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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

6715 reviews in the archive.

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by FlyinEagle (see all reviews from this person) on 5/15/2018

Where Purchased: From Mike's Website

Overall Comments

It’s taken too long to post this review. 

I’ve been using Mike’s Mute for probably close to a year now.  As the many other reviews drive home, Mike’s Mute is very effective at it job, and it is very well designed and well made.   My wife and daughter are very thankful that I made the purchase.

It has certainly allowed me to increase my practice time after the baby has gone to bed, but it has had an unexpected benefit to my picking.  The mute works so well that I became aware of how often my thumbpick was striking the head.  Just be hearing when it was happening, I was suddenly able to make the adjustments – almost subconsciously – to reduce the thumb strikes.  I can’t believe it, never would have predicted it, but that is what happened.

So I recommend the mute for that reason along with all the others mentioned in previous reviews. 

Overall Rating: 10

Arm rest: Arm rest

Submitted by CrackerJo (see all reviews from this person) on 5/15/2018

Where Purchased: Zachary Hoyt

Overall Comments

Nice fit, very comfortable maple armrest. Quality workmanship.

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Purcell Canadian Birch bridge ( old stairs )

Submitted by Ralph Stanley legend (see all reviews from this person) on 5/14/2018

Where Purchased: Tim Purcell

Overall Comments

I recently acquired a wonderful 1979 Stelling Superstar Banjo. I had some work carried out and she needed a new bridge. I ordered a Stelling Birch bridge and thought it performed quite well. However, I had hidden away a Tim Purcell " old stairs "  Canadian Birch bridge @ 2.4 grams and gave it a chance.

Absolutely no contest, the Purcell bridge works so well on this Stelling. Power, ring, bass all exceeded the Stelling bridge which was a little disappointing...  I do have 2 other Purcell bridges and I honestly do not think you can do better. IF you have a Stelling, try one at 2.4 grams because they work very well indeed.

Great bridges.

 

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Bart Veerman "Archie" bridge

Submitted by sparrish321 (see all reviews from this person) on 5/6/2018

Where Purchased: From Bart (banjobridge.com)

Overall Comments

I'm using the Archie bridge on a mid 1970's Gibson RB800  (rim upgraded to a Cooperman 3 ply, and turned for a Cox archtop ring).  I tried several quality bridges that I already own and was not happy.  So I decided to try the "Archie" bridge.

The "Archie" has helped me achieve the pop, brightness, and clarity I was looking for.  Also,  I am very surprised at the presence of the 4th string from such a thin bridge!  If you are looking for an archtop bridge, consider the Veerman "Archie".

Overall Rating: 10

Amber Catlin Tuning Buttons: Amber Tuning Buttons

Submitted by David Wadsworth (see all reviews from this person) on 5/1/2018

Where Purchased: Ron Barnes

Overall Comments

Sent Ron a keystone button from 1941 set of Kluson tuners.  He matched it perfectly and installed the replicas on a set of old Grover "pancake" tuners, a set of Keith tuners and a Schaller fifth.  Great work as always.  I'm a repeat customer and don't know of anyone else who does what Ron does with custom tuner buttons.  I can't imagine anyone else doing a better job than Ron.  He's truly in a class by himself in terms of quality product and speedy delivery.

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by lockhands (see all reviews from this person) on 4/30/2018

Where Purchased: Online

Overall Comments

This is the Best mute I have ever used. I have a wife and young daughter who strongly encouraged me to purchase a different mute for my new banjo.  I have tried a few different ones, and haven't been happy with the sound they produced. Mike's mute cuts the volume to an acceptable level, while not destroying the beautiful banjo sound. It's easy to install and remove for storage, and it even comes with a handy little storage bag. Mike emailed quickly to thank me for the purchase and to let me know it was on the way.  A nice little touch in a world where customer service  is frequently forgotten. Overall I couldn't be happier with my purchase and will definitely buy others as my collection grows.

 

Overall Rating: 10

Cases (Soft, Gig Bags): Access Stage-Three HB Gigbag

Submitted by banjocatpdx (see all reviews from this person) on 4/26/2018

Where Purchased: Access

Overall Comments

I previously bought an Access Stage One bag, but it was more flimsy than I’d have liked.  My new banjo came with a hardcase and it was so unwieldy that I banged it on the walls and door frames when I tried to take it out for my lesson!  I decided on a sturdy gig bag and turns out that the Stage Three gig bags are on closeout right now.  The folks at Access recommended a Lower Bout Pad and Large Flat Pad, which attach with velcro to nicely fit my 11” openback (I’m sure 12” would fit too, just more snugly).  The quality is really great and it’s exactly what I wanted in a gigbag.  Plenty of pockets (but not big enough for a normal sized sheet of paper).  My only complaint is that the neck support pillow is a bit high.  The reviews at the hangout have helped me a lot so I hope that this will help some folks!  Sad that this bag won’t be made anymore, might even get another while they’re still available as I’m pretty sure another banjo is in my future :)

Overall Rating: 9

Bridges: Bart Veerman Mystery Wood Bridge

Submitted by ildertongap (see all reviews from this person) on 4/23/2018

Where Purchased: Bart’s Place !!!!

Overall Comments

Bart invited me to come visit him and try out a bunch of bridges for my 2013 Deering Calico. I wanted to changeout the 5/8 bridge for an 9/16 bridge. So I took him up on his offer, made the trip to Hamilton and spent a wonderful afternoon exploring the world of banjo bridges as guided by Bart. I settled on a mystery wood bridge, it has had some time to settle in on the Calico and sounds fantastic. Thanks Bart !!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: dam spillway bridge

Submitted by maki66 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/15/2018

Where Purchased: Don New

Overall Comments

The Spillway Dam Bridge is a brilliant design that is masterfully crafted.Don's customer service is first rate too. He made me a custom bridge with 46mm spacing for clawhammer style picking that was the perfect height for my banjo. 

Its a joy to play,sounds great,  it looks beautiful, and I received it quickly. 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Necks: 5 string neck

Submitted by banjo1971 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/5/2018

Where Purchased: Davis Banjos and Inlay

Overall Comments

I ordered a custom neck from Tim Davis in January of 2018.  I ordered a radius ebony fret board on a mahogany neck.  I chose the Flying Eagle inlay with "Davis" in the peg head.  I had ordered a pot assembly from Warren Yates and had Warren send it to Tim.  

Tim knew exactly what I wanted as were going over the details.  I paid Tim $800 to make the neck, shipping included.  When the neck was ready for his finisher, Casey Sullivan, he sent my resonator to match the stain for the neck.  When the banjo came back from the finisher a few months later, Tim set up the banjo to the pot and even fixed some rim issues.  He gave me an old case so he could ship the whole banjo instead of shipping the neck separately from the pot.

There's only one cosmetic issue I could see, but it is not a huge thing to me.  In the end, he came through with five stars, especially with his customer service.  The neck looks great too.  

I would highly recommend Davis Banjos and Inlay for any new neck, whole banjo, bridges, rims, etc..  He's good to work with and I had a pleasant experience.

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: mute

Submitted by parasully (see all reviews from this person) on 3/23/2018

Where Purchased: from the website

Overall Comments

Other than using Mikes banjo mute for late night and early morning practice sessions and not disturbing the house. The mute has revealed some bad habits that I have developed and never realized that I had. Like my thumb pick tapping the head.  I was not able to hear that with the gold tone mute. I am more aware of it now thanks to Mikes banjo mute and trying to correct my picking technique. Plus the sound quality is excellent with the mute as well. Thanks Mike for making a quality product!

Brendan Sullivan

Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by drthreefinger (see all reviews from this person) on 3/20/2018

Where Purchased: mikesbanjomute.com

Overall Comments

The Mike's Banjo Mute has a very good design and works well.  Very nice balance - not so muted that you can't hear your playing, but definitely cuts down the volume.  I am fairly new to banjo playing and don't have a lot of experience, but a couple of others that I have heard were either too muted or still too loud.  Highly recommend this one.

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: Titanium finger picks

Submitted by Bhonest (see all reviews from this person) on 3/7/2018

Where Purchased: Diamondti

Overall Comments

Hello out there 

i am always looking for nice picks bought cheap ones and expensive for banjo live. 

I came across these titanium picks from Diamondti on ebay bought some and 

they turned out to be pretty nice,lite,Smooth for the lite playing. Check them out diamondti@yahoo.com  

or ebay as a new seller hes very professional 

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: ACRI Thumb pick

Submitted by PeterMac (see all reviews from this person) on 3/3/2018

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Overall Comments

I am disappointed with the Acri thumb pick, Delron tip with stainless steel band. I found it difficult to adjust to fit my thumb (average size usually a med.  in other picks ) while the band was very bendable the design overall seemed poorly configured. The plastic tip is thick and also created excessive string noise. 

Overall Rating: 3

Tuners: Catalin Repro Buttons

Submitted by Rick Lafleur (see all reviews from this person) on 2/28/2018

Where Purchased: Ron Barnes

Overall Comments

I contacted Ron about his Catalin buttons over the hangout and got a fast response.  Sent him my tuners and about a week later they arrived back in my mail box.  WOW, Ron does amazing work!!  His buttons look perfect and feel great!  If you're looking for quality workmanship and a beautiful product I highly recommend having Ron outfit your tuners with his Catalin buttons.

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Bart Veerman Clawhammer Bridge

Submitted by Gerontion (see all reviews from this person) on 2/24/2018

Where Purchased: Directly from Bart (banjobridge.com)

Overall Comments

I own a Recording King OT Madison with a scoop that I like very much but felt could be tickled to have a little better tone. The stock bridge seemed to be imparting a very nasal and bright tone, even over the scoop.

That is why I went searching for heavy bridges with an added wider string spacing for easier drop-thumbing and found Bart's page. Reading all over the web quickly confirmed that these were supposed to be really good, so I ordered one with 5/8 height, 46 mm string spacing, untopped as recommended by Bart for clawhammer, and in B (heavy) weight for added dark tone.

It arrived from Canada to Germany within 4 days (!).

I couldn't be happier with the improvement... The notes pop, my banjo has a nice plunky dark tone with good sustain and has a nice deep woody sound. I love it. These are worth every penny. 

Thanks Bart!

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Bart Veerman Clawhammer Bridge

Submitted by Briarpicker (see all reviews from this person) on 2/10/2018

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

I ordered an "Untopped Mystery Wood Bridge" from Bart Veerman. Bart recommended 46 mm string spacing because this would make double thumbing easier to do. Bart was very helpful and answered all my questions very quickly. It was a pleasure to deal with him.

The bridge arrived in Munich / Germany about one week after ordering.

I play a Bacon Blue Ribbon pot with a conversion neck. Bart's bridge made a big change to my banjo. It is louder now and it sounds more clearly. The intonation of the instrument has improved, too. Bart was also right with the string spacing, I liked it immediately.

All the recordings I published on BHO were made with Bart's Mystery Wood installed. I highly recommend it!

 

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Snuffy Smith New Generation

Submitted by banjo1971 (see all reviews from this person) on 2/8/2018

Where Purchased: KatEyz Banjo Bridges

Overall Comments

I recently ordered some bridges from Mike Smith at KatEyz Banjo Bridges.  I have ordered a new neck with a radius, so I wanted to buy a bridge with a radius.  I was interested in the Snuffy Smith New Generation, Crowe spacing, .656" tall, radius 16"..  He sent two bridges in the mail.  .  I tried each bridge on the banjo.  I felt like I needed a heavier, thicker bridge for my ear.  He sent two more out, weighing 2.48g approximately.  These last bridges rock!  They give a fat tone and kill some of the mid overtones.  Great bridges and workmanship!  He is fine with me returning the first two bridges whenever I see him  next.

Overall Rating: 10

Capos: Ken Forbister capo

Submitted by Tim Purcell (see all reviews from this person) on 2/5/2018

Where Purchased: Directly from maker (Ken Forbister)

Overall Comments

I was in the market for another capo and when I found out that Ken had made his own style, I jumped on the chance to own one. Ken is a talented artist, and after looking at some pictures of the stainless and brass capos he had made, I decided on the stainless.Excellent workmanship in every respect! The capo works flawlessly from the 1st fret to the 4th. Easily stores behind the nut. Like everything Ken does, it's a work of art! Thank you, Ken! Great job, my friend!

Tim

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by banjogh (see all reviews from this person) on 1/10/2018

Where Purchased: On line

Overall Comments

I purchased a Banjo mute from Mike’s. I had a gold tone mute but it was too small for my bridge. Mike’s fit just right. Good product and fast service.

Overall Rating: 10

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