Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard Banjo Reviews

Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 7/1/2014

Submitter

cubvarga (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gryphon Stringed Instruments

Year Purchased

1988

Price Paid

1,800 ($US)

Sound


I have been playing Bluegrass for over 40 years. At the time the Gibson factory just did enough setup to have it make a sound. After buying the ESS I tightened the skin as to almost bursting it. After tightening the skin, it came alive. Loud and crystal clear from top to bottom. I have always wondered how a banjo made in 1988 could have the prewar sound. I was wondering if the wood rim may have been a left over from the 1930's. Having Earls autograph makes this Gibson something real special.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The day I bought it the Gibson sounded real tubby. But after tighting down everthing and putting on a new bridge. It now sounds as close to a prewar Gibson banjo like the ones that I bought from Jim Mills.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


In the 30 some years of owning my Gibson ESS. It is holding up vary well. The big problem I noted after buying it was that I could not slide my hand down the neck without having it drag and catch. If I rubbed the neck with my thumb real hard I noticed the finish moving. Well I got a razor blade and started scraping the finish off ever so lightely. Well I hit about 5 pitch pockets of un-dryed finish. Someone at the factory must have fallen a sleep with the spray gun. It had sags and runs under about 50 coats of finish. So I proceded to scrape the neck and the wood rim. To much finish will make a vary dull sounding banjo. After doing that job the banjo jumped up 100% in sound.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


After fixing the finish problem I did something that I don't think anyone else has ever done. I read an artical in Bluegrass Unlimited some years back. Jerry Douglas put a sound wall for a Dobro into the microwave for a few seconds every day to dry out the wood and age it. Well I was so interested in this that I tore my Gibson ESS down to the nuts and bolts and also put my wood rim in the microwave for a few seconds twice a day for 4 months. When I finished doing this job I put it all back together once more. Was I surprised, I must have aged that rim over 50 years drying out the moisture and crystalizing the glue. I was talking to Jim Mills and he said why not! He did this for banjo bridges and was happy with the results.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The Gibson had no problem that I could not fix myself so there was no need to contact Gibson. The warranty is forever to the original owner. Warranty is for life to me only.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The original Keith tuners did not work so I asked Gryphon to give me another set and the new set worked fine. That was not Gibsons fault. Some customer not knowing nothing must have turned them way past the stops. Nothing cheap with this banjo.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I swear there must be a prewar rim in this banjo. From the day I first played it there was a sound that was so good. Earl spotted the sound in Don's banjo. Earl tweaked his banjo for years and it only sounded better year after year. That's what I did, and I have heard other Gibson ESS and mine has that sound and the tweaking has only made it better. I would never buy another Gibson ESS as now there to high in price and all the Gibson ESS owners could never get any better. Only if Jim Mills can find you some prewar Gibson's like he did for me. I† think in a couple years my Gibson ESS will be 5k when I finally sell it. TKS....

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 12/7/2012

Submitter

ky5string (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

First Quality Music

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

3500 ($US)

Sound


Recently Setup really came alive with the volume and tone I wanted and expected from a Gibson

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Originally Setup by Charlie Cushman(when he worked for Gibson "pre-flood") then by Terry Strange this year (2012) has great action and just a easy banjo to take care of... a Frank Neat Setup from stardom

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Great looking banjo no complaints

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Would easily play this all day on a gig without any worry... was made for professionals

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Only upgrade I've done it the spikes and the Keith Tuners all other parts have seemed as strong as a tank

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Would love to have a stable of these things I've been as pleased as I could be with everything this banjo offers... hope my great great great grandchildren enjoy it as much as I have

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 5/4/2012

Submitter

AK (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

2850 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Great Sound all round. The banjo took a couple days to acclimate after shipping. I was amazed when it woke up on day two after receiving it in the mail.

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


All stock components except added Keith tuners on 3 and 4. Kulesh tone ring, 5/8 Grover bridge, GHS custom light strings (for now). I may sand the bridge slightly and work over the next 60 years to milk it to perfection, though it sounds amazing now.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


curly maple and sunburst finish. Hard to ask for more.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


This banjo will probably out last me

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


My experience with Gibson is that their price for repair work seems to say: "you might as well just buy another banjo, or Guitar for the price we are going to charge you." At least in my experience with a Guitar. Aside from Gibson, it was a true pleasure working with the BHO member that sold me the Banjo.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Tone, playability and appearance. Presto tailpiece buzzes slightly, but this is an easy fix.

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I watched the market for an ESS for a couple years. Content that the ESS would be my banjo for a lifetime, I decided to take the plung just before Earl Scruggs passed. Consequently, the market seems to have become quite competetive. If I could only own one banjo, this would be it. I think the ESS may have Granada appeal someday down the road, especially if Gibson remains dormant on banjo production.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 7/24/2011

Submitter

kmwaters (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Bizarre Guitar Phoenix

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

2100 ($US)

Sound


Loud and Bright

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Changed bridge to Katz Eye and tailpiece to Fults Blue Ridge with xyz mount.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Hearts and Flowers inlays and maple all the way around - pretty.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


Everything is great - normal oxidation on the armrest of course starting to show a little.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Gibson has been unresponsive to my contacts - email and regular snail mail both. Don't understad, though I am not concerned. I have the warranty from the store and the store receipt if I ever need it.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I felt the Presto tailpiece and the Gibson bridge did not do the banjo justice. Now with the Fults tailpiece and Katz Eye bridge it's top shelf.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Price included trading in a Mastertone mahogany from around 1975. I love this banjo. Using G7 capo with a Reagan on the 5th string. Just don't want to drive spikes into my precious thing!! Very happy with Reagan 5th string capo, G7 works well, and Mike's banjo mute when needed. Also, the Katz Eye Prowler is a step up from the oem bridge.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 3/9/2011

Submitter

62mapleTone (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Curtis McPeake

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

2500 ($US)

Sound


A great bluegrass banjo; curly maple neck, maple rim and the prewar re-issue tone ring gives this banjo an deep, complex, crackling tone. Once I got it set up I was pleased with the sound. Although it sounds clear, it sometimes seems harsh when playing up the neck, however that is partly due to old strings, which is my bad.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


I bought it used from Curtis McPeake's website; it arrived well setup, nice action and no issues. After about 1.5 years I got it set up at a local music store. No fret buzz or any other issues, however I have played banjos with nicer, easier necks.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I love the appearance of this banjo. Everything from the curly maple neck, the tobacco sunburst, the ebony fret board, the traditional peg head style... it's a great looking banjo. the only reason I don't give it a 10 for appearance is it's not my favorite inlay pattern.
I've kept it in the case when not playing and I have polished it with Mother's compound which was a fair amount of work, but great results

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I've played it for 8 years and aside from a little fret wear, it has been trouble free.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I bought it used.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Quality components that you would expect on a banjo in this price range.
I changed out the Presto style tail piece for a Kershner style which I liked better because it was adjustable and heavier.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


This banjo has served me well. It was my first pro level banjo and I named it 'Curly'. It has a deep tasty low end and a great crackly maple tone; great appearance. My only complaint would be the playability of the neck, and the responsiveness of the instrument compared to my Bishline, and some harshness of tone, which again is less noticeable with new strings.

Overall Rating

8


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 5/17/2010

Submitter

hunter_iam (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Greigs List

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

2600.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


IT's A Race Horse'Blows all others away! The tone is incredible!you can just stroke it 'fast' downward,has that ''yaaaaaaaaaaang'',you can just feel it on your stomach,Ive played them all .This thing truly has 'the best tone, sound ,i have ever seen,very Loud!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I bought this thing from a rich fellow out of charlotte N.C,gave him $2600.00 cash off the hip.He even deliverd it to me in his big fancy Jaguar,Told me all he ever learnd on it was cripple creek,and that he never really played it that much,and when i seen it 'it was very obviouse it was hardly played,so i jumped on it.Even had all paper work pamplet with it sighned by earl himself,i had to take it and have it set up,my buddy Donnie Little in Clearmont N.C,layed a hurtin on it!He has pictures in his shop playing with Earl Sruggs,yea he's the man at playing teeching setting up instument's.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Beutifull curly Maple wood stunning to look at!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


SWEET SWEET SWEET! all the way!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


never delt with gibson

Customer Service

10

Components


The only thing that was replaced 'was the bridge'had owe heavy bridge on it .Donnie put a Yates bridge on it.Been awsome ever since!

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


If somthing would ever happind to this banjoi would lay on the ground and cry like a baby.And im a big man!

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 8/19/2009

Submitter

jakebramblett1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

My mom and dad bought it 4 me

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

2500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


i use black diamond medium gauge strings and they do it justice its a fine banjo and me personally dnt have ne flaws with it.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo is very easy 2 play it already had rr spikes in the a and b positions.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


the nickle hardware is faded sum but it dnt effect playability.and it is a curled maple neck and back of the pot.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


it is perfect in the hardware.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


the man i bought it from was very helpful

Customer Service

10

Components


1930's reissue tone ring in it.installed d tuners and rr spikes.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


i absolutely luv this instrument and i would come 2 tears if nethang happend 2 it.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 7/18/2009

Submitter

Bizdoc (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

private individual purchase

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I was looking for the low lows that I had been hearing and this did not dissapoint me. It has the lows that are so wonderful and all tones are excellent. I love the sound and looks of this banjo. The only dislike is that weight of the banjo, it is HEAVY, and I had to get another lesser expensive, and less heavy banjo for every day use. However this is a great banjo.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo setup was easy as it came with a head signed by Earl Scruggs, so I changed it to a new Remo head, I was able to change the head, replace the bridge, change strings and still have an excellent sound.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


this is an absolutely beautiful banjo with highly flammed resonator and neck, with a high gloss finish. The high gloss nickle finish is very complementary.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


Banjo would hold up well with daily playing, only the nickle plating on the arm rest seems to be at risk of tarnish, which is to be expected on this finish. I keep mine poliched.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I love this banjo, it is absolutely beautiful, and it is a real cannon. I have a hard time keeping it quiet enough to play around the house without the whole family hearing no matter what I do to silence it. The tone is fabulous.

This is the banjo I want for a lifetime.,

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 1/24/2009

Submitter

kevin0461 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

First Quality Music

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Crisp, clear and loud... AWESOME!!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


With the exception of a little tuning, it was perfect right out of the box.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Absolutley a beautiful banjo!! You can tell the difference in quality from other popular brands (I won't go into that). Let's just say that it's true that everyone else is trying to replicate Gibson in every way. There is a reason for that. This is just a testament to that fact.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Best quality I've seen or heard. Mechanically it is sound!!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


FQM is an awesome dealership. Specifically, let's just say that they honor the military and cater to them like no other dealership. I would do business with Jeff and Eric and recommend them to everyone especially to veterans.

Customer Service

10

Components


It could have a better tailpiece... to be honest, I did upgrade to the Fults 34 Parallel and it made a great sounding banjo even better. Otherwise, nothing is cheap on this banjo. I was awe struck when I opened the case. That being said, the case could be upgrade to something better quality. The Deering deluxe cases are much better. The curly maple wood in the neck and resonator are absolutely beautiful. The nickel plating is of a much better quality than the Deering Sierra (my previous banjo).

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I love this banjo!! The price was incredible (too incredible to even list, so I intentionally left that off of this review). If it was stolen, I would get anothe. My favorite feature is the curly maple wood and finish. The inlays are also very nice. My previous banjo was a Deerin Sierra and I can't even attempt to compare the two. The quality, from the nickel plating, to the tuners, to the finish work, to the setup and everything else in this banjo is far better. I am a Gibson fan for life. I will own no other.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 8/4/2007

Submitter

banjotef (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Used

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

2500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Fits Scruggs style well, of course, but also very clear on celtic and melodic styles. Great smooth tone and sustain. Intonation very true all the way up and down the neck. It keeps great sound and tone with a capo. The best feature is the separation of notes, has that little "tick' you hear with each strike of the string that the pros get. The volume allows you to play quieter without becoming muffled, and allows expression of the phrase. Perfect fifth intervals, such as the first and third strings, sound razor sharp! Also very sharp and penetrating when striking the first and fifth. Good growl on the fourth, and great pop and snap with pull-offs and hammer-ons!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It had a little fret wear, was actually made in 2000. Also had a buzz on the third string on second and third frets. Took it to FQMS and they put a little bow in the neck, filed a few frets and adjusted the coordinator rods. It plays like a grand piano now! Flawless! I would like the strings a little lower, though.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Nice select curly maple on the neck and resonator, nice dark to medium red/brown color. The nickel polished out real well. The most striking feature is the colors in the mother-of-pearl hearts and flowers on the neck. The ebony fingerboard gives it a nice formal look, also is a great contrast to the inlays.
Double-cut peghead gives it that great classic Gibson look. Has Earl's signature on the label inside the rim. The curly/flame figure on the resonator with the finish makes the grain look a mile deep!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The tuning pegs work great, also came with factory Keith D-tuners, but the third string tuner is missing the black knob. Trying to get in touch with Bill Keith to get a replacement. The D-tuners work best when the screws are finger-tight.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The folks at FQMS were top-notch, as always! Very reasonable rate for the setup work, also bought a new strap and tuner while I was there.

Customer Service

10

Components


I really like the satin type finish on the nickel, as opposed to high gloss on a chrome finish. Tuning knobs look great, wonderful color on the neck and peghead inlays.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Got a great price on the banjo, the seller and I were both very agreeable.
If this banjo was ever stolen, the guy better hope I never find him.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 5/10/2007

Submitter

JRicejt (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis

Year Purchased

2001

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


My experience with this banjo seems to be different than what most others have reported. I was dissapointed with the tone and volume when I got it new. I changed everything changeable - head, bridge, strings, tailpiece. Nothing helped. The sound was tubby and the volume was poor. Tone just wasn't there. The banjo stayed on the bus and I used it for a spare/backup only.

Sound Rating

5

Setup


Set up was fine when I got it, but I changed it all trying to improve it. As a last chance for this thing, I bought one of Huber's tone rings. The Gibson ring was on the rim way too tight. I sanded the rim for a smooth fit, installed the Huber tone ring with a 5 star head, Grover 5/8 bridge and a 35 year old Gibson Clamshell tailpiece. The change was incredible. The banjo came to life - loud, good lows, balanced highs, great tone. I tweaked the rods and got the neck angle right where I wanted it.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


No flaws at all anywhere. The presto style tailpiece began to bend (thats why I replaced it with a sturdier old clamshell. The arm rest bracket cracked but Gibson sent me a new one to replace it. The figure on the maple neck is beautiful.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The finish on the wood (neck and resonator) is in good shape. Although I take care to wipe it down, several years of summer festivals have taken their toll on the nickel plating. Its dull almost everywhere.

I no longer use this banjo for a backup - it is my main instrument now. It replaced my old 29 TB3 conversion arch top. The hardware is excellent except for the tailpiece and armrest problem I mentioned.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Janet Davis is great to work with and Gibson customer service has been excellent since the instrument in under warranty.

Customer Service

10

Components


I think the Gibson tone ring is a slug. The rim fit was too tight but I think the combination Huber ring and the sanded rim for a slightly looser fit on the rim was the right combination. It has a flathead roar now. I dont have issues with anything other than the armrest and Presto tailpiece.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


These are excellent banjos - some sound good right out of the box. Mine didn't but I fixed it and now I have an instrument I will put up against any flathead. If it were stolen, I'd buy another, put a Huber tone ring on it and go from there.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 1/3/2007

Submitter

Toso (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

$3695 ($US)

Sound


I am learning about this banjo every day as it is my first quality banjo. The only thing I can say is that when this banjo is played along side other banjos, the sound just blows the other away. IT is deep and yet can be bright as well. The tone is very melodic and will crack when you want it too! I think it will only get better with age as it settles in.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I spoke with Janet Davis and told her how I wanted the banjo set up. It arrived just perfect. My expert playing friends thought so as well.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Gorgeous! Beautiful fit and finisn. Wood is very pretty. THe neck and fret finish is excellent as well. No faults at all. It is a beautiful instrument all around.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Seems perfect. Time will tell. I suspect, like all Gibson products that I own, this will not be a problem.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


No experience with Gibson as far as service because none ever needed. However, Janet Davis was excellent! She spent several days on the phone with me helping me to choose just the right instrument. I was nervous buying an instrument sight unseen over the internet. She was great and the instrument is perfect.

Customer Service

10

Components


No complaints. I really like the fretboard inlayand the neck binding.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Love it!. I would recommend it and I would buy it again to replace it.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 10/24/2006

Submitter

dtuner5 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Brook Mays

Year Purchased

1997

Price Paid

3200 ($US)

Sound


This banjo has always had a bright and deep tone, if that makes sense. It wasn't as clear past the 15th fret as I would like, but a Charlie Cushman setup has made a world of difference. I didn't know it could sound this good.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I added 2 spikes and d tuners since I bought it. I'm on my third bridge. The last bridge change was made by Charlie. The string height was what I wanted from the start. It's always been easy to play. Neck is comfortable.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Maple neck and resonator. Beautiful banjo.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


No reliability issues. I trust it.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Never had any warranty issues. Never took it back to Gibson for anything. Don't know about the warranty length.

Customer Service

8

Components


Standard bridge was not great. I hear they are using better bridges from the factory now. Tuners are excellent. No other issues

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


In 2006 I would recommend other banjos for the money. I have it insured for it's actual value and if stolen I would buy another brand before a new ESS. I do love it. I bought it because of Earl Scruggs and the Gibson name. There are so many more quality banjos being made now. I got a good one but I wouldn't buy a new Gibson now.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 4/13/2006

Submitter

Kenny Noble (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Fifth String Berkely California

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

3240 ($US)

Sound


Has a good sound once I tweeked it for several weeks. This is my first quality banjo, so I knew very little about set up. I only knew it did not ring like it should. I took the advice from other reviews and purchased a Straightline tailpiec, and a Snuffy Smith Bridge. Also, purchased a drum tuner and torque wrench, because I had no banjo playing friends and had no reference or advice about tightening the head. I took the advice from Janet Davis about the settting for the drum tuner which worked out the same for the torque wrench. (tightened to #12). Still not pleased I purched a banjo setup book from First Quality Music. The sound improved tremendously when I did two additonal things. First I ordered another Snuffy Smith at five-eighths height which made the string angle over the bridge toward the tailpiece at about 13 degree. Second, I loosened discovered a small gap between the neck heal and the head ring (hoop) I loosened the rods and slipped four peices of Post-it note in the gap and tightened the rods. Now I am very pleased with the sound. It rings very well and the intonation seems to be perfect.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


When I received the instrument the head tension bolts were finger loose. When I ordered it I asked about paying extra to get a proper set up but the clerk did not seem to understand what I meant. Even so, in all fairness, the price was fair for the instruments condition.

Setup Rating

1

Appearance


The best thing about this instrument is the neck binding and fret polishing. I have a couple quality guitars in the same price range (Taylor and Gretch) and the fret detail on this banjo is equal to the Taylor and much better than the Gretch. The weakest link in this instrument is the tuners. I plan on researching and purchasing tuners with a higher gear ratio. Sometimes they tuners are not sensitive enough.
The neck grain is nice, the resonator back seems to be a different color stain than the resonator sides, but it is okay.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The armrest needs a better system for tightening. The one bolt does not seem to get it tight enough to prevent it from slipping and rattling. I have already stripped one armrest bolt and ordered another. Perhaps I am just too picky. The tailpiece was definetly very "wimpy" but I changed it to a priceline and like it very much.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


This was a new banjo, so I believe I will be satisfied with the warranty. The banjo has set in the store for over two years and has a few minor dings, but still the price reflects the conditon.

Customer Service

10

Components


Tailpiece for sure.
Perhaps the tuning pegs could be improved.
But overall it is a quality instrument.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I like it very much, and have no desire to get another one. I believe that quality control is often reflected in appear--not sound alone. That is, if the instrument have visible defects, it probably is second rate in sound also.
I hope to keep this the rest of my life, and I hope to live a long time.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 12/31/2005

Submitter

jdmatthew (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Private Individual

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

2800 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Loud, bright, tons of sustain. Notes are not as distinct as I like, but I solved the problem with a new bridge. Good bluegrass sound, sounds like a Gibson.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup was good. I put on a new bridge and Fults tailpiece and it improved immediately. It was easy to make the changes. Head was correctly tensioned and bridge correctly placed. Neck was correctly adjusted.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


It looks great. Hearts and flowers inlay, no flaws. Beautiful flamed maple. Very easy on the eyes. There is a gap between one side of the resonator and the neck that surprised me on a banjo of this price, but it doesn't effect the sound.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Everything is solid and well made. I am disappointed with the finish, it gets gummy quite easily and I've found it reacts with the rubber padding on my tripod stand. It looks really good, but I have to polish it often to keep the neck slick for easy play.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


Haven't dealt with them. Bought used so there is no warranty.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tuners are solid and excellent. The Presto tailpiece is adequate but I upgraded. The Grover bridge was too heavy to get the full tone from this banjo and I replaced it. The fretwire seems larger than those of my other banjos and I don't like it as well. Frets were somewhat rough, but none were high.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


For this price, it was a good deal. I couldn't have afforded a new one. If it was stolen I probably would buy another maple banjo, not necessarily this model. It is extremely easy to play, string action is good. I got what I though I'd get so I can't complain.

Overall Rating

8


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 5/20/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Fretted Instrument Workshop

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

2,795.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


The sound and tone of this banjo is excellent! It has great projection and rings like a bell up the neck. I could sincerely hear the difference in sound as compared to the higher end competition from other banjo makers.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The setup was fine. The owner, Tony knows banjos.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This is another aspect that truly justifies spending a bit more for a Gibson. I sold a beautiful Gibson Les Paul Artisan in order to help purchase this banjo. In both cases the woods used, as well as the "Hearts and Flowers" inlays and the staining and finishing of the instruments is worth the money spent.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All aspects of this instrument prove to be of great quality and dependability.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I've dealt with Gibson regarding a question I had about a neck reset that needed to be done on a ES-175. They were very quick, helpul and friendly.

Customer Service

10

Components


Components that stand out on the Earl Scruggs Standard are the headstock inlays, the "Hearts and Flowers" inlays, the tone ring, and the beauty of the resonator. There are no cheap parts such as the tuners or tailpiece that would need to be upgraded.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo for the price paid! They look great, they sound great and Gibsons have a strong tendency to appreciate in value quite a bit like my Les Paul Artisan did. I sincerely would have purchased a Deering Golden Era or a similar quality instrument built by another company. When I compared all the essential components that go into this sort of investment the Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard came out on top.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 10/20/2004

Submitter

picker3 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Curtis McPeake/ 1984 Model

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

2200 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Perfect Scruggs sound. Deep bass with great sustain and true Scruggs sound up the neck. Rings like a bell on all 22 frets.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Action was low and did not need adjusting.Changed to Scruggs light ga. strings and standard 5/8" Snuffy Smith bridge.This was all the changes needed.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Had to clean hardware but Finish was excellent without nicks or damage. Fingerboard has slight wear on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string but nothing to worry about being that Ebony has a long wear life and it does not affect play.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


All high quailty parts,should last without any failures. I have owned a '77 Gibson RB250 for a number of years and it was hard to part with due to the quailty construction and sound .

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Have not needed

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Presto Tailpiece seems light but all Gibsons use them so they must be tried and true.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


A very high quailty instrument that will last for years and has outstanding sound and playability

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 2/9/2004

Submitter

mchinn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Pioneer Music

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I love the sound of this banjo. It has a great bluegrass bite, but can sound mellow when played in the ďYĒ position (away from the bridge). I only play bluegrass, and it is perfectly suited for that style.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The people at Pioneer did a great job of setting up my banjo. It has a low action, which I like, and the head was tensioned perfectly. The only changes I have made were to replace the stock Presto tail piece with a Price, and the stock Groover bridge with a Scorpion bridge.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The banjo is beautiful. If you know banjos, you will know what this one looks like! Maple, MOP, nickel, and all the trimmings. All workmanship was perfect!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This banjo seems to be built like a tank. Iíve only had it a while, but everything seems to be built to last a lifetime and maybe more.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Never dealt with Gibson, but the people at Pioneer Music are great!!! Helpful, friendly, and eager and able to please.

Customer Service

10

Components


The neck feels great, and plays the same. I really like the way the tuners feel, they are smooth as silk and beautiful. I wasnít impressed with the bridge or tail piece. I donít understand why Gibson puts those cheap ones on as stock parts.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I think this is a great banjo, and would certainly replace it with the same thing if it were ever stolen. The sound, and the playability are both great. It was a little pricey, but it is such an improvement from my 1970ís Iada that I think the price was worth every penny. It just makes me want to play more, which makes me play better, which makes me want to play moreÖ

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 1/2/2003

Submitter

BANJOMAN7280 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

USED EBAY

Year Purchased

2002

Price Paid

Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


THE BEST SOUNDING BANJO THAT I HAVE EVER HEARD. IVE PLAYED A STELLING MASTERFLOWER, DEERING MAPLE BLOSSOM, AND NUMEROUS IMPORTED CHEAPIES. THIS ONE IS BY FAR THE BEST. IT IS VERY LOUD, HAS EXCELLENT TONE. VERY VIBRANT WITH A TON OF POP.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I GOT IT USED. IT WAS SET UP OK. THE BRIDGE WASNT SET UP FOR PROPER INTONATION. BUT IT DOES HAVE A SNUFFY SMITH BRIDGE WHICH I LOVE. IT CAME WITH SPIKES ALREADY INSTALLED..

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


BEAUTIFUL LACQUERED FINISH. WONDERFUL HEAVY HARDWARE. BEAUTIFUL ABALONE MOTHER OF PEARL INLAYS. THE BEST IS THE

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


NEVER DROPS TUNE EVEN IN HARSH WEATHER CHANGES. I WOULD NEVER BRING A BACK UP TO A GIG AS LONG AS I BRING THIS AS MY MAIN INSTRUMENT.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


GIBSON IS GOOD. I BOUGHT USED THOUGH.

Customer Service

10

Components


WONDERFUL HEAVY TUNERS THAT FEEL WONDERFUL. GENUINE ABALONE INLAYS. SNUFFY SMITH BRIDGE.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


THE BEST BANJO YOU CAN BUY FOR THE MONEY. SOME PEOPLE SAY STELLING AND DEERING ARE BETTER THAN GIBSON. I THINK NOT. THE SCRUGGS STANDARD IS THE BEST. IF ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR EARL..IT IS THE BEST ANYONE ELSE COULD EVER GET.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard
submitted 2/26/2002

Submitter

dogjaw (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

music man jax, fl

Year Purchased

1984

Price Paid

1500 ($US)

Sound


beautiful tone, kinda quiet until i replaced the bridge with a hot spot; killer volume, plays great up and down the neck, no oertones

Sound Rating

9

Setup


changed the stock tailpiece for price straightline, am considering trying out a new bridge for the heck of it, any suggestions would be welcomed. it had a shubb 5th capo installed; i would probaly prefer rr spikes. also use a fishman pickup for playing in church through a crate tube amp, though i need to acquire a preamp.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


great curly maple, well figured, no light spots on ebony fretboard, immaculate inlay work,no sign of any filler, the m.o.p. on the peghead may be aging somewhat, buit i haven't seen a prettier gibson overall

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


i think that i'll breakdown before it does.(get it? breakdown? thank you, thank you very much.)

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


no problem

Customer Service

10

Components


ebony fretboard, choice of wood were great; they could have put a higher quality bridge and tailpiece on it to start with, but then i wouldn't get to gadget shop, so i can't complain.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


top drawer in every way

Overall Rating

10


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