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Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
|Price:||$479.00 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Low-profile, 22-fret rock maple neck with hardwood bow tie inlays
- Sealed, geared tuning machines, including fifth string
- 5/8-Inch maple/ebony Goodtime bridge with adjustable Deering tailpiece
- Six-year warranty
- Three-ply, 11-inch maple rim with steel tension hoop and high crown head
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|Item Dimensions||11.75 x 37.75 x 3.75 in||13.88 x 38.75 x 4.25 in||39 x 4.5 x 16.8 in||17 x 41.5 x 5 in||—||15.75 x 41.1 x 3.9 in|
The American-made Goodtime banjo features a slender, rock maple neck, 3-ply maple rim, sealed geared tuners, and an adjustable tailpiece. The natural, blond maple is finished in elegant satin and the metal parts are nickel plated. The single coordinator rod makes adjustments easy and positive. The maple and ebony bridge sits on an easy to adjust 11 inch, top-frosted head.
The Deering Goodtime is a great banjo at a competitive price, constructed in the U.S. The Goodtime is an open-back banjo, weighing in at just four pounds, so it's ideal for traveling, camping, hiking, or taking to the beach. It provides a vibrant, singing banjo tone, and makes a great "starter" banjo, since it's well-fretted and plays easily.
Slim Neck Profile
The Goodtime banjos have a slender, low-profile neck that is easy to finger and comfortable for large and small hands.The fret work is accurate and precise to ensure correct intonation over the entire fingerboard.
You can adjust the action (string height) on the Goodtime banjo by adjusting the single coordinator rod in the pot easily and effectively adjusts the playability so that the strings are close to the fingerboard and are easy to press down.
Three-Ply Maple Rim
The Rim is the round wood drum part of the banjo: In 2009 Greg Deering finished new tooling to make all Goodtime rims in the higher grade 3-ply maple design. Prior to that they were laminated birch and maple rims. This standard 11-inch diameter rim provides a top quality sound that out performs all other banjos available in this price range. Thanks to this new upgrade, Goodtime banjos sound like they should cost far more they do.
The patented Goodtime tailpiece is extremely strong and easily adjustable to maximize tone by raising or lowering it.The standard 11" diameter rim is a 3-ply violin grade maple rim provides a top quality sound that outperforms many banjos available in this price range. The 16 brackets and standard rim diameter make head adjustments easy and replacement heads are readily available since the heads are the same size as most modern banjos (11" high crown).
Made in the U.S.A.
Deering manufactures the Goodtime Banjo in America at the Deering Banjo Company in Spring Valley, California.
- Neck: Blond Slender Rock Maple
- Frets: 22 Pressed In Nickel Silver
- Inlays: Hardwood Bow Tie
- Tuners: Sealed Geared (Incl. 5th String)
- Neck Finish: Satin
- Peghead: Satin Deering Fiddle Shaped
- Rim: Blond 3-ply Violin Grade Maple
- Tension Hoop: Steel
- Head: 11-Inch Frosted Top High Crown
- Bridge: 5/8-Inch Maple/Ebony Goodtime
- Tailpiece: Deering Patented Goodtime
- Finish: Satin
- Back Style: Openback
- Neck Width at Nut: 1 1/4 Inches
- Scale: 26 1/4 Inches
- Rim Diameter: 12 Inches
- Overall Instrument Length: 37 1/2 Inches
- Weight: Approx.4 lbs
- Warranty: 6 Years
Top customer reviews
In fact, this entry-level Goodtime has some advantages over expensive professional-grade models. It's extremely light, weighing in at a mere 4 pounds (thanks in part to its minimal hardware and lack of any tone ring), making it easy to carry and easy to hold, even for a child or an adult with a bad back. This is a banjo you don't mind bringing with you camping or to the beach, unlike a heavy expensive one. The smooth satin finish allows your hand to glide easily up and down the neck, whereas the heavy gloss finish on expensive banjos can create more friction and feel draggier. And the Goodtime's guitar tuners are actually more precise than the planetary tuners on my Eagle II.
Deering does sell a separate add-on armrest for the Goodtime banjo, if you really must have one (standard armrests won't fit because of the very wide bracket spacing). I bought it, and it was easy to install. Deering also sells a resonator kit if you later decide you want to upgrade from open-back to resonator (if you're reasonably sure you're going to eventually want a resonator, it probably makes more sense to just get the resonator model from the outset rather than add a resonator later--and you can always opt to just take the resonator off. But it's simply nice to know that you do also have the option of adding a resonator later--you're not necessarily committing to an open-back by buying this model.
When I bought my open-back Goodtime and finally had a truly well-made, quality, nice sounding, playable banjo in my hands for the first time, I just wanted to play it all the time. I found it to be a real joy compared to the inferior imported banjos I had struggled with in the past. In fact, I loved it so much that I decided right away that I just had to have one of the upper-line Deerings and bought my Eagle II (I pretty much fell in love with this company and its products!). But that was just to satisfy my enthusiasm--the truth is, this simple open-back Goodtime would have been plenty sufficient for all my present and future purposes. If you're going to be playing in a band or in large open venues, you may want to spend a little more for one of the Goodtime models that have a resonator (Goodtime Two) or a tone ring (Goodtime Special Open-Back) or both (Goodtime Special). But whichever Goodtime you choose, it is an outstanding banjo for a beginner and it's still pretty outstanding for any banjo player of any skill level, short of a professional!
Before I get into the review, in my research I learned there are two main types of five-string banjos: open-back (which is the Deering Goodtime) and resonator. Open-back is more for playing old-time style, also known as clawhammer or frailing style, and it's much lighter than the resonator (I can attest to this since my brother had a resonator; it is HEAVY). The resonator is more for bluegrass style, so you'll be fingerpicking while wearing fingerpicks. It's got a resonator plate on the back, so you'll get a louder, brighter sound (hence the term "resonator"), but as I said, it's pretty heavy. I like the simplicity, timbre, and portability of the open-back, hence why I went with the Deering Goodtime. Just thought I'd mention this as a helpful starting point.
First, the positives of the Goodtime, of which there are many:
Although I never played banjo, I do play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and bass, so I have a general idea of what I need to look for in an instrument. Right out of the box (the banjo was safely and securely packaged, by the way, which was a good first sign of its quality and a huge reassurance that it wasn't damaged in shipping), you can tell the Goodtime is of outstanding quality. Everything feels sturdy and tight; nothing is loose or wobbly. It has a natural wood finish that I really like, and it even FEELS like high quality wood. The fretboard has beautiful inlays, and the shape and construction of the neck and fretboard, in addition to the banjo's fantastic action, makes the banjo very easy and fun to play (imagine that - easy AND fun!). The tuning keys are easy to wind and hold tight, so you won't have to constantly re-tune. The rim looks nice and is solidly built, as well. Overall I feel like I got my money's worth, and then some.
And the beautiful sound! You have to hear it for yourself. Every string rings clear, and the banjo sounds just as I expected a banjo should. This might sound redundant, but from what I've read there are some pretty cheaply made banjos out there. Rest assured that the Deering Goodtime is NOT one of them.
Now, a couple minor issues (the first of which is not the fault of Deering but is the nature of all banjos in general):
First, I noticed my banjo was in tune below the 5th fret but played sharp the farther up the fretboard I went. I did some research and found that this is normal for banjos given their sensitivity to the surrounding temperature (thus the possibility of a very slight stretching or shrinking of the head - this is normal), and the fact that all banjo bridges are moveable. Thus, I had to loosen every string and move the bridge slightly in the direction away from the neck to ensure proper intonation. I had to repeat this process of loosening the strings, moving the bridge, and re-tuning a few times, so needless to say it was annoying and time consuming. It did the trick though, and it's been fine ever since. So just keep in mind that notes playing sharper or flatter up the neck is normal for any banjo and is NOT the fault of Deering, and you may need to move the bridge slightly in one direction or the other depending on whether it's playing sharp or flat.
Second, the instrument does not come with a gig bag or case. To get the banjo gig bag made by Deering, and hence ensuring a proper, snug fit, you'll be shelling out around $75. I definitely recommend the Deering gig bag since it's very padded and well-made, but it's just kind of inconvenient to have to put out more money in addition to the cost of the banjo. Otherwise you'll be storing your awesome banjo in the factory box it came in until you get one.
If you're in the market for a banjo as an entry-level or intermediate player, then bypass the junk and go with the Deering Goodtime. I can't see any reason why you should put out more money on an expensive, "better" banjo (I say "better" because I can't see it getting much better than the Goodtime; I've actually come across reviews in which the Goodtime is compared to $1000+ banjos), and personally I can't even foresee having to buy another banjo. Ever. The Deering Goodtime is everything I wanted for an incredible price. You just can't go wrong.
I really don't have anything bad to say about this at all. If I were going to do any upgrades to this I would purchase the planetary tuners for the head, I just like them better and they are more "traditional" looking.
In the end I would recommend the Deering Goodtime Banjo
only played about a month now and I can play about 4 songs medium well. Getting faster all the time.. easy to carry so I play it in the car while waiting for the other half shopping.