Visit Greg Boyd

Leon Ballard Custom Short Scale 12" Walnut Openback
submitted 3/22/2017

Submitter

eleshiacatherine (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Direct from Leon Ballard

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

1515 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The 12" walnut pot and neck deliver a warm, rich, full sound. Treble notes are bright and clear and base notes warm and deep. There is plenty of sustain and volume. This banjo sounds fantastic when used for both two-finger thumb-lead and clawhammer tunes.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo had to be shipped from the UK to Australia so the bridge had been removed and packaged separately inside the case. It was easy to install the bridge as Leon had put marker tape on the head to show the correct placement. The action was perfect and I didn't have to make any changes. It would be very easy to loosen the acorn nut on the tail-piece bracket to raise or lower the neck if needed.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


A truly beautiful banjo. The purple heart finger-board and veneer on the paddle shaped peg-head look stunning. The inlaid maple marker dots on the finger board are a nice contrast and the brass fittings, curvy scoop and moon bridge add to the beauty of the instrument. Leon has added a gold and black decorative band around the bottom of the pot and black tuning knobs which also enhance the appearance.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All fittings appear to be excellent quality. The instrument feels strong and well made with quality finishes. I would say it will be a totally dependable banjo - it will be my #1 banjo.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


From my very first email inquiry, Leon has responded immediately and this has continued throughout the build and shipping process. All prospective build details were checked and confirmed with photos which included photos of the build as it progressed. Leon also posted a clip of the banjo in action on his website (it sounded terrific but is even better in the flesh).

Customer Service

10

Components


Everything about this banjo is quality so it is difficult to select any standout components.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


The thought  of ordering a custom build from someone on the other side of the globe was a bit daunting but Leon's excellent customer service made the whole process very easy .  He has been totally transparent, honest and reliable. I couldn't be happier with the result and would recommend his work without hesitation.

Leon also made a new neck for an old brass-bound 11" maple pot that I sent to the UK.  The new neck is a smaller twin to this one and is equally well made and well set up.  I love the little "new neck" banjo which has a beautiful tone (also featured on his website), but this 12" walnut pot Ballard  banjo, makes me smile every time I look at it.  It is a beautiful instrument  and I am happy to play it for hours at a time.

Overall Rating

10


Pisgah Woodchuck
submitted 3/22/2017

Submitter

pfosinger (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Acoustic Corner

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

1045 ($US)

Sound


To my unschooled ear, the Woodchuck is the perfect blend of warm and biting, full and focused. I spend some time comparing it to a Wildwood Mistrel, another very fine instrument, and found the Woodchuck to have better projection, without being too bright. In a band with fiddles and guitars, it might not cut through like a tubaphone, but the sound is perfect for me.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Perfect setup, almost as if the maker is right down the road (which he is).

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Not an ornate instrument, which is one of the things I love about it. Richlite fretboard, black headstock, and black ash rim make this a very classy banjo. I love its simplicity. Best of all, part of the Pisgah mission is to use native North Carolina woods (the richlite is not wood, per se, but is certainly sustainable, fitting the company's mission). Only improvement I might have wished for would be dispensing with the dot position makers. But that's a quibble.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


These are not an assemblage of parts from here and there. Pisgah makes most of their own hardware, very high quality. As the resident picker at Acoustic Corner told me, This instrument will last you your entire journey.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Patrick Heavner in Asheville makes these instruments, and he's very personable and eager to talk about his instruments. I corresponded with him and spoke with him on the phone, and found him patient and friendly. Invited me to come over and visit the shop in Asheville, which I plan to do some day.

Customer Service

10

Components


Nothing cheap, nothing weak. The instrument is sturdy and solid, a joy to hold.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I live in North Carolina, and have hugged a few trees along the way, so I found the company's mission of sustainability very compelling even before I picked up one of the instruments. For me, their sourcing of local woods is not a compromise, it's an enhancement. These are not bluegrass-style instruments with exotic woods and frilly inlays (which, personally, I find ostentatious)—they let the sound do the talking, and the sound does not disappoint.

Their little Woodchuck may be their entry-level instrument, but it fits me perfectly. I have three very fine guitars--a Bourgeois, a Martin, and a Taylor--but the Pisgah is not a poor cousin. Visually, it's subtle and elegant, and the sound is killer. Very happy with my purchase.

Overall Rating

10


Bart Reiter Round Peak
submitted 3/22/2017

Submitter

Timmy the Traveler (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Music Emporium

Year Purchased

2015

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


This isn't the loudest banjo on the block, but that's not what I wanted. It's consistent with the volume one expects from a rolled brass tone ring and an open back. It has a very good variety of tone, from mellow when played over the scoop to bright when played closer to the bridge. Tone is also sensitive to the type of finger pick used and the angle of string attack. These qualities open the door to greater possibilities in interpreting songs. That is, they don't have to be played in one unchanged tone, beginning to end. They can be more "musical." The 12" pot really does give it nice depth in the baritone range. I love the tone. Reminds me of a good classical guitar.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was perfect, including string height. No problems whatsoever.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This is a very handsome banjo. Bart doesn't waste time and money with a lot of frilly, silly ornamentation. High quality materials, excellent finish, excellent workmanship, and two simple inlays (stars) will make this banjo a joy to look at forever.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


High quality hardware, excellent finish. I expect it to last forever.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I've had a few questions - replacing the head and the tuner knobs. These were purely cosmetic changes - nothing wrong with the way the banjo was made. Bart always responded promptly with the right answers. His helpful, friendly attitude is greatly appreciated.

Customer Service

10

Components


There are no weak or cheap parts anywhere on the banjo. It's high quality throughout.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Bart's reputation is that he builds top quality banjos at very reasonable prices.  This great banjo confirms his reputation.  I expect to own it forever, and I'm grateful to him for making it.  I don't think anyone can go wrong buying a Bart Reiter banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Bridges Tim Purcell Select Maple Bridge
submitted 3/22/2017

Submitter

Ralph Stanley legend (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Tim Purcell

Overall Comments


Bridges and the tone they can bring from our Banjo's is a very subjective matter. That said, I have one of Tim Purcell's new Select Maple ( African Blackwood top ) bridges on my Maple Arch top and it is something else. Really. Tim made it light for me at 2.15 grams and it is a cracker, or a snorter as we say here in England.

Craftmanship is as you would expect, first class. But the response, Bass and fizz is exceptional. The Banjo vibrates a lot and honestly I have put Tims bridge up against a VERY good bridge from another bridge specialist. Well, after some changing out and comparison tests.... there is NO contest. Tim Purcell's bridge wins hands down.

 

Volume, clarity, fizz and vibration through the Banjo are much improved over what was a very good bridge. How does Tim do it ? Clearly it is several factors coming together, design- build quality and WOOD selection....

 I am very, very impressed.

regards

David Nixon

 

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Parts FawleyPrucha
submitted 3/20/2017

Submitter

ibepickin (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo Hangout

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

2500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Rich/Full-nice not tubby smooth off bridge

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Had to reset bridge-retighten head good pop.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Nice great inlay....

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Solid no backup

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


None - no warranty

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Top drawer parts no upgrades.......

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Super banjo,no problems-parts high quality/a keeper...

Overall Rating

10


custom banjo parts Custom banjo parts from Ron Barnes
submitted 3/20/2017

Submitter

alducks (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

online

Overall Comments


Got a 5th string tuning peg button with a confederate battle flag on it. Looks awesome. Ordering time to receipt was great.

Only reason a 10 rating instead of 9 is the button or peg will require some modification in order to fit and adjust string tension. Make sure you do some measurements before ordering. Ron is helpful with info in order to get it working.

Al

Overall Rating

9


Fender Robert Schmidt Signature Plectrum Robert Schmidt Signature Plectrum Irish/Celtic
submitted 3/20/2017

Submitter

okie143 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

World Music Supply

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

349.99 ($US)

Sound


Couldn't set it up as the neck was cracked.

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


Couldn't set it up as the neck was cracked.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Very easy on the eyes and the MOP inlay from the Peghead to the pot was very appealing.

However, inside the pot rim the terminator seem, where the rim meets, still had dried glue protruding out of it. The rim itself had small chunks out of it on the edges, and even had burnt saw blade markings on it. Poor quality workmanship. Wood seemed very dry and brittle.

Give it a 5 due to the rim poor workmanship. I have an old RK-25 and the pot rim, on the inside, is as smooth as the outside. No burnt saw blade marking either.

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Hardware looked like it would last and was sturdy except for the resonator retention screw nuts. They were barely screwed into the resonator and were very easily pull out of the resonator.

Finish was fine as well and looked like it would last through lots of gigs.

Give it an 8 due to the resonator retainer nuts because if you pull the resonator off a lot you will have to glue them back in.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Customer service is top notice. Even the company president answer the phone and emails. He even sent me his cell number and said to contact him with any problems or concerns.

Had to send two of these back as FedEx busted them in shipping. Company paid shipping both ways.

Customer Service

10

Components


Fisherman electronic pickup is really heavy and makes the banjo dip to the pot end. It also makes the banjo shift a lot if you strap isn't stationary.

Don't see any upgrade on components, all were good quality.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Fender made these for a special purpose and they didn't sell well, I guess.  So they sold the remaining lot to a clearing house and now they have to deal with the poor workmanship. 

I want buy another Fender unless I can inspect it before purchase.  I hope the folks who paid top dollar, instead of clearance price, for these got the good ones.  I saw other reviews were the neck cracked in the same place as mine, and one even said he played it for a couple weeks and it cracked at the nut also.

Overall Rating

5


Gretsch Dixie Deluxe 9451
submitted 3/17/2017

Submitter

TrapperJack (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

North Shore Music

Year Purchased

2016

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Loud, mellow open back, but it responds well to a mute.
It is easy to chug along quietly, or to really pull the melody out. This is a very responsive instrument, and easily holds its place in a trio or quartet playing celtic music, or as a solo clawhammer workhorse. Supports fiddle timbre nicely.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Well set up for clawhammer.
I didn't find the arm rest too high, but very comfortable. The action is low and fast, and I can't fault the playabilty of this instrument. I use light strings.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Very attractive instrument, if that matters to you. Not too much inlay magic.
Pretty, but business-like.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I don't carry a backup. It stays at home. This axe is sturdy and reliable.
Will it wear? Somewhat, probably. And that might matter in about a hundred years.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


NA

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Everything looks strong. The tuners are responsive, and hold the tuning well. The fittings look more than sturdy enough for a lifetime or two. It is made in China, but they can do good builds, if they put their minds to it. Whyte Lady tone ring sounds excellent. Two coordinator rods, all the brackets you could need (24).

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


The dynamic range and timbre of this instrument make it a versatile instrument, and it is built to gig for years.  I don't know why this model has been discontinued: it is a great axe, to look at, to play, and to listen to. It is powerful enough, given some oats, for Bluegrass, and certainly loves Celtic and all manner of clawhammer styles.

 I stop short of claiming this is the best open back banjo in the world, and so I don't give it 10. But, if you're in the market for an open back, and you stumble on one of the Gretsch Dixie Deluxe instruments, give it a serious play.  It is a first class instrument, and it will serve you well for a lifetime, and then your grandchildren, too. 

The specs are readily available on the internet.

Overall Rating

9


Armrests Nechville Comfort Bevel Armrest
submitted 3/16/2017

Submitter

loonsailor (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Nechville

Overall Comments


I'm doing this as a comparison review, between the Nechville and Dr. Arm wooden armrests, and posting it in both categories.  Long story short, they're both wonderful products and much more similar than they are different, but there is a slight difference that may or may not be important to you.

I wanted a wooden armrest because I've had some tendonitis problems, and thought that an armrest with a softer bevel, rather than the 90 degree angle on the metal armrest, would help.  Both of these armrests fill that bill, with the Dr Arm being a bit more gradual than the Nechville. 

I bought the Nechville for my Prucha Diamond Point.  When it arrived*, I installed it easily.  It's very attractive.  There was no choice of wood on Nechville's order page, so I just ordered and hoped.  It turned out to be a perfect match for the dark Prucha finish.  Just lucky I guess. One of the other reviewers said that if you tell them about your banjo, they'll try to match it, but I didn't do that.

I liked that armrest so much that I ordered another from Nechville for my Recording King RK35.  When it arrived, I attached it, and found that it didn't fit.  The armrest is not adjustable as to height above the head, because it attaches by clamping between the back of the head and the top of the tension hoop, rather than to the tension rods like the metal armrest.  On the Prucha, it sits very slightly above the head, but it doesn't touch.  On the RK, though, it actually contacts the head, which can't be good for tone.  The tension hoop sits about 3.1mm above the head on the Prucha, about 1.5mm on the RK.  That was enough to cause a problem.  I contacted Nechville and they made some suggestions, but I couldn't solve the problem.  So, I returned it and ordered a Dr Arm to try on the RK.

It arrived in about a week.  As I said, it's very similar to the Nechville.  Dr Arm allows you to order with choice of several woods - I chose the custom maple. It attaches in the same way as the Nechville, but it's cut slightly differently.  When I mounted it, it fit fine, with a bit of clearance between it and the head.

So, I now have the Dr Arm on my RK, and the Nechville on my Prucha.  I love both of them.  Both of them are far more comfortable than the metal armrests that they replaced.  Both are beautiful.  The Dr Arm has a slightly more gradual slope, but the Nechville is just fine.  Both attach easily, in an almost identical way.

In short I recommend both of them wholeheartedly, with the choice being really one of preference (looks?, want to buy American?). The one caveat is that if, like me, you have an instrument with very little clearance from head to tension hoop, the Dr Arm is more likely to fit.

 

* I ordered the Nechville around Christmas time.  After several weeks it hadn't shown up.  I contacted Nechville and Al Price sent me a new one, no questions asked and no charge.  The lost box was left on my doorstep, unopened, about a month later, probably having been delivered to the wrong house - definitely not Nechville's fault.  Al was very responsive and great to deal with, both through this and with the fit and return problems on the second unit.  Thanks, Nechville!

Overall Rating

10


Armrests Dr. Arm
submitted 3/16/2017

Submitter

loonsailor (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Dr. Arm

Overall Comments


I'm doing this as a comparison review, between the Nechville and Dr. Arm wooden armrests, and posting it in both categories.  Long story short, they're both wonderful products and much more similar than they are different, but there is a slight difference that may or may not be important to you.

I wanted a wooden armrest because I've had some tendonitis problems, and thought that an armrest with a softer bevel, rather than the 90 degree angle on the metal armrest, would help.  Both of these armrests fill that bill, with the Dr Arm being a bit more gradual than the Nechville. 

I bought the Nechville for my Prucha Diamond Point.  When it arrived, I installed it easily.  It's very attractive.  There was no choice of wood on Nechville's order page, so I just ordered and hoped.  It turned out to be a perfect match for the dark Prucha finish.  Just lucky I guess. One of the other reviewers said that if you tell them about your banjo, they'll try to match it, but I didn't do that.

I liked the armrest so much that I ordered another from Nechville for my Recording King RK35.  When it arrived, I attached it, and found that it didn't fit.  The armrest is not adjustable as to height above the head, because it attaches by clamping between the back of the head and the top of the tension hoop, rather than to the tension rods like the metal armrest.  On the Prucha, it sits very slightly above the head, but it doesn't touch.  On the RK, though, it actually contacts the head, which can't be good for tone.  The tension hoop sits about 3.1mm above the head on the Prucha, about 1.5mm on the RK.  That was enough to cause a problem.  I contacted Nechville and they made some suggestions, but I couldn't solve the problem.  So, I returned it and ordered a Dr Arm to try on the RK.

It arrived in about a week.  As I said, it's very similar to the Nechville.  Dr Arm allows you to order with choice of several woods - I chose the custom maple. It attaches in the same way as the Nechville, but it's cut slightly differently.  When I mounted it, it fit fine, with a bit of clearance between it and the head.

So, I now have the Dr Arm on my RK, and the Nechville on my Prucha.  I love both of them.  Both of them are far more comfortable than the metal armrests that they replaced.  Both are beautiful.  The Dr Arm has a slightly more gradual slope, but the Nechville is just fine.  Both attach easily, in an almost identical way.

In short I recommend both of them wholeheartedly, with the choice being really one of preference (looks?, want to buy American?). The one caveat is that if, like me, you have an instrument with very little clearance from head to tension hoop, the Dr Arm is more likely to fit.

Overall Rating

10


Mitchel's Arch top tone ring Mitchel's arch top tone ring
submitted 3/16/2017

Submitter

nashvillebanjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

http://www.mitchelsplatemate.com

Overall Comments


WOW ! is all I got to say I just installed a Mitchel's arch top ring tone ring in my banjo and its the best I have ever heard! I have had many prewar arch top rings and this one is all of that and more Mitch has it right for sure.

Overall Rating

10


Tailpieces Prucha 4 hump Clamshell
submitted 3/14/2017

Submitter

Ralph Stanley legend (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Stewart McDonald

Overall Comments


The Prucha range of hardware is second to none and the Clamshell 4 hump tailpiece really bears that out. Superb build quality. A replica of the original Grovers, slim with a 2 piece bar front. NOT like the cheap imitaions....  A great tailpiece just like the originals so if you want a replacement... you know what to get !

Overall Rating

10


Capos shubb f5 fine tune capo
submitted 3/14/2017

Submitter

loonsailor (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly

Overall Comments


An excellent capo for $75.  Very similar to my Elliot capo.  The differences are:

  • Elliot has a leather strip that sits against the back of the neck, Shubb has rubber.
  • Elliot has a cool push-button to release the bale, Schubb has a hinged gate.  Push button may be just the tinitest bit nicer.
  • Schubb has a couple of tiny rubber bumers to protect the sides of the neck, Elliott doesn't.
  • Elliott has a simple screw for tightening, Shubb has a cool internally threaded nut, so the support moves but the knob doesn't.  Also, it's nicer and has numbers.  I like the Schubb arrangement.
  • The Elliot is 10g lighter (25g vs. 35g).

I love the Elliott.  it's a beautiful, light, hand-machined objet-d'arte, while the Schubb, I assume, is made in a factory somewhere.  But, the Schubb works at least as well, and is 40% cheaper.  Objectively, unless you feel strongly about supporting a small US craftsman, or the little bit of weight (10g is 1/3 oz.) is important to you, the Schubb is a great capo for a great price.

Overall Rating

10


Amber Catlin Tuning Buttons Amber Tuning Buttons
submitted 3/13/2017

Submitter

pickertb2 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ron Barnes

Overall Comments


​I Just had Ron Barnes Make me 2 Amber Banjo tuner Buttons for my Scruggs Keith Tuners. I had recently purchased a Huber VRB-G With the extra style 6 engraving. It had Beautiful Amber tuning Buttons on the banjo. But the Original owner had took off the Keith tuners and put the regular stock tuners back on it. I had researched and called Steve Huber who had told me that Ron made those Buttons for him. So I ordered 2 of the Amber buttons and they are Beautiful, perfect match and the fit was great. Ron Is really good to do business with and has a short turn around time. Will Definitely will use Ron again for any buttons for my tuners. 

 

                                                                                                                 Steve Thomas

Overall Rating

10


vega/martin Vega PS-5
submitted 3/11/2017

Submitter

john bange (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

LaVonne Music

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

1900 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


huge, bright sound...banjo likes a tight head with some down-force from tailpiece

Sound Rating

10

Setup


banjo was very easy to set up...serial # indicated Martin made from Vega parts...changed to a Kirschner t/p and added nylon(harp) strings and an all maple 3/4" bridge
the volume is astounding...

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


mine was built in 1971 and it looks like it was built yesterday. the dark finish on what looks like a mahogany neck, is beautiful...all nickel is original and has held up like it is a week old

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


yet to gig with it but I know it will be reliable

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


only changed the tailpiece because of preference...all components are top-notch

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments



best banjo I have ever had


long neck values are really soft right now...I can't believe I got it for sub 2k


stuck it in an American Vintage case and rounded up a CF Martin case badge...they can bury me with this one

 

 

 

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BG-150F
submitted 3/10/2017

Submitter

Bigger Al (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Musicians Friend

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

640.00 ($US)

Sound


Great sound, full mellow tone, but not quite the crack of an all maple rm and resonator. I plolay for myself in my home so I con't need the huge volume of a bell tone ring. Rolled brass is fine.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Banjo was well set up by Gold Tone. Just had to tune the strings and that was it.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I like the blingt on the banjo. Hearts and flowers inlays on the neck and a fancy new inlaid tuning peghead that is exclusive to the BGT150F

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


I have no idea what the reliability will be, but seems to be high quality parts. I would use it anywhere.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


H and durableaven''t contacted them for anything but has a lifetime warranty.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Comes standard with a 14" mahogany resonator, a rolled brass tone ring, planetary tuners, and a maple bridge topped with ebony. Parts seem to be of top quality and durable. Head is a Remo top frosted weather king. Armrest is the standard Gold Tone engraved rest.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


So far I am pleased with this banjo.  I had my doubts about purchasing from Musicians Friend because they don't set up their instruments but took the risk that Gold Tone set it up properly and they did.  Sound is to my liking for bluegrass even though it doesn't have the crack or a maple resonator.  Softer sound and more mellow.  Nice action on the neck and tuners seem to hold,

Overall Rating

9


Deering Artisan Goodtime Openback
submitted 3/10/2017

Submitter

Bigger Al (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

small dealer

Year Purchased

2017

Price Paid

560.00 ($US)

Sound


It's fine for clawhammer. Excellent sound. Loud enough with picks if you want to play bluegrass, but obviously not the volume of a resonator banjo. It is a well rounded sound for different types of music.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Deering claims they set up all their banjos before they ship. The one I got was not set up at all. Action was than 1/16 inch and it buzzed like crazy. The neck was rotated counter clockwise on its mounting bolts, high side above the rim, low side below it. Head was not tuned. I did a complete setup myself, changed the cheap bridge out for a factory floor roasted maple bridge and now it's fine. I would have expected this on a cheap Asian import, but not from Deering.

Setup Rating

1

Appearance


The best thing about the Artisan is the bling on the neck and the engraved peghead. It is a good looking banjo without question. The wood is dyed a darker color and so is the neck. Inlays are nicely done.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It seems like it will be a reliable banjo. Parts are mostly of high quality, although I can't understand why Deering can't use a maple/ebony bridge and a bone nut. Guess every nickel helps savfing costs.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


I've dealt with Deering and the folks there seem very nice. I'm dissappointed in the warranty period, which is only six years. Doubt I'll ever have to use the warranty though.

Customer Service

7

Components


I really think that for the money Deering gets for the Artisan, which is nothing more than a fancied up Goodtime openback, they can at least give you quality parts to produce sound. Nut is not bone it is tusq and the bridge has an artificial top instead of ebony. The rest of the banjo seems to be of good quallity. It does come witn spikes already added for the fifth string. No tone ring.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


It sounds okay, but it doesn't really impress me a great deal overall.  It is playable, but the neck is not a standout as far as comfort goes for me.  Sounds as good as any, but has no tone ring.  In this price range, most others give you at least a rolled brass ring.  So while I like it, I don't get crazy for it.

Overall Rating

7


Hatfield Celebrity
submitted 3/5/2017

Submitter

PJRedWing (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Arthur Hatfield

Year Purchased

2015

Price Paid

3500 ($US)

Sound


I am very happy with this instrument. I have been playing it for 1.5 years. It sounded terrific when I picked it up and it has opened up nicely since then. Arthur pointed out that his tone ring gives an even tone across the fingerboard, and he is correct. There isn't a dull spot anywhere on the neck. Each note rings clear and the volume is even all the way across.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


This banjo was set up perfectly for me. I'm not quite an intermediate player, and I find this instrument easy to play. Other than a couple of string changes in 1.5 years, I haven't made a single adjustment. It stays in tune nicely.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The neck on this bano is superb. It fits my hand nicely. The tiger maple that Arthur selected looks fantastic. The rosewood on the fingerboard has nice grain and contrasts nicely with the inlay. The inlay work is top notch

I requested one of Jim Cox's quilted maple resonators and Arthur was happy to accommodate. In fact, Jim was back in Kentucky and personally delivered the reso to the Hatfield shop. Arthur did beautiful finish work - the color really brings out the quilting.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Most definitely - Arthur is a stickler when it comes to the quality of the parts that go into his banjos.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Everything you've read or heard about the Hatfields is true. Top notch customer service. Arthur and Bev are the best.

Customer Service

10

Components


Again, love the neck! The Gotoh tuners are fantastic - nice, accurate tuning.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would definitely do business with Arthur and Bev again. I can't say enough about the quality of the work and the customer service.

Overall Rating

10


Alan Munde Banjo Sandwich
submitted 3/5/2017

Submitter

jhko (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

you tube

Overall Comments


Wow. What can I say? Another reviewer said this album is as fresh as 30 years ago (40 actually), and is a masterpiece. I couldn't agree more. If you have never listened to this, do so immediately. Amazing playing, just incredibly beautiful in tone, phrasing, everything. Wow. Reminds me why Alan is a legend. 

Overall Rating

10


Bridges Bart Veerman Bridge
submitted 3/4/2017

Submitter

teletype1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Online from Bart

Overall Comments


I ordered a custom bridge from Bart for my 19-fret Deering Boston tenor.  Bart was great to work with and he pointed me to the bridge type used by other celtic-style players.  He even tweaked the string spacing for me, as the stock bridge had the strings a little too close together for me.  It sounds great and the tone is much richer than before, and the "floppy G and D" strings are gone!

Thanks so much Bart!  It's a wonderful bridge!

Overall Rating

10


You are not logged in.
Log In


Not a member? Create an Account (FREE!)



2918 BANJO LOVERS ONLINE

HOME | FORUMS | MEMBERS | MEDIA ARCHIVE | TABS & LESSONS | CLASSIFIEDS | REVIEWS | LINKS | CALENDAR | STORE | TERMS OF USE
Viewing desktop version - switch to mobile version