Head banging banjo?

The Deering Banjo Company has introduced acoustic/electric versions for two of their most popular models.

Both their wildly successful beginner banjo, the Goodtime, and the Sierra, their lowest cost pro model, are now available outfitted with a Kavanjo banjo pickup installed. But unlike the standard Kavanjo installation, Deering has the jacks wired to the shell (Goodtime) or the flange (Sierra) to allow the head more freedom to vibrate naturally.

This pickup suystem is the brainchild of John Kavanaugh, a banjo player who developed it for his own use, and who was awarded a patent in 2006 for his clever melding of a dual coil, humbucking pickup and a banjo head. The pickup is mounted near the neck, with the pole screws protruding through small holes in the head. From a distance, it appears to be no more than ten black dots on the head.

But when you plug it in, watch out!

Deering is offering these two models in packages that include a strap, picks, extra strings and an instruction book with CD. The Goodtime package retails for $788 and the Sierra for $2949 with a hard shell case. They are available from Deering dealers worldwide.

The Kavanjo pickup system can be purchased for retrofit on any 11” banjo, both from Deering and from Kavanaugh directly, and from many leading banjo retailers.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.