Deering Eagle II five-string banjo
List price: $2,399
The literature says this instrument only weighs about ten pounds, but it seems a lot heavier than that. Which isn’t a bad thing. The Eagle II five-string is a great sounding banjo with excellent projection, due in part to the weight of its solid resonator and pot, but mostly due to Deering’s patent-pending “Twenty-Ten” tone ring, which gives the banjo a uniform tone that can be sweet and biting at the same time. The ebony fingerboard is easy to play and intonation is perfect all the way up the 22-fret neck.
Deering makes a point of mentioning that the truss rod is fully adjustable, but that doesn’t need to be a major consideration with a brand new instrument. This banjo looks as good as it sounds, with the maple resonator and neck stained a gorgeous red mahogany. The accompanying black hardshell case, with plush dark green lining, is designed to take a beating.
The Eagle II is suitable for any situation, making great music whether played with picks or with bare skin. Whether you’re into the styles of Scruggs, Keith, Reno or Grandpa Jones, the Eagle II is a versatile instrument bound to raise the currency of any player.
With a list of pickers from Bela Fleck to Taylor Swift to Chickenfoot shredder Joe Satriani playing Deering banjos, the company is changing the way the instrument is viewed. Located in Spring Valley, California, Deering trumpets the fact that its banjos are made in the U.S., a strong selling point these days. – RICK MOORE
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Shure SRH550DJ Headphones
List Price: $99.99
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Digitech JamMan Delay Looper
List Price: $499.95
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Audio-Technica AT2022 X/Y Stereo Microphone
List Price: $439.00
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