Noel Booth "Convertible" 5 string/ 6 string/ Guitar Banjo
Price: $1,050.00 USD
Noel Booth (dba Old Fiddle Road Banjo Works) #106 "Convertible" 5-string, 6-string, or Guitar Banjo. The term "convertible" refers to the relative ease with which this banjo can be converted between a regular 5-string banjo (with wide string spacing), to a 6-string banjo (with an extra bass string) and a guitar banjo (standard guitar stringing). You also can play it as a 5-string as I often did - by just removing the top or bottom string in its 5+1 setup to emphasize either the upper or lower string gauges (I often play in Dwight Diller (resquiat in pacem) downtunings and fiddle transpositions gGDGD/aADAD).
Features a 12" 2-ply cherry rim, Bubinga tone ring, mahogany neck and dowel, radiused ebony fingerboard, 25" scale, 2-way adj truss rod, guitar-style heel, custom multi-slotted nut and bridge, and re-entrant 5th string that resolves to a symmetrical headstock tuner layout - ~1.75" at nut (spec'ed like a match to a modern "standard" acoustic guitar), ~3.25" from head to rim cap. The #106 was a prototype for a "convertible" model among Noel's line - but believe this was the only one made. Includes OSSC. Am its original owner, purchased from Acoustic Corner in Black Mountain NC.
Excellent overall condition - with a touch of play wear to the Ren head at the frailing downstroke landings and some patina to head hardware. Sound is full, direct and unshaded - overall leans warm and responds to percussive approaches - with trebs that offer a penetrating cut if you go after it. Having played (and owned) several early Aughts era Enoch Tradesmans (Tradesmen?) I'd dare to offer that it shares similar (if deeper) tonal plain-canvas transparency and response. It is exceptionally responsive to mute placement and technique (perhaps b/c of the 12" head and deeper rim?) - acts almost like a tone knob on an electric guitar. Currently strung and ships as a 5+1 6-string, D'Addario lights with a .42 at the extra bass string. In this setup this string always benefits from finding what gauges and string surface textures work for you - I actually prefer a .36 gypsy-jazz guitar string (slightly more cut and sustain) - though I've returned to its original .42 banjo string spec as received from AC for this listing.
Video walk through (quick and dirty) here - vimeo.com/manage/videos/853410507/ - and iphone mic soundclips in 5+1 mode (I think ~gGCGCD) on.soundcloud.com/P6aVty75efNMMnnb7 and 5+1 -1 (highest gauge string removed ~gGDGDx, bandana-as-mute at rim neck join, away from bridge) here on.soundcloud.com/iBNaDZv46kDzEFwM7. Please remember I'm an amateur and backporcher that just works with what's in the fridge that day, you know - and not angling for the Galax proscenium.
Noel Booth is long known for his experiments with banjo design (n.b. his sympathetic string buzz-drone banjo) - and alternately nailing everything from block rim, internal resonator, and long scale gut/nylon banjos. I believe he let sawdust fly working in the Cedar Mountain Banjos workshop in the early-mid Aughts (the #106 has some of the CMB signature snap in it IMHO) - and is a featured banjomaker in the Craig Evans / Smithsonian Folkways 'Conversations with North American Banjo Builders' video series. He's designed a beautifully uncomplicated approach with the convertible to achieve such ambitious versatility.
$1050 + shipping/handling. Local pickup on offer in Austin Texas. Thanks!
Shipping: Ships to CONUS - cost TBD depending on location, speed, carrier preference
Posted By: usefultree
United States, TX, 78745
Condition of Banjo: Used - Excellent Condition
Brand: Noel Booth
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