Broadkaster Banjo Experience?

Discussion in 'Gretsch "Roots" Acoustic Forum' started by StJohn, May 29, 2014.

  1. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Well, just to update: I have my bass rig (which is way too heavy now that I'm older, and not playing bass live anymore!) in the local store to sell. As soon as it does, I'll be ordering a Gretsch Broadkaster Supreme! It has all the specs I've seen make up a good banjo, namely a brass tone ring and one piece flange. It looks great, sounds good from the very few vids I've seen, and I've not been disappointed in a Gretsch yet, so I'll keep with em! Hopefully my old rig will sell sooner rather than later!
     
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    62
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Glad to hear it StJohn . Best of luck with everything and thanks for keeping us posted . Let us know how it all works out for you , so once again , keep us posted ...
     
  3. Anni_Lover

    Anni_Lover Synchromatic

    805
    Jul 17, 2009
    New Zealand
    My friend has the G9410 Broadkaster Special, and he's ordered both the G9400 Broakaster Deluxe and the G9200 Broadkaster Supreme. He likes his G9410 better than a Deering Goodtime Midnight Special.
     
  4. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    I'm still waiting for my old, heavy bass rig to sell at the store to finance the banjo. Hopefully it'll sell before too terribly long!
     
  5. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    UPDATE: Bass Rig sold, so I have on order the Broadkaster Supreme! Can't wait to get her in and give her a few rolls, lol! I've been borrowing a bud's banjo to get started while I waited, so it'll be interesting to hear the tonal differences. Pics will come when it's in!
     
  6. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Well, final update: My local store went to order the Broadkaster Supreme, and it was mysteriously discontinued, although I never saw anything about that and it's still on the website. So....went with a plan B and played everything in the store, and decided on the Deering Goodtime Classic Special 2. Great tone and playability for its price, so I'm a happy camper.
     
  7. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    I can't help but think that trying to learn Scotty Moore and Setzer tunes with all the fingerpicking has helped me get a decent leg up on banjo. I've been working on the different rolls and chord changes. I found getting used to the Mandolin's tuning way more difficult than the banjo-it's pretty easy to think of it as the D-Litttle E on a guitar, with the E tuned down to D, then the high G on top....but that *&^#ed G string is in the wrong place for a guitar player, lol. It is taking some time to get used to grabbing that G as the lowest string but highest note, but I'm getting there.

    As for the mandolin, while on vacation, I found a good deal on a Kentucky F style that was in need of some TLC. Thank goodness I taught myself the basics of setup a long time ago, because I got it for a steal. Thankfully there were no complicated issues, and it sounds great-lots of bark!
     
  8. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    I perform with a Gretsch Dixie 6 banjo but out of the box like most Electromatics, they needs lots of work to be stage ready. Mine came with ridiculous acoustic bronze guitar style strings and I didnt like the black plastic button tuning machines.. SO, I put sperzel non lockers on, opened up the nut a bit and got REAL banjo strings for the thing. :) I also had to tighten up the neck as it kept turning on the body and fretting out. Once all that was settled, I epoxied an Upright bass "clicky" pickup under the saddle.

    I wont say it is ANYwhere near the instrument a Deering Boston 6 string banjo is but for the money and a little elbow grease. I have an affordable instrument for the bluegrass/irish pub style songs I have to cover in the band.

    What really got be besides being a gretsch freak, was the MOT headstock and aged maple neck. Love it and will use it until I can afford the Deering.
     
  9. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    I loved the look of the Supreme, and it seemed to have all the qualities of a good, set up banjo, and it was fine as hell. But, I am very happy with the Good Time.

    I kept waiting and waiting on the Gretsch F style Mando too, but it was constantly getting pushed back. I had to pull the trigger on something, because we were looking to play out before too terribly long, and I didn't want to have picked up a mandolin the previous week. I really lucked out with the Kentucky, as it has a great projection and tone. FWIW, I was able to finally play a Gretsch one. It has nice playability, and a good sound-I didn't think either was as good as the Kentucky, but that's not really a fair comparison. One was setup, and the other probably wasn't. The finish was just ok on the Gretsch, but maybe there are others out there that looked better than this one did.
     
  10. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    That being said, there's still more than enough Gretsch's on my want list out there!
     
  11. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    Alabama
    Congrats on the banjo!
    As a former banjo player, I'll say that you'll get used to the short G string.
    When I switched from picking a banjo to rockabilly picking a guitar my thumb would automatically reach back for that G ;)
     
  12. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Your ability to pick up banjo and to play it in a traditional manner really depends on your fingerpicking experience and ability. While the banjo is tuned very differently, I think the main challenge is the fingerpicking if you are, like me, mostly a plectrumologist. Like someone else said, the mandolin is often easier to pick up right away because it is picked and not much fingerpicking at all.

    However, you can get a banjo SOUND by tuning and playing it like a guitar, but it won't have the same sort traditional sound with the drone-ishness and finger picking.
     
  13. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Country Gent

    Oct 17, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    Congratulations on getting the banjo and the Kentucky.

    Before I started to learn how to play the banjo almost two years ago, I was fiddling about some with the mandolin but I found that I needed all my concentration just to learn the banjo.

    These days, I can sort of, kind of, play so I'm playing the mando and the guitar a bit more.

    I found the learning curve for the banjo steep but rewarding. Keep at it!
     
  14. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Been a while, but time for an update: I got the banjo back in October, and played it pretty regular for a month or so, put it down for a week or so, back up, so and so forth....then the picking began to click and I was able to pick the rolls and chord changes at a good moderate speed. I've gotten comfortable with it enough that it's worked it's way onto our setlist at least. What really pushed me forward with it was to stop practicing rolls and chord changes so much and start learning actual songs...and still work on that stuff, but not exclusively. That was the ticket, as it's really starting to open up for me, and I'm enjoying the heck out of it.
     
    Groutsch likes this.
  15. BrianW

    BrianW Country Gent

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    Good for you ! I can recall the days of doing finger rolls ad nauseum and how it felt to actually toss some right hand in and play tunes ;-)

    How did the family take to the practice ? (mine drew the line at self taught fiddle - claimed it was chasing the hair off the cat )

    Have fun with it
     
  16. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Not too bad for the most part, lol. I usually stick to the music room when I'm practicing it, so I don't really disturb anyone. That's easier when you're playing actual songs than wrote roll practice. I usually do that at lunch when no one's home!
     
  17. BrianW

    BrianW Country Gent

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    Well done sir !

    I guess I didn't have the smarts or the music room to avoid the "critics" Lol
     
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