Bill Evans demos Deering’s Goodtime five-string banjo.
by Teja Gerken
May 03, 2018
Deering’s line of affordable Goodtime banjos started out with a single open-back five-string model that was built with quality materials and produced excellent tone. From the success of that model has come a complete family of Goodtime instruments, and Peghead Nation banjo instructor Bill Evans recently had a chance to sit down with the Artisan Goodtime Special, one of four banjos from the new Artisan Goodtime line.
Artisan Goodtime banjos have a more traditional appearance than the Blonde Goodtimes, which have a distinctive natural-colored maple neck and fingerboard with hardwood bowtie inlays. For the Artisan line, Deering has developed a new process of staining maple on the fingerboard (the company calls it “midnight maple”), which looks a lot like ebony and allows for the use of light-colored pearl position markers. The maple on the neck of Artisan banjos is stained a deep brown to give the banjos their rich, traditional look.
The Artisan Goodtime Special has a three-ply violin-grade maple rim, bluegrass-style maple resonator, Deering’s patented metal Goodtime tone ring, a steel tension hoop, and an 11-inch frosted top head. All the metal hardware is nickel plated, and it has geared tuning machines. Thoughtful features include pre-installed fifth-string spikes at the seventh, ninth, and tenth frets. In this video, Bill explains the banjo’s features and plays Earl Scruggs’ “Fireball Mail.”
SPECS: Five-string resonator banjo. 11-inch pot with three-ply maple rim. Maple resonator. Metal tone ring. Maple neck. “Midnight maple” fingerboard. Enclosed chrome geared tuning machines. Nickel plated hardware. Made in USA. $1,199. deeringbanjos.com
Comments and Discussion
Thanks for your email. Where are you writing from? If you have a skilled instrument repair person, especially someone who knows banjos, it is probably a good idea to take your banjo in for a tune up. Check with your local or regional music store that specializes in acoustic instruments (not a Guitar Center type store!) to begin to find a good person.
When you say that there's a screw loose, that could mean a number of things as there are a lot of screws on banjos. If one of the screws is loose that attaches the resonator to the body (or pot) of the banjo, then no worries - all you have to do is tighten that resonator screw without doing anything else. There are nuts the are used on the inside of the banjo to attach the coordinating rods to the inside of the rim. Those you should be able to tighten - but not too tight - without taking off the strings.
Without more information, it's a bit difficult to know what the problem is. When you do change strings, change them one at a time.
I hope this helps! I cover a lot of set up issues in my books "Banjo For Dummies" and "Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies" and both books include online video and audio, including a detailed video on how to change strings.
All the best!
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