Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo Review

The Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is a lightweight banjo that has a slim, trim profile to easily be played by anyone. People with small hands or those who can’t hold a heavy instrument will love the lightness and thin profile.

This is one of the most popular banjos played by beginners, but it’s a banjo that’s played by more advanced musicians, too. The real reason for that is because the banjo will last for years as the musician becomes more proficient. Professional musicians will become attached to the Goodtime banjo. This is a medium-priced banjo with a company that cares about its customers.

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Specifications

  • 22 frets in nickel silver
  • Sealed geared 5th string
  • Maple rim
  • Steel tension hoop
  • Open back
  • Instrument length 37 ½ inches
  • Rim diameter 12 inches
  • Six-year warranty

First Impressions

You can actually picture how light this model is before you even touch it. The wood is beautiful and the brackets are a delicate addition to the rim. It’s a banjo that’s made in the USA. While some manufacturers will outsource their parts, all of the instruments made by this company are made in the United States where the instruments are also assembled.

Deering Banjo Company

The company was built by Greg and Janet Deering who still have their hand in every aspect of the process. They have 48 staff members who are considered banjo specialists. In total, the team working on your Deering banjo have a combined 271 years of experience in creating high-quality banjos. They don’t make any other instruments, and over the past 41 years, the staff has created, built, and shipping over 100,000 banjos to loyal and grateful customers.

Required Setup Out of the Box

Inexpensive banjos will often need to be assembled, but all banjos will have some adjusting requirements when they’re taken out of the box after delivery. This one won’t be in pieces. The bridge will need to be adjusted and the strings will need to be tuned, but otherwise, the banjo is ready to go.

If you don’t know how to set it up yourself, there’s no reason you can’t take it to a professional music store to have it tuned and fixed up for you to begin playing. Tuning the banjo is a skill that you’ll learn as you play the banjo. When some people switch from guitar, they might not understand how to tune a banjo, which is much different than tuning a guitar. This is a time to ask for professional help.

Banjo Materials

The banjo was created with some really stunning woods. The neck was made with rock maple while the rim is a 3-ply maple. The rim is the round drum part of the banjo. Greg Deering decided to tool all the Goodtime rims with a high-grade maple design that is 3-ply. The blond maple was given a satin finish, so it’s smooth and buttery to the touch. The metal bits like the brackets are nickel plated.

Tailpiece of the Goodtime

The tailpiece is where the tone can be manipulated. If you want to raise the tone of the banjo, the tailpiece should be raised or lowered. The rim that holds the tailpiece is a standard 11 inch rim of 3-ply maple that’s graded for violin usage. This gives it a quality sound that doesn’t exist in other banjos in this price range.

Open-Back Banjo

Banjos will often have a resonator attached to the back of the banjo. This will give the banjo a sharper sound that’s higher in volume. An open-back banjo has a softer, laid-back tone that comes from the banjo’s back being open. The resonator will project the sound forward towards the listener, but the open back will allow the sound to drift around behind the musician.

Geared Tuning Including the 5th String

There are 5 geared tuning mechanisms on the Deering 5-String Banjo. The four at the top of the high-crown head are standard for many banjos. The 5th string geared tuner is not the typical open tuner. It’s a closed, sealed tuner that doesn’t need to be held down by tension like the others have.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this banjo come with an armrest?
While some banjos do come with an armrest, this one doesn’t. It’s easy to find and attach a banjo armrest to this instrument.

Are strings included with this banjo?
There are definitely strings with this banjo. They’ll have to be tuned properly before use. At some point, you might need new strings, but these ones will be good for a long time.

The Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo is a great beginner banjo in the medium price range. It’s a banjo that you can grow into as a musician and allows you to keep playing even as you start to become more proficient. You’ll be satisfied with this banjo for a very long time.

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