Visit D

Fender FB-300 Banjo Reviews

Fender FB-300
submitted 12/29/2008

Submitter

dubtom (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Fender rep

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

200 (euro) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


MY first banjo,and a present to booth,so I didn't have a choice. The wife got a deal from a guitarshop worker friend who got it from the fender rep,judging by the price I think she got an ok deal. As a beginner,I'm no judge of how it should sound,although a few musican friends have said it sounds nice and mellow, although with picks it's sounds quite loud to me.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


As a complete novice I managed to tune it straight out of the bag with the supplied tuner,which surprised me. I've had to it two weeks and in that time it seemed to lose tune everytime I put it down,but it seems to be holding tune a little better now. I know nothing about setting it up so haven't touched it although I do intend to get it set up professionally if I can find one in my area. Mine doen't have the remo head as stated by another rater,well it doesn't have a remo stamp anyway.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Quite the plain jane,just dot inlays on the fret and the fender name.No bells and whistles,I like the look though,not over done.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Not sure yet. The tuners plasticy,if anything breaks I would imagine they will.I'm not sure whether the 5th is geared,it doesn't look like it to me.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


no need yet,fingers crossed.

Customer Service

10

Components


As said already,the tuners look cheap,I'll wait for professional advise before I upgrade anything.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


If on a budget I suppose you can't go wrong,but personally I would make sure it had a least a tone hoop,which this one doesn't.Compared to the RK20,which is a starter banjo,but more expensive,well it's lacking,but you get what you pay for.

Overall Rating

7


Fender FB-300
submitted 6/22/2008

Submitter

supkrod (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Herreid music

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

-250 ($US)

Sound


I like its sound and I am told that as I am getting better the sound is too.
I dont know enough to rank it though

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


The banjo was set up as the floor model. and the gal tuned it by the book right there, her first time but i didnt know any different either.
I tune it every time I play with the provided tuner. It tunes easy but looses tune every time I put it in the gig bag. It came with everything to play but the finger picks are too small and plastic, I love the comfortable fender thumb pick.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Gorgeous and light wieght. the wood is very pretty. does not come with inlays though.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


does loose tune, but i take it with me to work and have not had it long enough to wear anything out.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The resonator is very pretty, the wood is very nice.
The supplied strap by fender has metal hooks which seem likely to scratch the banjo so I leave it on my wall hook to keep the resonator from scratching on the wall. I have a fender gig bag for my takamine and it has pockets, the fender gig bag for the banjo has no pockets. I dont think carrying my picks and tuner somewhere else, I am planning on sewing on a couple patches to use as pockets. the lesson book seems to suck but i learn from doing not reading.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would recomment this banjo to a begginer like me. There are a couple perks to this banjo: I found it local and affordable (considering the price and lack of used banjos). It is light enough to take anywhere unlike the fender delux. Its a pack so you get alot for the price. I was looking for an attractive but simple banjo that i could learn on and not feel worried about damaging in the classroom or campfire. Today I took it to the park/pool and had a good time playing.

Overall Rating

8


Fender FB-300
submitted 10/9/2007

Submitter

salishsilver (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Spotlight Music, Ft Colllins, CO

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

232 ($US)

Sound


Sounded a bit flat, but was a starter banjo. I am playing scruggs style, and to begin with didn't sound like I wanted, but after a professional set-up sound has improved 100%.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


the banjo was set-up initially by what I assume was a guitar jockey. it was OK, but the bridge was a cheapie one. the 4th string notch was 3x as wide as the string. replaced with Emerson power bridge. Definitely needed it. Action was good, a bit higher after new bridge, but OK.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The finish is beautiful. it's a honey colored mahogany, and what drew me to it in the first place. Slick and not gummy, and wearing well. there are a couple of dings in the resonator, but I probably put them there traveling home.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


the tuners seem to need something, but not sure. the tailpiece seems OK, but I want something a bit flashier. For the money, it is probably what I could expect. I'll leave it mostly as-is so it doesn't become a money pit.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Got nothing from Fender. The rating is for Spotlight. The banjo was missing an armrest, e-mailed fender and nothing. Called Spotlight and they called their rep, and got and armrest sent to them, and then fed-exed it to me, on their dime. Great Place in Fort Collins. Better than Guitar Center...

Customer Service

10

Components


Tuners, see above. Tailpiece, see above. Head needs tightened but is OK. not sure about hooks. Worth what I paid. A starter banjo.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


For the price, if you need a banjo bad, I'd buy in a second. totally worth $230. If it was stolen, I'd get another, 'cause with a little work, they sound great! I love the finish. the honey colored wood is great, everyone that plays around here makes a comment on how pretty it is. I wish I'd asked about Fender beforehand, but that doesn't make much difference to me. In MT I'm kinda used to poor customer service. I'm just too far away to matter to most big companies. Compared to others, this banjo is not 100% but I need to get better, and this will let me play while I save for something better. Kinda why I stopped playing, couldn't afford a better on in a lump.

Overall Rating

8


Fender FB-300
submitted 10/27/2006

Submitter

bayouland (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Center

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

250.00 ($US)

Sound


Terrible sound. Sounds more like a sick guitar than a banjo.

Sound Rating

2

Setup


Guitar Center Guy knew nothing about banjo setup.

Setup Rating

2

Appearance


Looks pretty nice. Like the satin finnish. Very pretty mohogany resonator.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Very flimsy. Rim warped when I tightened the head.

Reliability Rating

2

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The parts just seem cheap and flimsy.

Components Rating

2

Overall Comments


I would not recomend this banjo. Fender makes some of the finest guitars in the world. I have owned several of them, which is why I got a Fender banjo. Their banjos are not in the same class as their guitars. I traded it in for a Deering Goodtime 2 for only $100 more which is tons better, especially for the money.

Overall Rating

2


Fender FB-300
submitted 9/7/2006

Submitter

Al Handa (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Center

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

200 ($US)

Sound


It's the banjo that comes with the beginner pack. I got for a "good enough" banjo till I got one to replace the Washburn B-16 I traded off. After looking over it's specs, I decided it was one I could set up to sound decent. The metal body imports don't allow for much improvement, but this one has a mohogany body, so I was able to make a very playable banjo out of it. I tightened the head, shaved the stock bridge (not very good) thinner, but did no other setup. It suits my style, as it has an airy-light tone with nice sustain that fits well with my bare fingers style (which mimics a clawhammer). The sound is high midrange without picks, but the two inch resonator makes it sound more like an open back that projects better than usual than a true resonator. However, I liked that, as I like the design of the Goodtime resonator model. It makes the banjo light, easy to play, but definitely mostly in the old timey realm. The only thing I dislike is the pegs, which includes a geared 5th string. The other four are geared, but not very good, but hold tune OK if the banjo isn't played hard or thrashed. It's better than I expected it to be, and frankly, close enough to the Goodtime (which I played a few times to make sure) to make this one a good interim and eventual second banjo. It also includes a decent strap and tuner, which I sold off to make the banjo an even better deal, spare strings (good brand), and even nicer, the tools needed to adjust the head and any other part of the banjo. Nice thought went into this kit.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


The banjo was set up perfectly, it was a surprise to me to see that with a 1/2" bridge. I've tightened the head, and the resonator can be removed easily to make changes because the screws are large bolt type with heads you can grip and remove with your fingers. Light strings work best on this model. The frets were a surprise, well done and even.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


It's actually a nice looking banjo, certainly nicer than the goodtime. It looks like slimmer resonator, with a thin resonator, and the finish is natural, and quite attractive. Nice sense of proportion on all the components. Some dot inlay, cheap, but not garish. The neck isn't made of high grade wood, but with the truss rod and it's construction, it holds well, and doesn't flex in tunings.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Doesn't look like a banjo that would hold up to heavy gigging. It's definitely a home/hobby banjo, although the finish is very good. It's solid enough to play regularly, but I wouldn't use it as a primary in a gig.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


No service yet, but I've never had a problem with either Fender or Guitar Center (I alway make sure I deal with the same people).

Customer Service

9

Components


Nice Remo head, above average neck, good fifth string geared tuner, rim is five layered, but looks good and sounds decent. Has 18 braces that are easy to adjust with the included wrench.

Needs better bridge and basic tuners. tailpiece is only fair, but servicable. Nut is cheap.

One very interesting feature, that most banjos don't have, is that you can remove the resonator, and the resonator brackets, and have a real open back banjo instead. A nice choice to have.

The one component that's a weak link is that the neck is too thin, and can flex just enough to make a note or chord go out of tune. If you play it with proper technique, of course, you won't flex the neck, the most beginners will need to be aware of this so they don't think it's just them making the note fluctuate. In all fairness, this banjo isn't the only one where the neck can flex.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


For the price, I would definitely recommend this banjo. Too many recommend the Goodtime without regard for whether the beginner might want to move on to bluegrass, so you've just only added 300.00 to the cost of any resonator banjo one might get. I respect the Goodtime, but it's a package that costs a bit higher than many beginners might want to pay, and it's not upgradable to planetary tuners or resonator by deliberate design. Putting good tuners on this banjo would make this a nice second banjo for as long as I feel like it, and it is a resonator type that can be upgraded to lower intermediate. Remember, tone is in the fingers, not the instrument. I can make this banjo sound just like 90% like a Goodtime is playing, and that's good enough for my purposes.

If it was stolen right now, I'd probably get another one. I'm through with the buying the old Harmony and Kay trip and spending forever trying to fix all the flaws.

I love it, it sounds pretty much like how I like a banjo to sound, light and airy, with a lot of resonance. Bluegrass beginners will find this an easy way into the genre as it can be adjust to have a lot of attack and more so for clawhammer types. Very underrated.

Even if I upgrade at some point, this will be a favorite "just pick up and play" type.

It's not as good as my old Washburn, but I'd rather play this one, it doesn't feel like a bowling ball is on your stomach. I might just upgrade to a Goodtime resonator (the shallow one) I've gotten to like thin resonators so much.

Overall Rating

8


You are not logged in.
Log In


Not a member? Create an Account (FREE!)



2473 BANJO LOVERS ONLINE

HOME | FORUMS | MEMBERS | MEDIA ARCHIVE | TABS & LESSONS | CLASSIFIEDS | REVIEWS | LINKS | CALENDAR | STORE | TERMS OF USE