I have not played the Hartford model. I'm pretty happy with my Vega #2. It's an open back, which I prefer, because resonators add weight and depth. Open back brings the head in closer - easier to reach. When I was a kid I borrowed my Uncle Carl's Weymann plectrum for awhile. It had a pop-off resonator, but for that banjo I always kept it popped-on. Except for when I popped it off to hide stuff inside.