Long Neck Banjo

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Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Groups: None
Long Neck Banjo

Looking to hear from folks that have or have played a long neck banjo? I understand the standard open tuning would be in the key of E and though not a great deal of bluegrass music is typically in that key, I have a friend that likes to sing in that key.

Before I run out and buy one of these long necks, just wanted to ask for some opinions on them.

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Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Groups: Jersey Jam
Check the Fall '09 issue of

Check the Fall '09 issue of Fretboard Journal. The article on Pete Seeger talks about how he had an additional 3 frets inserted into the neck of his banjo by Matt Umanov in NYC (I think), and how the format has developed from there.

I've only messed w/ banjo a little bit (not a player!), but open E sounds like it should equate to 2 extra frets, assuming that string gauge and tension remain equal.

Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Groups: None
Fretboard Journal

In fact, I did read this article (what an incredible magazine/journal by the way!....I just recently started getting it.....My dad was a hobby luthier making violins so this magazine is just awesome because of some of the neat stuff they print. I am a lover of all things old too, just ask my husband....so the vintage stuff covered is also great), which was the first I had heard of the long neck.........just wanted to hear from banjo pickers that have had the honor to play one of them about their experience and how the chording would vary from the standard 5 String open tunned to G.

Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Groups: None
longneck banjo

I play a vintgage Vega longneck, sometimes called a Pete Seeger model. Standard tuning is an open E tuning, but a capo at the third fret and using a capo hook for the fifth string will put it in G tuning, frequently used in bluegrass music.

Joined: 27 Jan 2010
Groups: None
Long Necks

Great fun. And unless it is fretless, capo works good for key changes. Also can be tuned lower so capo don't have to advance too far up neck.

Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Groups: None
Vega

What type of music do you happen to play? Old Timey, or your own material? I would love to hear a piece done with it in it's open tuning. I believe Pete Seeger played more of a frailing style?

Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Groups: None
Don't Fret

Do you have one of these long neck banjos? I have not had the opportunity to pick a fretless banjo, but I would probably not be able to pass up the chance if ever I come acrossed one.

Joined: 30 Jan 2010
Groups: None
Long Neck Banjo

I have a Deering Vega Long Neck. Also a Recording King RK20 regular length I practice on, and a home made concoction thrown together with a chinese built neck and Lyon & Healey pot from an old time banjo I've had for forty years. They all work well.
The long neck is a nice banjo, and Deering offers good support should you ever need it. The banjo is expensive, but shopping around will get you in the $2000 range, depending on who you buy from. Intermountain Guitar and Banjo in Salt Lake would be a good place to start.
Gibson also made (and may still) a long neck in a slightly less expensive model, and I'll bet Ode Banjo Company would make you one. These folks are all on line and can be Googled. Gold Tone makes the GT250LN long neck, and by all reports it's a humdinger. I've not played one, but there are favorable reviews online. It's in the $700-$900 range, but if you're not shopping carefully can cost more.
I've played for about thirty years, but more guitar than banjo, and some mandolin. Upsidedown is our group, and a smaller side group called
Tannin. Have also played with a group called Time River. All three groups could use a good fiddler, if anyone is interested. Westhaven, Utah, Kaysville, Utah, and points nearby would be the area.

Joined: 24 Dec 2009
Groups: None
long necks

I recently played a 60's vega long neck.It was,to me,terribly uncomfortable.The fellow who owned it had no strap,so I had to hold it in a nearly upright position to play it,the neck was clunky thick.
On the other hand,I used to have a 22 fret Vega from the 60's.I put the Hartford guage strings(12,14 20w 24w 11) on it and tuned it to E.Really liked it. I've done that with a couple other banjos as well.You don't need a long neck to play in E tuning,just heavier strings.
Of course you'll have to capo at 3 to play in G if that's your only banjo. Makes a good excuse to own an extra. ;-)

Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Groups: None
long necks

No question they are heavy! And when you play uncapoed (Key of E in open G tuning) you REALLY have to stretch that left arm. I keep mine capoed at 3 or 5. The open position is good for playing with guitar players who want to be in "E." The bass string sounds a bit like a banjo-cello when its open.

Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Groups: None
Hello...brand new

Hello...brand new member...just found this forum I play a long neck Gold Tone ot800. while I do play it open (E) on occasion, it is very seldom. Our group is called The Classmate Trio. We play folk, Irish, some American standards and a little country.
If a song is to be sung in E or F, I will just slide the capo down or off. I have a long Shubb on the 5th. too.

Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Groups: None
using 30#,40# 50# 60# fishing

using 30#,40# 50# 60# fishing line on my long neck...but that's another story

Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Groups: chuckell
fishin line ?

what did you do with fishin line ,? all i can see is 30-40-50-60-fishin line ? did you use it for strings ? how does it work out ? just curious,love to experiment too.
thanks,

chuckell
i just have 5 string banjo's would like to experment with them.my brother just purchased on ebay the banjo guitar six string,you tune same as guitar.it was definetly a piece of junk,imported,he paid 200.00 with hard case,well i made a new tailpiece out of alumnium,a nut also out of alumnium,a bridge out of maple,the head wasn't even tightened up it was loose,tightened head,added new strings ,adjusted neck,and after about 35 hrs. of work,it really pops,beautiful sound,this make over really paid off.

Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Groups: None
I sold the Gold Tone and

I sold the Gold Tone and bought a Vega Little Wonder custom long neck. I am still using the fishing line and the Vega is very loud, even without a metal tone ring

Joined: 16 May 2011
Groups: Kaufman JamFest
John - Would you mind

John -

Would you mind elaborating on the fishing line a bit? How did you determine which line weights to use? Do you use standard nylon line or fluorocarbon? I have an old Blueridge strung as a Plectrum with nylon guitar strings on it (e-g-b-e) tuned re-entrant, but they are much too thick. I very much like the sound of nylon on it, but the guitar strings aren't the way to go due to gauge.

Gary "Pop" Miller
http://kaufmanjamfest.com

Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Groups: None
just saw this...I tune my

just saw this...I tune my long neck e,b,e,g#,b(g,d,g,b,d,with a capo on the third fret). I use the cheapest clear monofiliment I can find...1 lb spools...with my long neck, I was looking for a thicker diameter string to eliminate some of the slop from the extra 3 frets and the Aquilla's and Sands were not long enough. The La Bellas are long enough but there is too much slop.

for a 22 fret plectrum, I might try 25,30,40, and 50 lb to start but it's just a guess. I use a wound La bella for my 4th

I would be happy to give you a set...give you a starting point for your expirimentation. I am sure they would go 1st class mail. then you could buy your own spools...It's so cheap and the strings last a long, long time. john

Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Groups: None
Long Neck Banjo

Ode has made some longneck banjos that sound pretty good (I've played in a band with a guy who used one.) They don't look all that great, with a cast-aluminum pot, but they sound much better than they look, and they tend to be a whole lot cheaper than a Vega. The guy I played with was more than competent in both Bluegrass and old-timey styles.

Anyway, if I were looking for a long-neck, I would try one of those.

Joined: 15 Jun 2011
Groups: None
Ukulele jam sessions

I have been to quite a few jam sessions over the years, but my first all and nothing but ukulele jam session was last Saturday. It was fun, happy, a bit softer and gentler in sound than other jams that I've been to, and the singing as ukuleles accompany it is more prominent. There will be another uke jam this Saturday (Feb. 4) at Mocha-n-Music Cafe in Hudsonville, MI. at 10:30 a.m. if you are interested. And if you are a guitar player, you will be pleasantly surprised to see that you can transfer your skills to the uke very easily (especially to the baritone uke) and there will likely be a uke that you could borrow during the jam.

Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Groups: None
Long Neck Banjo

I have had two banjo players that owned long-scale banjos, both 1960's vintage Vegas, which aren't made anymore.
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They both bought theirs in the Sixties. Both also had Gibson resonator banjos which they used for Bluegrass.
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The long-scale banjo is mostly used for Folk, Celtic, and Old Time.
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Most Old Time players just use a normal scale open-back banjo, though.
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They tune to an open "E" chord instead of "G", and I've never seen one without a capo on the third fret, not even Pete Seeger's. They should come with one glued on.
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If you get on Youtube and find Seeger videos, you'll see what I mean, though I think I DID see ONE, once, where he had no capo on it.
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You may have a hard time finding one, though I just now saw a couple of new Gold Tone models in the $800~$1600 range.
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They are typically played "Folk" aka "Seeger" style, which is a slightly modified Frailing technique, or simply played frailing.
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They are no good at all for Bluegrass without a resonator, and I don't think you can even get them (Gold Tone or Vega) with resonators.
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You'd be better off just learning to play in the key of "E" on your regular banjo.

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