Different Jo


Alright so I been thinking…I have this old Kay and a seemingly much newer Mastercraft. I would like to have a better piece of equipment as I feel like these are probably fairly low quality banjos. Is anyone on the market to trade 2 for 1, or give me an idea of who to call to do something like that? Don’t get me wrong here…these banjos play very well and hold a tune just fine…they just aren’t expensive like some of the others. I’m not interested in all the fancy inlays and woodwork, I’ve just always heard that a better quality banjo is much easier to play. Any pointers on this?


More expensive doen’t mean easier to play. More like easier to get a good soune/tone out of it.


10-4…Any ideas what a decent one would be…roughly… for the value of the ones I have? Like I said…the Kay is not a Serenader or anything as nice as that…more like an entry model Kay. The Mastercraft I was told was bought in TN for around $400. I don’t know the truth to that, but it looks very very similar to this one…banjobuyer.com/banjo/29635 …And they both are in fantastic shape. As a side note, when I first got the Kay from a pawn shop, it sounded terrible. So when I took a few lessons years ago, my instructor listened to it and showed me how to adjust the rim anchors to change the sound…because the banjo was in tune. After I did that under his supervision, it sounds great now…actually like a banjo lol. Neither of them have a tone ring, but I have kept them both in as perfect condition as they were when i got them. Neither of them have any fancy inlays or woodwork.


From what I am hearing RK (recording King) is making the best quality lower priced banjos right now, followed by Kel Kroyden affordable series. Not sure on the prices but you could look them up and check out the different models

Their are usually several new & used jfor sale on BhO


Very cool info…thank you. I’m gonna track some of those down and see what I can find a decent one for…I really want one with a tone ring.


I am picking this up Friday: "93 Rich & Taylor J.D. Crowe model.

and just sent out the check for this one:


I think I’m done buying banjos for now…


Wow…I am super jealous right about now. Here I am, trying to trade my two el cheapos for something decent worth playing and you’re picking up that sweet '29 TB-1 Conversion…holy cow I bet that mule will play like a dream come true. You gotta put up a video of you playing it when you get it. The ad is already closed, but the fact of what it is just gives me cold chills. One day I will work my way up to something like that…one day lol. On a serious note…congratulations on an epic acquisition!


Thanks Charles, A friend who knows much more about banjos than I suggested it to me after I told him I was looking for a pre-war Gibson. I got a pretty good deal on this one I think.

the add is closed but I have the pics…!





this will be my Fourth good banjo I own…think I’m done buying them now.


OMG Its b…e…a…utiful. It looks like its never been played. Please pardon my ignorance, but what are the screws on the inside of the rim for?


the screws hold the metal flange that goes around the outside in place.

this was originally a 4 string/tenor banjo (hence the model TB1) and was converted to a five string/plectrum by a Robin Smith who is well known for doing exceptionally good work I’m told.

this banjo still has the original hoop. Lots of times when banjos are converted the wood rim is cut and a tone ring is fitted to it to give it a bigger/more modern sound. this instrument has been untouched except for the new neck being built and the tailpiece being replaced


Gotcha…I thought about that but the angle of the picture looks like the screws sit a little higher than the bottom edge of the rim. Very interesting that it didn’t have a tone ring. I assume that a lot of the old ones didn’t? I can’t wait to hear the sound of it. You gotta post a video up soon.


I was thinking it might be fun posting soundbites of all four of my banjos and letting everyone guess which was which.


I’m game. Sounds like a challenge…whats in it for the winner?


hmmm good question…The joy of knowing they have an extremely knowledgeable ear?


Sounds like a game plan!


I was under the impression that all of the older banjos had tone rings of one design or another. Thats very intresting. Obviously I have a lot to learn lol. It just looked like the screws were a little lower than the edge of the rim. I can’t get over how great the condition for an instrument that old…I bet it sounds amazing.


Picked up my Rich & Taylor JD Crowe model today at a festival. got to hear it on stage for a set. Sounds great on the mic and in the parking lot. Plays wonderful. I didn’t pick it until I got home and then played it for about an hour (3am now). I’m way happy with the deal I got on this instrument.

Spent most of my time at the fest letting all the other good banjo pickers I know pick my Yates Archtop. It was great to hear 8-9 good pickers play a few tunes each on it. Gives me a better idea of the range of sounds it is capable of. I finally jammed a little for an hour or so with some friends before coming home. Mostly tried playing backup & stealing licks off the other banjo player who was playing also.

Saw a ton of old friends and had a great time. the day just flew by too fast. I’m beat…going to lay down now…


That sounds like a good weekend!


Wow…didn’t realize you made a trip to heaven for a day lololol. That sounds like something that would be on my bucket-list, although that one will be down the road a bit when I get better at playing lol.