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View Poll Results: Tone-Rings: Dobson or Bacophone or Whyte Laydie?
Dobson 3 27.27%
Bacophone (modern version without the original resonator) 0 0%
Whyte Laydie 4 36.36%
None of the above: Rolled brass hoop or wood rim only 4 36.36%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-19-2017, 10:33 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default Tone-Rings: Dobson or Bacophone or Whyte Laydie?

I already have a Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone but I'm looking to add to my banjo collection. So my question with a poll is:

In the same brand of open-back 5-string banjo, which tone-ring would you prefer for old-timey and general all-around playing?

Thanks!
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 10-19-2017 at 10:43 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2017, 05:22 PM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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I never really cottoned to the Bacophone rings - they often have weird overtones that I didn't like that much. The Bacon ffs with the bacophone and internal resonator added another layer to that overtone, at least in my ears, and that was the case with both samples I owned, a Reiter, and an original with a Wayne Sagmoen conversion neck.

Though Dobson rings were better - I'd still choose a Whyte Laydie over the Dobson.

as an aside, John Balch used to say his favorite banjo had a hybrid Dobson ring topping a Whyte Laydie ring.

But in terms of sheer versatility, my favorite of your choices was a simple rolled brass tone ring.

Another you might check into would be a Silver Bell ring. Ome makes some wonderful open backs with Silver Bell rings - and the 12 inch rimmed Ome Silver Bell version I once owned was a KILLER banjo
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  #3  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:24 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I prefer a good, old fashioned, thunky-toned open backed banjo, so rolled brass or wood rimmed for me. Brooks Masten makes a darn nice one.

Best,
Jayne
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2017, 01:12 AM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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what about having another banjo which could be wood or Dobson tonering-so you essentially would have 2 banjos in one. and its a stellar, lightweight banjo at that.

the way I read your poll question, you are wanting to stay with Pisgah?

I've owned a Pisgah(A scale Dobson) and found it to be a well crafted, nothing to dislike(other than I didn't care for that headstock inlay), very good sounding banjo. I've owned a couple Ome's and Bart Reiter models also, oh yea, one or two Chanterelle models.

this suggestion is not going to be a Pisgah, hang with me as I explain.
I spent some time with Dwight diller a couple years ago. I was very interested in Dwights style of playing, and his sound(look up Kitchen Girl on youtube with Dwight). Some years ago, Lo Gordon did a Dwight Diller signature model. Lo was the owner of Cedar Mountain Banjos. His son, Tim, now owns/makes/operates cedar mountain. This model banjo I saw when Tim did the first prototype. Its thin wall pot can function as a wood rim, or allows a Rickard Dobson tone ring to be slid on top. These models Tim is making up for Josh at BrainJo are really neat. I personally find cherry necks to sound excellent. I love the simplicity of this model they have designed. There is a batch being built right now with an estimated delivery of Jan/Feb 2018. I think $300 deposit and the rest upon delivery. You would order thru Josh at Brainjo-contact him if interested and he will send you the order form via email.

You can watch Josh play these 3 models in this link, and it explains all about it.
https://clawhammerbanjo.net/the-brainjo/
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2017, 10:31 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
what about having another banjo which could be wood or Dobson tonering-so you essentially would have 2 banjos in one. and its a stellar, lightweight banjo at that.

the way I read your poll question, you are wanting to stay with Pisgah?

I've owned a Pisgah(A scale Dobson) and found it to be a well crafted, nothing to dislike(other than I didn't care for that headstock inlay), very good sounding banjo. I've owned a couple Ome's and Bart Reiter models also, oh yea, one or two Chanterelle models.

this suggestion is not going to be a Pisgah, hang with me as I explain.
I spent some time with Dwight diller a couple years ago. I was very interested in Dwights style of playing, and his sound(look up Kitchen Girl on youtube with Dwight). Some years ago, Lo Gordon did a Dwight Diller signature model. Lo was the owner of Cedar Mountain Banjos. His son, Tim, now owns/makes/operates cedar mountain. This model banjo I saw when Tim did the first prototype. Its thin wall pot can function as a wood rim, or allows a Rickard Dobson tone ring to be slid on top. These models Tim is making up for Josh at BrainJo are really neat. I personally find cherry necks to sound excellent. I love the simplicity of this model they have designed. There is a batch being built right now with an estimated delivery of Jan/Feb 2018. I think $300 deposit and the rest upon delivery. You would order thru Josh at Brainjo-contact him if interested and he will send you the order form via email.

You can watch Josh play these 3 models in this link, and it explains all about it.
https://clawhammerbanjo.net/the-brainjo/
Thanks, Daryl. I'm keeping my Pisgah Tubaphone but want to look at other brands too with a different tone-ring. I've been leaning toward the Whyte Laydie tone-ring in a Bart Reiter Galax or Regent model. I'll view the video demonstrating the Cedar Mountain banjos and I'll visit Brainjo too.
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Vega 12" Old Tyme Wonder
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
Deering Sierra Maple Flathead
Ovation VXT
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2017, 11:59 AM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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I owned a Reiter Galax with WL. Loved the tone, did not care for the weight. That's just personal of course. I have a cutoff limit at 6lbs, and prefer in the 5's.
Owned a regent in the past also, the maple offers up a different tone for sure.
Check out the tune October on youtube, cannot remember his name, there's a Reiter Special, brass ring.
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:26 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
I owned a Reiter Galax with WL. Loved the tone, did not care for the weight. That's just personal of course. I have a cutoff limit at 6lbs, and prefer in the 5's.
Owned a regent in the past also, the maple offers up a different tone for sure.
Check out the tune October on youtube, cannot remember his name, there's a Reiter Special, brass ring.
I just ordered the Bart Reiter Galax with Whyte Laydie tone-ring that just came in to Elderly Instruments. I had a 10% off code that could have been applied to any brand but I chose the Reiter for perceived tonal and craftsmanship value even though I've haven't actually touched a Bart Reiter product--must be the Stewart-MacDonald Five Star components that somehow assured me of its worthiness.

Yeah, I can dig your weight concerns as my Pisgah Tubaphone, I estimate, weighs-in at about 8 lbs. The Bart Reiter Galax will likely be about the same weight but both banjos are a heck of a lot lighter than my Deering Sierra 11 lb. boat anchor! Thanks Daryl for your feedback on the Cedar Mountain Brainjo model as I just might consider one of those too!
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Martin D-18
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Taylor 614ce ES2
Taylor 618e ES2
Taylor 356ce 12-String ES2
Taylor 322ce ES2
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa ES2
Vega 12" Old Tyme Wonder
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
Deering Sierra Maple Flathead
Ovation VXT

Last edited by SpruceTop; 10-22-2017 at 04:27 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-23-2017, 11:36 AM
Big Band Guitar Big Band Guitar is offline
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Default Tone rings

It is my opinion tone rings have the least affect on tone.

There are so many factors with a banjo.

1 head tension
2 head material
3 string gauge
4 head loading - those that have adjustable tail piece pressure
5 bridge height
6 bridge mass
7 pot material
8 pot thickness
9 pot depth

I built my banjo with no tone ring at all, 7/8 inch pot thickness, open back, and scale length 1 fret longer than normal.

I'm very happy with the sound.

I have had many real banjo pickers ask what tone ring I had in it and were amazed there was none.

The mass of a tone ring would make the strings transfer more energy to the head.

Everything you do to a banjo changes the tone.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:57 PM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
I just ordered the Bart Reiter Galax with Whyte Laydie tone-ring that just came in to Elderly Instruments. I had a 10% off code that could have been applied to any brand but I chose the Reiter for perceived tonal and craftsmanship value even though I've haven't actually touched a Bart Reiter product--must be the Stewart-MacDonald Five Star components that somehow assured me of its worthiness.

Yeah, I can dig your weight concerns as my Pisgah Tubaphone, I estimate, weighs-in at about 8 lbs. The Bart Reiter Galax will likely be about the same weight but both banjos are a heck of a lot lighter than my Deering Sierra 11 lb. boat anchor! Thanks Daryl for your feedback on the Cedar Mountain Brainjo model as I just might consider one of those too!


Congrats! You can't go too far wrong with a Bart Reiter. In my experience, having owned 3 of them at different times, his banjos are consistently excellent and retain value very well.

I don't think the Galax will be too heavy - at least it doesn't have that beefy, nickel plated bracket band that the original WL's and Tu-ba-phones had.
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  #10  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:37 AM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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if I remember correct, my Galax was a little over 7lbs, not too bad, but again, I'm used to the other direction. It did balance extremely well. Reiters are awesome banjos, huge bang for the buck. I think you'll like it a lot.

I'm sure you will, but give yourself plenty of time to adjust to it. A lot of us change things on our Reiters to suit what we hear in our head. They react very well to change. I've always preferred a fiberskyn head on my Reiters, my Galax had one when it arrived. I purchased mine from Greg Boyd, it had been used thru the years by two other players, both worked for Greg.

Its a good time to get a Reiter, I figure to hear any day that Bart has hung up his tools. When that happens, the price of them will definitely take off.

Keep us posted when it arrives
d
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Old 10-24-2017, 07:05 AM
H165 H165 is offline
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I voted Whyte Laydie but only because other options weren't available on your poll. I've owned four old WLs, and I like them, but I'm not much of a perch-pole guy. Spent way too many hours adjusting, resetting, and repairing them. The owners of the shop where I worked were perch-pole collectors, players, and general devotees. I think they must have owned 85 percent of all the perch-pole banjos in southern California when I worked there. Racks of them lined up like a rock-star's Strats. I'm not likely to touch another one.

I'll probably get egged for saying it, but easily the best sounding most practical lightweight open back banjo I've owned is a pyramid-ring Gibson TB-2, with the flange and resonator removed. It's not featherweight, but I found it to be just the right balance for me. It's a nice versatile banjo. If I want to play bluegrass I just put the flange and resonator back on, adjust the head to "scream", put on the .009s, and switch to the bone-insert bridge.

There aren't many around, but I think there is (or was) a reproduction pyramid ring being made by Arnold Clayton. However, it's an 11' ring, not the 10 15/16" favored by Vega and some of the repro guys.

For a larger diameter, I like the old Senator, but that's a two-ton-Tessie-Tubaphone
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2017, 10:13 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Bart Reiter Galax "On FedEx vehicle for delivery." Too bad I have to go to work, and likely it'll arrive just when I'm ready to walk out the door! I'll have to open it tonight when I get home = More waiting to get my hands on it!
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Vega 12" Old Tyme Wonder
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
Deering Sierra Maple Flathead
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  #13  
Old 10-26-2017, 11:40 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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I think I'll return the Bart Reiter Galax Whyte Laydie. I'm rather disappointed in the construction/assembly/tone as I thought it would be a gem. Just the sloppy string-windings with overlap turned me off and the super-high action isn't easy to play. Compare that to the high-quality construction/setup and tone of my Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone and there's just no comparison. The Pisgah is built from the ground up to be an old-timey/clawhammer banjo whereas the Bart Reiter seems like kind of a generic banjo made up of Stewart-MacDonald parts adapted to old-timey/clawhammer. I won't even try to have a better setup but will send it back and likely order another brand.
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Taylor 322ce ES2
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa ES2
Vega 12" Old Tyme Wonder
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
Deering Sierra Maple Flathead
Ovation VXT
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Old 10-27-2017, 03:15 AM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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wow, that's sad to hear. I've owned 3 Reiters thru the years, and they were all well built upon receipt-I did have to set them up to my own preference.

I wonder whats happened.

I will tell you that for many of us, we tend to know we have to make some changes over the way a Reiter is received-many folks change heads, tailpiece, to get the tone they want out of them. I tend to find them too harsh sounding initially, and always put a fibersky top on, that takes care of most of the overtones, then adjustment of said top to get the tone I want from it. Usually put a snuffy smith bridge on mine, and I like daddario string sets. many folks change out the tailpieces, but I've usually kept the nonknot on mine.

d
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:55 AM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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That's too bad. My experience with Reiters has always been positive - as Daryl has noted, they do need tweaking..... but that's the case with just about every banjo I've ever owned and I'd be hard put to tell you how many banjos that is.
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