Hey everyone! I've been playing a cheap, starter openback banjo (Gretsch G9450) for over a year now, and am looking to upgrade to a bluegrass banjo in the near future. Can anyone recommend a solid, intermediate-level resonator banjo? My budget is ~$600-$800; I've heard the Goodtime Two is good, but I don't like the way it looks.
The Goodtime is your best bet. Read this months issue of Banjo Newsletter about the Goodtime. I have had one for years. Then put your pennies in a coffee can and save up for a Deering Silver Clipper.
Hi Kenny, glad you're making progress! I'm into this a few years now and have a couple banjos that I'm playing actively, but I think I've purchased six or so trying to get what I want. So here's my advice. Make sure you play it (that particular banjo) before you buy it. Also keep in mind the style you're looking to play. Real stand out banjos have Mahogany backs, versus more blending banjos might have Maple backs. On a particular day or song I may lean to one or the other. The banjos I actively play were bought based on the musicians/teachers I highly respect. Tom Adams used to endorse Goldstar (Mahogany), but he switched a couple years ago (after a whole career on the Goldstar) - check his website. I love my Goldstar, but have trouble with it near the nut. Charlie Cushman set up my Goldstar, and when I went to pick it up near Nashville he told me I made a pretty good choice for the money. Bill Evans endorses American Made Banjos (Maple), and I love my Bill Evans version, but it's a bit pricey. I just played a Huber Workhorse (but wasn't that impressed). Wish you the best!