Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

Ive been trying to find the right first banjo for myself and I found the Gold tone it250 and the ts250 and they are the max price range id go for. the it 250 has only 17 frets and is made purposely for gdae tuning, Ive heard that the longer necks are better in the long run but I dont know much about banjos. The ts 250 has 19 frets but is advertised to be used for jazz etc.
Anyone use the TS 250 for Irish music?
Which are better 19frets or 17?
Thank you

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

The 21-inch scale tenor banjos are best, IMO, for melody playing in ITM, because it’s easier to reach the notes you need. A larger pot adds more bass to compensate for the shorter strings. If you can acquire an old, short-scale Vega tubaphone with a large pot (11 and 13/16") and a short (21") scale, you’ll never regret it for the playing of this music.

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Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

Thanks for the reply, Im also a lefty so its more difficult sometimes to find left handed banjos especially the older vintage ones. Do you miss out on choosing the shorter neck?

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

I would think that converting a banjo from right handed to left handed would be as simple and replacing the bridge and the nut, and moving the arm rest, if it has one. But I might be missing something.

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

If you look at all the great tenor banjo players in irish trad music the majority of them play 19 fret tenor banjos. For some reason 17 fret tenors get marketed as "Irish tenor banjos" in the States, yet in Ireland you’ll mainly find players using 19 fret tenors. As for it being "easier to reach the notes" on a short scale banjo - young kids in Ireland play 19 fret banjos and have no problem reaching any of the notes.

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

My brother and Auntie both play 19 fret banjos in Ireland and recommended the longer neck too, but I’m still not sure of the advantage of a longer neck over a short neck.
The ts 250 is adverttised for jazz etc but to me looks like the only difference is the longer neck. My brothers 19fret is an old banjo that wasn’t originally designed for gdae and he has had issues with for that reason. So I wonder if I went with the ts250 would it give me problems for Irish tunes

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with the ts250 in GDAE. People tend to think that the fatter strings required for GDAE put more pressure on the neck, but it’s not necessarily true. The fatter strings are tuned lower, so the total tension on the neck should be pretty comparable to the tension of thinner strings tuned CGDA. So you really only have to worry about the grooves in the bridge and nut being cut to the right size to handle the fatter strings. Vintage banjos that have lost their relief, or have warped necks, would have had the problem with either stringing… (More often than not, they’ve been stored in damp places for years upon end without releasing the tension on the strings…)

Cheeky Elf is right about flipping a banjo to be left handed not being a big deal. If the nut is straight, then you just need to flip it around. But if it’s angled, like some are, then you just need a luthier to cut a new one. And bridges are usually straight too, so you just flip them around. Some bridges, like the old Snuffy Smith bridges have a bit of a lean to them, and in that case, you’d just want to cut the notches to the right size in the first place… The only other thing to worry about is the arm rest, but those are generally just attached to the brackets, in which case you can just remove it and move it to the other side…

I also prefer a 19 fret banjo. The longer neck actually creates a bit more sustain, and I think that helps get the tone that I like from a banjo. And since we do most of our playing in first position, I really don’t feel a huge difference between 17 and 19 frets. If you have a good left hand positioning, with your thumb in a good spot, you can pivot up to the 7th fret for the B on the E string easily, instead of feeling like you have to stretch to get up there.

So I think you’d be fine with the ts250. Although, I prefer vintage banjos in a lot of ways, primarily because they hold their value better. But in a lot of cases, they’re better sounding banjos too. Best of luck!

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

That’s a good price for that banjo, and it’s probably because it is not in the greatest shape if you look closely. I just sent you a P.M. about some other possible banjos.

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

Yeah Rev, but do they come with their own light show?

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

Haha, not with the lights like in that Vega. But my banjos always have lights (usually a light organ that blinks to the music) around Christmas time 😉

http://itmbanjo.com/banjolights.jpg

Re: Gold tone ts 250 good for Irish music? (help)

That’s great craic right there!