Customer Reviews 1 item(s)
Excellent for Old Time Styles
Although this is the first Deering that I have owned, I have had a chance to play various openbacks in multiple price ranges, from Pisgahs to Enochs, as well as one lonely OME. I primarily play two-finger index lead and clawhammer.
The Americana arrived perfectly packed and was almost in tune; it seems to be exceptionally well set up. There are no apparent flaws anywhere on the instrument.
Although the bells-and-whistles are lacking in comparison to more expensive models, I personally prefer a more spartan and austere appearance. I am not a fan of a lot of flash inlays and detail work. I would personally rather the time and money go towards a better playing and sounding instrument rather than eye candy.
The only real complaint, which is not really a complaint since I new about it going in to the purchase, is that the Americana does not have quite the raw volume of some of the higher end openback models with tone rings. It is still plenty loud, but I can see where you might have difficulty being heard in the mix with multiple instruments if you have a soft touch.
The sound is wonderfully dark, which is what drew me to this instrument in the first place, and seems to have a medium to short sustain due to the wood pot. It is not precisely 'plunky', but it certainly does not ring like a resonator banjo. It does, however, have a tone that I can't really compare to anything else.
Personally, I can't think of any way that I could meaningfully improve on the setup, although I am sure that I will try out different bridges. The strings that come on it seem to be more akin to most company's medium-lights and, although on the cheap resonator banjo that I played for a while I preferred strings towards the heavier end of medium, these gauges seem to be a good fit for this instrument and my playing style.
I get clear bell-like tones on the higher frets on the first string, and very clear but mellow notes everywhere else. The intonation seems to be spot on except for perhaps 10 cents off at and above the twelfth fret on the third string.
I changed fingerpicks for the two-finger style and went with brass, as well as a brass thumbpick, which further enhances the tone. The sound is good with standard Dunlops, but the brass really seems to bring out the best in the banjo. Although I am far from a professional on the banjo, I have noticed that Deerings seem to have a distinctive sound, and I believe that the 12 inch pot is a winner.
Based on my experience, I would purchase again from Elderly [this was my first purchase from them] and would certainly own another Deering.