Alvarez Alvarez Minstrel (tenor) Banjo Reviews

Alvarez Alvarez Minstrel (tenor)
submitted 9/22/2006

Submitter

tenor800 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Music Folk

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

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

Sound


I play in a dixieland band, and this banjo cuts through just fine. It has a
bright, but plunky sound, and unlike the Gold Tone TS-250's and the Tyler Mountain TMT-85 I've tried, the sound is good all the way up the frets. Plays better with medium strings. It is the only Asian tenor banjo I have ever liked (made in Japan in the 1970's or 1980's) and until I can upgrade to an Ome Monarch, It's great. The longer you play it, the more volume and mellow it gets.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The setup was perfect, just needed to move the tailpiece slightly to better center the strings. Perfect low action, new frets, good quality Presto-type tailpiece. It was bought and never really played. so It is essentially brand new with absolutely no wear anywhere. I had a Luthier replace the friction pegs with new 5-star geared tuners.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


It is the most beautiful banjo I have owned---much better than the Gold Tone or Tyler Mountain tenors I've owned. The peghead shape and inlay is very cool, and the rosewood resonator w/inlay is outstanding---as is the mahogany neck, and Deering-type flange. It has a 20-hole brass flathead tone ring, I just love to look at it.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The new tuners, the armrest, the flange, tension ring, tailpiece, and tone ring are all solid, good quality, and the laquer finish is excellent and should last a long time. I play it in my dixieland band.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


N/A Never needed service. Set-up was excellent.

Customer Service

9

Components


The only component not original is the new 5-star planetary tuners I had the friction tuners replaced with. The bridge was slightly bowed in the center when I got it, so I replaced the bridge with a regular maple (ebony top) bridge from StewMac.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I love this banjo. The tone suits me, and it looks fantastic. It is the only Asian banjo I would buy---they look great, but have a flat low-quality sound above the 7-10th fret. These Alvarez tenors are very hard to find anymore with the world gone bluegrass crazy. I feel lucky! Dixieland tenor music will rise again!

Overall Rating

9


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