It would work if it could be capoed 3 frets or if it could be tuned up 3 frets, but that would put a lot of tension on the 5th string. How big is the banjo? I wouldn't think it would have much quality to it.
I checked one out last week after breakfast, the wood on the one I looked at would make a wonderful start to a nice cozy holiday fire in the family fireplace! That would be the only thing this banjo was good for. What a good waste of 59 bucks!
I just had to check it out, so I saw it today. I thought it was like $34.99 or something. The only one I saw was missing a bridge and the 3rd string was wedged into the slot on top of the 4th string - I tried to fix it, but stopped when I realized I might break the string. The head looked like some really cheap tamborine (sp) head with some bad stretch marks. So, hard to tell how it might sound without the bridge, but I suppose it could be made to play.
As bongoboy said, the price is right around $35. Got to realize that it was never intended to be a serious instrument but more-so intended as a kid's toy. Whatever, toy or instrument, I think that it helps to promote old-time and bluegrass music (as does Cracker Barrel's selection of CDs). And, if it gets another individual playing the banjo ..... it has got to be good.
I saw one yesterday at Cracker Barrel also. It was badly out of tune and I was afraid to try to tune it too much for fear I'd break a string or two. Actually I wasn't even sure they had the right strings on the right position. And yeah, the head was a cheap plastic tambourine thing.
However...assuming you could tune it and keep it tuned, I think it'd be a pretty good buy for $45. You could get some really interesting sound from it I think.
I am not brave enough to spend $45 on one to find out if it will stay in tune though.
If anyone DOES buy one, I would appreciate knowing how it performs for you!
i bought one for my son yesterday, thank god im handy, after a new nut, a compensated bridge, tightening the head and tuners and ALOT of patience with the placement of the bridge, i was able to play the thing. if you dont like tinkering and tuning and such,stay away, but awesome lil banjo for my 3 year old, it will at least stop him from trying to play my bart reiter bacaphone lol p.s the 5th string plays just fine, since yer not fretting it it doesnt matter.
Okay, I have one of these. I'm almost embarrassed to say it. I pulled it out today (because I didn't have the heart to give it to my middle son, who was the one asking for a banjo when I got mine on Christmas). I bought it some time around New Years. I guess it could be a fixer-upper. If you put a new head on it (10.5 in. pot, it would have to be a drum head). One of the tuners is messed up on this one, so it'll probably need new tuners. Of course its a cheap toy all around, but I could probably use it to teach my kids as I learn the banjo myself. If I knew how to tinker with the bridge, I might could get a decent sound out of it, but I've not progressed that far yet.
Sounds like you'd be better off buying a $200 department store banjo for your son. At least those are playable. Actually, I have a better idea. Nechville makes the Bajnovie. It's a 12-fret banjo (keyed in C) that is only about 24" long, has a 7" head on it and plays great. I got mine for under $120 about 3 years ago. You can still find them on eBay and they are great for learning on, and travelling with. In fact...here's a video of me playing it. youtube.com/watch?v=JXmQN06hiGc