Saturday, February 14, 2015

Irish Tenor Banjo Sound Comparison - Paramount vs. Romero

Today I borrowed a 1920's Paramount Style B 19-fret, 22.75", arch top resonator banjo.  I'm used to 17-fret, 21" short scale tenor banjos, but the longer (standard) scale length of the Paramount was an easy adjustment.  Until today, this Paramount had never been set up in the "Irish" GDAE tuning.  It really pops!  The owner who is only temporarily letting me play it as a lefty in this tuning says it sounds like a totally different banjo.  He also says it is NOT FOR SALE!  He's had it for several decades and during that time has refurbished it twice.

I made a recording comparing the sound of the Paramount to my 2013 custom made Jason Romero banjo.  The Romero is an open back 17-fret, 21" short scale with a Belle Rose tone ring (Jason's own design).  Jason mostly makes clawhammer banjos and banjo ukes, but does also make the occasional tenor banjo on request. Mine is a work of art and I was impressed by the way it held its own against the vintage instrument.

The tune is supposed to be Egan's Polka.  To give a full range of the sound, I played it in both a higher and lower octave on each banjo. The Paramount is 1st and the Romero 2nd. 

Whaddaya think!!??


  1. I prefer the Romero. It has a slightly richer/deeper sound to it. :)


    1. Hi Brett. Thanks for your comment. I must say that I can see what you mean. The recording is proof that the sound differences are fairly minimal, and that one is not necessarily preferable to the other.