Gibson RB-250 Banjo Reviews

Gibson RB-250
submitted 1/10/2011

Submitter

coolairaz (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

A Nashville music store.

Year Purchased

1985

Price Paid

800 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Never played a banjo in 1985. Still learning. This banjo is so loud a guitar player better play hard. Great crisp sound. This is a heavy banjo and is the only dislike.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Had frets checked 15 years ago and I think it could use a few newer ones. I don't know if it was setup at purchase but a good player said it was fine.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


Beautiful finish and inlay work..

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Good finish since 1985. Neck has been repaired once because of it being bumped. Dependable banjo.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Never contacted the company.

Customer Service

6

Components


Tone ring great. String cover could look more expensive.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Great purchase, still playing when I can. Best $800 I spent in 1985.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 9/5/2009

Submitter

MrSkeptical (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Internet(E-Bay)

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

1,400 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Great sound. Loud! and the notes ring all the way up the neck. I was surprised the banjo sounded as good as it did.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I bought the banjo used. The head was old and I replaced it with a frosted Gibson head. I made it tight and the sound that resonates from this instrument is unbelievable. It sounds almost as good as my Granada. The tones from the Granada are more mellow, but not by much. The bridge that came with this 1991 model was a S.Smith bridge. I'm not sure what brand of strings they are, but they are light strings.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very nice inlays. Not as fancy as my Granada or Gold Sparkle, but nice nonetheless. The inlays on this banjo are the ones as seen on the current RB 250 sold in stores. Nice wood finish. There was grime all around the flange and tension hoop and armrest which I cleaned to a nice finish. Not a bright silver look, but clean. The instrument took me 5 hours to change the head, replace the old strings, and clean. Five hours well invested.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware has remained in great shape since 1991.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have never had to deal with Gibson.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The instrument overall stands out and is beautiful. It isn't as flashy as some banjos, but the sound makes all of the dfference in the world. This banjo is pretty darn nice for the money I invested. This banjo sounds great when jamming and is loud!

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I played my friend's RB--250 which was a 1970's model and it didn't sound that good to me. I don't know if it was the way he had it set up or what the problem was. The tone was weak and muted and the instrument was not loud. My 1991 model is a whole different story and plays like a 5K dollar instrument. I would highly recommend to any player seeking a great banjo in the 1,500 dollar range to go online and find a RB-250. These are great banjos for the price. I own and have played many other brands of banjo and only the Huber and Pruchca sound as good as this banjo in my opinion. And those banjos cost thousands more. For the money, this Rb 250 takes the cake!

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 3/27/2009

Submitter

swoody1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Opplemans Pawn Shop

Year Purchased

1978

Price Paid

800.00 ($US)

Sound


The RB250 is a 1977 bought new in 1978. The guy who ran Opplemans was a friend of mine and had a friend of his who owned a large music shop in NY. He got this friend to find the banjo for me. You had to be careful during the 70"s buying a Gibson. The banjo sounds great. Mellow where it needs to be and crisp where it needs to be. It is one of the best sounding RB250 banjos I have ever heard. Rich/full sound, loud and bright when it needs to be.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I have tweeked the setup over the years. It had a good set up when I bought it in 1978. Since then, I have added a 11/16 timeless timber bridge with a neck adjustment, replaced the clamshell tail piece with a presto and replaced four tuners. I have had some of the frets replaced and a new nut put on. The action is excellent and it is very easy to play.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


It is in excellent condition. It has a mahogny neck and resonator which are in mint condition, two piece flange, ebony fingerboard and the standard enlay. I had an extra enlay added below the gibson block just to be different and in case it was stolen it would be easier to identify if someone scratched off the serial number. The tone ring has a small amount of pitting but looks good overall. The workmanship when I first bought the banjo was excedllent.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


It will last another 100 years and is very dependable.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The few times I have called Gibson they have been very helpful.

Customer Service

10

Components


All components are outstanding, no cheap parts.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


You can't buy one now for $800.00. I love the banjo and would not sell it. A friend of mine bought a used Blackjack that is a good sounding banjo. He was at my house two weeks ago and played all thre of my banjos. He offered to trade me the Blackjack even-up for the RB250 and he was very serious. He has wanted this banjo for years.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 1/17/2009

Submitter

PaulKirby (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO classifieds

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

1700? ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Great mahagony sound, very versatile. I have it set up pretty heavy now with medium strings, and it's a very clear bell-like sound. Loud banjo.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I bought it used from Frailin on the BHO, and the set-up was fine. I've changed it some, and the set up keeps evolving as I get to know the banjo better, but the set up it came with was very good.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I love the 250 inlay, and while not very flashy, it fits my taste perfectly. There was very light normal wear.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I've had the banjo for about 9 months now, and I've played it pretty hard, and it's a real workhorse. No worries.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


n/a

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components are good. No complaints.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


When I bought this banjo, I didn't really understand the difference between the different kinds of woods that banjos are made with, and I went through a short period of having wished I'd bought a maple banjo instead, but now I'm totally sold on mahagony. I really love this banjo: the sound is suitably throaty, it's versatile, loud; the look suits me, I love the fingerboard inlay. I haven't played many other higher end banjos, but I always feel happy to pick mine up again.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 11/11/2008

Submitter

damir (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

craigslist 1979 RB250

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

1500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


great bluegrass tone, loud and clear

Sound Rating

9

Setup


like new, have not been plaid

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


simple, RB 250 look, nothing fancy but still professional look..I`m not worried about the look, I like to hear the tone ...

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


it is built like a tank, looks like it will last forever....

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


don`t know, never dealt with the company

Customer Service

not rated

Components


no cheap parts here, simple does not mean cheap, parts are solid and of high quality

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this instrument to anyone, it is fully funkcional professional banjo, you can use on your gig at the Bean Blossome...:) ..I love tha banjo, the best banjo for the money, not sure if you can get much better tone (different maybe but not better) with $10 000 banjos.....I like it better than the Stelling Red Fox I had....

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 10/6/2008

Submitter

eagleeye67 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Friend

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

under 3 grand (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Very crisp and loud. it played just like i knew it would for a 1957 Bowtie.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


it was set up very good.......

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


looks great very nice.....

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


it has lasted 51 years and i believe it will last another 51.....

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


yes very good service....

Customer Service

10

Components


very good parts will last

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


i would recommend this banjo to anyone. is worth every dollar i paid....if it were stolen i would hunt the person to the end of time.....i love it...the bowties are awsome......alot better than the banjos i've played.....

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 7/2/2008

Submitter

wbalsam1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

from a friend

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

under 3 grand ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This is a 1959 RB 250 that pops with the finest banjos anywhere. Dry and crisp. Clear all the way up and back. Intonation right on the money.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was set up by my banjo pickin' friend. I changed the bridge, that's all. This is the old sound that is so sought after. My old "flyswatter" head flattop RB 250 rocks.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


A few character marks on it, but nothing too noticeable. But who cares, anyway. The banjo is almost a half-century old. It is #7 of only 20 RB 250's made in the year 1959. Check out the Gibson shipping stats to verify.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Hardware is great. All original. I've been gigging without a back up all along.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I haven't had to deal with Gibson, ever. But I'll bet they stand behind their product just fine. I'll score 9 on a hunch.

Customer Service

9

Components


Nothing cheap on this.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This banjo is worth a lot of money. Way more than I paid. If it is stolen, I'll feel terrible. I would not be able to replace something this beautiful sounding. I've picked all over the eastern seaboard and every one agrees, this banjo rocks.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 4/25/2008

Submitter

mybote (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Private party

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

1500. ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Bluegrass. Fills all my needs and expectations.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo was already set up and included Keith tuners. very smooth action.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This is a 1970. Some chips out of the binding, dings, inlay is all intact,etc. Been played ALOT. But neck, frets and hardware are still in great shape.

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Hardware is very durable and will last many more years. Finish has wear marks but is durable. I would gig with this banjo without a backup.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


never dealt with the company

Customer Service

not rated

Components


outstanding componants are keith tuners. No weak or cheap parts.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Very happy to recommend this banjo. If this was stolen, I would get another.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 12/21/2007

Submitter

cockneybanjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

private sale

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

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

Sound


just what I wanted. Dry, strong sound with lots of clarity, mellow when played gently

Sound Rating

9

Setup


good set-up. Came from an experienced player and I haven't changed anything

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


general all-over patina from a well-used instrument. No rust or corrosion on metal parts. Chrome showing signs of years of polishing.. just a nice mellowed look Some 'buckle rash' on the resonator, but, well, that happens, it's not the instrument's faoult

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


hardware obviously has lasted and looks like it will go on doing so for a long time to come

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


not relevant here

Customer Service

not rated

Components


good solid quality feel, no knocks, squeaks or buzzes anywhere

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


fair price for a solid second-hand banjo, from a quality maker ,which has been well looked after over a fairly long life. I'm really pleased with it. It has that Gibson 'pop' and what more can you ask? My teacher is a Deering man, and he is happy with it. It's far ahead of my previous 'starter' and 'intermediate' banjos, as I would expect; it's very different to my Gold Tone Whyte Ladye so the comparison isn't valid
If it was stolen I'd be pretty unhappy!!!!

 

seven years on and I have sold it on, having largely stopped playing 5-string banjo in favour of the tenor

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 11/14/2007

Submitter

CoolSpring (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Center

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Great tone and volume. Nice and crisp with a nice pop on the high end but plenty of punch on the low end. It always has plenty of power when I want it but I can also back off and not have any trouble trying not to stand out if the situation calls for it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


It was set up perfectly when I purchased it, of course I picked it up at the store so there was no shipping involved. There are a lot of nice people working there to.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It is a beatiful instrument, the wood has a very nice grain and a great finish to it. The inlay is really nice too. It is very detailed and has a very nice design. It isn't simple looking but at the same time it isn't to flashy, it falls somewhere in the middle. Very nice looking.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I think the hardware will last longer than my lifetime and as long as it is taken care of will still look very good for years to come. I have been playing it for a while now and the only wear at all is on the armrest but I see that on all instruments. I would rather it look a little played anyways. I wouldn't be afraid for anyone to see me playing it, and so far it seems to be very reliable.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I haven't had any dealings with Gibson.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


It is just a very nice classic looking design there really isn't any one thing that jumps out at me.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


If it was stolen I would cry! I absolutely love it, it is definetely an instrument that a person could have for a lifetime.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 10/28/2007

Submitter

CherryLog_BanjoBelly (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Valdosta, Georgia(Private Owner)

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

1000 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


The sound of this banjo is absolutely amazing. I have always wanted a banjo with the old Gibson sound that everyone loves and now I have one. Many Gibson people look down at the 250 but I feel that it is a great banjo. It really allows me to pick it hard and fast with a clear tone and alot of volume. Mine will overpower most banjos I play with. Thats not always good, but it is good to know that I can do it if I want to.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


This banjo has never been really set up. I reciently had a guy at Blue Ridge Music in Asheville, NC set the bridge in place, but that is the only thing I have had done to it. I am pround to say that this banjo could sound better, but it is still amazing with the unprofessional set up job it has now.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


My Gibson has the classic appearance that I absolutely love. It does not have a bunch of extra stuff that is really unneeded. I love how it looks like a working banjo and not a banjo that you hang on the wall of something. Dont get me wrong, it is beautiful, but it is classic and precise at the same time. I just love the "playable" look of the 250's.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


As long as I live, I will never need another banjo to play. And I hope that is long time considering I am only 21. I can take it out of the case, tune it up and go to town for as long as I care to go. The sound is very reliable and true each time I play it. I sometimes have to travel with it and it will always sound great after a long trip in the car or something. I would not be affraid to drive for a whole day with it in the trunk and then get it out to play a show. Very reliable.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have never had the need for any customer service from anyone. but I must say that now that I have a Gibson, I get treated alot better at most music stores.

Customer Service

10

Components


There is not a cheap part on this banjo. All of the parts on this banjo are top quality and very professional. I someday hope to experiment with different bridges and tailpieces but it does not need either of the two right now. I would just like to see how different configurations sound with this banjo.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This is a great banjo. I would probably pay ten times what I paid for it if I just knew it would have this sound that came with it. I know it is a bottom line Gibson, But I really feel that it can compete with the big boys. I have played both Scruggs Models, the JD Crowe Model, and most of the other Gibson banjos and I still feel that my 250 can handle its own. I dont think there is a banjo that I would honestly trade this one for. It has the really popping sound that I love and it sounds like an old banjo. That is something that you cannot find in newer Gibsons, and for that reason I would never trade "up" to a "better" Gibson. I would recomend this banjo to anyone and everyone but especially those banjo pickers that want a professional banjo without paying a million dollars. I could make a living playing this banjo(If I could play it that well) and so could anyone else that wanted to.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 10/15/2007

Submitter

Kevin B (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Real Guitars

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

2,000 ($US)

Sound


Good flathead sound. I didn't understand what everyone meant in describing a Gibson sound as "dry" until I got this banjo. Good projection, tone and volumn

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I didn't like the 5/8" Grover bridge. Within a month I put a .656 Snuffey Smith bridge on it. The action is now more to my taste. The Presto tailpeice was at almost the maximum height. Now the bottom of it is about 1/32 off the tension hoop, the tension tabs are about 1/4" off the head. This seems much better tonally. I also switched to a .016 3rd string because it suits my attack better.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I love the classic look of the reddish mahogony, retro type style 3 inlay and nickle plating. The ebony board is beautiful and one of the things that drew me to the RB 250. I consider ebony more durable than rosewood. The workmanship and detail is great!

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Everything seems solid and should last a lifetime with proper care.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Real Guitar has been great. Haven't needed to contact Gibson.

Customer Service

10

Components


The RB 250 has the same pot assembly as the best Gibsons, (3 ply maple rim, quality hardware, selected woods), I like it all. I was slow to warm up to the Presto Tailpeice but have come to love the sound.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I think this is all the banjo I will ever need. I never thought I would be able to get a banjo of such high quality, beauty, and tone for a bargain like this. I would recommend the RB 250 without hesitation and I've been playing five string banjo since 1976.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 9/24/2007

Submitter

ac5aa (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Heart of Texas Music (Austin)

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


As a returning bluegrass player, I decided I'd jump right to the sound I've always liked instead of buying inexpensive, wishing I had better, and upgrading several times. I lucked out finding a new/old stock 2004 RB-250 at a local shop after trying banjos most of the day going shop to shop. This one blew me away when he brought it out. Sounded just like I remembered Earl's banjo sounding on all those recordings I'd listened to for years.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup, as delivered, was a little buzzy, but then the shop owner had played with it a bit, and I think he sells mostly electric guitars. So, I can't tell if he set it up or it was that way from the factory. Adding a slight bit of neck relief solved the problem, and it has played great since. A few months ago I took it to FQMS for setup check and to have HO railroad ties installed for the 5th string - thanks to Tim (?) for the help and instruction. Outstanding folk at FQMS.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Sparse but tasteful inlays, very nice looking mahogany on both the neck and the resonator are all easy on the eyes. Nickel plate is fine, although it's a bear if you want to keep it shiny. I don't bother.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


So far, so good, but then I've only had it for eight months.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Twice I've tried to contact Gibson about incidental topics, and both times I was given the impression that they really don't care about their banjo customers. My dealer had a very low opinion of them after he was treated badly by them (but he had a lot of class in telling me that if GIbson didn't handle something I needed to bring it back to him and he'd see it got taken care of. So Gibson zero, Heart of Texas Music = 10!

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I'm not competent to answer this question. The tuners seem to work fine, have no backlash, and are smooth. Everything seems to fit together well, and, as noted above, sounds great, so I guess it's all good.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


While the prices on banjos seem to be a lot higher than I had expected (you can buy some extremely nice guitars in this price range), I'm very happy with the quality delivered and the sound that it provides. I love it, and would track down the thief if it were stolen. Compared to the other banjos I tried out the day I found it, this one was head and shoulders above them. I've been very pleased with this instrument.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 8/29/2007

Submitter

tmzelle (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

off the hangout

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

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

Sound


this banjo suits my 3-finger style perfectly. It's a 2002 with a gibson stamped kulesh ring which gives it that pleasant gibson "knock" I was going for. This banjo sings like a bird, with lots extra power to spare.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


the action was a little higher than what I was used to. also, I have always prefered light guage strings, and this jo came strung with either medium or large guage strings. However, it sounds so great, I will gladly get used to the high action, and maybe even stick with heavier strings.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


the mahogany and the inlays on this banjo are flawless. this banjo has a very rich redish tint to to finish, which I really like a lot. The RB250 inlay pattern is timeless. not to plain and not to gaudy, just perfect. The person I got this used gibson from must have either never played it or took really good care of it, because I could not find a defect if I tried.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This banjo will absolutly outlive me, and I'm 24. I would absolutly gig this banjo without a backup. the tuners are butter smooth, and hold in tune very well. I would have do something really stupid to do any serious harm to this banjo, it is a tank!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


second hand gibson, so no warrenty. I don't forsee any problems with this axe.

Customer Service

10

Components


all components are of high quality. I doubt I'll ever change a thing on this banjo.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would wholeheartedly recommend this banjo. being a struggling college student, I spent the last four years picking on a 80's hohner. As you can imagine, stepping up to this gibson was a big change. The man I bought this this banjo from, got it at the gibson showroom at the factory in Nashville, and handpicked it's sound over a number of RB3's and RB4's. He did a good job, because I finally have the sound which I have been dreaming about for years.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 7/1/2007

Submitter

newm (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Center South Dakota

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$1400.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Great bluegrass sound, I play it into a Sennheiser mic. It produces a rich ,powerful and bright sound.
This banjo is a huge improvement over previous instruments I have owned.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo came pretty well setup ( it's a 2003) but I had to tweak the bridge to get the intonation just right. Since I have only had the banjo for a couple of weeks I haven;t really done much with it.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


These new RB250s are nice looking banjos despite the simplicity of the inlay. This one came stock except for a Snuffy Smith bridge which I think was an extra.
The "dead bats and birds" inlay is a classic.
The Gibson plant did a nice job of building this banjo, the inlay is clean and well fitted and the tone ring seats well on the rim.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The nickel plating will probably be more duarble than the gold I have on my Morgan Monroe.
The finish is low lustre but is well applied.
I have already used this banjo for a gig without a backup and all was well.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Only dealing I have had with Gibson were regarding a baseball cap and that was handled courteously.

Customer Service

9

Components


The tone ring is remarkable but the tuners seem a little dodgy.
Thanks to the previous owner for the Snuffy Smith bridge and the great National fingerpicks you left in the case.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I think I got a great deal on this near new banjo (with Gibson case) I really love this instrument.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 6/21/2007

Submitter

handy13 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Venemon Music, Virginia

Year Purchased

1976

Price Paid

1100 ($US)

Sound


Recently replaced the tone ring with a Huber tone ring. Seemed to be a significant improvement! It was not bad in its original state but the Huber ring made it better.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Action was fine. I have occasionally made adjustments. I noticed that when I eased the banjo into the resonator while it was ringing, the last 1/4 inch or so seemed to deaden the sound. I built some small wooden blocks that keep the resonator spaced about 1/4 inch from its original position. Helped a lot. This banjo absolutely stays in tune. Almost never have to adjust tuning while playing. (And yes, I have a good ear. Nearly as good as a tuner...) Adjusting the head tension is critical of course. See my web page: http://www.astroshow.com/banjo/banjohead.html

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Three of the inlays were cracked when I bought it. Half of one is now missing. I need to get them replaced... However I bought it anyway because it had better sound than other RB-250s in the shop where I bought it. My skin is acid so the nickle finish on the arm rest was eaten through after a year or so playing outside in Virginia where the temperature was 85 and the humidity was 95! Have always been happy with this banjo though. Have been playing it for over 30 years now...

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


After 30 years of play, the varnish on part of the neck is a little thin. Maybe worn away in places on the back side. Absolutely dependable banjo. I've never brought a backup banjo to a gig.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Never had occasion to need any service.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Pretty solid all around.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Highly recommend this banjo. Price was good for the high quality of this banjo. If somebody stole it, I would consider purchase of a Colt 45... :-) Absolutely love this banjo. Only thing I didn't know about when I bought it was "fingerboard relief" It didn't have any. Didn't get any buzzing but when I had it refretted, "fingerboard relief" was added. (When I bought it, I thought that an absolutely straight neck was what I should be looking for. Not so...)

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 5/25/2007

Submitter

Bobw (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Centar

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

1600 ($US)

Sound


Excellent traditional bluegrass sound. Fast response, lots of volume but not at all brassy . Very crisp and clean.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


This banjo was missing two tuners and three strings. It was clearence priced. It had fallen and they had to order a new resonator. It sat in the back room for 6 months. I checked it out in the store and found all parts to be intact. Too good a price to pass up. Got full manufacturer's warranty.

Setup Rating

1

Appearance


It had one small ding on the back of the peg head from the fall. The finish and the red/mahogony stain are beautiful. The workmanship on the inlay is outstanding. A joy to look at.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Built like a brick outhouse. It will last forever.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


My one phone call to Gibson was handled very professionaly.

Customer Service

10

Components


Not a big fan of the Presto tailpiece. I like more adjustability but it does it's job. The rest of the Components are top of the line.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would highly recomend the Gibson RB 250 to anyone looking to make that major purchase. You can't ask for more in a banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 4/25/2007

Submitter

Tomcat (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Hudbone

Year Purchased

1990

Price Paid

600.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This banjo was loaded with that classic Gibson pop. The banjo had been neglected by whoever Hudbone had bought it from but with very little tweaking it really came alive.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The set up was pretty good when I got it. Hudbone had been working with it some and had it dialed in to suit him.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Like I said a previous owner had neglected it pretty much. Some scratches. Just had that been played to death look.

Appearance Rating

4

Reliability


The Gibson RB250 would out last a cockroache in a nuceliar war. Wether you are a beginner or experienced picker yu can't go wrong with the 250.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Never had to deal with'm

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Everything top notch!

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Great banjo at affordable price. If I was getting ready to upgrade from a middle of the road type banjo and didn't want to morgage my home,this is the banjo I'd check out first.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 12/22/2006

Submitter

banjo_sam (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

The Mandolin Shop

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

2022.00 ($US)

Sound


Great for traditional bluegrass

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup fair. It came with cheap fivestar tuners and the action was a bit high

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


Beautifuly Simple/

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Poor tuners, but other than that seems very reliable.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Never had to deal with Gibson

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Again, tuners need upgraded. WOnderful crisp clear sound.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


This is a very good entry level profesional grade banjo that I am very proud of.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 10/3/2006

Submitter

Banjokid22 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Private Owner

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

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

Sound


I like Mahogany but like Maple better. Its got a good bright sound to it! Very good for bluegrass!!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Very badly set up!! It buzzed all the way up the neck. After I fixed it, it still was high.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


Very good appearance! It did have some rust on it.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


All put together pretty good. I like it.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


-------------?

Customer Service

5

Components


Not the best parts, but as I said it was put together good.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would advise it.

Overall Rating

8


Gibson RB-250
submitted 2/28/2006

Submitter

existential_banjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Seymour, Indiana

Year Purchased

1973

Price Paid

$400 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


The sound was dull and uninteresting. I didn't like it much and was glad to move on to a better instrument.

Sound Rating

3

Setup


Set up was OK, but I don't remember much detail. I tried to adjust the bridge a bit. It also had the 1st generation D-tuners that required 2 extra holes drilled into the head. I took those off. They were a nuisance.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


This was a bare bones RB 250, bow- tie inlay, rectangular peg head Gibson banjo. It had a Cremona brown sunburst finish and a chip on the lacquer near the G-string tuner of the peg-head. I rememer a double inlay binding on the resonator. The chromed parts looked good.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


At least it was a durable instrument and never broke down. The tuners worked well. The 5th string tuner was not geared.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I bought it used, so there was no warranty. I didn't have much money, so I never had an experienced or skilled person try to bring it to life. Ignore the "5" rating, as there was no experience with the factory.

Customer Service

5

Components


Nothing stands out. It was entirely forgettable.

Components Rating

2

Overall Comments


Actually, the instrument was stolen. I received enough for my home-owner's insurance policy to replace it with a Fender Artist model that allegedly was played by Mike Lilly of Mike lilly and Wendy Miller fame. As noted above, it was a forgetable instrument, my first try for a quality instrument. I would have been interesting to hear it after a professional set up.

Overall Rating

2


Gibson RB-250
submitted 9/22/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Jack's Music, Conway, AR

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

2000 ($US)

Sound


This is a more traditional Bluegrass sound than the other banjos I own. It has a nice fat bottom end but cuts through nicely. I really like the "snap" that it has.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was a total screw-up when I found it. The poor boy at the music store had fiddled with it so much that it sounded like a $250.00 Indonesian banjo. There were $600.00 Alvarezes and Gold Tones that sounded better. I talked the owner (who has known me a while) into letting me take it home at set it up properly. After a couple of hours, this became an awesome banjo and I had to buy it.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Nothing fancy. Understated. I was a little disapointed that the finish wasn't richer looking (glossy). It looked like it could have used a few more coats. I guess I was used to the depth of finish on the Deerings. But then, I rationalized it by telling myself, "it's good for the sound." The inlays, although simple, are VERY nicely laid in with no filler. I was impressed with that. I have grown to really like it's simplicity.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It looks like the workhorse it has been for the past forty years. The Gibson Mastertone RB-250 is proven.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


No dealings with Gibson, yet.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I really like the feel of the tuners and I like the looks of the rim. I think the rim is a big part of that traditional sound. All of the hardware is top of the line. I hate tailpiece covers. They rattle and annoy me an I generally get rid of them. This one, however, has a stiffer hinge and it stays put...I'm leaving it on for now.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


If I could have just one banjo for around two thousand dollars, this would be the one. It's kinda nice to look "traditional" when you show up at a jam, too. I really like this banjo.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 3/19/2004

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

little Mountain Shop

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

1849.00 ($US)

Sound


AWESOME..AWESOME..And Heck Yeah Awesome!! Straight out the box from factory- perfect tone and sound- no buzzing- crisp clear defined sound, Amplifies so great I scare myself sometimes, if you like to be able to have that punch and whale, then this one is for you, I went from a basic one to this amplified jet motor, hehehe, I love it. Have a few friends have top line Gibsons, 5-12k price range, this one sounds as good as theirs!!!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Bridge was wrapped in tissue, all I did was take wrap off and stand the bridge up, believe it or not 2 out of the 5 strings were in tune still!! Im having a new bridge put on and spikes as we speak. But the neck angle and all were right on the money, even when my Luthier checked with the calipers, good quality work, well worth the investment. Just an Awesome piece of work

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Great look, nice color, don't see the need to pay an extra $1000.00 for the RB-3, is inlay that important? Wasnt to me. I looked at the Deerings I had heard so much about, they are nice, but so plain Jane, The appearance of the RB 250 is nice, not too showy and not to plain, just right for good music pickin!! And IM dang glad too

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Absolutly Beautiful!! Totally Gibson, like buying a cadillac!!

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


No problems here, have heard nasty rumors, than goodness I didnt but this from Folk of the Wood, I got burned really bad by them, thats why I went local rather than mail order. But this local shop told me hed guarantee it for a year, as well as the manufacturers warranty!! Cant beat that

Customer Service

8

Components


Every thing is so nice, chrome clean as new, wood shined, just awesome...can you tell Im happy? hehehe

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I moved up from a JB Player i had played for a year, WOW, like jumping from a 62 Volkswagon to a New 2004 Lexus. I had fears of the high cost, but as most will tell you, I swallowed hard, tightened the belt, and its well worth it to me. My children will fight over this when IM gone!! Man I love it, there is no comparison for a Gibson, Deering is fine if you like Plain Jane, I wanted the Legend so I got it. DO NOT SHOP at FOLK OF THE WOOD!!! If wondering why, email me, I got burned bad by them, for over $700.00!!!

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 3/16/2004

Submitter

Jimmy B (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music Company

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

2,100 ($US)

Sound


Very bright, typical Gibson sound.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Jim at Janet Davis did an excellent job. I paid a couple of hundred extra for a set of Keith D tuners, well worth the extra money.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


No flaws. Excellent wood to metal finish.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


It's a Gibson for gawd sakes--need I say more?

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Robby was great in getting my order out to me.

Customer Service

10

Components


Naw. The tail piece is a Presto, but so what. The instrument sounds tremendous just the way it is.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


You betcha. I've played Gold Tones and Deerings before, ain't nothin' like a Gibson!!!

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 10/30/2003

Submitter

ghostdancer (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Sam Ash music

Year Purchased

2002

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


This banjo has the traditional gibson sound, being A mahogany banjo, it has A dryer and mellower sound than A maple banjo

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


Set up was bad, so I replaced remo head with 5 star heavier frosted head, tuned to g#, set action to comfortable level, and installed Snuffy Smith bridge. I have found that set up is critical on this instrument. The tail piece is paralell to the head. I found that with the head tuned to

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Great appearance, all's well in that department

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


Very reliable, so far

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


no experience with customer service

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I might consider replacing the waverly tail piece with A price which is heavier, but I like to leave my banjos origonal if possible, I don't even like to monkey with different tone rings and such.

Components Rating

Overall Comments


I have always played gibson banjos, and believe that the

Overall Rating

8


Gibson RB-250
submitted 9/26/2003

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

guitar center

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

1450 ($US)

Sound


I'm primarily interested in traditional scruggs, stanley type bluegrass. Sounds pretty good at the moment. Not as much resonance on the 4th string as i would like but it sounds spot on like the mercury recording of

Sound Rating

9

Setup


got it at the guitar center, need i say more. the aging rockers and tatooed hip-hoppers that run that joint don't have a clue about banjos. Sounded like a hubcap with wet newspaper stretched over it when i first played it. The factory action setup wasn't bad and after i tuned the head up and put new strings on it started to come alive.
Put on a Snuffy Smith head and bridge as well as a price tailpiece (don't care for prestos) and now it sounds pretty darn good.

Setup Rating

2

Appearance


classic, simple, understated. Perfect by my standards. Workmanship seems pretty solid all 'round. As I mentioned earlier presto tailpieces leave much to be desired IMHO (cheap, weak metal) but is standard on most gibsons so i won't hold that against 'em.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


This thing is pretty rugged. I gig with it constantly and it cleans up nicely. Still a little to early to tell but i think there's a good chance it'll outlive me.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


gibson?
banjo?
No name artist???

why bother.

Customer Service

1

Components


As previously mentioned I have issues with the presto tailpiece. Not too crazy about the grover bridge either. Everything else seems fine, however.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


for the price this is a darn fine banjo that does the job. After quite a bit of tweaking I've got it sounding 97% the way I wan't. However, if it was stolen I'd probably get a hatfield buck creek to replace it.

Overall Rating

9


Gibson RB-250
submitted 8/9/2003

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

janet davis music co.

Year Purchased

1998

Price Paid

1650 ($US)

Sound


can't tell because of other problems with the instrument making
it dificult to play.

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


The setup made the instrument difficult to play and the day I received
it from the mail order store ( I've learned that's no way to buy a
supposedly quality instrument)l I called the store owner and questioned why it was hard to play.
The response was' play it and get used to it. Setup was bad.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


wood work and hardware were all very fine. Looked
just like it did in the brochures.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Looks were fine. Reliability I can't address because it has been played
so little.

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Service after the sale from the dealer/seller and the Gibson Company
has been terrible. The dealer advised me to send it to Gibson or
take it to a Gibson repair shop. Gibson advised me to take it to an
authorized repair shop, a 250 mile round trip. All of this over a 5 year
period. After finally getting a luthier in Austin, Texas to look at it, he
told me the neck was bent and twisted and that the frets were uneven.
He recommended milling the frets and that he could probably
straighten the neck but that I would have to pay all of the work.
Back to Gibson. The company finally decided that they would have
the banjo picked up at my house (UPS) for return and repairs. Now
6 weeks after they received I can't get any information on the status
of the instrument. I regret buying it.

Customer Service

1

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I'm sure the ingredients of the instrument are of the highest quality
but somewhere in the process of building the instrument or in the
set up by the dealer, workmanship faltered. I realize now that
professional musicians (which I am not nor ever will be) probably never buy an instrument without trying it out first. I have an Alvarez banjo
that I bought it 1974 and it played excellently from the day I bought it.
In spite of being in an accident a few years ago the neck is straight,
it looks great, plays and sounds good, although I wish it had a little
more brightness in the sound. No offense to our banjo heros who
play Gibsons, I wouldn't recommed buying one. Apparently I'm not
alone, judging from some of the other reviews.

Overall Rating

not rated


Gibson RB-250
submitted 4/11/2003

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Lockport Music Supply

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

1,300 ($US)

Sound


Very solid. The biggest difference was the feeling and vibrations received back from the instrument. It resonated very well. Very cinsistant all the way up the neck - no intonation at all.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


It was on display for about 2 years and wasn't set-up well... hence the good price paid.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


It is very plain, yet traditionally appealing. Other less expensive banjos I have reviewed and owned have better inlays and more flash.. but that's not what a banjo is all about... right?!

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Very well made, well assembled, reliable, stays in tune.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I have called Gibson several times and was given the run-around each time. They don't seem to take banjos as a priority. The responses to tech questions where on the surface condesending. I got the info. that I needed in the end.

Customer Service

4

Components


Good tuners, nice ebony finger board.

I will be replacing the tail piece, bridge and strings. Plus adding D-Tuners on the 2nd and 3rd string. Personalized...

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


For the price paid - it's a solid foundation of a banjo. It will be a work-horse that can be kept for a lifetime. Can't wait to get it set up.

Overall Rating

8


Gibson RB-250
submitted 10/16/2002

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Music Machine

Year Purchased

2002

Price Paid

1943 ($US)

Sound


Not quite the snappy sound I wanted, but it may just be setup (coupled with mahogany neck and resonator). BUT, I really like its sound. Playing up near the finger board the sound is incredibly mellow. Reminds me of a good guitar sound for some reason. Normal playing sounds great, too, just not snap, crackle, and pop - yet.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Not really a good judge of setup yet, but I'd say the action is good. But I've got to think that a better setup would yield a sound closer to THE sound.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Plain Jane, but beautiful! This is a business-only style banjo. , which is exactly what I prefer right now. Not that I wouldn't like an E.S. or a Granada, but the RB-250 is truly understated beauty.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Craftsmanship seems wonderful. Detail work is close to perfect. My only complaint is that the Presto tailpiece mount design seems a bit unstable, but I am a beginner. I assume that there are good reasons that it is the way it is.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Called Gibson early on, and the person that answered couldn't tell me where to find the serial number. He eventually got someone else while I was on hold. Luck of the pick, surely.

Customer Service

9

Components


Parts are perfect as-is, although I might give a Price tailpiece a try some day.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I love this banjo. If I ever buy another banjo, I'll probably give an archtop a try, and most likely it'll be another Gibson.

Overall Rating

10


Gibson RB-250
submitted 1/29/2002

Submitter

david gedalecia (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

private seller

Year Purchased

2001

Price Paid

1300 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This is a 1978 RB-250. It has a mellow but bright tone. I like it for Adcock-style passages. It's not the loudest banjo at jam sessions, but I'm not much interested in trying to "out decibel" others. Musicality is the goal, and this banjo helps to achieve this.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was set up after purchase by Radford Vance, formerly with Bill Monroe and now with Northwest Territory. He installed a Price tailpiece, a Scorpion bridge (11/16), and a Remo head. He also modified the action. He plays pre-war Gibsons and says that this is one of the best 250s he has played. Recently I had the frets dressed and levelled and the neck straightened by Dan Shinn at Lay's Music in Akron, and this improved the intonation and action considerably.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The banjo was probably refinished, and this was done well. It's probably mahogany with an ebony fingerboard. The inlays are "leaves and bows" (it's a post-bowtie era 250). Fifth string sliding capo was removed (mercifully) some time in the past and some fills are visible, but the touch up was done well.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The hardware has some tarnish but is intact. The armrest was replated because of wear. Finish is in like-new condition.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Gibson has been helpful in dating the banjo and providing information about construction.


Customer Service

10

Components


The modifications mentioned above incorporate first-rate parts. If a pre-war tone ring came along, I might consider replacing the original one. I asked Bill Blaylock about installing one of his tone rings, but he doubted that this would improve the sound. I trust his judgment and was impressed by his candor, since he makes high-quality rings.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this vintage 250 at the price I paid and perhaps more. If it were stolen, I'd try to find one like it. I recently played new 250, RB-3, Granada, and expensive Scruggs Gibsons, and mine was superior in tone and playability. While this may be due to superior set up, it's also true that every banjo is "born" differently, which means that one must play an instrument before purchase to ensure a good "fit."

Overall Rating

10


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