Banjo Crossover looking for suggestions


Hello to Mando-Land players,

I have been playing Banjo for 2 years and am contemplating to buy an Eastman when Ben/Jake get them in…

Or should I consider a Kentucky model instead?

One thing for sure, I want an “F Style”… as the are sooo cool looking and sound amazing.

That said, what do I need to consider for a solid “Starter” kit?

Any suggestions for a model (that won’t break the bank), strap, pick and…?

What else might I need?

In advance, thanks for any and all feedback


pick (s), case, strap, tuner, cloth to wipe strings after playing, spare set of strings…pretty much it. flatpickers are notorious for getting lost, so it’s always nice to have ea spare.

Kentucky makes a good product for the price and is worth looking at. Ben has some pretty good pricing though that will be hard to beat in my estimation.

Another advantage of buying from Ben is the set-up…I cannot emphasize enough what a difference this can make in playability from the factory set-up you’ll get from most sellers.


I would second fiddle_wood’s concerns about set up.
A mandolin is much harder to set up than a banjo as it will almost inevitably involve cutting the nut.

Pac-rim (so Eastmans, Kentuckys and The Loars) mandolins usually ship to dealers without a set up and with the nut cut very high which makes the eight strings much harder to play. You’ll need feeler gauges and nut files to cut the nut properly so it is not so easy to do at home.


Ok Dave,

It was very cool to see your familiar avatar responding over here on the Mando side of the site.

This is probably a dumb question… but a tuner that attaches to a Mando Strap? Is that a special type of Snark… or…?

Can you provide a make/model number?

As far as flat-pick… is it any different than a guitar pick?

Any recommendations about strings?

Rest assured, I plan to get my Mandolin from Jake… só setup should be included - but I soooo appreciate the advice.

So… in addition to Earl’s Book - the essential Banjo Book, is there a Mando Standard Book… to compliment Ben’s priceless teaching techniques?

Sorry for all the questions… but I am finding my fascination growing.


haha, not strap tuner…strap, tuner, etc. As for a tuner for mando, I like these and use them for fiddle, bass & guitar…they take up very little room.

Flat picks are for either guitar or mandolin (among other things)…many mando players seem to opt for the more even triangle style in a heavy thickness.

Any books I’d recommend are probably long out of print…and I no longer remember who wrote them. I honestly think you’d get more from the lessons here than any books I know of.

I’d start with the strings Ban carries and recommends to start and go from there…he plays regularly where as it’s been years since I played mando and am not up on whats even on the market currently…