Over the past 150 years, banjo builders have continually tried to make banjos louder. There is no defining feature so divisive in the banjo world as the difference between the open back or resonator types. An open-back banjo doesn’t have anything attached to the back. However, if you’re interested in playing bluegrass, you should spend the extra money and get a resonator banjo. Five-string banjos can be either resonator banjos or open-back banjos. In my opinion, it is totally fine to play clawhammer style on a resonator banjo and bluegrass style on an open back banjo. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Sometimes it’s just worth getting a proper resonator banjo to get the perfect sound that you want. … But the decision between open back or resonator banjo is made easier if the type of music to be played is taken into consideration. However from what I've heard, resonators are more suited for … Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. So make sure that yours can and also make sure it will be worth it. However, more-expensive open-back banjos likely have a different configuration of metal and wood than you find on a resonator banjo. Open back … With the extra wood on the back, the resonator banjo weighs a little more. In either case, buy the best banjo you can afford, and try as many models as you can get your hands on before committing to one or the other. Most importantly, familiarize yourself with the types of music played on this unique and wonderful instrument, and choose an open back or resonator banjo to suit the kind of music you’re going to love playing for many years to come. I live in an apartment complex so it would seem like an open back would be better fitting. You’ll find that most resonator banjos, as a result, have strings placed lower to the neck and body of the instrument, which helps to facilitate the picking style of bluegrass banjo players. Open-back banjos generally have a mellower tone, weigh less, and can be less expensive than resonator banjos. The open back banjo is exactly what it sounds like. If you plan to play the old time clawhammer type of music, your best bet is to select an open back banjo. Open back banjos tend to be slightly less expensive than resonator banjos are, mainly because there is less material and therefore slightly less manpower going into the manufacture of the instrument. Yes you can take off the resonator but will most certainly make the sound a bit off a quiet. This gives resonator banjos a louder sound, which is commonly used in bluegrass music since it’s the banjo that stands out as being a lead instrument in that particular style of music. It is not the type of banjo, open back or resonator, that reflects style, it is the technique the person is using who is playing the banjo. Well, maybe they are now, but it wasn’t always that way. You can but not all open back banjos can. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, it’s in the ear of the banjo player. The differences between these two types of banjos are mainly about the sounds that skilled players prefer. Resonator vs. Open-back Bluegrass musicians far and away prefer banjos with a resonator, a metal plate attached to the back of the instrument that projects the sound forward. This lower volume is due to the loss of sound from the back of the sound chamber, or pot, whereas a banjo with a resonator projects the sound forward, towards the people you are playing for. The answer to that question depends on the type of music you’re playing. As mentioned above, if you intend to play bluegrass music, you’re probably best selecting a resonator banjo, for the louder, twangier sound most commonly associated with that style of music. So I removed the flange and resonator from the offending banjo, and now it makes a fine open back banjo. Bluegrass banjo players tend to prefer the resonator type of banjo, since the added twang sound, not to mention the added volume, both go a long way in pushing the sound of the instrument to the forefront of any particular bluegrass tune. The resonator helps make the banjo sound louder (good for bluegrass and later when and if you start picking with other folks - - and need to be heard in the jam session), Open back is for clawhammer (frailing) style (mostly) of playing banjo … Clawhammer banjo players prefer the tones of the open back banjo, since the style of play is often with other instruments playing, and the banjo doesn’t need the instrument at the forefront of the music. They also usually have a different setup than a resonator banjo, often with a higher string action (string action refers to how high the strings are positioned above the fingerboard). Resonator vs Open Back: An open-back banjo has no back cover, which creates an open sound chamber. Make sure you get the owners manual to make sure you do it correctly or watch a Youtube video. Entry-level resonator banjos are more expensive than comparable open-back instruments. Image from flickr creative commons plenty.r. Lightweight banjos have their place, for example models meant for travelling are often the naturally lighter weight open back version of the instrument. 10 Best Open Back Banjos (2020) – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews, Best Banjo Strings For Clawhammer 2020 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews, Best Intermediate Banjo – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews, Best Banjo Under $1,000 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews, Best Banjo For Old Time Music 2020 (Buying Guide & Reviews). Open Back Banjo vs Resonator Banjo. 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