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Apr 19, 2024 - 1:04:56 AM
4 posts since 4/19/2024

Hello
I’m looking at electric banjos to run through headphones for quite practice purposes. The obvious choices are Goldtone, Nechville and Deering.
My main question is the Goldtone EB and the Deering crossfire both have plastic heads, but the Nechville comet is a solid top. As I’m looking for a quite acoustically played banjo, how much quieter are the deering and gold tone than a standard 5 string resonator are they.
The Nechville looks great, but there is also the price difference to consider
Thanks

Apr 19, 2024 - 4:03:27 AM

HSmith

UK

570 posts since 12/30/2005

Hi

I have owned a Deering Crossfire, and currently use a Nechville Meteor as my daily banjo. I also have an Osborne Chief, but prefer to use the Nechville when practicing to minimize annoyance/inconvenience to family, immediate neighbours and anyone else within a half mile range of the Chief!
I think it's the Nechville Comet which has no plastic head. My Meteor does have a plastic head, and can be played acoustically, with no need for amplification or headphones. In fact, that's generally how I use it. Played that way, it sounds very banjo-like but the volume is a mere whisper compared to a conventional banjo. Nechville provide a dampening pad which can be placed beneath the head to further reduce volume, and I have that in place too.  Of course, if you want to run it through a practice amp and maybe some effects pedals, the choice of sounds is immense.  I rarely do that, but it's fun sometimes to fool around with it.
I greatly prefer the Meteor over the Crossfire. The Meteor neck profile is superb (for my hands), and I think it sounds more banjo like than the Crossfire played acoustically. I'm not fond of the look of the Crossfire, but to me the Meteor looks super cool.  I have no experience of the Goldtone, and I do understand your concerns about price.  I was (very) lucky to find a used Meteor at a good price.  Perhaps you could try the used market?
I'm absolutely delighted with my Meteor (as are my family and neighbours!),  and I'd recommend it without reservation.
Good luck with the search.

Edited by - HSmith on 04/19/2024 04:05:39

Apr 19, 2024 - 4:46:22 AM

4 posts since 4/19/2024

quote:
Originally posted by HSmith

Hi

I have owned a Deering Crossfire, and currently use a Nechville Meteor as my daily banjo. I also have an Osborne Chief, but prefer to use the Nechville when practicing to minimize annoyance/inconvenience to family, immediate neighbours and anyone else within a half mile range of the Chief!
I think it's the Nechville Comet which has no plastic head. My Meteor does have a plastic head, and can be played acoustically, with no need for amplification or headphones. In fact, that's generally how I use it. Played that way, it sounds very banjo-like but the volume is a mere whisper compared to a conventional banjo. Nechville provide a dampening pad which can be placed beneath the head to further reduce volume, and I have that in place too.  Of course, if you want to run it through a practice amp and maybe some effects pedals, the choice of sounds is immense.  I rarely do that, but it's fun sometimes to fool around with it.
I greatly prefer the Meteor over the Crossfire. The Meteor neck profile is superb (for my hands), and I think it sounds more banjo like than the Crossfire played acoustically. I'm not fond of the look of the Crossfire, but to me the Meteor looks super cool.  I have no experience of the Goldtone, and I do understand your concerns about price.  I was (very) lucky to find a used Meteor at a good price.  Perhaps you could try the used market?
I'm absolutely delighted with my Meteor (as are my family and neighbours!),  and I'd recommend it without reservation.
Good luck with the search.


Thanks. That's some great insight 

Apr 19, 2024 - 5:16:52 AM
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Dean T

USA

64 posts since 4/18/2024

Does it have to be a banjo?  I strung my Telecaster with 5 strings, using a .09 for the high g string, tuned it identical to a banjo, and it works perfectly. I put more banjo practice time in on my Tele, than my banjos. Plenty loud to play with finger picks, as hard and long as you want, without bothering anyone.

At the saddle, I have the strings next to each other, for the correct string spacing for my picking hand. But I run the 5th string through the 6th slot of the nut, to better simulate the 4 string grouping of a banjo, and keep the 5th string out of the way.




Edited by - Dean T on 04/19/2024 05:30:18

Apr 19, 2024 - 6:08:35 AM

KCJones

USA

3002 posts since 8/30/2012

The Nechville Meteor is nearly $5k new, usually over $3k used.

Deering Crossfire must be custom ordered and is $5k new, around $2k used.

The Gold Tone can be found for $800 new, around $500 used.

For a practice banjo, it seems to me that the choice is pretty obvious.

To answer the actual question, I've got the Gold Tone EB-5 and it's very quiet when played acoustic.

Apr 19, 2024 - 6:10:12 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17513 posts since 8/30/2006

Burton and Dean Welcome to the banjo hangout, very nice work.

Apr 19, 2024 - 6:21:41 AM

Brett

USA

2633 posts since 11/29/2005

Another lower volume choice is a dobjo. They’re not very loud but loud enough you don’t have to plug in or wear headphones.

Apr 19, 2024 - 6:34:02 AM

4 posts since 4/19/2024

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

The Nechville Meteor is nearly $5k new, usually over $3k used.

Deering Crossfire must be custom ordered and is $5k new, around $2k used.

The Gold Tone can be found for $800 new, around $500 used.

For a practice banjo, it seems to me that the choice is pretty obvious.

To answer the actual question, I've got the Gold Tone EB-5 and it's very quiet when played acoustic.


Thanks. I'm leaning towards the EB-5, but wasn't sure of acoustic noise till your post. 
thanks!

Apr 19, 2024 - 6:41:16 AM

KCJones

USA

3002 posts since 8/30/2012

You can also achieve the same volume reduction with a bridge mute. Mikes Mute is pretty popular, Gold Tone makes one that works just as well, and all sorts of homebuilt methods for them, basically you just need to add a lot of weight to the bridge.

One note about the Gold Tone EB-5. Understand that the neck is a classic Gold Tone neck. The profile isn't ideal, it's a bit chunky just like all Gold Tone necks. Also might need to do some fretwork as the ones I've seen including mine had pretty sharp fret ends that need to be dressed before you can play it comfortably. It's a typical PacRim neck, not built to nearly the same standards as the Deering or Nechville would be. But it's literally 10x cheaper.

Apr 19, 2024 - 6:55:57 AM

4 posts since 4/19/2024

Thanks everybody for your responses so far, they have been illuminating.
I get that I can mute a standard Banjo which is fine, but I also want to be able to play along with a backing track or MP3 track, So the grand plan is to take the output from the banjo and the output from an iPhone or similar, somehow mixing with the gizmo and put them through headphones in for me to play along with. If all that makes sense!
Also, any advice on an interface or gizmo that will do that for me as well would be greatly appreciated

Apr 19, 2024 - 10:13:31 AM

146 posts since 12/26/2019
Online Now

FWIW my Nechville meteor is a perfect practice banjo; not just lower volume, but also a fantastic neck to play/learn/practice on.

Apr 19, 2024 - 10:31:44 AM

11342 posts since 4/23/2004

Also check out Tranjo.com. They have a "silent" option that works. Tranjo

I played one years ago. Great travel banjo. Less expensive too.

Apr 19, 2024 - 8:49:55 PM
Players Union Member

Dai Evans

Canada

50 posts since 10/4/2008

I have a Tranjo with a mesh head and pickup under the bridge as supplied by Sam Farris. It works really well. The mesh head is a drum practice head.

Apr 20, 2024 - 7:54:41 AM

103 posts since 4/19/2014

I like the crossfire because it has a regular sized banjo head, not the smaller one like the Gold Tone. (I’m not familiar with Nechville’s offerings).

I wanted one for a while, and was patient, and got a pretty good deal on it - under $1500. They seem to linger for a while on the used market.

I used to do the tele thing, and that worked also - I had to string yarn through the strings near the bridge to cut down on sustain but it worked fine.

Apr 20, 2024 - 8:40:08 AM

Dean T

USA

64 posts since 4/18/2024

quote:
Originally posted by paulhealey


...I used to do the tele thing, and that worked also - I had to string yarn through the strings near the bridge to cut down on sustain but it worked fine...


I've done that too! It worked good for plugging in. These days I'm practicing unplugged, and the tele gives me just enough volume, while playing along with YouTube backing tracks. In a past life, I had a Gold Tone Tele shaped banjo, (EBT?) with a small banjo head. That was a blast for playing out, but still too loud for home practice without driving my wife bonkers. My personal problem with mutes and the Gold Tone, was that I still needed to play softer as to not get thrown to the curb... and that changed my picking mechanics. With the unplugged Tele , I can dig in and play as hard as if I was jamming with friends. Living in a condo now, so no more wild picking parties.
 

Hi Helix! Thanks for the welcome... actually it's a welcome back, you know me. I bought your first Sunbeam. That banjo is still somewhere in the Columbia Mo area, hopefully still performing. 

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