Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A parlor banjo is used for a couple of tasks. First, it can be a great starter banjo - at under $400 it is an inexpensive way to see if you like it. Second, it can be great for a kids banjo - the next is 19 frets and so a bit shorter and lighter. Third, with a soft case (called a gig bag) it can be used as a travel banjo. Light enough to carry around or stick in the back of your car.
There are a couple of parlor banjos made that I know about. Saga has one called the SSP-10 and Deering has a Goodtime Parlor. There are also some lesser known brands. For me, the Deering is the superior instrument. I got it as a birthday gift - so even better. I traded off the Saga when I got the Deering as a gift.
Parlor banjos are tuned one key up and this one has a very nice action. You can get up into high frets without problems. It has a soft touch. Because of the lack of a resonator and a slightly smaller head it does not put out as much sound as my other two banjos - so were I to use it in a band, I think I would figure out a way to amplify it. I have enjoyed this instrument a great deal and it compares quite favorably to either of my two other instruments even though it is only a fraction of the cost.