Exciting news! It looks like Gretsch is starting a folk/bluegrass line of instruments. There are a few dobros out, and there is a line of open back and resonator banjos. I can’t seem to find them anywhere but it looks like they are coming soon. I tried calling a few store and it seems like they can order them but most don’t have them in stock. I am hoping that I can play one of them in the next few months.
In case you don’t know who Gretsch is they make some of best guitars in the world. Chet Atkins, George Harrison, Brian Setzer and Duane Eddy are just a few of the many Gretsch player and there seems to be a big upswing in not only Gretsches, but also rockabilly music. It makes me very happy. They all look very retro and very cool.
Here is a link for the roots collection
http://www.gretschguitars.com/products/rootscollection It’s even made to look Old Timey
Following this, two my next posts will be
Finally Egnater rebel half stack
My newest guitar a used SG Special, and the upgrades I made to it.
I recently upgraded my banjo from my Epiphone MB 200 to a Gold Tone CB-100. I have to say I like the gold tone a lot better. It is so much nicer than the MB 200. I also realized for a bluegrass banjo the MB 200 is really light. I went to my favourite music store (Chuck Levin’s) and tried out a few bluegrass style Deering and Gibson banjos. They are way heavier. So that made my decision to get an open back a lot easier. I also play mostly clawhammer so an open back made a lot more sense. This banjo is a lot more sold and it has a scooped fret board so you can get that clucking holler sound. I know Gold Tone is a great brand for beginner and intermediate players. The parts come from China and are assembled in Florida. I also have played some of the Goodtime open backs and I like the Gold Tone a lot better.
It has a good action which was a big selling point for me. The tuners and hardware are also significantly better than the MB 200. It has a frosted head which I like and the color is kind of a deep greenish brown. The few cons are that the headstock looks a little bit off center from the neck and the neck is a little bit weightier because there isn’t a resonator to balance it out. I would definitely recommend this as a step up from a beginner banjo but for someone who isn’t ready to spend the money for a really good one.
A quick overview of Open Back vs. Resonator
– A lot lighter
– No resonator
– Used mainly for Clawhammer/frailing and old time music
– mellower sound, not used for cutting through a bluegrass band
– A hell of a lot heavier and you can usually judge how good a blue grass banjo is by how heavy it is
– Sharper ringing sound, has a metal tone ring to influence tone ( open backs also have tone rings, but lower end ones probably won’t)
– Used for bluegrass/Earl Scruggs style, that’s three finger picking. It’s harder to learn than clawhammer.
– Wooden Resonator used to project the sound. The one I had was mahogany but the good ones use violin quality 3-ply maple.
Also when it comes to tone rings, try to get a brass one.
Some more photos