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Jun 13, 2024 - 9:06:56 AM
60 posts since 7/14/2012

Hey all,
Looking for ur thoughts.
I have had a Deering Boston (which I loved to play and felt really good to me and truly regret selling. )
I later had a Gold Tone OB250. Which just never felt comfortable to play and I sold.
I also have a Gold Tone Banjola, which also just isn't comfortable and I am going to sell. I guess I just don't like the feel of a Gold Tone
So, I am now looking at going back to Deering, but am torn between a Boston, or spending the extra and getting a Mahogany Sierra.
As a beginner/intermediate player I just keep asking myself if the $500 to 700 difference in price really worth it
My biggest issue and reason for ask is no local area has a Sierra I can try out, but there is a local guy selling a Boston.
Just torn on what to do. This will likely be my last Banjo purchase for while.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 06/13/2024 11:25:02

Jun 13, 2024 - 9:13:05 AM
Players Union Member

DRL777

USA

329 posts since 12/12/2021

Go play one. The mahogany 'should' sound different and possibly less bright

Jun 13, 2024 - 9:26 AM
like this

341 posts since 2/27/2004

No dog in this hunt but I would go with the Sierra.

Jun 13, 2024 - 10:45:15 AM

735 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by CGbownut

Hey all,
Looking for ur thoughts.
I have had a Deering Boston (which I loved to play and felt really good to me and truly regret selling. )
I later had a Gold Tone OB250. Which just never felt comfortable to play and I sold.
I also have a Gold Tone Banjola, which also just isn't comfortable and I am going to sell. I guess I just don't like the feel of a Gold Tone
So, I am now looking at going back to Deering, but am torn between a Boston, or spending the extra and getting a Mahogany Sierra.
As a beginner/intermediate player I just keep asking myself if the $500 to 700 difference in price really worth it
My biggest issue and reason for ask is no local area has a Sierra I can try out, but there is a local guy selling a Boston.
Just torn on what to do. This will likely be my last Banjo purchase for while.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks


Before you buy your next banjo try a Gold Tone OB3 "Twanger" probably the best inexpensive banjo on the market. It really punches out the sound.

Jun 13, 2024 - 11:12:38 AM
like this
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30321 posts since 8/3/2003

I second the idea to go play/listen to one. That should help make your decision. You may instantly fall in love with the difference in sound or it may immediately turn you off. At least you'll know before you shell out the extra money.

As far as it being worth the difference in price, it you like the sound, if it feels good to play, easy to fret, easy to keep in tune, then who cares if it costs more if it's what you like and want.

I went from a very inexpensive beginner banjo to a Stelling and the price was definitely a shock but I've never regretted it.

Jun 13, 2024 - 12:22:25 PM

175 posts since 11/30/2021

To me, the Sierra will sound more traditionally bluegrassy if that's what you're going for. I've played a couple of mahogany Sierras and liked both of them. I've never had the chance to play a Boston, but the clips I've heard sound pretty bright to me. Not in a bad way, just brighter and more metallic than the Sierra.

Also to consider: I think you will be less likely tempted to upgrade if you go with the Sierra. It's enough banjo to hold you over for a long time if that's what you're wanting.

Ultimately, it's always best to play both options before you buy. My opinion and everyone else's is just based on personal preference and bias, and may not be the best advice to suit your own taste.

Jun 13, 2024 - 2:03:10 PM

60 posts since 7/14/2012

Appreciate the insight. I just have to find one to play, closest one I have found so far is about 2.5 hours away. Gonna try some music shops closer, but most either don't list what they have or the few I called only carry Gold Tone. Will keep trying. Thanks again

Jun 13, 2024 - 2:34:05 PM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30321 posts since 8/3/2003

CGbownut

Are you where you can go to festivals? If so, go, look for that particular banjo and let the owner know of your interest and ask if he would play it or you. If he does and is amenable, ask if you can play it for a couple of minutes to see how it sounds from behind the banjo.

Jun 13, 2024 - 5:12:07 PM

KCJones

USA

3115 posts since 8/30/2012

For a big purchase it can be worth a longer drive. Longest I've driven was 7 hours each way, made a weekend of it and spent an entire day at Eldery Instruments. Played nearly every brand/model and really got to feel the differences. Ended up buying my prized banjo that I'll keep forever. It's definitely worth doing something like that if you're shopping and not sure what to get.

Jun 14, 2024 - 7:55:12 AM
Players Union Member

NNYJoe

USA

12 posts since 2/15/2023

I'm probably the same beginner/intermediate as you and I play a Deering maple Sierra. (Full Disclosure-In my profile pic I'm playing an old homemade walnut banjo my wife gave me.)

The maple is a bit brighter than the mahogany, and I live among the maple trees of the north woods & eat maple syrup on my steel cut oats. The maple banjo is a natural extension of my life. Is it worth the extra money?
IMHO, the decision goes right to the core of why you play & what you want to get from your banjo playing. Easy way to figure out "why" is think of who are your banjo heroes. If it's Earl & JD, then you're all bluegrass. If it's Earl & Jens or Bela, you love tradition but can't wait to see what's around the next bend on the journey.
If you're all about bluegrass, get yourself a Twanger. But if you're willing to tolerate some folks screwing up their face & whining, "That's not bluegrass," go for the Sierra. Close to the bridge it will give you a good bluegrass sound, but it also has the integrity to deliver amazing mid-range, sustain & dynamics for more contemporary stylings.
When you reach the point where you really begin to bear down on the banjo, due to frustration or not, the Sierra stands up to whatever you dish out. And it will continue to perform well as you advance in your skills.
Good luck!

Edited by - NNYJoe on 06/14/2024 07:57:12

Jun 15, 2024 - 10:38:35 PM

1110 posts since 6/25/2006

I'm wondering if the neck profile is important if the Goldtone banjos have felt uncomfortable in comparison - Deering make really comfortable necks. It's a shame you can't try some different Deerings out. The Sierra has a resonant, fuller sound but is a heavier banjo.

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