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-   -   Your Thoughts On Open-Back Banjo Choices Welcomed! (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=467165)

SpruceTop 12-14-2017 11:31 AM

Just got my Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson home from FedEx Office Print & Ship Center. What a beauty she is with aged-brass hardware and Dobson tone-ring, along with EVO frets--Simply Elegant! More to come ...

SpruceTop 12-17-2017 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpruceTop (Post 5568471)
Just got my Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson home from FedEx Office Print & Ship Center. What a beauty she is with aged-brass hardware and Dobson tone-ring, along with EVO frets--Simply Elegant! More to come ...

Dobson Tone-Ring? YES! My new Rickard 12-inch Maple Ridge Dobson exhibits typical, flawless Canadian craftsmanship--who are these conscientious people?--and being the first time I've ever played a Dobson tone-ring banjo, it's a tone on which I'm now hooked! Is it the best tone I've ever heard? Well, let me say it's a wholly worthy tone in the tonal pallet of banjo-craftsmanship that pleases me and I assume other players too.

Swamp Yankee 12-17-2017 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpruceTop (Post 5572228)
-who are these conscientious people?

That'd be these folks, Bill, seated on the left, lost an arm years back, and, since he couldn't play them anymore, he decided he'd make them.

He's come a long way. I remember him from the banjo forums back when he was first getting started. Really nice guy too.

http://www.newspapers-online.com/aur...3-03-26-02.jpg

Congratulations on your new banjo!! Shall we be expecting pics anytime soon? :)

Swamp Yankee 12-17-2017 08:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpruceTop (Post 5572228)
Dobson Tone-Ring? YES! My new Rickard 12-inch Maple Ridge Dobson exhibits typical, flawless Canadian craftsmanship--who are these conscientious people?--and being the first time I've ever played a Dobson tone-ring banjo, it's a tone on which I'm now hooked! Is it the best tone I've ever heard? Well, let me say it's a wholly worthy tone in the tonal pallet of banjo-craftsmanship that pleases me and I assume other players too.

BTW, what kind of head do you have on the new Rickard?

SpruceTop 12-18-2017 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee (Post 5572467)
That'd be these folks, Bill, seated on the left, lost an arm years back, and, since he couldn't play them anymore, he decided he'd make them.

He's come a long way. I remember him from the banjo forums back when he was first getting started. Really nice guy too.

http://www.newspapers-online.com/aur...3-03-26-02.jpg

Congratulations on your new banjo!! Shall we be expecting pics anytime soon? :)

Pics coming soon. I've just ordered a Vega 11" Old Tyme Wonder from Elderly Instruments and will take a group shot of all the banjos in my signature. I think this banjo thing is getting out of hand ...

SpruceTop 12-18-2017 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee (Post 5572488)
BTW, what kind of head do you have on the new Rickard?

The head on the Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson is the stock head with the Rickard logo, which according to the specs on Elderly is a Remo Renaissance head.

Swamp Yankee 12-18-2017 12:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpruceTop (Post 5572905)
The head on the Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson is the stock head with the Rickard logo, which according to the specs on Elderly is a Remo Renaissance head.

:up: I've owned very few open back banjos that didn't sound better with a Renaissance head.

But then, winter time was always a time to swap to hide heads for me. A good quality hide head sounds incredible - as long as the humidity stays low enough. Come summertime, I'd swap back to Remo heads ;)


As for BAS getting out of hand, here's a pic of me that my wife took back in 2006 or so. This didn't even show all the banjos I had at the time. At one point, I had 35 of the things in my house. To be honest though, I was sniping bargains off Ebay and reselling them, so I had quite a stockpile. I probably only had a dozen "players" at any given time.

https://www.hangoutstorage.com/banjo...5051772008.jpg

BoneDigger 12-18-2017 07:51 PM

I too am considering a new open back banjo. I already have two Recording Kings and a Mastertone, but I'd like something a little different. I play three finger style and right now I'm leaning heavily toward a Bart Reiter Regent without the scooped neck.

H165 12-18-2017 10:58 PM

Many of the replies here concentrate on new banjos, while I've spent over 50 years with the old timers and they are affordable to most people. My favorite open back was a Gibson TB-2 Pyramid, but a bluegrasser finally got it away from me.

If you want something different in the coordinator-rod banjo class, try a Gibson ball bearing.

If you want something lighter, the Whyte Laydie has always been my favorite, but there are some great ones in the old Lange/Langstyle/Paramount/Rettberg lines. And there are also some fine old Maybells - my faves are the ones with the inner-flange tone ring. Completely different sound from all the rest. I have been missing mine ever since I was dumb enough or broke enough to let it go:
https://i.imgur.com/WexkymH.jpg

Swamp Yankee 12-19-2017 08:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H165 (Post 5573669)
And there are also some fine old Maybells - my faves are the ones with the inner-flange tone ring. Completely different sound from all the rest. I have been missing mine ever since I was dumb enough or broke enough to let it go:
https://i.imgur.com/WexkymH.jpg

Is that a Nite Hawk?

The Dobson tone ring on the OP's new banjo is very similar to the Slingerland's inner flange tone ring like the one you show in the picture. The tone rings Bacon put into their ff internal resonator banjos are also very similar.

SpruceTop 12-19-2017 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee (Post 5573063)
:up: I've owned very few open back banjos that didn't sound better with a Renaissance head.

But then, winter time was always a time to swap to hide heads for me. A good quality hide head sounds incredible - as long as the humidity stays low enough. Come summertime, I'd swap back to Remo heads ;)


As for BAS getting out of hand, here's a pic of me that my wife took back in 2006 or so. This didn't even show all the banjos I had at the time. At one point, I had 35 of the things in my house. To be honest though, I was sniping bargains off Ebay and reselling them, so I had quite a stockpile. I probably only had a dozen "players" at any given time.

https://www.hangoutstorage.com/banjo...5051772008.jpg

Nice Photo & Banjos!

My reason for acquiring the five banjos I now have is that I wanted good examples of the different pots and the tone they can generate. With the addition of the in-shipment Vega Old Tyme Wonder, with its all-wood rim, I'll have that woody tone and with the other banjos with their tone rings, I have what they offer in tone. Now having a wood-rim, Tubaphone, Whyte Laydie, Dobson and a Flathead banjo I've got the most popular pot configurations. Can you or any of our AGFers make a good case for acquiring a Bacophone and a Silver Bell tone-ring banjo? I've read that the Bacophone tone-ring can add weird overtones and, to my knowledge, I've never heard a Silver Bell tone-ringed banjo. Thanks.

Swamp Yankee 12-19-2017 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpruceTop (Post 5574120)
Nice Photo & Banjos!

My reason for acquiring the five banjos I now have is that I wanted good examples of the different pots and the tone they can generate. With the addition of the in-shipment Vega Old Tyme Wonder, with its all-wood rim, I'll have that woody tone and with the other banjos with their tone rings, I have what they offer in tone. Now having a wood-rim, Tubaphone, Whyte Laydie, Dobson and a Flathead banjo I've got the most popular pot configurations. Can you or any of our AGFers make a good case for acquiring a Bacophone and a Silver Bell tone-ring banjo? I've read that the Bacophone tone-ring can add weird overtones and, to my knowledge, I've never heard a Silver Bell tone-ringed banjo. Thanks.

The Ome banjo I'm playing in that picture has a Silver Bell tone ring in it...or it was their version of one, they call it a "Silverspun" ring. That was my favorite tone ring for nice, warm fat sounds. It had a warm, sweet, human quality to the voice - really a spectacular and versatile banjo. I also had one in a 12" pot size - though I preferred the 11" pot for that particular rim.

Ome makes some incredibly nice banjos. They're not big with the Old Timey set, at least they weren't when I was in my banjo phase, but they really make excellent quality instruments.

I was doing much that same thing as you are. I tried a Vega Tubaphone.... liked the Vega Tubaphone ...I wonder how a 12" pot tubby will sound? I liked the Whyte Ladye...hmmm, there's a 12 inch pot WL conversion on Ebay!! Little Wonders - gotta try both.
A scales? Hook me up.

I liked pretty much all of them - but yeah, the Baco-phone ring banjos, especially with an internal resonator, all seemed to have some overtones that I didn't like too much, though they were BRILLIANT at clucking over the scoop.

The Vega Old Tyme Wonder has an all wood rim? The original Vega Wonders had a rolled hoop under a spun over bit that extended about halfway down the outside of the pot. That was a great ring for clawhammer as well.

I only had a few all wood-rimmed banjos, my favorite of which was a Huss & Dalton Singletree. Nice banjo, but I didn't keep it long.

SpruceTop 12-20-2017 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee (Post 5574153)
The Ome banjo I'm playing in that picture has a Silver Bell tone ring in it...or it was their version of one, they call it a "Silverspun" ring. That was my favorite tone ring for nice, warm fat sounds. It had a warm, sweet, human quality to the voice - really a spectacular and versatile banjo. I also had one in a 12" pot size - though I preferred the 11" pot for that particular rim.

Ome makes some incredibly nice banjos. They're not big with the Old Timey set, at least they weren't when I was in my banjo phase, but they really make excellent quality instruments.

I was doing much that same thing as you are. I tried a Vega Tubaphone.... liked the Vega Tubaphone ...I wonder how a 12" pot tubby will sound? I liked the Whyte Ladye...hmmm, there's a 12 inch pot WL conversion on Ebay!! Little Wonders - gotta try both.
A scales? Hook me up.

I liked pretty much all of them - but yeah, the Baco-phone ring banjos, especially with an internal resonator, all seemed to have some overtones that I didn't like too much, though they were BRILLIANT at clucking over the scoop.

The Vega Old Tyme Wonder has an all wood rim? The original Vega Wonders had a rolled hoop under a spun over bit that extended about halfway down the outside of the pot. That was a great ring for clawhammer as well.

I only had a few all wood-rimmed banjos, my favorite of which was a Huss & Dalton Singletree. Nice banjo, but I didn't keep it long.

Thanks Swamper,

I believe you're correct that the older Vega Old Tyme Wonder banjos had a rolled hoop under the head but I think the newer renditions of the last 10 years or so have just the beveled wooden rim. The specs from the Vega/Deering website have an erroneous weight of 8 lbs listed for this banjo which is actually in the 5 to 6 lbs range. An interesting aside is that my favorite local instrument dealer has a 2009 NOS Vega Old Tyme Wonder that doesn't have the Vega star inlay under the Vega logo on the peghead. Starting around 2014 or so Vega added the star inlay. At any rate, I wanted the latest rendition of the Old Tyme Wonder for its straight ahead woody tone and lightweight. I will install Pisgah Phosphor Bronze strings with their heavier 2nd, 3rd and 4th gauges on this banjo. Here are the Vega Old Tyme Wonder specs from the website:

Neck:
Deep Warm Brown Stained Maple Neck
Slender Vega Neck Shape
Scooped Ebony Fingerboard
Adjustable Truss Rod
Ebony Fingerboard and Nut
Deering Planetary Tuners
Deering Geared 5th String Tuner
Durable and Elegant Satin Finish

Pot:
3-ply Violin Grade Maple Rim - 11" or 12"
Shoe & Screw Bracket Assembly
Beveled Tension Hoop
24 Flat Hooks and 9/32″ Hex Nuts
11" Fiberskyn Medium Crown Head
Coordinator Rod for Adjustments
Nickel Plated Hardware
Deering Knot-Less Tailpiece
Vega Armrest
Durable and Elegant Satin Finish
Includes a Vega Hardshell Case

Tone:
The mellowest and most gentle banjo sound, a lovely full tone. The Old Tyme Wonder is reliable and exceptional in tone, playability, versatility and responsiveness, with a woody thunkiness that is perfect for old time string bands.

Tuned:
g,D,G,B,D in standard G tuning
Can easily be tuned in other tunings as well.

Strings
Comes with Deering 5-String Light Gauge Banjo Strings tuned to in standard G tuning (G,D,G,B,D)
Gauges: 10 11 13 21w 10
End Type: Loop

Dimensions:
Neck Width at the Nut 1 1/4″
Scale Length Nut to Bridge 26 1/4″
Rim Diameter 11″ or 12"
Overall Instrument Length 37 1/2"
Weight Approx. 8 lbs

Warranty:
The trust and pride we share in our product gives us the confidence to grant every owner of a Deering banjo a Lifetime Warranty ensuring the quality of our materials and workmanship.

SpruceTop 12-30-2017 04:02 PM

I've decided to return the 11" Vega Old Tyme Wonder I just got, and ordered the 12" Vega Old Tyme Wonder. Based on the really great tone of the 11" Vega, the 12" Vega Old Tyme Wonder should really be what I'm after. For a warm, resonant, woody tone with nice sustain, the Vega Old Tyme Wonder models really deliver! More to come ...

SpruceTop 01-05-2018 11:03 AM

New 12" Vega Old Tyme Wonder just arrived-- Nice! I have to go to work so more to come on it later on.


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