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For guitarists who love the banjo sound and play 6-string banjos.
Latest Activity: Apr 2
Started by henry b Oct 26, 2010.
Just got a used Rogue 6-string. My Dean Backwoods Six rings too much for when I want to get that pre-resonator, pre-tone-ring sound. (Think "Cold Mountain"). I've been enjoying that sound on a Deering Goodtime that I bought to be a travel instrument, and wished I could get that sound on my 6-string. Unfortunately, the pointed flanges on the Dean's aluminum pot makes it into a medieval weapon if you take the resonator off, and it STILL rings more than you'd want. The rogue has a wood pot, no tone ring, and you can take the resonator off. (Frankly it doesn't add that much anyway.) Without the resonator it is VERY small and light, like my Goodtime.
I got a used Rogue that was well set up. Folks who think they will play this out of the box don't know Rogue instruments, though.
The neck is very narrow, like an electric guitar, but I can adjust. No, it won't compete with professional instruments, or hold its own acoustically in a big bluegrass or Celtic group, but that's not I wanted it. because it IS so lightweight, it may replace my Martin Backpacker as my "travel/beach guitar."
I just recently bought a GoldTone BT2000 banjitar and it really has a good sound. I have seen where some people are tuning the top three strings an octave higher using .17 ga. on the E, .13 ga. on the A, and .10 ga. on the D string to give a more "banjo" sound to their instrument. Have any of you used such a set up and are you pleased with the sound?
SJ, because a banjo neck is longer than a guitar neck, a cheap banjo is more likely to suck than a cheap guitar. When I went looking for my six-string, I felt that the Dean Backwoods 6 was the least expensive 6-string worth taking out of the store. Just as important is having someone set it up for you. I've been setting up guitars and banjos for 40 years, and it was all I could do to get my Dean playable. While shopping, though, I saw quite a few in the $150-$250 range that I could tell would NEVER be playable, no matter how hard you worked on them. As it turned out, I got my BW6 from a guitar player who knew nothing about banjos, bought it on a whim, and couldn't get a decent sound out of it. So I got it for maybe 2/3 of its value. Then I took it home, replaced the strings, cranked back the neck, and reset the bridge. There was still a learning curve, since it's neither a guitar OR a 5-string (I play both), but I could play it.
Here's an article on what it takes to set up most fretted instruments:
Best of luck - Paul
New to the group and new to the instrument - actually I haven't yet gotten a 6 string (do have a 5 string banjer though). Have been looking though and am still confused about what instrument to buy. Since you guys seem to know all about this, what is the best starter instrument to buy? Like anything else, I know if I get some piece of crappy sounding instrument I won't be using it much, but don't want to spend myself into the poor house either. Any suggestions? Thanks!
I use light electric guitar strings on my 6er and tune it open g d,g,d,g,b,d what string and tunings do others use?
It just occurred to me - what we need is a six-string banjo with orbital tuners. That way nobody more than a few feet away will be able to tell how many strings we really have and give us grief. :-)
Rules out telejos, Matt. :-)
Thanks for the note. Of course I wouldn't ever have a banjo Deering or otherwise that wasn't set up. :-) That's how I got my BW6 cheap. A country bar band guitar player bought one as an experiment from Guitar Center, with NO adjustment, not even placing the bridge correctly, much less cranking back the neck. His bandmates made fun of him for even getting it, and he couldn't get a decent sound out of it to save his life, so he assumed he had been "taken" and liquidated it. (In a way, he HAD been "taken," like virtually all of Guitar Center's inexperienced customers.) After cranking back the neck, replacing the strings, an properly locating the bridge, I got quite a bit of use out of it. But I have pro 5-strings and guitars, so I know the difference. :-)
Funny thing, when I play it "out" friends who don't know Bluegrass always ask me how long I've been playing banjo. The answer is 44 years. But not six-string banjo. That's a recently acquired skill.
of course you can always get a telejo.....i have no shame..ha ha
i have bought and sold 2 of the Dean Bw. there is a lot of adjustment that can be done. you can loosen the neck and move it around some. You can put a shim at the heel to change the neck angle. Don't give up on this one. By far the best thig you can do is get a great bridge (shameless plug for Mike Katz at Katz Eye banjo, tell him Matthew Jackson refered you and he has some bridges already made up). personally I would rather have a
Dean set up well than a stock Derring not set up and this is comming from a guy that loves Janet and Greg Deering and the banjos they make..
Thanks for chiming in.
I bought my BW6 to participate in the orchestra of a quasi-Dixieland musical in which the "banjo" part was actually written for a six-string (The Boy Friend). I've used it since for fingerpicking Mountain music and Poco-style Rock. For me, if I crank the neck back to achieve the playability I'm used to on guitar, I get too much fret buzz up the neck. So it's useful, but not ideal. Plus I'd like to pop the resonator off once in a while to get a Civil-War-era sound without turning it into a deadly medieval weapon. :-) Unfortunately, I don't have thousands of extra $ in toy money laying around . . . :-) So it' will probably stay in my arsenal for a while - in fact I'll probably keep it for practice even if I get a better one - a bad habit, I know.
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