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Apr 14, 2024 - 1:46:28 PM
6055 posts since 3/6/2006

What would be a good open back for playing finger style? Please, NO scoop - I need all the frets! I was thinking around $1500 but might pay more if something really caught my imagination.

Thanks

Apr 14, 2024 - 1:59:20 PM
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timacn

USA

636 posts since 7/30/2004

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others I would argue, an open backed banjo with a "Tubaphone" tone ring would be the best choice for what you want to do. Tubaphones can do everything well, from three finger picking to frailing.

Apr 14, 2024 - 2:09:22 PM
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354 posts since 2/22/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl

What would be a good open back for playing finger style? Please, NO scoop - I need all the frets! I was thinking around $1500 but might pay more if something really caught my imagination.

Thanks


Greg Boyds had ODE'S with no scoop.  Check him out. 

Apr 14, 2024 - 2:21:41 PM

11 posts since 7/31/2022

I really love my Stone Banjo Company banjo. He’ll make them to order and in your price range

Apr 14, 2024 - 2:28:05 PM
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72 posts since 12/23/2019

Be sure to look at Zach Hoyt's banjos.

Apr 14, 2024 - 4:45:49 PM

15228 posts since 6/2/2008

Maybe a used Bart Reiter with a tone ring? I was really imressed with one I played back when Bart was still building them. But I have no idea how much they cost today.

I would actually consider puting together a parts project. Not at all suggesting you'd want to do that. But here's what I personally would think about doing with new parts from Gold Tone and elsewhere:

- Gold Tone OT-800 rim -- 3-ply, ready for Tubaphone tone ring and bracket band flange - $200

- Gold Tone Tubaphone tone ring - $200

- Gold Tone - bracket band flange - $80

- Gold Tone Bela Fleck neck (without name in peghead) $750 + $200 fitting to pot - $950

That's $1430 from Gold Tone

Then it still needs a tension hoop (which can come from them), hooks and nuts (which I'd get US threaded from Sullivan, Elderly or Balsam), tailpiece, head, co-rods (maybe get those from Gold Tone same time as neck service).

Anyway, it goes over $1500 but might be cool.

Finding a used open back pot with some sort of tone ring might bring the price down.

Apr 14, 2024 - 8:05:02 PM
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13132 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl

What would be a good open back for playing finger style? Please, NO scoop - I need all the frets! I was thinking around $1500 but might pay more if something really caught my imagination.

Thanks


If you are hankering for a Tubaphone and the idea of US Made doesn't bother you... Check out those three Wildwood Troubadors in the BHO Classifieds. 

Wildwood in the Classifieds

Apr 14, 2024 - 10:39:07 PM
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6055 posts since 3/6/2006

Thank you all, you’ve been very helpful.

Apr 15, 2024 - 3:31:26 AM

39575 posts since 2/28/2006

You can play finger style on any banjo. Are you interested in Scruggs three finger, two finger, both, or something else?

Apr 15, 2024 - 6:09:08 AM

KCJones

USA

3017 posts since 8/30/2012

I'm curious about what style you'd play.

A classic-era banjo might be your best bet for fingerstyle. Something with nylon strings, flat neck angle, and higher action.

Apr 15, 2024 - 6:43:26 AM
Players Union Member

tonygo

USA

127 posts since 12/29/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl

What would be a good open back for playing finger style? Please, NO scoop - I need all the frets! I was thinking around $1500 but might pay more if something really caught my imagination.

Thanks

I know of a Fairbanks Whyte Ladie on Vashon.  Might be for sale.
Apr 15, 2024 - 7:24:34 AM
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6055 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

I'm curious about what style you'd play.

A classic-era banjo might be your best bet for fingerstyle. Something with nylon strings, flat neck angle, and higher action.


I have a couple banjos that are fine for bluegrass. I needed something to play jazz and classical on, and I was always using various mutes to tamp down the volume and mellow out the tone. So I thought why not get a banjo that does that intrinsically?  I snagged the ODE over at Greg Boyd. Always a bit of a risk but I trust that brand. 

Apr 15, 2024 - 11:58:23 AM

13132 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl
 I snagged the ODE over at Greg Boyd. Always a bit of a risk but I trust that brand. 

Which one? 

Apr 15, 2024 - 1:09:42 PM

6055 posts since 3/6/2006

The walnut limited. I don’t know much about it except Chuck put it together.

Apr 15, 2024 - 1:23:54 PM
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15228 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TheLastWord

You can play finger style on any banjo. Are you interested in Scruggs three finger, two finger, both, or something else?


Give yourself a treat and spend some time watching and listening to the dozens of solo banjo performance videos Laurence has posted over the years.

Apr 15, 2024 - 3:02:31 PM
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6055 posts since 3/6/2006

Thanks Ken, it is a bit difficult to describe what “style” I play.

Apr 15, 2024 - 3:52:17 PM

15228 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl

Thanks Ken, it is a bit difficult to describe what “style” I play.


I watch your videos for inspiration from your banjo arrangements of non-banjo material -- such as your takes on pop standards from the Great American Songbook. Also your rendition of the Beatles' Here There and Everywhere and other too numerous to mention.

From what I see, you can play anything you want.

Enjoy your new open back.

Apr 15, 2024 - 6:01:13 PM
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6055 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl

Thanks Ken, it is a bit difficult to describe what “style” I play.


I watch your videos for inspiration from your banjo arrangements of non-banjo material -- such as your takes on pop standards from the Great American Songbook. Also your rendition of the Beatles' Here There and Everywhere and other too numerous to mention.

From what I see, you can play anything you want.

Enjoy your new open back.


That's very kind of you Ken, thanks. 

Apr 17, 2024 - 8:12:49 AM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2949 posts since 3/10/2008

For me, it's hard to beat a tubaphone for nice tone, although my Gibson RB-175 with the brass rod tone ring is comparable. Maybe it's the age of both. For price, finding a Vega tubaphone with a reproduction neck is usually the best deal.

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