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Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by tngirl, Aug 1, 2004.
What is a good, inexpensive middle of the road banjo. Does anyone know?
Build your own. Heres a couple sites. Google for more if you like.
Watch for one on shopgoodwill.com.
When you find one, check it out to see if it's a good one or not. Sometimes their items need repair, but you can get some great deals there. I got my son an almost brand new tenor sax for about $400! Would have cost $1500 for a used one in the music store.
I always wanted to learn the banjo, but I bet I couldn't even find anyone to teach me...
The Goodtime Banjo is a great starter banjo...
Deering is probably the best banjo-luthier out there, for the money.
You have to figure out exactly what kind of plucker you want. tenor, 5-string, mountain, banjitar, banjolin..... it goes on and on.
As a professional musician -- who also plays banjos -- the Goodtime is a good beginner banjo. I prefer GoldTone banjos, though, for the same money. Looks ALOT nicer, has a nicer neck, includes the wrist rest, has a geared 5th string instead of friction, etc.
Watch eBay, too. You can sometimes get a good deal on there. Also, check out "Elderly Instruments" on the website. They carry lots of used stuff and ship all over.
I have a Goldtone and love it!!!!! It has a heavy tone ring, and sounds great for the money. I am a little disappointed with the chrome finish though.
If I were broke or unsure I wanted to stick with it, I would consider another option: Sometimes you see very old banjos at flea markets or auctions. These will not have tone rings or a back, nor are they full size. They are often in pretty sorry shape, with no strings, torn heads, etc. I would NOT pay more than 20 bucks or so for one of these. With a little research and work on your end, these can be repaired and played. Again, make sure you do your research before you put a dime into one!!!!!!!! You might be able to buy one and repair it and still have less than $75 in the banjo, which would be a good starter model. Make sure it is a 5 string model or capable of being modified to one.
My point is this: I waited for years and years because I couldn't afford a decent banjo, couldn't find a used cheap one like the Goodtime, and certainly didn't want to take the depreciation on a new model if I didn't like it. I wasted years of learning the banjo, and now bitterly regret that wasted time.
Again, do your research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Know what parts will cost, availibity, etc.
I see a banjo in my future. I want to hear it too. I will go the library to see what I can learn first. I picked up a used Gibson to hold yesterday, just to look at, in a new music store. It was very heavy compared to my violin. Anyone want to add to this very old thread? How is your beginner or experienced banjo progress? What banjo do you have?
My janjo is an old one. It was a gift from an old friend who was moving to Florida and eliminating things he had to move. I've had it about 28 years. It only has the name "Oriole" on the top of the neck, by the Tuners.
The books that were given to me with the banjo were from 1919 and 1920.So I know the banjo is pretty old. My banjo has a big wooden resonator on the back with about a 3/8 inch bronze tone ring under the head. It has a solid wooden hard shell case. But that has seen it's better days.
I messed with it a little bit. But, I'm a guitar and bass player. My old Uncle use to play tenor guitar and tenor banjo. He told me I could tune my banjo like the top 4 strings on a guitar and play it like a tenor guitar. It works okay that way. But I'm use to finger-picking on the classical guitar. And only having the 4 strings to do my finger rolls on kinda limits me. I flat pick on it sometimes, using the tenor guitar tuning.
I have a brother that plays his 5-String banjo with aGospel group. He laughs at my efforts with that old Tenor banjo. But, heyy, I'm a guitar player.
ETA....I do fine on my guitars, 6-String, 12-String and Classical.
Wow- this is an old thread! Banjos are very heavy- at least good ones are. I bought a 1953 Gretsch New Yorker on ebay a few years back (cheap) but I haven't done much with it. It really needs a set of geared tuners, as the friction pegs are tedious to work with. I can finger-pick guitar a bit, so I think I can learn banjo. It's one less string, after all!
Here is one made from a cookie tin. Sounds pretty durned good, too! He's playing it clawhammer style. Check out some of the other youtubes from OLDTIMEDUO, too, to hear other banjos and styles.
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrAqhs_q7fE&list=UUkmWDvD1rh-a31t6eP4Vqyg&index=2&feature=plcp]Stoney's cookie tin banjo - YouTube[/ame]
Here's another one. This is an older instrument. I think this video was put up when he had this banjo listed for sale - and it was maybe $100 or so??
Inspiring. I don't have to spend a lot to get something to learn with.
wow, not one banjo joke which oddly leads to bagpipe jokes...this is a good crowd
I'll drop the needle on some scruggs now , happy holidays
stewmac.com is the place to go for parts for any stringed instrument. Flea mkt finds can be spruced-up with new strings, bridge, tuners. OR....you can buy parts as budget permits and build a new one.
I've had a Lero banjo since the late 70's. It's a japanese make. Seems pretty good , plays well. I guess it all depends what you want it for.
First question: what kind of banjo do you want? An five string, closed back 'scruggs' style banjo? Or an old-time, open back banjo?
My brother has a 'Scruggs style' banjo, best one we couple find for good quality and price was the Cripple Creek 50RP. Very nice!
Hope this helps you!
Deering is a GREAT banjo but Not Cheep. There are some new Recording King Banjos that are very affordable for the beginner but I know some men who play ones that range in the 2 to 4 thousand dollar banjos and were still impressed with the Recording King's There prices are affordable!
Some really nice tips here. Thank you all for your suggestions. I am pretty sure that I want a closed back 5 string type. I will keep doing homework to help me decide what I really want. I have looked at Deering and REcording King web info. Will check Acoustic.
I am lerning piano and violin at the same time. I am committed to learning violin vibrato and demonstrating it consistantly as my motivation before getting the banjo.
I want the banjo for the sound and the fun. I am not affraid of used or scratches. We are all used and scratched up a little. A perfect banjo will not make me play perfectly.
Play'em if you have'm.