A great six-string guitar-banjo with an affordable price.
by Teja Gerken
March 06, 2017
Deering Banjos has been making six-string banjos that are set up to play like guitars for many years. But with the exception of the Goodtime Solana 6, which has nylon strings, Deering’s six-strings have been high-end instruments, putting them out of reach for many musicians. Now Deering has introduced a pair of steel-string six-string banjos (one with an 11-inch pot, the other with a 12-inch pot) as part of its affordable Goodtime series, and we had a chance to check out the 12-inch version.
Like other Goodtime banjos, the Goodtime Six values tone and playability over elaborate appointments and exotic materials. Its maple neck and three-ply open-back maple rim will be familiar to Goodtime fans. Hardwood inlays serve as position markers in the fingerboard, and a set of enclosed guitar tuning machines do their duty on the peghead. The Goodtime Six has a clever tailpiece that allows you to use strings with either ball-ends or loop-ends, and the instrument comes set up with a set of Elixir XL .010–.047 guitar strings. Another great feature is the six-string version of Deering’s Smile bridge, which has slightly radiused feet that conform to the curvature of the head under tension.
The Goodtime Six was a lot of fun to play, creating banjo tones for guitarists without straying from familiar fingerings. The instrument’s slightly longer-than-usual scale makes for some fairly long stretches when played in first position, but overall, the playability was excellent. It has great volume and punch throughout its range and sounds especially nice played up the neck.
Overall, the Goodtime Six is a great addition to Deering’s line. Whether it’s used as an idea generator, studio tool, or live performance enhancer, having a high-quality guitar-banjo at an affordable price is bound to win Deering many new guitarist friends.
SPECS: Open-back six-string guitar-banjo. Maple neck and fingerboard. 12-inch pot with three-ply maple rim. Renaissance high-crown head. Steel tension hoop. Maple and ebony Goodtime Smile bridge. 26.25-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. Enclosed chrome tuning machines. Made in USA. $775. deeringbanjos.com, goodtimebanjos.com
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