Paramount Style A for tunes

Paramount Style A for tunes

Hio

Just wondering what other banjo players’ thoughts are on the Paramount Style A instruments?

How would you describe the tone and volume? How do they compare to a new Clareen or Dave Boyle instrument?

Cheers
- Cam

Re: Paramount Style A for tunes

I have one (1927 I think), but I can’t compare it to a Clareen or a Boyle as I’ve never played one. I can compare it to my other banjo, a 1929 Gibson TB-01, which has a brass hoop not a tone ring, and I think these might become rarer because they are sought after as 5-string conversions. Doing a quick search for the Gibson TB-01, I found this : http://www.banjohangout.org/topic/253709 and I can agree with what is said here: "The sound is what I expected……it’s "old." That’s the best way to describe it. It’s also quite fascinating in that, while being just a hair on the "thin" side, it has a booming 4th string and it projects more than I had expected." I think this is why it sounds so good for Irish music, because the low end is so resonant and the top end is mellow but still very much loud enough. Now the Paramount: it’s a beautiful looking banjo, plays nicely and if I just had that one I’d be perfectly happy with it. The difference is that the heavy tone ring gives it a brilliant, loud projection in the high register, but not quite so responsive on the low G and D strings. I might not be doing it justice, as it has a fairly old head. The main reason I don’t use it so much as the other one is the weight: the Gibson is much lighter and less likely to give me backache. The intonation on the Paramount seems excellent, the old Page tuning pegs hold up, even though they look a bit clapped out (their casings are very fragile). Also there is a heel repair which seems to be holding up well (the heel seems to be a bit prone to cracking on these). It doesn’t have a truss rod whereas the Gibson has one that still adjusts. I’m glad I have it though. You’ve inspired me to get it out and give it a blast.

Re: Paramount Style A for tunes

Hi, I just obtained a 1930 Style A two weeks ago. I’m still experimenting with strings to find the right combo, but agree with Richard’s observations. I can compare it only to my 17 fret Fairbanks -Vega, a 17 fret Vega, a 19 fret Slingerland and a 17 fret Gold Tone, and this one blows all of those away Richard described. I like the look and sound of the clear head on this banjo. It doesn’t have the low growl on the G and D strings, but might be able to get it as I experiment with the set-up. I have played 17 fret instruments up till now, but really enjoy the 19 frets for the reasons found elsewhere in the discussion forum. I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that the Paramount neck is slimmer than some other 19 fretters, it definitely is compared to my Slingerland.

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Re: Paramount Style A for tunes

Cheers thanks for your help… part of me is more keen to go to a modern banjo made specifically for Irish music, but I’m open to trying other ones so any advice is appreciated