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WAY off topic - need banjo info

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by amboy49, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. amboy49

    amboy49 Well-Known Member

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    Well . . . . . many years ago I messed around trying to learn to play bluegrass banjo. I had a cheap one that someone gave me and I'm pretty sure it was a piece of crap. The strings would never stay in tune and it had a tinny sound. Never did get very far with it but would like to give it another try. Any one know how much should I expect to pay to get something with decent sound quality and playability ? If I need to pay $1,000 to get something of decent quaility I'll probably pass. If I can get something decent for $250 maybe I'll give it another go. Any suggestions . . . . other than take up the harmonica ?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. The Literalist

    The Literalist Well-Known Member

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    Do you frail (clawhammer)...or finger pick?
     
  3. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    Wish I knew something of use to you....the only thing I know about banjos is that if I'm in the woods of Appalachia and hear one start playing...I run like hell back to the car before I get played like Ned Beatty
     
  4. amboy49

    amboy49 Well-Known Member

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    In answer to the question - finger pick.

    What should I look for re: features . .. some advertise the ring tone and other features. I'm looking for something that is easy to fret and gives decent quality tone.
     
  5. The Literalist

    The Literalist Well-Known Member

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    The Deering Goodtimes banjos are pretty good (around $350 new). I've played a few, some were more tinny than others, but it's a good starter.

    Of course, there's a slew of pretty decent Chinese banjos out there at reasonable prices. I played on a friend's Chink Fender the other day. It had pretty good action and sound. I think it cost him around $400 or so.
     
  6. SeanGamble

    SeanGamble TS Member

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    Try tuning the head, you can look it up online to find out how. Also play around with the truss rod that could make a difference. I play a couple of old cheap banjos nothin fancy and have done this to both.
     
  7. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    My son loves the banjo and hates to miss a weekend at Suwanee park, Florida as you can hear some of the best picking of your life. Every fire pit has someone picking on many different instruments. I was amazed to hear the nice sounds from a base tub.(No. 2 wash tub) My son built his banjo and is just now learning to play it. Jackie B.
     
  8. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    I am a Banjo Player. I think that the Goldstar is the best for the least out there. after you get better at it you will likely want to upgrade but the Goldstar is a winner for about $1000, sometimes less. I still play mine occassionally but my prize is the Chief by Sonny Osborne... If you want new, call Janet Davis Music. She is very fair. Lots of them on ebay also. You will not get a good sounding banjo for $250 but that does not mean I am saying not to buy a cheap one. I have three cheapies and one that I built and they are great for beating around with. When I fly I take one of the cheapies to jam with. I was in the Portland Or air terminal waiting on a flight and along came another guy with a banjo in a gig bag. We got them out and started playing and withing 15 minutes we had a crowd of a 100 or so - It was a lot of fun. He was a brilliant player and I am not but we had a blast
     
  9. trapshootin hippie

    trapshootin hippie Well-Known Member

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    Get ole Buck Trent to show ya how to pick a banjo. He knows how to twist them keys for sure.

    GneJ
     
  10. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Calvin,

    That is indeed a thing of nightmares.
     
  11. Martinpicker

    Martinpicker Active Member

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    Goldstar is good. Gold Tone is cheaper and more what you are looking for as a learning instrument. Janet Davis Music is the answer for a new instrument.If you are OK with a used instrument, (you should be,) go to Ebay and look for Gold Tone or Alvarez. Don't think that you must have a resonator to learn to play Scruggs style banjo. My partner plays a 1970 open back Vega that I gave less than $300 for, and he gets paid to play! Remember, "It ain't so much the arrow as the Indian." Martinpicker
     
  12. Lawman214

    Lawman214 TS Member

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    I agree with the rec for Janet Davis Music. You might also check out banjohut.com. They stock a big supply of entry level banjos under $500. Just understand that you aint gonna get a Gibson, Huber, or Stelling for that money! But, your first trap gun probably wasn't a Perazzi either. Be careful with ebay. You just may find a bargain there...you might also wind up with kindling. If you don't already play, you'll be money ahead to stick with a reputable dealer who will get you going in the right direction. Have someone in the store play several in your price range, so you can hear what they should sound like. Start with an inexpensive one and see if the bug gets you. If not, you're not out a lot. If the bug bites you, you'll trade up soon enough (sound familiar). If you thought trapshooting was addictive and frustrating, just wait until you catch five string fever. I've been pickin on the blasted thing for over 20 years now, and Earl Scruggs aint losing any sleep looking for me over his shoulder. But...it is a lot of fun. Just take the plunge!
     
  13. LUGNUTZ426

    LUGNUTZ426 TS Member

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    I say get some lederhosen and an accordian! I hit some pawn shops on a recent east coast florida trip lookin for shotguns. There were Banjos up the yinyang. Have you tried tried Craigslist locally. I sold a clarinet locally and it seems the best source for used musical stuff.
     
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