deering Siera once, that was a beautiful banjo, but...'

Edited by - JSB88 on 03/04/2024 23:38:01

Mar 6, 2024 - 4:10:19 PM
Players Union Member



17487 posts since 8/30/2006



Mar 6, 2024 - 9:57:47 PM
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45 posts since 7/18/2019
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Hi Ethan………..
So, ya got a cash dilemma huh?

You’ve been given some good collective advice and points of view above but you’ve not given us much information to work with…….such as – are you a strappin’ 4-H type farm boy ?....or a 24/7 gamer ? you have a regular 8-hour-a-day job …..are you a rural or city dweller………are you a single or married father with babies to feed and household bills to pay ?......(and on and on, etc).

I think I was 16 years old once upon a time so I can sort of relate.

You didn’t say whether your good ol’ truck is your first vehicle or just your first truck. In many social circles a young man’s first vehicle is a right of passage from one level of growth into the next. I’m sure you know that. Possibly for you, the passage occurs when you own an ol’ Ford.

I can just picture it – Ethan drivin’ the ol’ Ford down the road with the banjer buckled up in the passenger seat and listenen’ to some song from ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’. Tis Heaven.

If you don’t mind continually paying for ‘You-Pick’em’, or NAPA, or RockAuto truck parts, and you want to keep on playing your Sierra (because you love playing it), then …

.-reality check –

You may [or likely] have unspoken-for productive time on your hands to generate some moola by using your truck and your brawn.

With enough personal effort, desire, and laser-focused on a goal to keep both the truck and the Sierra, you can prevail.

Can you work overtime ?
Can you haul firewood ?
Can you work on someone else’s truck for $5 because they can’t do it themselves ?
Can you approach some small business and ask if you can run a delivery/pick0up errand for them or clean-up the warehouse ?
Can you……. (the options for you may be endless).

Or, maybe since you first posted 2 days ago you’ve now figgered things out.

Likely, if you sell the Sierra you’ll regret it. If you off-load the truck you’ll simply just remember it.

The Sierra quality may be more difficult to replace.

I’m curious to hear how this works out for you.

Welcome to the real world. Oh, by-the-way, one of my neighbors is paying off a $675,000 mortgage.

Mar 7, 2024 - 7:31:22 AM

Bart Veerman


5685 posts since 1/5/2005

Are you 16 or are you 21 as per your home page?
Do you live on your own or with your parents?
Do you need the truck for your carpenter job?

Mar 7, 2024 - 8:34:27 AM

bill t


354 posts since 12/14/2012

I think the decision somewhat depends upon what the old Ford truck is and
how much financial responsibility you have. Is the truck one that would be
difficult to replace? If you really want that truck, one can always buy another
good banjo. I had a '34 Ford coupe when I was 16. It wasn't much to look at
but I sure would like to have it back.

Mar 7, 2024 - 9:15:03 AM



1479 posts since 11/26/2012

KCJones, above is spot on with his analysis of the situation. Additionally, I don't know if you could get 2k for that banjo. I've seen plenty Sierras sold for less here. There are a couple right now that are 20 years newer than yours selling for about 2K. And that's the asking price, not the selling price! If you sell that Sierra for $1400, deduct $150 for shipping, buy a Goodtime for $600, add $150 for shipping, you've netted $500. At least that's how these things always seem to go down for me!

Mar 7, 2024 - 10:17:28 PM
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997 posts since 6/29/2007

When you are old, and after many old trucks ands cars are in the junk yard, you will wish you had kept that banjo.

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