Two new Banjo products that I’ve began using this past year that I highly recommend:
1)Bartlett Banjo Pickup
This pickup really is great. The moment I plugged it in was when I had one of those, “Where have you been all of my life?” moments.
It is wired very hot in that you won’t have to turn it up much to get enough sound. It produces the most natural sound of any banjo pickup I’ve used. My old Fishman Rare Earth sounded like a tin can. I’ve tried a few others but this is the one for me. The only thing you’ll find yourself replacing is the method of attachment. It goes on with velcro and that velcro eventually stops working. Of course, you can always buy more velcro strips.
I personally use a small piece of putty to attach mine; I find all velcro, once it gets even a little dirty, stops attaching perfectly.
2)Crossrock CRF2000BJWT Fiberglass Banjo Case.
I recently got this for my 2004 Gibson Earl Scruggs Model. I needed something that wasn’t my Price case (way too heavy for everyday carrying) nor my standard Gibson Wooden case that’s falling apart at the seams.
The case comes with three inserts that help aid the fit. I think mine has only one insert in it currently. I also noticed that even my 12 inch Romero will fit in the case if I take all the inserts out, so that’s cool as well.
The case isn’t too heavy, the handle fits nice and solid. No, I don’t think you can run over it with a car like you can my Price case but I don’t find myself needing that level of protection to go to a restaurant gig 🙂
Above all, I think including the backstraps with the case is wonderful. Too many hours carrying a banjo case down endless halls at picking conventions can take a toll on your hands. After that, you’ll have to warm up an extra hour to limber your hand back out! HAHA.