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Jun 16, 2024 - 3:10:39 PM
21 posts since 12/27/2023

So I’m pretty new, and finally settled on primarily doin two finger, with some claw hammer and maybe rarely some bluegrass. Now, I don’t want to have to buy a whole new banjo yet (my current one being a savannah sb-100). Now I know that for most old time, they used open backs. I did not know this upon buying a banjo. Would it be worth it to remove the resonator? If so, how would I go about it?

Jun 16, 2024 - 3:21:46 PM
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2361 posts since 5/19/2018

Don’t need to remove the resonator to play traditional music.

Some of the all time greats played resonator banjos.

Jun 16, 2024 - 3:22:01 PM



12398 posts since 2/7/2008

That banjo is not likely to have a particularly authentic traditional tone either way but if you want to remove the resonator ;

First remove the resonator by undoing the thumbscrew on each of the flange plates. A Phillips screwdriver might help.
Then you dont want the flange plates sticking out because the might hurt you. Looks like you remove the nuts from the hooks that are holding those on. Then replace the nuts.

Save the parts somewhere, in the banjo case is a good idea so they dont get seperated.

Edited by - Fathand on 06/16/2024 15:25:19

Jun 16, 2024 - 3:23:11 PM
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2361 posts since 5/19/2018



Jun 16, 2024 - 3:30:28 PM

619 posts since 7/28/2016

This is just my opinion. Removing the resonator can be easy. You just unscrew the bolts holding it on. Openback banjos don't have a flange around the pot so some people remove that also.

Some people say you can play all type of music on a resonator banjo with the resonator on.
I somewhat disagree. I have tried playing clawhammer on my RK 85 (considered a good resonator banjo) with both the resonator on or off and it doesn't sound good ... to me.
I have a bunch of open backs and I've heard really cheap open backs that sound way better than my RK 85 does.

Once again this is just my opinion and I don't know why this is so. You would thin a really good resonator banjo would sound as good as a cheap open back.

Jun 16, 2024 - 4:12:06 PM
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995 posts since 12/19/2010

Grandpa Jones, Stringbean, Wade Ward, Roscoe Holcomb, Morgan Sexton, Lee Sexton and many more (as Alvin noted) played on resonator banjos. The genre and style is not about the instrument, but how the instrument is played. Two finger can sound equally good on an open back banjo and a resonator banjo. My suggestion: do what makes you happy, not what you think makes someone else happy.

Lee Sexton two finger picking a resonator banjo:

Morgan Sexton two finger picking a resonator banjo:

Edited by - jack_beuthin on 06/16/2024 16:19:50

Jun 16, 2024 - 5:10:06 PM

1695 posts since 1/9/2012

That's Charlie Poole in the colorized photo above. Be sure to listen to some of his recordings -- in the 21st C, readily available online. Giant of a player -- and what a character. If you do a Web search and click on Images, most of the photos will have him holding an open-back. If you look closely, it's almost always a different banjo in each photo. The story goes that, again and again, he hocked any that he owned (to buy whiskey) and often had to borrow one to make a recording. It's not the wand, it's the wizard.

Jun 16, 2024 - 5:44:16 PM
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115 posts since 9/1/2020

6 of one...
I'd say it depends on how handy you are/feel.
You're not gonna hurt nothin'
So if it looks easy enough, then it is. Go for it!
But if the four thumbscrews look daunting and mysterious, beware.

Jun 16, 2024 - 5:56:08 PM

2478 posts since 2/9/2007

The resonator makes the banjo more comfortable to hold, and better balanced (especially when the rim is exceptionally light, which yours is).

Jun 16, 2024 - 9:00:14 PM
Players Union Member



17571 posts since 8/30/2006

There are a bunch of hot rodding tricks you could use later
But for now that’s an adequate banjo

Charlie Poole sold moonshine to get his Gibson Mastertone

It’s your banjo to voice and turn into a personal expression

I suggest listening to Sarah Tolle and BEAUTIFUL BIG BLUE, it’s new music with your banjo

Jun 16, 2024 - 9:13:29 PM

817 posts since 5/29/2015

Looking at photos on the web of the Savannah SB-100, it is an open back banjo with a resonator added on. There are four metal brackets held to the pot by the tension nuts (two each). Then those four brackets are screwed to the resonator. To remove the resonator you have to unscrew the metal brackets from the resonator. If the brackets bother you, then you take off the two tension nuts holding each bracket onto the rim with the wrench supplied with your banjo. With about 20 minutes of work with a screw driver take the resonator off, try playing it without the resonator and reinstall it if you see fit. To remove the brackets holding the rim to the resonator, would require removing two tension nuts for each bracket and slipping the four brackets off and reinstalling the tension nuts. The only tricky part of all this would be getting the tension nuts back on at the right tension.

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