Gibson RB-3 Standard  Banjo Reviews

Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 11/5/2009

Submitter

Brian (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Private Party

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

1549 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This banjo was made in May of 1993. It is my second, high quality mahogany banjo. It sounds a lot like the Hatfield I used to have. It is bright and hollow with a very nice growl. Once you've owned a banjo in each of the 3 main woods, you can really tell what each has to offer. I think mahogany is the best all around sounding banjo. This one sounds incredible!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The set up was fine. I tore it apart and made a slight adjustment to the tone ring fit. The neck fit is perfect and the banjo notes true up the neck.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


This banjo has been played A LOT!! It has a massive belt buckle rash on the back side of the resonator. The neck has had some filler applied to gouges on several frets. I'm going to mark the appearance low but it is actually one of the reasons that I love this banjo. It's got a lot of character!

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


Hardware is standard Gibson. High quality with no worries. The binding has yellowed. The headstock inlays have also yellowed.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


All parts are great! It has a maple rim with Kulesh ring. The neck is impressive given the obvious amount of play time it's had.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


As I said, this banjo reminds me of a Hatfield Buck Creek that I once had. It has a great open and bright sound with lots of sparkle. I love the inlay pattern which I think is called standard. It's a 1993 which is from the coveted Greg Rich era. Is it all hype? Not from what I can see! Try one, you'll like it!!

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 6/11/2008

Submitter

BanjoBobb (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Another person

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

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

Sound


This banjo is a 1990 RB-3 from the Greg Rich era.
It is certain everything it is supposed to be. I has the dry, but warm sound of a Gibson. I haven't found any dislikes so far. The banjo is in exceptionally good shape to be 18 years old.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


For the most part the banjo was ready to go. I did have to tighten up the head a little. I have ordered a snuffy smith bridge to replace the one that came on it, personal preference.
Other than these things, the banjo is ready to go

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The banjo has a couple of dings on the resonator, but not through the finish. The resonator had been crack in shipment by the USPS to the seller, but the USPS paid to have gibson repair it.
All in all, the finish is very good.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Yes to reliability. It, as I stated earlier is in great shape for its age.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


According to the seller, the Gibson warranty folks were great to work with.

Customer Service

10

Components


It is quality made. No cheap parts noted.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This is a great banjo. If it ever has to be replaced, I will replace it with another Gibson, not necessary an RB-3 but something similar.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 1/13/2008

Submitter

banjoboy95 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

1993

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I love the ringy tone it has. But some banjo players set it up to where it has a warm tone.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Good as new when my dad first bought it.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I love the look. It has classic RB-3 styling.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I would rely on this banjo a lot. If my dad still had it, it would be the only banjo I would ever play.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


There weren't any parts to be upgraded.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This is my favorite banjo of all time. To me it was like one of my banjos, even though it was mainly my dad's. I used it on every recording session I ever did. Unfortuantely my dad sold it. When I first found out he sold it I was really mad. I still get a little angry when I think about it.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 11/21/2007

Submitter

leon (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Frailers (Runcorn, UK)

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

1250 () (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I have owned this banjo for 2 and a half years now, since I first started playing. I feel I am getting to know it well, and consistently pulling a good enough tone out of it to review it fairly.

This is a 1991 'Greg Rich era' Gibson and it lives up to the hype. It has that Gibson sound - what more can I say? It's a very responsive instrument. The only gripe at the moment is I think it could ring a little more up the neck, but that's probably due to the dodgy bridge which I'm soon replacing. It also has a 5-star head installed as opposed to the standard Remo.

Considering the price/sound quality ratio I give this an 8. I will never need another banjo. I'm not saying it sounds like a pre-war (I've never played one anyway) but neither did it cost $40,000 or whatever.

New Gibsons may not be as much of a good deal because they're so expensive and there are cheaper alternatives out there which still sound very good. Some argue Gibsons ain't what they used to be during the 'Greg Rich era' either. I think they sound awesome, but each to their own.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Just needed a couple of small lost parts (resonator thumbscrew and string cover on tailpiece). Also removed a shim the previous owner had put in-between the neck and pot to lower the action. Some fret wear also. This is obviously because my banjo was bought used so this info only applies to mine!

Apart from that I haven't really touched the set-up because it sounds great as it is.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Classic look - not too flashy, not too plain. Though this particular banjo is well used and it looks like it's been through some tough times; there are plenty of knocks and chips, but no real damage. I kinda like it that way. It's a workhorse.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Fine quality banjo and it's already lasted for more than 15 years with only a couple of small pieces of hardware getting lost (probably due to previous owner).

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Great store - check it out if you're buying in the UK. www.frailers.com

Customer Service

8

Components


Pro quality parts.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Good deal, great banjo.

Overall Rating

8


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 4/26/2007

Submitter

Tomcat (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Strains of Music Waynesville NC

Year Purchased

2000

Price Paid

2100.oo ($US)

Sound


This was a great banjo. Had a very bright sound. Didn't have as much gut on the low end as the RB4 , but was dynomite up the neck.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


The banjo wasn't setup when it came so Marc Pruett done the setup on this one. I'm lucky to know Marc, because he can tweak a banjo like Carroll Shelby can an engine. He said this banjo actually noted truer up the neck than the Frank Neat custom that he's been playing for almost 30 years.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Looked great. The only thing was it didn't have the ring on the back of the resonator. I don't know if the factory ran short that day and just grabbed a 250 resonator off the shelf or what,but it sure didn't hurt the way it preformed.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


It was like any other Gibson I've owned. BACKUP!? We don't need no steenk'n backup!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The flap on the tailpiece wants to rattle from time to time, but that seems to be common with this peice. No big deal.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Loved this banjo but it was just one of the many steps in the Gibson upgrade ladder that I'm trying to climbe to Granada greatness. HA!

Overall Rating

8


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 12/15/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Individual

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


See customer service section below.

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


See customer service section below.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


See customer service section below.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


See customer service section below.

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


I invoked the warranty for my RB3 for tuners not seating properly and some glue left on the fretboard near the Mastertone block. Dropped the instrument off at Opry Mills after getting a return authorization number over the phone. The folks at Gibson were very friendly and most important of all, they fixed everything that needed fixing and gave me a free factory setup as well (I did not expect this!). The banjo was shipped to my house within two weeks of me delivering it to them.

Customer Service

9

Components


See customer service section above.

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


See customer service section above.

Overall Rating

not rated


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 11/25/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Individual

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Addendum to previous review in the "Gibson" section. See "components" section below.

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


Addendum to previous review in the "Gibson" section. See "components" section below.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Addendum to previous review in the "Gibson" section. See "components" section below.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


Addendum to previous review in the "Gibson" section. See "components" section below.

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Addendum to previous review in the "Gibson" section. See "components" section below.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Just discovered at string change time that the 1st and 4th tuners were loose and wobbling. After tightening them I noticed that they dug into the finish on the peghead on the nut side of the shaft. After closer examination it is apparent that the holes for these two tuners are drilled such that the tuners must mount partially on the curved surface of the handstop. When tightened, the shafts are NOT perpendicular to the peghead top surface. Time to see if Gibson will honor their warranty with a repair or replacement.

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


Addendum to previous review in the "Gibson" section. See "components" section below.

Overall Rating

not rated


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 11/5/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Individual

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

2350 ($US)

Sound


Excellent bottom end, volume is adequate but not extremely loud. Sounds the best with head at an F or just a little higher, which makes for a slightly lower action with a 5/8" bridge. My 1972 RB250 sounded better overall, but it had less on the bottom end and sounded best with a 5-Star head, in fact, I could not get several Weatherking heads to even fit the 250. The RB3 still sounds a little green, almost like the sound is buried somewhere deep in the banjo. Maybe in a few years.....

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup well. Action a little low since the head was a little on the loose side. After playing with the setup, the banjo sounds the best to me with the head tightened to an "F" or a little higher.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Finish in excellent condition. Glue left on fretboard on two frets near the "Mastertone" block. Resonator does not appear perfectly "round" to match the flange. Inlays obviously machine cut like they grew in the wood on the tree.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Hardware excellent, finish seems fine except some flaking on the rim. The banjo is very reliable and easy to play.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Gibson lifetime warranty was still in effect so I filled out the card and sent it in. There was no verification from the factory that the warranty was ever recorded, but I feel certain the Gibson would cover any problems that the banjo might have, especially if I appear in person to make a claim like I have in the past. Greg Rich invited me back to observe the repair in progress (several years ago.)

Customer Service

9

Components


V2 tuners are excellent. Presto comes standard with the banjo. I noticed that the casting of the Kulesh tonering was not complete as some metal is missing from the tone ring, but not enough to make a difference in the sound. It looks like someone used a centerpunch on the slanted surface of the tone ring or something was dropped on it at the factory. RK with crown logo on the bottom of the tone ring, Gibson logo on the top.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Being a Gibson you pay top dollar. If the banjo were stolen I would collect the cash and buy a cheaper banjo.

Overall Rating

8


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 7/11/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

France

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

(Euros) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sound is very clean, very warm and round. It has THE sound I was looking for. It's neat from nut to up-the neck, very powerful.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The set-up was not really perfect. I had to tighten the head and dimish the action. Put a new lower Bridge.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


It appears as beautiful as any other Gibson banjos. I like the odor very much, very pleasant; The Tsandard Inlays are good enough to make it a good looking banjo.
Just one thing there was some tarnished metal parts. they'll clean very well with semichrome or stuff like that

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Looks solid. I'll use it at every jam session I'll be. I keep my imported banjo for travels and rough condition of living.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I purchsed it in France. And everyone (except me) knows about the differece between Gibson Lifetime Warranty on an instrument purchsed in the US and one purchased in an other country.
Still don't know where to send the papers. I emailed Gibson Europe twice now and no reply. So untill now customer service is not available for my banjo, even if Big Joe was very nice.

Customer Service

2

Components


Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I recommand the RB3, for sound quality first.
That's one of the best banjos I've played.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 12/23/2004

Submitter

kris_rasnake (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Morrell Music, Bristol,TN

Year Purchased

1999

Price Paid

2,000 ($US)

Sound


Excellent tone and volume, powerful from nut to 22th. I have done a lot of work to get this banjo to the point it is at though.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Remo head tuned to G or G#, depending on how often I keep the setup work done. 3/4 snuffy smith bridge, I had the neck cut this height. I also had a bone nut cut to the height I like for this banjo.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very nice appearance. Nothing special about the looks of this banjo othen than a personalized pearl truss rod cover.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This has been the only banjo I've played since I purchased it, but once again I've changed a lot on the banjo since it was purchased.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I haven't had any contact with the store i purchased the banjo from or from Gibson. Clancy Mullins, from Boone's Creek TN, does all my banjo work and i highly recommend his work and his custom banjos.

Customer Service

10

Components


When purchased the banjo came with standard tuners, a 5/8 grover bridge for which the neck was cut for at the factory, and the standard gibson/ kulosh (spelling??) tone ring. I have installed a set of keith/scruggs tuners, had the neck recut to support the bigger 3/4 bridge, and had a huber tone ring installed. The huber ring luckly fit perfect to the rim as was. So with that all said, I feel like this banjo will hold it's own. I must alos say the factory frets sucked, they didn't even make it threw one festival season before i had to replace them.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


When I purchased the banjo, it was sitting in the store with a big sign on it that said, "Gibson RB-250 $1,998.00." I immediately knew it was a RB-3 from the appearance. Although I wasn't impressed with the sound it had at the store, the potential was there. I had the store owner print me a reciept for the banjo that day so if they happened to figure out they had priced it wrong I would still be able to get it at the cheaper price. After making the chances I wanted to the banjo, I think it is one of the best banjo I've ever played. I don't want anyone to think i'm dogging the Gibson parts, they are top quality material, but they were just not what I was looking for in the tone department. I love this banjo!

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-3 Standard
submitted 6/5/2003

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Guitar House

Year Purchased

1003

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Bright sound ,

Sound Rating

10

Setup


a few adjustments after delivery

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


flawless

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

9

Components


Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


very happy , I started out with a samick . I just can't put this RB3 down .

Overall Rating

10


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