6/07/2012

c.1999 Deering B-6 Boston Guitar-Banjo ("Banjitar")




This is a fairly recent (1999) Deering "Boston" B-6 model banjo guitar, and aside from tarnish on the nickel-plated parts, is in really good shape. A little cleaning and a quick setup and it plays perfectly and sounds really nice. In fact, I'd say this trumps all of the banjo guitars I've personally had the pleasure to play, including some nice old ones, though I have to admit that I've never had the chance to play a Mastertone 6...

What folks don't realize about banjo guitars is that one needs to string them in the same manner a banjo is strung to get true "banjo" tonality -- that means extra light strings at the heaviest, and better yet an electric guitar nickel "10s" set with an unwound G, which is what I've got on it. The nickel strings and super light gauges are as close to banjo-style as you can get with guitar stringing. Heavier strings and the instrument plays and responds poorly.


The headstock veneer and fretboard are good quality ebony and the neck is mahogany.


Pearl dots, nickel-silver frets. The board is radiused and the neck feel is similar to an older (1950s, 1960s) Martin shape, though slightly flatter on the back.


The rim is a good, heavy and sturdy nickel-plated steel one that gives this banjo good, crisp volume and sustain with even-sounding tone for chords and good chirp for lead work.


Adjustable tailpiece and compensated ebony/maple bridge. The head is a standard Remo-style frosted top "bluegrassy" type.


The resonator is typical for bluegrass-style instruments and has a mahogany rear and sidewalls.

Deering made the flange plates removable, so if one wanted to play this as an openback 6-string, all he or she would need to do is remove the resonator and the flange plates and voila, instant openback.



Pretty stuff! The finish is a medium satin with slightly more gloss tot he neck.


The neck is really impressive -- one hunk of genuine mahogany.


Good Grover tuners.






There is a small spot of adhesive residue that I've been picking at to remove on the resonator wall near the tailpiece. Nothing to write home about. It was leftover from a pickup installation.



Gibson-style neck join with bolts, though because the steel rim is so durable and stable Deering didn't bother with coordinator rods.



This comes with its original hard case and a nice banjo strap, too.


The case itself has some damage (crush/punctures in two spots) but serves well.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi all

Recently discovered an all female band of sisters on Youtube named Baskery. If you search for that band and check out a few of their videos you will see some wicked slide on 6 string banjo. She really puts the instrument through its' paces

Ben

Antebellum Instruments said...

Ben: I'm totally going to check that out. I have a soft spot for good 6-string 'jos myself. I have a picking style with a flatpick where I can use the high E as a drone on the offbeat to get a clawhammer sound so it's fun to try that with the wide range of the lower end on these guys and the convenience of full-sounding chords. :)

Anonymous said...

Jake

Your method sounds similar to a guy on the web who teaches frailing on tenor banjo by somewhat reversing the roles of the fingers putting the drone on the string closest to the floor. His stuff can be found at mirepatek.com if you (or your rreaders) are interested.

Hope you get a kick out of Baskery. Did I mention they are easy on the eyes too?

Ben

Anonymous said...

Sorry I spelled the sitename wrong w/ my phone's tiny keyboard. It is mirekpatek.com