Hello all, I'm new here. I've tried asking around, but I never got the sense those who I sought advice from never totally understood what I was really trying to refer to when asking about classic fingerstyle banjo.

Basically, I began playing banjo about a year ago. I started off with standard old-time clawhammer, but as time goes on, my interest is gradually moving towards minstrel stroke-style banjo (I've been playing for a few months), and I'm really interested beginning to learn classic banjo.

Basically, what I'm hoping to better understand is what I should be looking for in an instrument to play classic banjo? I understand that "Classic Banjo is played on a five-string banjo (either old or modern) strung with nylon, nylgut or gut strings with the bare fingers; no fingerpicks are used", but will really any 5 string banjo with nylon strings do the trick or should I be looking for something specific? Where should I be looking?

I've attached a photo of a banjo that was proposed to me buy a seller in Toronto, Canada. Its a tackhead banjo with a fretted neck. Its well within my price range ($379 CAD + shipping), but do you guys believe that it could do the trick or should I look elsewhere?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to broadening my musical horizons and learning tons from all of you.

 

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Perhaps yours were "real" genuine Presto tailpieces, not modern crappy stamped out Presto tailpieces?

Whoops. You are right, Ian.

thereallyniceman said:

Perhaps yours were "real" genuine Presto tailpieces, not modern crappy stamped out Presto tailpieces?

Jody, I really don't know whether Deering use the "better" Prucha manufactured Presto, but I once bought a banjo fitted with a "Presto" and I had to throw the tailpiece in the bin along with a pile of broken strings!  My guess was that it was a far eastern copy.

What type of tailpiece would you suggest The Really Nice Man?

Would this do the trick? 

https://www.deeringbanjos.com/collections/banjo-parts/products/deer...

Or will sanding the sharp edges down be fine?

i break the strings AND the tailpiece

Deering uses its own version of Presto. Here is the page about it

https://www.deeringbanjos.com/collections/banjo-parts/products/good...



thereallyniceman said:

Jody, I really don't know whether Deering use the "better" Prucha manufactured Presto, but I once bought a banjo fitted with a "Presto" and I had to throw the tailpiece in the bin along with a pile of broken strings!  My guess was that it was a far eastern copy.

This looks like a good quality item.. But read the write-up. It is  designed to produce a muted tone. Who wants that for classic banjo music?  As for the Presto that Deering uses on their Goodtime banjo have a look:

https://www.deeringbanjos.com/collections/banjo-parts/products/good...

I don't think it will be shredding any strings. 

Once you get above the Goodtime level Deering makes a good quality banjo. The Goodtime sounds ok... sort of... but it is a hard banjo to love. It doesn't even have a fingerboard.  I have met the Deerings. They are diligent and are committed to making good quality banjos. So I think your Presto is going to be fine. Instead of wasting extra money try what you have. If it breaks a string then you know.  If you really want a nice tailpiece I recommend the Fielding taipiece. But putting one of those on a Goodtime is a waste of a great tailpiece. The difference in sound a Fielding can make on a banjo depends on the banjo having the potential to sound better. A Goodtime lacks the potential for greatness. 
david caron said:

What type of tailpiece would you suggest The Really Nice Man?

Would this do the trick? 

https://www.deeringbanjos.com/collections/banjo-parts/products/deer...

Or will sanding the sharp edges down be fine?

Cool. Thanks. I just want to use the banjo I have for now, given my limited funds. Eventually, I will get the banjo of my dreams. 

The stock Goodtime tailpiece will work fine with nylon.  I know this first hand because my wife has one.

If one tries to use the polyester strings sold as "Nylgut" then you are on your own.

When you string it leave the excess on the peg end and just coil them up.  If one breaks then you can still use the string.

Go to a auto parts store and buy some 2000 grit sandpaper.  Then polish all the contact points on the tailpiece.  I would only do this if you have a string break.

I have a presto on a 60s Vega Wonder that I have hanging on my office wall for lunch time practice. No trouble with it at all.

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