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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:23 pm 
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Location: N.W. Scotland
My daughter, who plays fiddle, has been keen to get a banjo for a while now so I thought I'd get her one. I am considering an Ashbury AB-35T having been told it's a decent starter Banjo. Has anyone got any opinions on this or other banjos for a beginner? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:32 pm 
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You may want to ask over at Banjo Hangout, which is the Chiff and Fipple of the banjo world:

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/

Dollar for dollar, you may do best with a used banjo. I asked right here on C&F's classified section for a really CHEAP banjo and ended up with one for $100. I've put a new head, bridge and tuners on it and it plays like a champ for less than $175 in total. Ask around.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:55 pm 
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I picked up a nice 1933 Weymann from eBay last Fall for around $200. It's got a tone ring, came with a case and is made in the USA.

Similar to what brewerpaul said, I put new tuners and a bridge on it (which cost about $50) and it's got a nice sound! Plus I got it from the original owner and he took good care of it over all these years.

There's nothing wrong with buying a newer 4 string tenor from a reliable vendor, but in the $300-500 range a lot of them will be made in China or Korea. Mind you that's a matter of personal preference where an instrument is made and whether that affects the quality or not.

But I do find if you can get something that's been well loved, it picks up character over the decades...it's kinda like rescuing a happy dog from a pound instead of shelling out big bucks for a pure bred with no personality.

My two cents, best of luck with your search! :D

Matt

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:46 pm 
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gold tone makes a good banjo for a beginner.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:56 pm 
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A cheap one....with a straight neck and proper strings. (...and a shortish neck), (...and a tuner)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:23 pm 
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I've been meaning to post my banjo here FS. Gold Tone IT-250 with resonator and HS case. Feel free to PM me for further info.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:42 pm 
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I'd try getting her an 'A scale' banjo if she's a fiddler, especially if she's younger/smaller. Its 2 frets shorter than a regular open G (scale wise, not actual frets) and allows you to tune up to Double D tuning without the use of capos and spikes, a great place to start if she plays old time fiddle tunes already.

http://www.goldtone.com/products/detail ... 461/CC-OTA


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:51 am 
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In my experience any mechanically sound banjo (one with a straight neck, solid frets, and good intonation) can be made into a fine sounding instrument. The banjo is probably the most user-adaptable instrument out there. You can change all the most important tone-producing elements yourself - strings, head, bridges, tension, set up, etc. - cheaply, and there's a lot of choices for that. The banjo is the tinker's instrument. Lots of fun to experiment with all the changes.

The big thing I've found is to beware of used bargains that 'need a little work'. Replacing lost parts isn't too hard, but it can run into more money than a new instrument. While banjo players are just as prone to the 'Stradivarius Complex' as the rest of us, banjos just don't improve with age the way other strings do. Their tone-producing members wear out and get replaced in time. They simply get old and decrepit. You're much better off with a well made, affordable starter banjo, IMO.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:14 am 
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Tillerman, the Ashbury that bogman mentioned is an A scale instrument. At least by American hillbilly standards. Its one of those cast aluminum pot banjos. I have a similar one I got as a gift 40 years ago. They have a very loud bright thin tone and don't play well up beyond the 7th fret. Bogman I would look for a wood rim banjo with simple brass hoop tone ring... Bob

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:38 am 
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Ah, we're talking tenors here..

All I can offer in terms of advice is; Chinese quality control being what it is, get it from a store with a hassle free (30 days at the least) return policy. I buy cheapo instruments too and it's always a gamble, I stick to Thomann.de since I'm in europe - I must have send back at least half the guitars, ukes and banjos in the last 4 years and they've been a pleasure to deal with.


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