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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Bart Reiter Banjo

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

beachboy - Posted - 12/20/2019:  09:45:09

Looking for a new clawhammer banjo, I have an 1920's Vega Little Wonder conversion, nice banjo but wanted to get a new banjo, was stuck on the Deering Little Wonder but noticed the Bart Reiter models. I like the Special and Galax models. I have never seen one, nor do they have any dealers in my NC area. Just wondering if anyone could give me a recommendation on the Bart Reiter quality, playability and sound.....thanks Bill

KCJones - Posted - 12/20/2019:  10:44:52

If any of my opinions were humble, it would be my humble opinion that you cannot find a better open back banjo.

Bart Reiter is #1 in my book.

Jimmy Sutton - Posted - 12/20/2019:  11:31:31

Certainly one of the top makers for quality and playability in my opinion. I have a Whyte Laydie from around 1989 it's a model which I believe Bart no longer makes but you can rest assured whatever he makes is worth every penny (cent).

jbalch - Posted - 12/20/2019:  11:32:44

Bart Reiter banjos are true, professional-grade, instruments in every respect. I have used them for decades. They sound great and are my personal favorites for performing, recording and just fun.

I appreciate that Bart's current offering includes a nice range of simple designs (no need to pay for unnecessary, expensive, exotic wood or decoration).

They are hand-made by Bart in his small Michigan shop.  But they are still very well-priced.  IMHO the value is unmatched!

I particularly like how well they respond to your set-up choices.  Most models are capable of a reasonably wide range of tones - depending on your selection of head, bridge, strings, tailpiece...etc. 

Plenty of sound samples of various models on my BHO media page:

Best wishes!

Winslow Banjo Jane - Posted - 12/20/2019:  12:03:02

I have a Bart Reiter A flat scale banjo. I loved the feel, sound and look of the banjo within the first 5 minutes of unpacking it. That's pretty unusual for me, because it takes a while for me to warm up to any new banjo. I still love my Bart Banjo. Comfortable neck, beautiful sound, impeccable quality.

CrackerJo - Posted - 12/20/2019:  12:13:29

Bart's Banjo's offer superb craftsmanship. I love the Necks, and overall quality, an tone of each. I own 3 now, after the New Year I plan on the purchase of another Reiter. All of the advice from previous post before me is spot on.

The Old Timer - Posted - 12/20/2019:  12:40:54

My first open back, around 1990 or so, was a Reiter conversion of a Whyte Laydie R to a 5 string. First class all the way.

I haven't seen a Reiter with a "full bracket band" advertised in some time. So I'm not sure if Reiter offers them. The last Reiter Whyte Laydie I saw advertised didn't have a bracket band, so that wouldn't be an exact knock off of an old original Whyte Laydie. If you're into Whyte Laydies or Tu Ba Phones with bracket bands, just be sure you know what you're getting if you look into a Reiter.

dbrooks - Posted - 12/20/2019:  16:18:29

I will join the chorus of praise. I have a Regent A-flat scale (with a Whyte Laydie tone ring) and a Reiter Tubaphone. I consider myself lucky to have found both. Both were made in 2001 and are rock solid. I have seen only a couple of recent Rietr banjos, and I think they may have been Standard models. Great sound, great feel, fun to paly.


raybob - Posted - 12/20/2019:  21:34:07

I’ll join the chorus. I also have one of Bart’s A flat scale 5 strings, it has a brass tone ring. It’s a wonderful banjo. Set up now with a John B. goatskin and Bart V. mystery wood bridge. I’ve lowered the action a little and I love it.

Winslow Banjo Jane - Posted - 12/21/2019:  06:15:54

I just got a John Balch head for my reiter a flat scale and will probably put it on this afternoon. (If it helps me sound even a bit more like John Balch - yay! ) Actually, a Bart Reiter A flat scale wasn't on my radar, until I read on BHO about it's ease of playability for folks with some arthritis in their hands. Then I heard a couple of videos played by a BHO member who plays a Bart A flat scale that are just beautiful. After receiving my banjo I wrote Bart an email thanking him for making such a comfortable banjo to play. (...and it can be capoed if desired) Bart doesn't put the popular antiqued hardware etc... on his banjos, but you can always get your banjo a birthday gift and customize it with some parts from Bill Rickard or Pisgah Banjo Co. I really don't think you can go wrong with a Bart Reiter Banjo. Listen to John Balch and Sara Nickles and plenty of other excellent banjo players who play a Reiter.

Gallaher - Posted - 12/21/2019:  15:51:25

I played a standard for years. They are excellent

beachboy - Posted - 12/22/2019:  06:54:57

Beachboy says!, many thanks to all of you for your great advice, sounds like I cannot go wrong with a Bart Reiter. I have decided on the Galax model. I am not too good (no musical talent) but my desire is strong. I love the clawhammer style, and all the old time music and the people playing it. It's all about fun, and I will have it, to all, thanks again, Bill Murphy

ceemonster - Posted - 12/23/2019:  09:16:01

Congratulations, and enjoy! The Galax is a wonderful banjo--a "darker" tone wood such as the mahogany neck on the Galax gives a very cool sound to the WL tone ring, subtly deeper than maple . . . All the Reiter necks are beautifully crafted and finished, but I find the Reiter mahoganies particularly soulful. His stain choices along with the satin finish and that mahogany aroma are delicious. I have a mahogany Round Peak, and there's almost a Shaker look to it.

I hate the brass faux-antique hardware, find it hideous as well as asinine, and love Bart for not going there.

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