Huber Lancaster Review

Huber Lancaster
submitted 9/11/2009

Submitter

Chris Cooper (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Frets Old & New. (UK)

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

2500 ('s sterling) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The Huber Lancaster, In my opinion one of if not the best new mastertone style banjo available. I play hard driving Scruggs style bluegrass banjo and the Huber suits this perfectly. The banjo pops and cracks just the way I expect it to. The authentic full, rich tone cuts through the mix in a way I could only dream of before I had the Lancaster. The difference in tone between the x and y positions on the head is excellent.

In summary I think authentic is the only word that decribes the sound of the Huber. In fact I think authentic is the word to describe this banjo full stop.

I have included a link to a sample of the sound of my Banjo. http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/media-player/audio_player2.asp?musicid=13738

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was almost perfect, lovely action, intonation as close to perfect as you can get.

All i did was to adjust the head tension and tailpiece hight to my preference. Huber include a torque wrench (which makes getting perfectly even head tension all the way around the head easy.) as well as a 'T' wrench for adjusting the head tension. A letter from Steve Huber shows his recommended torque setting for each nut, on mine i believe this to be 6-7 kg's/cm, although i prefer to run my head a little tighter around 8 kg's/cm.

The head by the way is made by remo to Steve's specifications to closely resemble the ones that came on the old Gibsons.

Set-up was reassuringly good.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The Huber is fantasticly finished; flawless from snooter to tooter.

Various people have commented on the Lancaster's comparitably plain appearance, there is no highly polished laquer on the resonator, gold plated hardware etc however I quite like the understated beauty.

The neck and resonator are made from top quality mahogany with a vintage finish, the hardware has a vintage nickle plate finish, I believe Steve Huber uses the same plating proccedure that Gibson did before the war once again more authenticity.

The resonator has two concentric rings inlayed into the outside of centre, and a vintage binding on the leading edges.

The neck has the same vintage binding as the resonator's leading edge and has the same nitro-cellulose laquer that the pre-war Gibsons had, yet more authenticity!

The nitro-cellulose laquer on the neck is the one thing about this banjo that I would say is a detriment to its playability, it quickly becomes sticky as you play and becomes a bit of a pain after a while. Knit picking with that one though, keep the polish handy and it's really no problem. A speed neck option is also available on a new Huber which completely eradicates this issue, it is one of the options that I would reccomend.

The wood rim is made from 3 ply hardrock maple, just like the pre-war Gibson. It is glued together with hide glue just like the old Gibsons too, I did say the word with this banjo was authentic!
The fingerboard is a lovely piece of rosewood with a VERY VERY attracive old looking pearl inlay pattern, It seems reminisant of the pattern that can be seen on Terry Baucom's old Sullivan signature Banjo but its different and very nice.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The hardware is all of top quality, the nickle plating is deep and rich. I have started to ware the nickle plating off the front of the arm rest and the vintage binding on the edges of the neck is beggining to get a distictively used look to it (six months or so) However I do spend every spare second I have playing it! (certainly 3 hours+ a day) the 5th string nut is particularly nice too, a small detail but an important one.

The Huber is fantasticly made wonderfully screwed together and I know full and well I can rely on it totally for many years to come.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Costomer service is absolutely non-existant, Huber as a company really let themselves down with poor costomer service. I dare say that Huber have lost more than a couple of sales through not responding quickly enough to costomer enquiries.

The Banjo comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

I sent two emails to Huber expressing my interest in purchacing a new Huber Banjo. Six months later I recieved an email in response to my enquiry but by that time I had already had my new Huber for two months after purchacing it from a dealer here in the UK.

I understand that Steve is a busy man but six months? especially as it concerned my giving him money. LOL

Customer Service

1

Components


The Huber Lancaster is equiped with a set of waverly V2 (I think they are called) tuners, they look great with their ivaroid buttons. I have played stringed instruments since the age of about 3-4 and these tuners are the best i've ever used. They even 'feel' good.

The bridge is a huber bridge and suits me absolutely perfectly i'm unsure of the dimensions but I would be happy to measure up if anyone would like to know.

The head as I mentioned earlier is made by Remo for Huber to Steves specs. All I can say about the head and the bridge is that if the head was to split or I found myself in need of a new bridge I would settle for nothing other than genuine Huber replacements.

All the parts are of top quality with no compromise to.........you guessed it authenticity!

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


For hard driving bluegrass with authentic attack and tone that matches the sounds you hear on your records, I've heard nothing short of good pre-war Gibsons, that come close to the Huber Lancaster.

Huber seriously need to work on their costomer service, it is a testiment to the quality of their banjo's that they have sold any at all!

The only thing I would have different about my Huber, looking back I would deffinately have the speed neck option. but a sticky neck is a small price to pay for a Banjo that sounds like this.

Overall Rating

10


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