Here are some testimonials from individuals about the new Hopkins Tone Ring

From Rick, North Carolina...

Hey Ron!

WOW is not good enough to describe the sound that this ring produces! It delivers unsurpassed tone and volume with ease. You were so right Ron, this ring is miles and miles ahead of anything out there. The notes up the neck are so big and fat. The decay time and response is just perfect. I can't wait to play it with the band.  Do you have two more nickel rings that you could ship to me?  I have a 1937 TB-75 and a 1934 TB-3 that absolutely need these rings in them. Thanks for putting the real thing out for us players to enjoy!  By the way the gold plating matched my Granada really well!

Rick



From Mike Casey, Texas

Ron and Paul,

Whoooo Weeeee, Son! I was not expecting it to sound so great right out of the box. I've had the ring in about 35 minutes. I have had to keep tensioning the head a little as it all settles in. When I get it all dialed in just right, it is a bonafide "chicken killer" banjo. This title is reserved for banjos that will knock a chicken graveyard dead at 30 paces.

Paul and I talked last night for more than an hour about banjos and tone rings and set up. He confirmed some of my thoughts and some of my suspicions and told me things I'd always wanted to know, but no one that knew would tell me. Its like they were guarding the secret of the universe or something. Paul isn't like that. He didn't treat me like some rube that just fell off of the turnip wagon. I appreciated that. He is the kind of man I like to deal with.

Pass this note on to him as I know he will want to know my first impressions of the Hopkin's full flathead ring. This is the only and I mean the only tone ring I have ever used that met my expectations across the board. I have never owned a pre-war banjo. I have only played a few.

This Hopkins ring makes my new Gibson Granada sound like a Gibson Granada should sound. The sound is big and sweet up and down the neck with an even volume and tonal quality. It is as close to a pre war as I've ever had and I mean that sincerely. When a banjo sounds this good after 35 minutes you have to wonder what it will do in a year or two. I don't feel like I have to force anything out of it. Its already there and waiting.

As Paul and I talked I realized I set my banjos up just like he does right down to using the McPeake bridge. I tighten the head to a G# and I put the action on 8/64 ths at the12th fret. I use the thicker Huber WeatherKing head and Paul uses the regular. I felt like it calmed down the banjo with the old ring in it. The original Gibson tone ring was a squeeze on fit and it was very difficult to get off. I went ahead and sanded the rim until the Hopkins was a firm slip on. It won't fall off when turned upside down, but you can pull the ring off now without getting both feet and both hands into the act. That is the only alteration I did to the banjo. Everything is as it came from the factory. The ring fit as advertised on the top and the side. I know the ring fit makes a difference in sound, but it would never account for the difference I'm hearing.

The banjo sounds incredible. I took the rings to my post office scales and weighed them. The Gibson ring weighed in at 3 pounds 4.9 ounces. This is the second gold plated Gibson ring I've had that weighed in at 3 Lbs. 4. + ounces. The Hopkins weighed in at 3 pounds 1.3 ounces. I believe that is what you said you all were shooting for. I see what he means about the different angle on the face. It puts the angle up toward the head a bit more than is standard. The Gibson ring has a totally different sound. It does not have the full bore bass and rich tone this ring gives off. The Gibson is more treble oriented. The bass this Hopkin's ring gets is just fierce.

When I was messing with the Huber rings I wanted them to sound better than the Gibson rings. I really did. I was disappointed. In my opinion they just didn't sound much better than the stock ring. I wound up putting my Gibson rings back in. I'm not saying these Gibson and Huber rings aren't good quality. I'm just saying they don't satisfy me like the Hopkins ring does. I can see why the people who know banjos like them so much.

I will mess with it a little more and then let it rest overnight. It will probably seat in some tonight. Otherwise I'd be up all night and both my wife and dog would have murder on their minds for sure. I'll take it down to Mike Fuller's tomorrow and see if the folks like the sound. I won't tell them anything until they get to hear it. I want to see if they are as favorably impressed as I am. I am going to have to take a second job so I can get me a couple more of these. I'll have to get one engraved like a six and one like an 18. I can't imagine a better sounding tone ring. Thanks a million for all your patience with my questions. I appreciate it. This is a tone ring that makes a big difference.

Mike Casey
The Banjo Tone Lab



From Cap Spence, Florida

Ron,

I must tell you the Hopkins tone ring is everything you said it would be. As you know, I installed a Chrome Model flathead ring, SN#118, in my 1932 TB-4 one-piece flange conversion. Although I have only had a chance to play it for 3 days now, I like it more each time. Can't wait to hear it after several months/years. The banjo was already a fine sounding instrument, but the Hopkins ring as given it an additional depth of tone and increased volume. In addition, I had Jimmy Fee lean into it pretty hard and its tone did not seem to suffer in any way. Is there any way that I could bribe you two not to make any more? Or maybe just for us? Great job. Nice box. Please pass on my remarks and give my regards to Paul.

Thanks again.
Cap Spence



And this followup from Rick in North Carolina

Good Morning Ron,

I couldn't ask for anything more from the banjo, it sounds fantastic. It reproduces my musical ideas just the way I think they should sound. The tone is very rich and warm with lots of volume if needed - I love it! I can't wait to try the Ni rings! Thanks again Ron.

Have a great weekend.

Rick



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