The Deering Goodtime 5 String Banjo
An American Made Banjo!
Deering is perhaps the only major bluegrass banjo maker left who handcrafts their instruments totally in the USA. Other well known and respected banjo/stringed instrument manufacturers, like Gibson (and it's lower priced division Epiphone), GoldTone, Washburn, etc; all have parts made in Korea (or elsewhere outside the US) then shipped to their American facilities for assembling and finishing. Some models are totally made outside the US by American companies. Fender has some parts made outside the US (it's hard to find which parts, although the head cover is for sure) but their main manufacturing facility is still in Corona, Ca.
Of course, outsourcing isn't new nor does it mean necessarily that quality suffers. A close examination of consumer reviews (if legitimate) will often give you a good idea if there are quality control issues with some foreign made models.
I believe that Deering makes the best line of reasonably priced classic bluegrass banjos, with a good range of styles for beginner to professional. (Their Eagle series rival banjo's selling for over twice as much) They seem to have great quality control, so banjos don't leave their plant with major parts missing, or damaged. They also have very good customer service response, should a problem occur. And that is what makes the difference when you are a family owned business, in total control of the manufacturing and shipping process, from beginning to end, without thousands of miles in between.
The Goodtime series is the signature 5 string banjo of the Deering line, and is probably the most popular and widely played banjo by beginners, up to and including professional performers.
The open backed basic Goodtime and slightly more deluxe Goodtime 2, which is closed backed, produce that special banjo twang with a full tone that you want to hear. It's extremely well made (see video "About Deering Goodtime Banjos" to the right), and easy to play. If I was going to by another banjo, I would invest in one of these. If you are interested in Bluegrass, I recommend the Goodtime 2 or one of there other closed backed models.
You can't go wrong in buying the Goodtime banjo or giving it as a gift. They come with a 6 yr warranty and have great customer satisfaction. Amazon has the lowest discounted price for the Deering line that I have found anywhere (Under $400 for the basic model) and free shipping.
The Goodtime 2 with resonator (back) sells for around $150 more than the basic model, and Amazon has 2 of the Goodtime Classic model (a deluxe version that looks very nice!) for around $545-$750 respectively. Deering Goodtime banjos come with a 6 yr warranty. Check out the line of Deering Banjos.
Photo Gallery: Deering Goodtime, Goodtime2, and Goodtime Classic Banjos
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