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TOPIC: Aluminum? Wood? Which Tone Ring is better?

Re:Aluminum? Wood? Which Tone Ring is better? 11 years 11 months ago #1060

John -

Since First Quality makes banjos (and fingerboards & fretboards) for Gibson, they also sell banjo parts. I recommend you check into what they have to offer. Use the promotional code in the banner above on my homepage and you will get 5% off of supplies.
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Re:Aluminum? Wood? Which Tone Ring is better? 11 years 6 months ago #1892

It is widely accepted that the pre World War II Gibson Mastertone banjos set the standard for how a bluegrass banjo should sound as popularized by Earl Scruggs when he joined Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys in late 1945. Don Reno was with Bill shortly after Earl split and his sound was comparable to Earl's from a banjo tonal quality perspective, though there were some differences in their styles. These banjos were flatheads and used a 20 hole bronze tone ring. Many have tried to duplicate these tone rings.....Steve Huber, Mark Taylor, Jim Burlile, Bill Sullivan, and Jim Blaylock among others. Jens Kruger worked with European bell manufacturers to develop a new bronze tone ring for Deering, which was named the Tenbrooks model. For a great history of the really famous 5-string flathead banjos, those of Scruggs, Reno, Snuffy Jenkins, JD Crowe, Sonny Osborne and others, get a copy of Jim Mill's new book, "Gibson Mastertone Flathead 5-String Banjos Of The 1930's and 1940's".
If your budget can handle a bronze tone ring, that's what I would go for. If not, I'd try aluminum. My circa 1980 Alvarez starter banjo has a 20-hole aluminum tonering and sounds very good for a starter banjo.
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Re:Aluminum? Wood? Which Tone Ring is better? 11 years 6 months ago #1903

In my opinion, if you stay with it you will graduate to a better banjo sooner than you think. Investment and quality wise you are probably better off buying a "known" instrument like a Sullivan, Deering, Gold Stars,Tones, ets. Built up instruments don't have much resale value. Used is good since if you buy right you can sell when the time comes for about the same price as you purchased it for. My first banjo was a masterclone which cost $300 and I sold it for $300 (this was about 25 years ago). Since a good tone ring is about $300 a built up banjo for that price is a bit on the cheap side. BTW everyone that I know except Stelling and Nechville are all based on the Mastertone. Kind of like all violins are based on Strads.
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Last Edit: 11 years 6 months ago by brilind.
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