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Thread: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

  1. #1
    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    I can't seem to find the Goldtone mando banjo anywhere in stock accept at instrumentalley? Anyone deal with instrumentalley? How about the mando banjos, I thought it would be fun to have, anybody have any experience with them? I guess you have to be a bluegrassy kinda person to like them. Well thats mee

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    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Do a search on that vendor here. I wouldn't buy there.

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    Registered User northfolk's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    I have owned a couple of mandobanjos. It seemed like a good idea, but for me it just didn't work out that well? I finally ended up buying an Irish tenor banjo. I like it a lot better and it has more uses? That's just my opinion though?
    Thanks for your support?

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by mee View Post
    I guess you have to be a bluegrassy kinda person to like them.
    I dunno about that... I think you may get shot if you show up with one of those at a jam. OTOH they fit in nicely with ragtime tunes and even old time music -- maybe some Celtic as well. Depending on the instrument, tho, i would put a sock in it to tone it down some.
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    The Gold Tone banjo-mandolin is an excellent instrument for its price, as are all the GT instruments, IMO. I too would ask what you intend to do with it, as an Irish tenor banjo turned out to be a better fit for me as well. Lots more versatile.

    And Instrument Alley hasn't always gotten the best of press around here.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    It looks like Amazon has one in stock. Did you check with them?
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    Registered User Pete Summers's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    I love the sound of mandolin-banjo. Perfect for ragtime and very authentic to the ragtime period:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpy4j...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQVi0...=ML&playnext=1

    The obvious advantage for mandolin players is it doesn't require learning new finger patterns or fingerboards.

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    Gene @ RSM
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    I was in the market for a mando-banjo a while back and ended up getting it from Instrument Alley before I knew anything about them. After a bit of back-and-forth w/ I.A. I ended up receiving it. BTW, the instrument was shipped directly from Gold Tone (nice folks @ G.T.).

    I have enjoyed the M-B, and also think it's a good deal for the money. It provides our little BG group with the banjo sound without having to learn how to play the banjo. However, I must admit that I think an Irish trenor banjo would probably have servrd me better. Reason is that with an I.T. you have four strings, and if you finger pick, you'll have plenty of room for your fingers without worrying about hitting adjacent strings. To each his own I guess, but either a B-M or an I.T. will definately provide a different sound.

    Another thought.......

    I found that I play the M.B. differently than I do my mando. I seem to tend to play it more like a banjo than a mandolin, if that makes any sense.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    I have a Vega 'little wonder', heavy rim, 8 string, and 2 X brand ones , I converted to 4 string,
    so an octave up on an ITB.

    rim weight and scale length different between those 2.
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene Korte View Post
    ...I found that I play the M.B. differently than I do my mando. I seem to tend to play it more like a banjo than a mandolin, if that makes any sense.
    Yes, that makes perfect sense to me. I can't explain it any better, but it makes perfect sense.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    I've heard good things about the Gold Tone mandolin banjos, though I haven't played one. Other than a recent lapse in judgment, selling sunken-top "seconds" octave mandolins on eBay (see this thread), my experience with Gold Tone instruments (I own three, plus a case and a gig bag purchased separately) has been uniformly positive.

    But -- the mandolin banjo is an instrument that some actively dislike. Its sharp, raucous tone, its lack of sustain, and its aggressive volume put people off. Mandolin banjos were apparently very popular 90-100 years ago, and there are many used ones around, going for prices lower than "standard" mandolins of the same vintage. Most bluegrass musicians wouldn't be happy to have a mandolin-banjo player playing along; its best role appears to be in jug band music, ragtime, and, to some extent, in klezmer music. If you're interested in bluegrass and want a "banjo sound," get a five-string banjo. If you want to play Celtic music, the four-string tenor banjo, tuned either as a mandola or an octave mandolin, is more accepted.

    I work in a Celtic band with an excellent mandolin-banjo player, Mark Deprez. However, he's more or less built his own instrument, using a "pot" from a five-string banjo, with a larger head and a resonator. As a result, his instrument has a "sweeter" sound, while still putting out plenty of volume. Here's Mark playing On The Road To Boston with a little pick-up group -- Bernadette Serrano, John Kerr, and I:



    So be sure mandolin banjo is where you want to go! If you do, this page will help you locate a Gold Tone dealer. In my experience, dealers can order from the company and obtain instruments quite quickly, even if they don't have them in current stock.
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Anyone try the Morgan Monroes?

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    tone adjusts, moderation of volume, by stuffing a piece of foam between the rimstick and head.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    As noted, another muting method:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Depending on the instrument, tho, i would put a sock in it to tone it down some.
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    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    thanks for all your advice, I see that Amazon does have one in stock but before I pull the trigger I am now curious about the tenor banjo LOL! I think I just want a new toy but not wanting to learn all new chords/scales

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Take a look at Gold Tone's Cello Banjo..
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    Registered User northfolk's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by mee View Post
    thanks for all your advice, I see that Amazon does have one in stock but before I pull the trigger I am now curious about the tenor banjo LOL! I think I just want a new toy but not wanting to learn all new chords/scales
    There is a guy on Ebay that has them; dr.cluck, I think is his name? I have bought from him before and he seems like a good guy to deal with.
    Thanks for your support?

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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Unless you're set on wanting a new instrument, you might want to look at the Elderly website. They have three Gibsons, a couple Vegas, and a Weymann listed right now.

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    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Take a look at Gold Tone's Cello Banjo..
    I've been looking at that for a while now, 'Droid, but I have to admit that for me it's kind of the same as with banjo-mandolins: You either love it or hate it. I'm kind of hating it at the moment. What do you think of them?
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim2723 View Post
    ...What do you think of them?
    Can I jump in? I like mine. Very specialized instrument, but fun for those limited applications. Projects well, nice fit 'n' finish, and it's got Marcy Marxer's name inlaid on it (Marcy's a real sweetheart -- check out her YouTube vids playing the cello banjo).
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  39. #21
    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Hi Allen. I've seen her vids, very nice. I think it's a kind of cool instrument, but I just don't know what I'd do with it.
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  41. #22
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim2723 View Post
    ...just don't know what I'd do with it.
    Yeah, I just wanted one, and now I find I don't play it more than once a month. But when I do play it, it's really neat for laying out bass lines in Celtic music; I can be "busier" than I'd be playing on the bass end of a guitar, and the individual notes come through crystal-clear, more so than on my K-1 mandocello, and even clearer than with the f-hole Eastman 805 'cello. Sort of a "bass bark," if there can be such a thing. You work mostly in a duet, and I'm not sure where it would fit there, but it's surprisingly easy to play up-tempo on, so maybe a tenor-y thing behind vocals? It has tons of volume, and plenty of "presence," as it were.

    I'm bass-ackwards on instruments: I get interested and buy one, and then figure out what to do with it. The instrument sort of tells me where it wants to go, in a way. Sometimes, I never figure out a role; I have a charango, and I can't figure out why I have it. It may have to go...
    Allen Hopkins
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  43. #23
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Mee-

    I warn everyone ... never buy from Instrument Alley!!! Had nightmare experiences with them as have many others on this forum! Do yourself a favor and pay $100 or $200 more for an instrument and save yourself the grief!

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  45. #24
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I'm bass-ackwards on instruments: I get interested and buy one, and then figure out what to do with it. The instrument sort of tells me where it wants to go, in a way. Sometimes, I never figure out a role; I have a charango, and I can't figure out why I have it. It may have to go...
    My charango and bandurria both collect dust in the closet, but I just can't seem to part with them. For a couple of years I've been messing around with the bowed psaltery for celtic music, but I just can't make that fit into the act. Love to play for myself though.
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    Registered User Ken Berner's Avatar
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    Default Re: any suggestions on a mando banjo?

    All of the mandolin banjos I've owned were purchased on e-Bay. Some were intact, some in various pieces, but all had one thing in common; they were vintage 1920s VEGA. Most were Style K and one, now converted to 5-string, a Style S. All of these had 10-1/8" diameter heads, but the Gold Tone, I think, has an 8-1/2" head. The Style K Vega makes a terrific utility instrument, which can be toned down considerably with a mahogany bridge by Red Henry.

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