banjos

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Wil, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. Wil

    Wil New Member

    Messages:
    1,746
    State:
    Minden Nebraska
    i heard dueling banjos for the first time last week and it kinda got a fired start in me. do any of you own or play a banjo? im definatel planning on getting one myself and i would like to know what to look for so i can get a real good one instead of a piece. any info would be great
     
  2. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    2,207
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    The soundtrack from Deliverance is still available out there, Wil...you're going to have to buy it! Eric Weissberg is definitely one of the all-time greatest banjo players, but you might be surpirsed to learn that he is university product! Eric is a Julliard School of Music grad. According to his official web site, he has provided instrumental backing for Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, John Denver, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Arlo, The Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen, Doc Watson, Judy Collins, Bette Midler, Buddy Rich, Shanana, Jim Croce, Rick Danko and many others.

    With respect to a banjo, you don't have to buy a Gibson to get a good one. Just head to a music store and look for a decent banjo that has a metallic resonator (not mylar) and good action (strings placed fairly close to the fingerboard, although banjo strings are more loose than guitar strings). For finger-picking, the banjo has to be a five-string, not four. A sound board is usually included on finger-picking banjos, too.

    Some banjos come equipped with a slide tuner for the fifth string, although my dad made one for his out of a strip of metal and a spring steel slide. This saves tuning time between songs when changing keys.

    For the purpose of learning, the ultimate learning machine is Band-In-A-Box (pgmusic.com). They have outstanding bluegrass styles and even a fake book available. They also provide tablature as well as notes to help you learn; if this isn't enough, they also show a fretboard while the music plays so that you can watch where to put your fingers. You can then mute the banjo picker and play along with the band (believe me, it's a blast and well worth the money).

    Have fun!
     

  3. roadkill636

    roadkill636 New Member

    Messages:
    551
    State:
    warrenton misso
    I use Earl Scruggs 3 finger Scruggs style of pic'n.
    I got interested in a banjo about 10 years ago and I was looking at $500 to $1000 banjos, then I realized that like many other hobies I was interested in soon became a short term interest, so I started off with a $75 used one just to be sure I would keep the interest, and played arround with it for about a year or so before I bought the one here, for $580, things the better banjos will have are a 'tone ring' whitch is a large very heavy ring on the inside of the head, a resanator is a must , it is the back of the head, some dont have on and they are completly open in the back, also try to find one with planatary gears on the tuning pegs instead of rack and pinion.
    of course every picker learns 'fuding banjos' first
    one more note the term 'dueling banjos' was only mentioned in the movie 'deliverance' the real name is "feuding banjos" by Don Reno. the movie changed the name so they didnt have to pay royalty payments to Don and a legal battel went on for YEARS over this.
    true pickers are quick to make this point.
     

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  4. Wil

    Wil New Member

    Messages:
    1,746
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    Minden Nebraska
    thanks for the info guys its appreciated!
     
  5. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    Wil, my typing outran my accuracy. Jeremy states correctly that the resonator is the soundboard on the rear of the main body of the instrument, while the head is the stretched material made of either thin metal or mylar. I also meant to say that metal/mylar is a personal choice, and banjos with metal heads might be harder to find these days; I still love the full sound of a metal-headed banjo.

    The "fifth-string tuner" I referred to is technically a fifth-string capo.
     
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    A good place to start weeding them out is by weight.
    Pick some up. The heavier ones tend to be the better ones.

    I missed a deal recently on a barely used Fender Deluxe gold in a music shop.
    350 bucks with the case, picks, and some learning books.
    I went home to think about it for a couple of days. A couple of days too long.
    It's a grand or better banjo.

    I'm glad someone brought up Feudin Banjos. Give credit where credit is due.

    I love the Stelling banjos but you got to get your money right. :smile2:
    They start out about 4000 and go up to 25,000 for a theme banjo. Dinstinct sound though and loud.

    I'd hit music shops frequently. A banjo is one of those instruments alot of people have the desire to play but don't have the desire to stick with it so alot of them wind up on consignment in shops.
    Saw tons of this after the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou.
     
  7. Wil

    Wil New Member

    Messages:
    1,746
    State:
    Minden Nebraska
    :smile2:
    ya i love that movie. what really got the fire started in me was feuding banjos thats just plain awsome! haha im gonna have to get a neck thing for my harmonica so when i get real good i can play both! man i dont know how much redder my neck can get!:cool2::smile2:
     
  8. catoon

    catoon Board Clown!

    Messages:
    1,387
    State:
    whiteville
    we here in the mountains of tenn we like banjos
     
  9. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Yall like anything that lays down.
     
  10. catoon

    catoon Board Clown!

    Messages:
    1,387
    State:
    whiteville
  11. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Call or email Musiciansfriend. They have some good deals on new instruments. They will send you a catalogue every month and special offers online.
     
  12. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    I have a 1972 Gibson Mastertone RB250 and I love it!!!!

    I consider myself a beginner but sure do enjoy sitting on my porch picking some tunes.

    My father is a very gifted banjo picker, and picks with the big boys. He has a Pre War Gibson.

    I'm a big scruggs style fan, and learn my songs by tablature which is really easy. There is also a free version of a program called Table Edit which will have you picking "Fuedin Banjos" in no time my man.

    Best wishes with your new hobby.

    Heres a great place to spend some time

    http://www.banjohangout.org/ :wink:
     
  13. big-muddy

    big-muddy New Member

    Messages:
    1,834
    State:
    norfolk, va
    they are a lot of fun to play. they are tuned open g so you can do alot more with less fingers. just get on the net and learn the chords and then pick em with a little 3 finger roll and youll be havin you a country good time.
     
  14. tnvol

    tnvol New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Clarksvill
    Hope you find something soon! I'm primarily a guitar player but I like to mess around on a banjo too. Good luck!
     
  15. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    That doesn't surprise me. Didn't John Sabastion say, "There are 14,562 guitar pickers in Nashville"?
     
  16. tnvol

    tnvol New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Clarksvill

    Oh yeah. Nashville is full of insane players.