Iida Reviews

Iida 235
submitted 7/7/2014

Submitter

Iida Meister (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

650.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This is a very nice instrument for Bluegrass music. The quality and tone are very comparable to the Gibson RB-250. This is a general all round good instrument for beginner and professional alike and can produce all of the intonations required for professional quality music.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


N/A (Used instrument)

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Very nice quality appearance. A better than average peghead and fingerboard mother of pearl inlay design. Very nice finished mahogny with a dark sunburst finish on the resonator.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All of the componenets and hardware on this instrument are of the best quality available, no skimping here.
This instrument is as dependable as any professional grade instrument, won't need a back up.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Everything here is top notch and of the best quality available.

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


This is the instrument which separates the lower end with the higher end instruments of the Iida Line. This instrument or any of the models above this one, ie: 235, 237, 239, 240 are worthy of being classified as professional grade instruments. I have personally owned one of each of these models and have been very satisfied with each as a top grade instrument. However, please be aware any of the models below the level of the 235 have sacrifices to the construction in the form of parts used such as lower end tone rings, poor quality rims etc. And also please beware any of the later made models which were not manufactured in Japan but rather in Korea as they cannot compare to the earlier Japanese made instruments in quality and appearance and of course quality of sound.

Overall Rating

10


Iida  237
submitted 7/7/2014

Submitter

Iida Meister (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Private owner purchase

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

800.00 ($US)

Sound


This is a beautiful looking and sounding high quality instrument of professional grade rating in every respect. It is capable of producing loud and clear intonation all the way up and down the neck. It is as good as any of the fancy high end banjos available at a very modest price!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


N/A (Used)

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


This is a beautiful instrument with the best of quality in every respect. No corners cut here.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Nothing but the best quality hardware and components. A very reliable and dependable instrument, tune it and you can leave it alone.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


As stated nothing cut rate here all of the best components, no upgrades necessary.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This is one of the top models in the Iida line of instruments as it is the top of the line flathead with the only upgraded model which is the 239 which is identical to this model but with the addition of gold plated hardware. Truly beautiful in it's appearance and quality of sound. Make no mistake about it this instrument can hold it's own against any well made American made instrument. When these instruments were being produced they competed well against the American made instruments and should not be sold short in any respect. If you are lucky enough to obtain one of these instruments you should look for any model at the level of the 235, 237,239 or 240 as these are the high end models and are of the best quality. Any models below that line are made of inferior parts and will not measure up the quality of the higher end models. Also beware of the totally inferior quality Iidas which were made around 1990 and beyond as production was then moved to Korea and as a result these later production models cannot compare in any respect to the earlier Japanese made instruments

Overall Rating

10


Iida 240 Archtop
submitted 6/30/2014

Submitter

Iida Meister (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO Classifieds

Year Purchased

2014

Price Paid

900.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


I purchased this banjo from another member of this website from his classified ad and I am very pleased with the purchase. I have always wanted one of these 240 Iidas as they were the "Top Of The Line" model from the early years of production which were the 1970s & 1980s and were made in Japan back then. This is a simply beautiful instrument and is very elaborately decorated with gold plated hardware, curly maple in a sunburst design. The inlays on the peghead and neck are in a wreath style pattern and are very beautiful. The design is an arch top style and has a really loud clear tone with very good sustain all the way up and down the neck. Every feature of this instrument screams out class! If you ever are lucky enough to run across one of these you better grab it quick before someone else beats you to the punch as these are extremely hard to find as noone wants to let go of theirs!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Good set up with an easy action and comfortable to use neck.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Nothing but high quality curly maple sunburst design with the most beautiful custom inlay work.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Reliability is very high, I would be very comfortable using this for any professional gig no problem.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


N/A, they are long out of business!

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Top quality components.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I have several other Iida banjos and have been on the "Look out" for one of these for many years and just got lucky and found this one. All of the Iida banjos that I have owned from the original production years (1970s and 1980s) that were made in Japan have been outstanding values for the money very much like the original production Gold Stars. However, if you are not careful you could end up purchasing one of the later model Korean versions which cannot compare to these original models in quality and craftsmanship. If you locate any of the model 235s on up to the 240 you will be happy. I have owned many other fine banjos which were American made instruments including high end Gibsons and these banjos are comparable and in some cases superior to their American counterparts. If you haven't tried one of these instruments, don't sell em short!

Overall Rating

10


Iida 225
submitted 3/7/2014

Submitter

AldoMarino (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Used

Year Purchased

2014

Price Paid

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

Sound


I installed a StewMac round tone hoop,finally ended up leaving a Fitts bridge on it (for now, after trying out a few others) and GHS medium gauge steel strings. The volume is average, and the voice is rich, boomy, and deep, as opposed to jangly and twangy. Lots of sustain. Tuned the drum using the quarter and straitedge trick.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup was a basket case when purchased. I was able to get the action to medium low with no dead frets or buzzing with the medium gauge strings. Tuning the drum was a pain because the resonator is attached to the flange with 8 tiny and 4 medium screws. The neck is a low radius type.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Really good looking, IMO, for a cheaper banjo, but not particularly fancy or decorative. An orangish finish, tending towards red, deep and evenly applied. The hardware finish is fine after almost forty years. Dot inlays on a very dense fretboard, probably rosewood. Neat and attractive inlay on headstock.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


This banjo is almost 20 years old, still in great shape. Speaks for itself. Guitar tuners on headstock...meh...seen better, but seen worse. I will at some point replace the 5th string tuner with a geared tuner, however. Overall impression is that this piece is well built.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


No clue

Customer Service

5

Components


It has neat little hooks to attach the strap. Nice hardwood pot and resonator. Overall, very good quality for a lesser banjo.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


II must note that this review is for a 1900's era Iida 225 of KOREAN construction, not the 1970's era Japanese built with the same name.  While the original Japanese Iida 225 is an Aluminum bottlecap banjo, these Korean ones have a laminate wood pot.  I'm very happy with this purchase.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for a relatively inexpensive banjo, unless one was dead set on getting one with a very bright and jangly voicing.  It is definitely worth the extra money for a tone hoop and an improved bridge.  It will never be a MasterClone, but what you can have it a real decent sounding, VERY nice playing, well made banjo which should blow away most beginner banjos on the new market today. So, do you rate as in comparison with the entire world of banjos, or rate it relative to other inexpensive banjos?  I'll give it a 9, with the understanding that it is being compared with other inexpensive banjos.  An excellent and well made value for the money. 

Overall Rating

9


Iida 240 Archtop
submitted 1/26/2012

Submitter

Dr Ralph (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

900.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


I am a big Ralph Stanley fan & was looking for a banjo that would deliver the Stanleytone sound without the cost & this banjo certainly does that. It has a rich bright sound with plenty of punch both up & down the neck.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


All I have done since purchasing the banjo is to change the bridge to a Kelly Emerson power bridge, apart from that the banjo is as I bought it.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It features a heavy bell-brass raised head tone ring, 3-piece maple neck, solid maple resonator, rosewood fretboard with MOP inlay, it has gold plated hardwear, a maple rim, tube & plate flange, fiddle-cut peghead & geared planetary tuners with MOP buttons. It has different style inlays, both on the peghead & fretboard, VERSATONE in the block as opposed to the usual Iida, a different style tailpiece, double-binding located inside the resonator & both the resonator & fretboard binding appears to be different to that of the standard model 240.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


The hardwear is in excellent condition for an instrument over 40 years old with just the normal rubbing to the gold plating on the armrest, the neck is straight with only minimal fret wear & is very reliable.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The banjo is a well made good solid instrument & would hold its own with many of the more expensive higher end instruments.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I owned a Gibson RB800 when I bought the Iida & only purchased it so that I had the choice of a flat head or archtop however, I found myself taking the Iida everywhere & the Gibson stayed at home in its case so I eventually sold the Gibson.
My ideal instrument would still be either a Stanleytone or a Gibson style -5 raised head, however, even if I purchased one I still wouldn't part with the Iida, it's a fantastic banjo

Overall Rating

10


Iida Six String-5long-1drone
submitted 1/21/2009

Submitter

Clark (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Manns Guitar Academy

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

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

Sound


Good solid sound,very pleasing

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The banjo was unused the setup was good.It had the original head (frosted underneath)I changed the head and improved the setup.Frets were like new.Was easy to tweak the banjo now the set up is better.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Weird shaped peghead, big funky star at 3d fret

Appearance Rating

4

Reliability


the hardware is fine Japanese Chrome 2pc flange The tailpiece broke so I upgraded that.The tuners are OK the kind that came on the upper end 70's Japanese banjos.my first thought was to upgrade but they work fine so they can stay.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


This came into my store as a trade in,no warranty .no problems.I am putting this in my personal collection they are rare.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


the tailpiece broke .The tuners are not my favorite but the work fine.General quality is good as expected for a high end 70's japanese banjo.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


The best thing about this banjo is the 6th string.I have worked out Side Saddle(a Sonny tune) and some Crowe licks.Sound is good, plays nice,cuts a mike pretty good.

Overall Rating

8


Iida Archtop 229
submitted 12/1/2008

Submitter

ibracin95 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Local music store

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

225 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


For a cheap banjo the sound is very good. I have no dislikes about the banjo at all.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The setup from the music store was very good,the action was good,and I have not made any changes since I purchased it ten months ago.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


On the appearance I have no problem with it.Being made in Korea I am surprised with the inlay,it looks great

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I have been playing it on average two hours a day for six days a week for ten months and nothing seems to have worn out .I would play this at gig if I had to.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


n/a

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I would recomend this banjo for someone starting out.It is not a Stelling or a Gibson but it will get the job done.If it is stolen then I will have to get my Stelling Red Fox.....untill then I will keep pickin on my 229 Iida!

Overall Rating

9


Iida Archtop 229
submitted 12/5/2007

Submitter

banjoboy95 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gift

Year Purchased

2001

Price Paid

(bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


It has a good tone. I mainly play stanley style and it sounds pretty good for an archtop.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It was setup pretty good when I first got it but my dad had to make a few adjustments

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


It looked pretty good for an 1980s archtop. Although there were a few dents and scratches on the head due to age.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I would rely on this banjo sometimes.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


I need to put a brand new tuner on it because one of them broke.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


My dad played this instrument during his high school and college years. He decided to give it to me for a starter banjo when I wanted to learn how to play. This banjo is really good for $100 dollars and I think it will last me forever until I get a Gibson Mastertone.

Overall Rating

10


Iida 232
submitted 3/3/2007

Submitter

Iida Meister (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

ebay

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

305. ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Very poor sound quality. Cheap type of tone due to a severe lack of volume and quality.

Sound Rating

4

Setup


N/A

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


The appearence of this instrument was very deceiving. It looked good until I received the instrument and was able to examine it up close. The finish was just veneer over cheap quality wood on the neck and resonator. The inlay work on the neck was horrible as it was cheap white plastic cheaply placed into the fingerboard, very dissapointing!

Appearance Rating

1

Reliability


Everything on this instrument was of the cheapest quality possible. But from the photos viewed online it appeared good.

Reliability Rating

1

Customer Service


It was a used instrument so N/A.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Again, everything here was of the worst possible quality.

Components Rating

1

Overall Comments


This model of Iida is definately junk and should never purchased. I mistook this for one of the old original production instruments from the 1970s or 80s which were of pretty high quality and at the time were definately a good purchase for the price. If you want an Iida banjo buyers beware, stay away from the newer production instruments as I found out the hard way, they are just junk!

Overall Rating

1


Iida 225
submitted 1/4/2007

Submitter

Mr. Disco (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Perry's Music

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

$150 (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


-- Good sound picking bluegrass -- especially in first five frets with medium strings: .012, .014, .016,.025w, .011

Sound Rating

6

Setup


-- Was set up with action too low to keep strings from buzzing with heavier strings. Bridge location needed attention. I've added spikes at 7 and 10.

Setup Rating

2

Appearance


-- Rosewood fingerboard, block inlays, mahogany neck, nice looking resonator, rosewood arm rest and bridge

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Tail piece is cock-eyed. -- Friction tuning pegs hold tuning well, except for 5th string peg. I've played it more in the past year than it's been played in its history judging from what I've done to the neck and the head, but it seems built to last if you can put up with that 5th string tuning peg.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


I've talked to Luthier Bill at Perry's as well as Rob the owner. -- Both very nice helpful guys. I gave Bill my comprehensive laundry list of improvements and he gave me a reasonable price to do the work if I would present him with the new part ... Then I got cheap, worked harder on my playing, and started saving up for my new Sullivan, Recording King, or Gold Star.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


5th string friction tuning peg blows way out of tune if I bump it. I hate that. My upgrades will be a new bridge and a Kroll fifth string geared tuner.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


-- Has been a perfect beginner banjo. I'm often surprised by how much I like the sound. I've only ever picked up a couple other banjos. This is a "5" until you consider the $150 price I paid for it, then it's an "9" -- warped neck and all. In the hands of a pro it almost sounds like a professional banjo.

Overall Rating

5


Iida Aluminum classic
submitted 1/4/2007

Submitter

thomas15 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

gift from friend

Year Purchased

1989

Price Paid

0.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


My banjo was not very loud and it was thin sounding especally the 4th string

Sound Rating

5

Setup


This banjo was given to me by a co-worker who had it for many years stored in a closet. He didn't know anything about it or banjo's in general.

I had to put in a few hours of work to get the instrument working. First, I installed a geared 5th string tunner and put new strings on it. I found that the action was way too high to play. The only way I could lower the action enough to make it playable was to take the neck off and using a chisle remove some wood the the heel. This actually worked very well. Next I tightened the head, replaced th bridge and lowered the tailpiece. Hey, but it was free so what the hey.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


For a freebie, it was ok.

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


see appearence above
Once I got it set up it, it was reliable.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The instrument was a good beater. You wouldn't want to put any money into it though.

I thought that the neck was very wide and thick and the frets were big also, they may have actually been guitar frets.

Components Rating

4

Overall Comments


I was going to use this banjo to hold up my mailbox. We had a yard sale and during a lull, I started playing it and a customer begged me to sell it to him. I got $25.00 for it complete with book, cloth strap, and picks. This was around 1991

Overall Rating

5


Iida Aluminum classic
submitted 8/9/2006

Submitter

michaeljameskyler (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

ebay

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

$162 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


It is a very loud banjo, and extremely clear. Bang for buck, it`s hands down the best banjo I`ve ever played. This sounds crazy, but when you capo up to A, there is no discerable difference between this banjo and JD Crowe`s. If you want the Crowe sound, this is the closest you can get. lol, for $150. Seriously. It`s only weakness is that when you go way up the neck it gets pretty quiet.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Before, it still sounded good, but it had a non-geared 5th string and some other minor problems. Took it to a luthier and got some rail road spikes installed and the fifth string fixed. But hey, I spent $162 on it.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


Boy, this is it`s weakness. A very, very ugly banjo. It looks like they ran out of ideas for the neck inlay and just put squares. Which, actually, they did. But don`t let this keep you from buying one. The sound is what matters. At least the appearence is at the top of it`s $150 class.

Appearance Rating

2

Reliability


So far, so good.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


There are cheap parts, (such as a non-geared 5th string) but nothing that keeps it from sounding any better.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


This is the ultimate starting banjo. I`m not a professional but am not at all a bad player. This banjo is cheap enough for a beginner and sounds good enough for anyone short of Bella Fleck. (well, almost)

Overall Rating

10


Iida Iida 236
submitted 3/5/2005

Submitter

IidaFajida (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Richie Dotson, Luthier

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

550.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


It has a wonderful bassy sound, bright but not too bright. Overall very balanced, it does everything I ask it to do, up and down the neck. Compared to a High end Banjo, its probably a 7 or 8. For the money, its a 10.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The banjo came set up from Richie Dotson in Newport News, VA. He put one of his handmade bridges on it and a new head and strings. I havent had to change a thing. I dont want to. Id be afraid of losing what I have.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I read a review on this banjo where they said that overall it was a bit "odd". Maybe it is if you are expecting floral inlays, but to me its perfect. This banjo has a Winged Chevron pattern ascending up the neck. The unique thing to me is that instead of mother of pearl or abalone the inlay is Maple set into the Rosewood fingerboard. The inlay on the peghead is more traditional but still maple. Very simple but very unique. The flamed maple back is very transparent and beautiful.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This banjo is 27 years old (1978) and all original accept for the head, bridge and strings. The hardware is flawless. I cant believe the condition of this banjo for the age. It is heavy and built like a Tank. I wouldnt carry a backup unless someone else wanted to pay for it. For my money this is it.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Richie Dotson (Banjoresource.com) is a class act. He let me know about this banjo before he listed it, which he didnt have to do, and to me the decision was obvious. You could spend years looking for this banjo and not find it, Richie gave me first crack at it and Im grateful. He answered all of my questions and there were alot of them.

Customer Service

10

Components


Brass Tone Ring, Planetary tuners, two piece flange. I wouldnt change a thing on this banjo. I read where the Iida family studied the old "Pre-War" banjo's as a model and I believe it. This banjo is almost as old as I am and it looks like it just stepped off the showroom floor. Amazing.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo to anyone wrestling with the question of the best banjo in the $500 range. It was $550 with the case and with shipping. I truly think I would have to spend $1500 or more to get what I already have in this banjo. If it was stolen, I would gather a posse and search the ends of the earth to find the thievin' varmint who took it. These banjo's are not easy to find, especially in this condition, but its worth the effort to track one down. I looked at Gold Tone, Morgan Monroe and Deering all in this price range and this banjo makes all of them look like beginner banjo's. I dont know what Iida is doing now, but in the 1970's they were making some very fine instruments.

Overall Rating

10


Iida Archtop 229
submitted 7/28/2004

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

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

Sound


Good sound for a relatively inexpensive banjo. Even works well for clawhammer.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Poor. Had to be completely setup again. Must have been owned by a tinkerer. Not the banjo's fault.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


OK, very typical.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The banjo held up well for being 38 yrs. old. Tailpiece plating is bubbling, a little corrosion on pot. Tuners still work well.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

5

Components


Generally good components. Unique integrated archtop ring at top of metal pot.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Not bad at all. Better than basic tone ring banjos, but not as powerful as newer bell brass tone ring banjos. Probably ranked well in terms of performance in it's day.

Overall Rating

8


Iida Six String-5long-1drone
submitted 4/30/2004

Submitter

CEN92337 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

eBay

Year Purchased

3-04

Price Paid

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

Sound


I love 5 string bluegrass.My old tired ears prefer a bright clear sound. Set up right this Iida 6 string delivers. It can be played as a 5 or 6 string.Took me about a week to get used to the wider neck. Many tunings can be used but I like ggDGBD since I can use standard 5 string tabs and Chords.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup as recieved was BAD! Broken tailpiece and bridge,torn head,tension ring bent out of round,and strings shot. Put on OME tailpiece, Remo frosted head very tight,Yates maple moon bridge, FQM tension ring and GHS pf 140 strings. Setup adj. time was lengthy but not difficult.Still adj.gauge of 5th string.028 to 030 bronze wound best

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Unusual peghead shape. Peghead inlays are vine and flower with the large letter I at the top. Neck and resonator are mahogony.Rosewood fingerboard inlayed with small diamonds and large star at 3d fret. Single blk/wh circle inlayed on back of resonator. No Killer Looks but I won't have to show up at jams wearing a ski mask either.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


As modified above this banjo will last many years given normal care.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


No Warranty-Used eBay purchase-No contact with Mfg. All repairs done by myself.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The best part is the original 20 hole tonering. Sweet Sound. Also love the growl of low g 5th string. The orig. tailpiece and bridge were cheap. Tension hoop probably damaged by a previous owner overtightening a head.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Highly recommended to a current 5 string player. Not rec. for a new student since the 6th string will most likely confuse tab and chord learning.This model Iida not made since early 80s and seems very few were made.I really enjoy this banjo,and if lost I would look for an older openback 6 string of simular type, 5+1.

Overall Rating

8


Iida N/A
submitted 2/28/2004

Submitter

TENUSEA (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Local music store

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

150 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Sounds great. Loud and bright.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set it up myself, so its great for me.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Ugly duckling, nothing fancy. Wood tone, inverted shaped V inlays on the fingerboard. Vine inlay on the headstock.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Excellent. Well constructed. Fit and finish are great.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Can't find any historical info. Can't find any info on current importer.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Bell brass tone ring, Schaller style tuners. Replaced broken Kershner style tailpiece and 5th string tuner.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


This is a model 236. I can't find much historical info on it, but i feel it was an excellent purchase. I use it onstage without hesitation. Would highly recommend for the money.

Overall Rating

10


Iida N/A
submitted 2/16/2004

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Jack Hatfield

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

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

Sound


I play bluegrass and own a Gibson RB upgraded with a Curtis McPeake tone ring and this Iida stands up pretty well to that one. Great action and just so much fun to play. I added a Sosebee bridge and I'm sure that helped.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The set up was good. There was a slight buzz on the open 4th string (maybe the 3rd - I forget) and I just made a quick neck adjustment using the coordinator rod and it disappeared. A nice easy banjo to work on.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Love its look. I got this one to play while at my girfriends house, but if we move in together I may just get rid of one of the two I own. And I'm not sure which one that would be!

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Tone ring looks substantial. I didnt like the tuners (except for the 5th string tuner) so had them changed. Seems like it could be a workhorse.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Jack was good to deal with. I must have emailed him a dozen times before deciding on buying it.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


THe compoenents I like are the tone ring, the rim, resonatorm finger board. Didn't like the tuners.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would recommend it for that price. I know there are some good Gold Tones, Morgan Monroes, and other good ones. I've played or owned most of them. I just like this and if it were stolen, not sure what I would do as they aren't so easy to find. I'd get another banjo I Iove.

Overall Rating

9


Iida Aluminum classic
submitted 2/4/2004

Submitter

gbkyser (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

The Music Man in Ridgecrest

Year Purchased

1977

Price Paid

129 ($US)

Sound


It's a starter banjo with pretty good intonation.

Sound Rating

5

Setup


It was 20 years old before I started fooling with it. By then the head was a little saggy. The nut was way too high.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


Neck appears to be mahogany. I really like the little "Made in Japan" sticker. There are no ugly banjos.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I have replaced all moveable parts and now we're good to go. The finish is a little sad - soon I will have a "speed neck."

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


I understand the company may be overseas.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The worst component was the original tuners - cheap tin guitar tuners and a friction peg. Once I replaced those, and also the nut, head, bridge, and tailpiece, the only things I worry about are the neck, flange, and resonator. Oh, and the J-hooks threaten to straighten out if I tighten them too much.

Components Rating

3

Overall Comments


This banjo lurked in a closet for many years then jumped out and grabbed me one day. For that, I owe it my loyalty. It's lighter than air. I keep it all over the house, at the office, in the car, on the train, on a boat, with a goat. It's worthless and irreplaceable.

Overall Rating

10


Iida Bluegrass
submitted 4/12/2003

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

ebay

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

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

Sound


Good banjo for money, best for bluegrass, however also has a surprisng aptitude for frailing. Has a bright sound,EMERSON powerbridge really woke it up.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Not set up at all ,loose neck ,no strings, tailpiece and bridge in case, but thats ebay.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


Beautiful bookmatched sunburst resonator and matching beck, nice but simple inlays, I think this is an older model, wood rim and solid flange and tonering. Slight oxidizing on rim, banjo sat a long while unplayed, but is makin up for lost time.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


I use it to play with my group, seems fine.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Can't even find the co. to date instrument.

Customer Service

1

Components


Necks need to fit tighter and tuners are junk, other than that, fine.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


If it was stolen I'd get a Gold Tone ob=250, but for 150.00$ it was a score!

Overall Rating

7


Iida  237
submitted 1/3/2003

Submitter

Lee Dunn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Mikes Music

Year Purchased

1974

Price Paid

450.00 ($US)

Sound


This one does it all-good rich solid bottom,great intonation up the neck,nice low action,many compliments on over sound!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The set-up was average,but responed well to adjustments-a clear 5-Star head adds to the crisp sound without a loss of bass tones,have always used GHS PF 170 strings,a thinned inserted grover bridge sits on a tight head

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Great copy- hearts & flowers,nice maple neck,usual imported hardware only weak spot,replaced tailpiece. excellent finish

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Other than normal fret wear,and twenty-eight years of oxidation-its holding up great

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


No repairs, only warranty implied-

Customer Service

6

Components


Very solid laminated rim,tone ring finish is flawless,other hardware could be updated

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


The price of $450.00 in 1974 was big money,love all banjos, enjoy the work of new craftsmans,but this one stays!

Overall Rating

9


Iida N/A
submitted 8/28/2002

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Daddy's Junky Music

Year Purchased

2000

Price Paid

400.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Loud, bright sounding, nice action, heavy

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Set intonation, tighten head

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


3 piece mahogany neck, flamed maple back, nice finish

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


solidly built, durable finish

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


unknown

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


nice banjo for the money, Gibson Mastertone knockoff

Overall Rating

7


Iida N/A
submitted 8/5/2002

Submitter

Donn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Kelly's Music

Year Purchased

1980

Price Paid

320 ($US)

Sound


I bought this banjo because it was affordable to a young sailor in Orlando, Fl. The only marking on it is the name Iida and

Sound Rating

7

Setup


It was set up well for a beginner as me. I have done little to the tailpiece height. I changed the head, but only out of cosmetic interests.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


A mahogany finish, beautiful resonator. Arm rest came with. Simple rectangular plastic pearl inlays. Marks on side for key frets. It's 22 years old and has been moved with a military family over 8 times. The case disintegrated, but the banjo plays good. It's missing some hold down hooks and some tailpiece parts, because I can't find replacements.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


Hey it lasted 22 years so far, and still sounds great!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I can't find the manufacturer..

Customer Service

1

Components


Resonator is superb. arm rest great. The tailpiece was/is marginal. The tuners are planetary and in great shape after 22 years. I had to replace the 5th string tuner/gear.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


For the price I paid? Of course!! This is a great banjo. I have sighted others in stores for twice the price as this. (albeit I bought it 22 years ago). I have done some open mike nights with great response. It is a fun instrument.

Overall Rating

8


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