Banjo Psych 162

banjo head, banjo psych logoThe Definitive Answers to the Most Important
Banjo Questions

by Mike Moxcey

I doubt if any of these insightful or (incitefull--I'm not sure of the spelling) have ever been asked before, so I'll take a shot. Granted, there may be some differences of opinion about the answers, but probably not. Answers are sorted by answeree.


Beginning Picker:

  • Who makes the best bluegrass banjo?
    Oh man, there's so many manufacturers to choose from and all of them make a better instrument than this piece of junque that is holding me back from reaching my full potential.
  • Who makes the best old-timey banjo?
    See answer 1.
  • Is there a difference between tone rings?
    What's a tone ring? Is that something I should know about? Will it help me learn faster?
  • Who makes the best tone rings?
    Oh man, more stuff I gotta figure out.
  • What's a good price to pay for a banjo?
    A whole lot less than what I paid for this piece of junque that is holding me back from reaching my full potential and a whole lot more than I've got in my bank account.
  • Who is the best banjo player?
    Anybody who is better than me is so astounding that I can't comprehend there are levels of difference between them.

Arrogant Bluegrasser:

  • Who makes the best bluegrass banjo?
    The manufacturer of this one.
  • Who makes the best old-timey banjo?
    Who cares? "Best" isn't a word you can use in that realm.
  • Is there a difference between tone rings?
    Absolutely.
  • Who makes the best tone rings?
    See answer 1.
  • What's a good price to pay for a banjo?
    What I paid for my instrument.
  • Who is the best banjo player?
    Earl. Duh!

Thoughtful frailer:

  • Who makes the best bluegrass banjo?
    Doesn't matter; they're all too loud.
  • Who makes the best old-timey banjo?
    Depends on the style you play and the sound you want.
  • Is there a difference between tone rings?
    Absolutely.
  • Who makes the best tone rings?
    Depends on the style you play and the sound you want.
  • What's a good price to pay for a banjo?
    Depends on the style you play and the sound you want.
  • Who is the best banjo player?
    Depends on the style you like and the sound you like.

Technophile:

  • Who makes the best bluegrass banjo?
    No one. All those yahoo makers are doing something wrong with their process or marketing or head tension or ... yadda, yadda, yadda .....
  • Who makes the best old-timey banjo?
    No one. All those yahoo makers are doing something wrong with their carving or ordering the wrong wood or ... yadda, yadda, yadda .....
  • Is there a difference between tone rings?
    Oh you bet. A tone ring affects the entire tone of the banjo. Why do you think they call it a "tone" ring? Sheesh, with that kind of attitude I shouldn't even waste my breath, but let me tell you about tone rings ... yadda, yadda, yadda .....
  • Who makes the best tone rings?
    No one. If they could, then maybe one of those yahoo manufacturers could make a decent instrument and not force me to spend all my time ... yadda, yadda, yadda .....
  • What's a good price to pay for a banjo?
    You can't afford it. It's not the money, it's the time you need to round up all the necessary parts and then put it together correctly. And just knowing which parts are the best and how to put them together takes a lot of knowledge. Let me tell you just how long I've ... yadda, yadda, yadda .....
  • Who is the best banjo player?
    I dunno. Don't have time to waste listening to banjos being played. I've got to analyze why they don't sound good. Look at this here bridge. It's ... yadda, yadda, yadda .....

Pessimistic picker:

  • Who makes the best bluegrass banjo?
    Oh God, I'll probably never figure it out.
  • Who makes the best old-timey banjo?
    See previous answer.
  • Is there a difference between tone rings?
    There must be or you wouldn't ask the question, but I'll probably never figure it out.
  • Who makes the best tone rings?
    Oh God, I'll probably never figure it out.
  • What's a good price to pay for a banjo?
    I dunno but I'm sure I paid way too much for this one.
  • Who is the best banjo player?
    Ain't ever gonna be me, that's for sure.

Optimistic picker:

  • Who makes the best bluegrass banjo?
    There are so many but this one here's pretty good.
  • Who makes the best old-timey banjo?
    There are so many but this one here's pretty good.
  • Is there a difference between tone rings?
    Probably but I've got so many other things that affect my playing that I don't have time to worry about it.
  • Who makes the best tone rings?
    I've got so many other things that affect my playing that I don't have time to worry about it.
  • What's a good price to pay for a banjo?
    Whatever you can afford at the time. I got a pretty good deal on this one.
  • Who is the best banjo player?
    There are a lot of good ones and I'm figuring to join that crowd some time. Gotta get back to practicing.

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Also by Mike: The Banjo: Your Battle Buddy.

Mike Moxcey lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, works a day job as a database programmer for USDA:APHIS:Wildlife Services and writing stories and articles on the side. He has played 5-string banjo with a variety of bluegrass, folk and rock groups, played once with the Fort Collins Wind Symphony, and performed occasional solo blues gigs. He currently plays a 5-string Deering Deluxe which he strums Dixieland style with the Stover Street Stompers, and picks and frails at local jams. He also performs school shows around town demonstrating a wide variety of instruments (guitar, ukulele, Dobro, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, autoharp, bones, spoons, jaw harp, tin whistle, flute, harmonica, etc.) while introducing kids to live music of all kinds.

Email to Mike at and visit his Web site.

 

Main text ©2001 by Mike Moxcey

Last Updated 15 Jul 2006 by PJH

Edited 01 Apr 2007 by WF