I make banjos with or without a tone ring. Here’s a list of options, along with my attempt to describe the tonal characteristics.
No Tone Ring: Banjos have a 1/4” l round lip turned into the top of the rim. Lightweight and woody sounding, with quick diminishing plunky notes. Not as ringy as a brass ring.
1/4” Round Brass Tone Ring: Classic old-time banjo sound with warm notes and a somewhat trebly low end and with a ringy responsive high end. Skin heads add more warmth to the sound.
Bacon Tone Ring: A Bacon tone ring adds more bass and character to the notes. Sounds a lot like a 12” in banjo in an 11” rim. The high end is well rounded and warm.
Silverspun Traditional: Very warm rich and subtle, sounds even bassier than a Bacon ring. Simply put it is a very pretty sounding banjo A very unique sound. A little less volume than the other models.
2 3/4” Deep Silverspun with 1/4” Brass Tone Ring: More volume than a regular Silverspun, and for some reason they sound woody and deep. Reminds me of a big internal resonator.
2 3/4” Deep Silverspun with a Bacon Tone Ring: Brighter than a regular Bacon rim, more of that big internal sound. Boxy sounding like a guitar.
2 3/4” Deep Silverspun with a Whyte Laydie Tone Ring: A lot of volume, bright, bassy and clear. They will hear you at the back of the dance. This banjo can fill a room with sound.
2 3/4" Deep Silverspun with a Dobson tone ring: These have a deep chimey sound. Lots of sustain, best for those who have a light touch.