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Robin Smith Builds One Heck of a Custom 'Jo

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rob just built me a Walnut Reno Custom resonator banjo and I cannot tell you all how thrilled I am with virtually all aspects of the Walnut Reno Custom he built for me. First off, the sound is exactly what I was after and it really rings true in all areas of the fret board. He nailed the balance of rich, resonant and clear note seperation and his careful selection of just the right piece of Walnut for the neck was spot on to help achieve this quality sound.

The neck width and depth is perfect for my hands and the exact feel I was after. It is amazing how much more comfortable my left hand is doing some of those tougher reaches that used to bother me a bit - no more! And the string action is perfect right out of the box! Amazing. Even the string gauge is better!

The colour and look of the 'antique' inlays are exactly what I was shooting for and the Reno design with the beautiful Heartland design on the peg head are really authentic and classy. The wood work and appearance of the neck, rim and especially the burl Walnut resonator are absolutely fantastic. When I look inside the banjo the finish is so clean compared to other expensive mass produced banjos - flawless, meticulous work!

This is without question my life-long banjo and it is totally perfect in every way. I have already tallied about 70 hours of playing before giving you all this commentary and I truly feel like I am playing more comfortably, faster and with better note tone. 

Lastly, Rob has been really easy to work with and on the ball which is so refreshing. He thoughtfully steered me in the right direction and over delivered with the end product. When I compare this banjo with my friends' more expensive 'Big Name' products, I am feeling pretty darn smug!! Rob has built my dream banjo at an outstanding value and I am over the moon!!

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jswkingsfieldPlayers Union Member


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Playing Since: 2009
Experience Level: Intermediate



Gender: Male
Age: 64

My Instruments:
Heartland Reno Custom & Deering Hartford Banjos, Harmonica

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Original Steeldrivers; Dirty Kitchen; Punch Bros; JD, Earl, Noam

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 11/21/2011
Last Visit 9/22/2021

Adman, windsurfer, skier, budding banjo player

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