Hello, my name is Dante and I am 9 years old. I've been playing bluegrass banjo for a year and a half but now I am starting to learn how to play classic banjo! Can somebody suggest a good classic banjo that I can buy? I like Deering banjos the most for playing bluegrass but I don't know about what banjo is best to buy for learning classic banjo. Oh also it can't cost a lot. Thank you for your help. -Dante

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Dante, another thing you can try is to replace the first string with a light gauge steel string but leave the other nylon strings on if they play in tune. About 100 years ago there were several classic banjo players in England, good ones, who strung their banjos like that. What do you use for a 1st string for bluegrass? About .010 or .009?  Try one of those! 

-Dear Mr Jody

You were right it was a false string so we got it replaced and my recording king sounds great now with nylon strings. The guy in the shop that fixed my banjo said that the false string that I got was one in a million. I also got to play banjo together with Mr Tony Oh and did you know that Don Reno was the one who taught him how to play banjo! That is sooo cool!

-Dante

That's good news, Dante. I didn't know Don Reno taught Tony Ellis but I think they were both from North Carolina. I always liked Don Reno's playing since the first time I heard him when I was about 12 years old. Now I'm 75 but I still remember how he sounded, I saw him play live quite a few times. I'll pass on something I heard him say at a banjo "workshop" at a music festival in the 1960s.  The moderator was asking for any advice he could give. Don Reno indicated that if you paid attention you could pick up some musical ideas or techniques from just about any player, even if they weren't good players. He said something like "There's no musician, no matter how sorry, that you can't learn something from". 

I found he was right although sometimes what I learned was "I never want to play as bad as THAT"  :-)

Dante Flores said:

-Dear Mr Jody

You were right it was a false string so we got it replaced and my recording king sounds great now with nylon strings. The guy in the shop that fixed my banjo said that the false string that I got was one in a million. I also got to play banjo together with Mr Tony Oh and did you know that Don Reno was the one who taught him how to play banjo! That is sooo cool!

-Dante

Hi Dante, I may be a bit late to comment on this regarding suitable banjos for classic banjo. I'm currently teaching someone who has a Deering Goodtime banjo. He asked me to try it with nylon strings to sound it out. Yesterday I  made a Weaver type floating tail piece to replace the existing one. It makes the attaching of the strings a lot easier to do. I also made a  maple bridge  that was about 1mm higher to facilitate the nylon strings. The resulting tone and volume it now produces is equally, if not better, than some of my vintage banjos and it's certainly some thing I'd recommend doing. The only problem I have is that I'ts a short scale (19 frets) and is a bit too small for my size 12 hands to handle comfortably....Steve.

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