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Washburn B-14  Banjo Reviews

Washburn B-14
submitted 9/1/2011

Submitter

BlueRanchRider (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

DCMusicStore (online)

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


Scruggs 3 finger style. Shipped direct from factory. Set up was up to me. Used Roger Seminoff's How to Setup Best Sounding Banjo book and this banjo with Snuffy Bridge and the head tightened up pretty good runs ahead of any Deering Goodtime banjo and will run with many higher end banjos. Full bass and crisp highs make it sound great. Would compare it to much more expensive banjos.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I did the setup and retightened all bolts including co-ordinator rods and bracket nuts and screws. Once put back together had to relieve the neck about one turn, the action needed to be lowered a bit, and tap tuned both the head and resonator chamber. No problems and boy does it sound nice!

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Not much fancy stuff here like others have said but that's not my thing anyway. Very nice looking instrument with wood and chrome.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Cheap bridge needs replacing for sound right away and needs new strings. Otherwise it's built to last.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Lifetime to original owner

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Bell Brass tone ring that gives it the sound. Could use a rim mated to it to replace the stock one. Bridge and strings need replacing. Also, if you want more sound change out the tailpiece for a longer, heavier one.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


For the money, this is the banjo to own. I've played it against other
-1000$ banjos and this one is miles better than them. Compares to Boston and Sierra Deering banjos I've played.

Overall Rating

10


Washburn B-14
submitted 3/28/2009

Submitter

jonnyrichmond (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay Dealer

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

325 ($US)

Sound


It sounds really nice. It is comparable to every other banjo I tried in stores like the Epiphone and Fender F58.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


It was set up really well.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


It is pretty plain-jane in appearance. However, the wood finish is lovely and the chrome work is beautiful. Just not much inlay which is fine by me.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Very solid banjo. I expect no problems.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

10

Components


The tuners and neck seem really well put together and made. The banjo really seems nicely put together.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would certainly recommend this banjo. For the money I could not have done much better.

Overall Rating

10


Washburn B-14
submitted 5/5/2007

Submitter

Happy Picker (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Factory, Gladesville, Australia

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Nice tone and is perfect for a banjo that is my first one. I give it a 10/10, but being new to banjo, others might think I'm a bit ambitious. Still, I'm happy with it. The sound is crisp and bright.

My sister's cheaper Martinez, is much tinnier in it's tone, yet mine has a recommended retail price three times her banjo's. She hadn't been playing mine long, and she wanted to buy herself one.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set up was set up from the shop, and was easy to play from the start. It feels really nice all along the neck. My sister's banjo is a much cheaper Martinez, and she loved the B-14 moment she started playing it. She said it was much faster to plasy than hers. I won't be changing anything on it.

I've played guitar for many years, and while the banjo is new to me, the feel of the banjo inspires confidence the moment you begin to play it. While there are other much more expensive banjo's on the market, I'm very happy with mine.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


While it's no show pony compared to other banjo's, it's still a nice instrument. The finish is wonderful, and while it may not have the fancy inlays and fancy engraving of others, it is a beautifully finished instrument. I'm not one for the fancy stuff anyway, so I'm not worried about the lack of expensive fancy bits. It's a great looking instrument for a plain looking instrument. It's a 10/10!!!

The chrome work looks great, and the finish of the timber is first rate. I know those who love their American banjo's, but I can't afford one of those. This one was made in Korea and is really nicely finished off.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Everything looks great on it, and it looks solid. I'm confident there will be many years of trouble free playing with this instrument.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Excellent service from the shop. I went to them because they had an experienced banjo player there who could set it up properly. The recommended retail price in Australia is $1100, so I got a good price on the banjo, which is always nice.

I've never had to deal with Washburn yet.

Customer Service

10

Components


Everything looks strong, and I'm careful with how I look after my gear. There's nothing about the components that look dodgy in the eyes of a new banjo player. I've been around various musical instruments for about thirty years and seen some very ordinary finishes on instruments in that time. This one feels solid, looks good, and features nothing which makes me sorry I own a B-14

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


For sure! I'd seen quite a few of the B-14's competitors and this one is a stand out in every way. Other reviews of this banjo on this site helped make the purchase of a banjo a lot easier than it may have been otherwise, and I'm very grateful to those who made comments on their B-14's. Thanks to those who have taken the time to do that. I really appreciate it, and would encourage others looking for a new banjo to look at the B-14.

I love my instrument, and for a first banjo, reckon it's a great one to own for a first time banjo owner.

Overall Rating

10


Washburn B-14
submitted 1/18/2007

Submitter

washburn picker (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

local music shop

Year Purchased

1998

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


sounded good for banjo to learn on

Sound Rating

6

Setup


setup was great

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


could stand a little more pearle inlay

Appearance Rating

4

Reliability


everything lasted as long as i had it and last as long for anyone else

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


warranty was lifetime to origanal owner

Customer Service

10

Components


the tuners were awsome

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


i would recommend this as a good banjo to start out on

Overall Rating

7


Washburn B-14
submitted 2/26/2006

Submitter

PickYerBluesAway (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Shop Music Plus (eBay Store)

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

399.00 ($US)

Sound


I purchased the B-14 for an instrument to start learning the three-fingered (Scruggs) style of Bluegrass. I have played guitar for over 40 years and did not want to start on an instrument that would be so tonally poor that it would discourage practice, neither did I want to invest in a $1000 + instrument if I discovered Banjo was not for me.

The B-14 has great tone, very bright (I expect from the bell brass tone ring) with no buzzing or any other sonic bugaboos while playing up the neck.

As one would expect, fingering close to the bridge give a very bright sound, as fingering closer to the neck gives a very rich sound that I have used with some success playing some "jazzy" type chording. Again this is not a vintage Gibson, but side by side for the money, I'll play this against anything.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The B-14 was well setup from Shop Music Plus, geometricaly the bridge was placed in the traditional equidistant plane of 12th fret to bridge, tailpiece to bridge, with it canted slightly towards the neck on the 5th string side. Aside from re-tuning the low D string it stayed in tune all the way on its trip from Florida to Upstate New York. For the price of the banjo with a stock bridge, tailpiece and strings the action is about as good as it gets, again no buzzes playing all the way up the neck.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I know the old original Washburn Company from Chicago is no longer, but I noticed that Washburn Guitars (the name now owned by U.S. Music Corp) have gotten a lot of good press and user reviews for instruments under the $500 range, and apparently thier banjos also fall into this catagory.

The B-14 is rather "Plain-Jane" in that it does not have fancy inlays, gold trim (Which I really would have liked, but could not afford!). But the wood, trim, pegs, fitting and general craftsmanship are truly first-rate with no flaws noted, a perfectly straight neck, and everything fitting the way it should be.

The peg assembly is mechanically solid and cosmetically well done, the chrome is thickly plated and polishes up beautifully.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I have played the fire out of this thing and have had no wear problems as of yet. Shop Music Plus included in the kit the necessary small tools to tighten the head and other routine maintenence.

The tuners are of the planetary type, very solid, the drone string has a geared guitar type tuner, this far no tension adjustments to the tuners have been necessary, it holds a tune far better than any guitar I have ever owned.

From my guitar experience I would always have a backup instrument available during a performance, but I doubt I would ever have to resort to using it if the B-14 were used as my primary stage instrument.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I e-mailed Shop Music Plus (eBay - ggleaves) MANY times before purchase, he was very friendly, open and I feel quite honest. He could have sold me a B-16 or a B-17 but based on what I told him I needed and what I expected for my money he recommended the B-14. Since that time I have purchased several other items (for me this is the highest testimony) from this seller and was treated in the same courteous and professional fashion.

Customer Service

10

Components


The standout conponents would absolutely be the fit and finish. I would have upgraded the tailpiece as in the type on the B-16, but again, the price difference of these two instruments is significant. The stock strings were good but I replaced them with Gibson's Earl Scruggs medium gauge (Signature Gauge) which is just a personal preference. (Good enough for Earl, sure as heck good enough for me!) As the original bridge (which is just fine) wears I'll replace it with a Snuffy Smith 5/8ths.

I was surprised that the BC-82 hard case was included, a great case, but I wish it had the old-time Washburn logo on it rather than the new "modern" one.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo to anyone looking for a banjo in the $400.00 price range, played side by side with banjos several times the price the difference was often negligable and sometimes the B-14 really sounded better, at the very least far brighter. Yes, it made offshore, but compared to other banjos I have played, from the bottom to the top, this sounds, looks and plays great. I would take it anywhere and play with anyone.

In terms of playability the B-14 was great out of the box, the action is fast and it is an extremely easy instrument to play, tonally, as I pointed out, for $399.00 plus 30 bucks shipping, and the hard shell case included it is supurb. I love it, if it was stolen I would replace it with another B-14 (Unless of course the insurance company wants to replace it with a B-17!)

Overall Rating

10


Washburn B-14
submitted 2/14/2006

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

prussia valley dulcimer

Year Purchased

06

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


excellent rich full tone easy playing frets great.well worth twice the price. flawless finish very loud tone,well worth the wait. great bluegrass crack to it.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


already set up.wouldnt change a thing.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


mahoganey resinator,maple neck,brass bell tone ring,beautiful chrome

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


yes it is very heavy built like a tank.excellent planetary tuners, would have no problem playing it anywhere.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


havent had to but doubt will have to.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


had a sticker on head that saud brass bell tone ring equipped that tore part of the remo head when it was removed. other thn that 100 percent satisfied.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


even at twice the price. get it back or get another.tone is awesome.love it.sounds just as good as any deering very similar to the sierra sound.

Overall Rating

10


Washburn B-14
submitted 1/8/2003

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Songbird Music

Year Purchased

2002

Price Paid

399.00 (Cdn) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Action is too high and cant be adjusted
Sound on lower strings fine but high notes tinny

Sound Rating

4

Setup


The first string is tooclose to the end of the fret and sometimes slides off the fret.

Setup Rating

1

Appearance


Beautiful Banjo in perfect shape just like new. No scratches and resonator is removable which I did to lessen the sound. Very pretty

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Hardware good. Finish perfect and I would guess thois is an old banjo because that model isnt listed anymore with washburn. I wouldnt use it in a gig because I cant play it well enough

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Warranted for 6 mos and I took it back to straighten the neckl which they did to my satisfaction.

Customer Service

7

Components


Tuners are good except for 5th string which is not geared.

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


Dont care for this banjo, am going to buy a new one probably a gold Tone Whyte Laydeif I can find one.

Overall Rating

3


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