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Jun 4, 2024 - 8:00:42 AM
40 posts since 2/3/2010

Does anyone have experience amplifying a banjo with a wood tone ring? I've read and been intrigued by Danny Barnes ideas on using a wood tone ring to amplify a banjo, and his Bishline model. I play in a band with a percussionist, and while the amplification has been ok, wondering if I'd be better off with a woodie. And then wondering if the Bishline Danny Barnes would be better or should I go with a Nechville with a wood tone ring.

For amplification, I've settled on the LR Baggs pickup and using a ToneDexter. I don't like the humbucking pickups (I've tried many) as they make the banjo sound like a guitar.

Thanks,

Don

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 06/04/2024 10:37:10

Jun 4, 2024 - 11:09:06 AM

banjopaolo

Italy

1925 posts since 11/6/2008

I play two banjos with wooden tone ring (Tony Pass rim) they are both open back (one tenor and one 5str) I play with a band with drums and brass instruments and I like the sound I get with a Dpa microphone as amplification


Jun 4, 2024 - 11:33:27 AM

22 posts since 4/20/2013

I have a Nechville with wooden tone ring. I love the tone, and I love the ease of adjusting the head tightness. My friends who play Gibson banjos say it doesn’t bite hard enough to suit them, but that’s not the tone we all prefer. Cutting out three pounds of tone ring is a plus.

I recently got a C. Waldron 12” open back banjo with a Douglas fir tone ring he invented. He calls it Chromatic. He drills three holes in the tone ring at spots in line with specific notes in the scale. He says it removes wolf tones associated with those notes. I don’t know if that is true, but I can say that the banjo with Douglas fir tone wrong sounds great for clawhammer or old time and is very loud over the scoop. I shared it with some other banjo players a few nights ago, and they were shocked by the lovely tone and volume, even without picks.this banjo weighs only four pounds! It has only 12 hooks and a half inch thick two ply pot that is extra deep. It looks rather like an old minstrel banjo.

Jun 4, 2024 - 11:35:26 AM

22 posts since 4/20/2013

quote:
Originally posted by BlueMountain

I have a Nechville with wooden tone ring. I love the tone, and I love the ease of adjusting the head tightness. My friends who play Gibson banjos say it doesn’t bite hard enough to suit them, but that’s not the tone we all prefer. Cutting out three pounds of tone ring is a plus.

I recently got a C. Waldman 12” open back banjo with a Douglas fir tone ring he invented. He calls it Chromatic. He drills three holes in the tone ring at spots in line with specific notes in the scale. He says it removes wolf tones associated with those notes. I don’t know if that is true, but I can say that the banjo with Douglas fir tone wrong sounds great for clawhammer or old time and is very loud over the scoop. I shared it with some other banjo players a few nights ago, and they were shocked by the lovely tone and volume, even without picks.this banjo weighs only four pounds! It has only 12 hooks and a half inch thick two ply pot that is extra deep. It looks rather like an old minstrel banjo.


Jun 4, 2024 - 11:54:43 AM

40 posts since 2/3/2010

Thanks. I play Scruggs style, but would mainly be using this instrument amplified.

Jun 4, 2024 - 4:24:08 PM

MikeM

USA

179 posts since 3/27/2007

Well I have amplified banjos in the past with a tone ring, and blended the pickup with a microphone. I would use a little caution on changing out of a metal tone ring banjo for a wood tone ring banjo just for the sake of using a pickup. You might not get what you were looking for. I’ve changed over to wooden tone ring because I like the tone of the woodies a little better plus my back is a lot happier as well. My current banjo is very loud and I agree I would use a clip on mic if you need to play at high levels. I’m currently playing a Deering John Hartford model woody and it’s all I need. Hope this helps. M

Jun 4, 2024 - 7:52:15 PM

145 posts since 1/23/2012

quote:
Originally posted by donthacker

Does anyone have experience amplifying a banjo with a wood tone ring? I've read and been intrigued by Danny Barnes ideas on using a wood tone ring to amplify a banjo, and his Bishline model. I play in a band with a percussionist, and while the amplification has been ok, wondering if I'd be better off with a woodie. And then wondering if the Bishline Danny Barnes would be better or should I go with a Nechville with a wood tone ring.

For amplification, I've settled on the LR Baggs pickup and using a ToneDexter. I don't like the humbucking pickups (I've tried many) as they make the banjo sound like a guitar.

Thanks,

Don


What kind of banjo is it?

I have never owned a woodie banjo, but my intuition is that, with the Baggs pickup, changing the tonering would not make a noticeable difference in the pickup tone of the instrument. The Baggs pickup is embedded in the bridge and essentially gets the signal before the tone ring has anything to do with it. I'm sure there may be some difference in resonance, but how much?

On the other hand, if it is appealing to you to shed a few lbs., perhaps that makes it worth it?

Jun 5, 2024 - 5:56:52 AM
likes this

40 posts since 2/3/2010

Thanks Keith. Love the podcast btw.

The main thing I was wondering with a woodie is if it would reduce feedback. But you may be right that with the LR Baggs it wouldn't make that much of a difference.

My current banjos are a Bales and a Yates Ron Stewart; both Gibson style resonator bluegrass banjos. I'm looking at the Danny Barnes Bishline or a Nechville with the Timber-Tronic ring.

Edited by - donthacker on 06/05/2024 05:58:27

Jun 6, 2024 - 5:35:06 AM

16646 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by donthacker

Does anyone have experience amplifying a banjo with a wood tone ring? I've read and been intrigued by Danny Barnes ideas on using a wood tone ring to amplify a banjo, and his Bishline model. I play in a band with a percussionist, and while the amplification has been ok, wondering if I'd be better off with a woodie. And then wondering if the Bishline Danny Barnes would be better or should I go with a Nechville with a wood tone ring.

For amplification, I've settled on the LR Baggs pickup and using a ToneDexter. I don't like the humbucking pickups (I've tried many) as they make the banjo sound like a guitar.

Thanks,

Don


Hi Don, 

Your mention of Nechville banjos with Timbertronic wood tone ring prompts me to post my experience with Nechville light weight banjos.

I played a Nechville banjo with their Timbertronic wood tone ring against a Nechville with their lightweight Hybrid tone ring which is only a couple of ounces heavier. I bought the Hybrid tone ring banjo which I found to be more responsive, crisp, and less muddy than the all wood Timbertronic ring in my opinion (subjective of course). I also much prefer the up-the-neck crispness and volume of the Hybrid ring. It sounds more like a full weight tone ring banjo. I set the head tension at 91 drum dial and have found that I get the best tone-volume combination when using GHS PF175 Sonny Osborne Signature Strings 11-12-13-22-11
I will mention that I absolutely love the playability of the Nechville banjo necks. 

I personally have found that the best amplification for banjo is a microphone but I understand that is not always possible in some settings  

I hope this information is useful in your quest for a new banjo.

 

https://www.nechville.com/products/nechville-hybrid-tone-ring

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 06/06/2024 05:41:56

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