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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!

7063 reviews in the archive.

Banjo Bridges: Bart Veerman Banjo Bridges

Submitted by JimmyM623 (see all reviews from this person) on 9/9/2021

Where Purchased: www.banjobridge.com

Overall Comments

I don't know a whole lot about banjo yet, but I was looking for a way to make my Dean 6-string sound brighter and choppier for a rock and roll recording project I'm doing, and folks recommended I get one of those very thin bridges. That led me to Bart Veerman 's website banjobridge.com . He has one made of teak and ebony that I was going to get after reading it really perked up the sound of cheap banjos. Bart suggested I get an Archie instead, which looks to be the most extreme bridge he makes. OK, he's the expert, so I ordered one, and it came yesterday.

Wow, does it perk up the sound of my cheap Dean! Bright and choppy in spades! It's also louder, and even noise from the head sounds louder, which I dig. I did a test track on a song I recorded with the stock bridge last week to see how it compares, and the Archie is so much clearer and requires no extra EQ to sound like what I think it should sound like for this project. So I'm quite happy with my purchase, and I'm pretty sure it won't be my last from Bart. Take it for what it's worth from a newb with an aluminum bottlecap, but I do know music and sound, and the way this Dean's recording now is quite pleasing to me.

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by stanBounds (see all reviews from this person) on 8/26/2021

Where Purchased: Online direct from Mikes Mute

Overall Comments

I'm very new to banjo; 6 weeks into learning clawhammer . After 50years+ of guitar playing, I had a yearning to have the challenge and joy of being a beginner!

A big issue has been practicing (often very early morning or late evening) without disturbing the rest of the household!

Having tried several mutes and not being that impressed, I heard about Mike's Mute and decided to order one.

Massively better than anything else I've tried!

1 It's really easy to fit on and take off; it's done in seconds.

2 Being made of brass, it looks nice on the instrument . Being aesthetically appealing to the eye makes a difference!

3 Probably most importantly, the sound. It quietens the instrument a lot and  makes the sound  very soft and mellow; to my ear, rather like a lute or a harp. Fine for quiet practice.

4 No annoying the rest of the house; I'm still married!

All in all, highly recommended; a nice piece of kit.

ps I've now got 2 and they arrived in UK from US in 9 days which I thought was impressive!

 

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by Banjo Barry (see all reviews from this person) on 8/12/2021

Where Purchased: Online

Overall Comments

I recently purchased a banjo mute online from Mike's Banjo Mutes for my  newest banjo, which has a radiused fingerboard.  This is the second banjo mute I have purchased from Mike's Banjo Mutes. The first was for my banjo with a flat fingerboard.  Both are high quality products made of solid materials that are put together well and will last a long time.  The price is fair for what you get.  The mutes work as advertised, reducing the banjo's volume without altering the intonation or pitch.  The mutes also add a little sustain.  Mike shipped the mute almost as soon as I placed my order and they both arrived well packaged  in sturdy boxes  protected by a simple cloth carrying bag and ample padding.  In sum, I'm very happy with Mike's Banjo Mutes and with the smooth and easy transactions I have had with Mike.  If you are looking for a banjo mute that works well and is simple to use, look no further.  Get one from Mike. 

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by msbanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 8/6/2021

Where Purchased: http://www.mikesbanjomute.com

Overall Comments

Mike's banjo mute is a dream come true for banjo players that live with anyone who is not a banjo player, or even other banjo players.  Bad habits result from trying to be polite and playing softly.  This mute absolutely kills the volume and you can wail away at full power while watching sports events (or whatever) without causing divorce or destructive sibling fights.  I bought one when my son started playing and we are fighting over it now, so I need to but another.  Great value, super easy to use.  Highly recommended.

 

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by scooty (see all reviews from this person) on 7/22/2021

Where Purchased: On line

Overall Comments

Mike's mute arrived yesterday and I'm blown away with it. Genius. Now I can really give it some. Thanks so much Mike. 

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo Bridges: Bridges by Bart “Archie” for Tenor Banjo

Submitted by hanknc (see all reviews from this person) on 7/2/2021

Where Purchased: https://www.banjobridge.com/

Overall Comments

I recently had pleasure of ordering a new "Archie" bridge from Bart Veerman at https://www.banjobridge.com/ for my Deering tenor and wow is all I can say except maybe to say stop what you're doing and get one for yourself!

I'm playing in a Dixieland combo and just did my first performance with them since the COVID shutdown and the old tenor banjo has never sounded better! Plus it's just a bonny little thing to admire and appreciate for the design and craftsmanship. 
 

Thanks, Bart!

 

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Pegheds: Pegheds

Submitted by Jason Wilkerson (see all reviews from this person) on 6/29/2021

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

I have had a set of Pegheds on my John Bowlin banjo for around 7 years.

 

Today, when replacing the fifth string, I noticed the entire mechanism was turning instead of just the shaft that's intended to turn. In other words, the glue had broken lose and the entire thing was spinning in the hole.

 

The tuner, of course, fell right out. Then I tried to turn the turner while holding the aluminum housing, and the thing seems completely frozen up. No movement at all.

 

I called the manufacturer, thinking, "no big deal, anything can break or wear out."

 

The owner, John Herin, IMMEDIATELY claimed to know exactly what had happened. He said it was installed incorrectly, and not glued in the hole. I politely told him it was--I was looking at the remnants of glue on the walls of the hole and on the Peghed housing. He continued, insisting that it was nothing wrong with his product, and that it was installed incorrectly. He then told me that since I was not a luthier, I had no business taking the Peghed out of the hole. And furthermore, since he designed the product, he could not possibly be wrong about the installation.

 

But he then offered that if I included a post paid envelope, I could send the tuner to him and he would repair it. But wait--he just said that he was certain the problem was not his tuner but the lack of glue in the hole. Which is it?

 

And then he hung up on me. (In his defense, the volume of my voice was rising by this point).

 

Wow.

 

They're a good product. I like them. But even good products can go wrong sometimes. Rarely have I felt more put off by such an attitude towards ones customers.

Overall Rating: 5

Picks: Diamond Ti Picks

Submitted by Foote (see all reviews from this person) on 6/16/2021

Where Purchased: Diamond Ti Picks

Overall Comments

I purchased a pair of copper titanium picks from Diamond Ti.   They arrived in a few days and appeared as described.  They were a little more difficult to form to my fingers but doable.  I usually play Yates picks, so my comparison is with them.  The Ti picks produce a very different sound.  It's muddier, mellower, and not as loud as the Yates.  I gave the low rating for this reason.  It's possible that with the right banjo and the right set of ears, these may be just the ticket.  To my ear, I'll stay with the brighter. louder Yates.

Overall Rating: 3

Straps: Lakota Banjo strap

Submitted by GregD (see all reviews from this person) on 6/11/2021

Where Purchased: LakotaLeathers.com

Overall Comments

I recently purchased a 3" American Bison banjo strap and couldn't be happier. It is soft, soft, soft! Beautiful tobacco color and extremely comfortable. I was also pleased with how quickly it arrived. I give it 5 Stars and would recommend Lakota straps without hesitation. 

Overall Rating: 10

Pickups: Schatten BJ-02 Pro

Submitted by Ed Banjer (see all reviews from this person) on 6/3/2021

Where Purchased: Schatten website

Overall Comments

I researched long and hard before pulling the trigger on this pickup. I'm so glad I did. I installed it on my Badtimes Banjo a few years ago and have played open mic's and gigs with no problems. Well, once I got to a gig and discovered my cat had chewed through the wire. So that was a disaster. However, a local luthier was able to replace the wire and it works like a champ once again. Plus I learned my lesson about leaving my banjo on the stand instead of in the case when cats are around. The only hangup I had was that the mounting bracket seems to be made for resonator banjos. When I first attempted to install it on my open back, I quickly learned the banjo would not fit in its snug hard case if I installed the device according to instructions. Therefore, I was able to improvise with athletic tape and zip ties so that I could strap it to the coordinator rod with no sliding around. FYI a photo of the pickup installation can be found in my photo album here on Banjo Hangout. Since the pickup is passive, I run it through an LR Baggs Gigpro preamp when gigging. I have recorded in the studio without the preamp but have never tried gigging without running it through the preamp. Either way, I am not disappointed with this pickup.

Overall Rating: 10

Finger picks : Richie Dotson 8's Fingerpicks

Submitted by davedude (see all reviews from this person) on 6/1/2021

Where Purchased: Directly From Richie Dotson

Overall Comments

I was excited Richie Dotson was building his version of National's oval finger picks. I was not a big fan. The picks produce a very harsh sound. The edges are a bit sharp. The metal composition is light and very bendable.  Aesthetically, they look really nice, but not very functional in my opinion. I will not use them.

Hoffmeyer's for life. 

Overall Rating: 3

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by Dimitri-Banjo (see all reviews from this person) on 5/24/2021

Where Purchased: Mike’s Website (mikesbanjomute)

Overall Comments

Beginner here and I couldn't be happier with Mike's banjo mute. It is quick to install (and remove if needed) and doesn't seem to negatively impact the sound of the banjo while still muting it. I live in an apartment so this is really perfect for me. Now I can practice without being nervous I'm disturbing anyone. It makes a huge difference. I'm going to of buy a second one to support Mike's American made product for my second banjo.  

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by CoffeeCruiser80 (see all reviews from this person) on 5/3/2021

Where Purchased: Mike's Website

Overall Comments

Purchased a mute from Mike on Wednesday night I believe, received it in the mail a day earlier than promised, Monday.

Gotta say it is one beautiful well made peirce of equipment, even before testing it!

It takes a couple of seconds to install, and boom,  you're not bothering anybody and ready for some late night banjo practice!

After playing a little bit with it, it sounds like it's more or less on tune, which was confirmed with my tuner, most of the strings were dead on except the #2, and I believe with some fiddling with the position or tension on the mute, you can get it to be on 100%. 

Would definitely recommend this mute to anybody in the market for a banjo mute. 

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by Norand (see all reviews from this person) on 4/27/2021

Where Purchased: http://www.mikesbanjomute.com/

Overall Comments

I have tried many different mutes over the years. A year of lockdown with the family in the small house really made it necessary for me to find something even better than what I had.
As a student on Noam Pikelny's Artistworks-course, my attention was drawn to Mikes Mute, hailed by the a large part of the community as one of the best ones around. I was not disappointed.

It adds enough mass to the bridge to mute more efficiently than any previous mute, I have used. Furthermore, mounting is the easiest and most non-intrusive, I have tried. My previous mute was installed with some difficulty and a hex key and had to be slided backwards from the bridge when not in use. The mute before that was more of a clamp that fit over the bridge and would cause tuning issues when installed an removed. Neither would mute as consistently and as well as the Mike mute.

Buying from Mike and shipping to Europe was a very good experience. I can thoroughly recommend the product.

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: Geipel Thumbpicks

Submitted by THEFAHNS (see all reviews from this person) on 4/17/2021

Where Purchased: Bart Veerman

Overall Comments

 

I just received my Geipel Thumbpicks that I ordered from Bart Veerman.  Bart is an excellent vendor!  My order was safely packed and delivered very timely! The Geipel Thumbpicks were described very well on Bart's Website (BanjoBridge.com).  Bart provided very detailed background info and pictures about the picks.  He also provided a measuring tool to aid the buyer in selecting the correct size (out of 9 sizes available).  The tool worked great and the size that I selected was perfect.  I am thoroughly pleased with the quality, fit and performance of the Geipel Thumbpicks.  I have now found my personal "Ultimate Banjo Thumbpick".  After receiving my initial order, I am now going to place another order to make sure that I have plenty of Geipel Thumbpicks available in every banjo case.  Thank You, Bart for marketing and selling these Excellent Geipel Thumbpicks!

Overall Rating: 10

Cases (Soft, Gig Bags): Glenn Cronkhite Custom Cases (aka Reunion Blues)

Submitted by dpgetman (see all reviews from this person) on 4/11/2021

Where Purchased: glenncronkhite.com

Overall Comments

I've owned a Reunion Blues canvas gig bag for about 15 years and always wanted a leather version of it.  I recently discovered that Glenn Cronkhite, the original maker of Reunion Blues, sold the company to an established maker of gig bags called Torpedo, who makes gig bags for guitars, and now banjos, using Glenn's patterns under the company name Glenn Cronkhite.  I called these folks and they could not have been nicer or more professional folks.  They were not yet making banjo gig bags when I called, but they hunted down the pattern for the old Reunion Blues bag and made one for me anyway.  The bag is an option for sale on their website in a nice variety of canvas and leather options and sizes.  The pics in this review are for the Canyon leather bag sized for a 12"pot and 26" scale neck.  I use it for both 11" and 12" banjos and both feel very snug and secure in the bag.    

I've had the bag for a few weeks now and am totally impressed with the craftsmanship and the fidelity to the original design.  This is, for all intents and purposes, a Reunion Blues bag.  The hardware and zippers are top notch and the leather is beautiful.  The foam padding and the fabric feel very sturdy and I have no doubt this bag will outlast me.  

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by merv1618 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/5/2021

Where Purchased: Mike's website

Overall Comments

I live in an apartment complex with thin floors. I love playing my banjo. My banjo is loud. 

Jokes aside, I was skeptical about shelling out over 30 bucks for a metal bridge clip, but Mike's mute really is worth every penny. You can't really get a banjo mute which allows you to keep your full bluegrass tone quality with a fraction of the volume, so the somewhat metallic sound threw me for a loop at first. But it's not grading, it's almost serene and harmonious, like playing an electric guitar with no distortion on minimum volume. Great for some melodic or slower pieces as a bonus.

And now I can practice at night. Good on ya, Mike.

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo Bridges: Bart Veerman Banjo Bridges

Submitted by mshipman (see all reviews from this person) on 3/14/2021

Where Purchased: https://banjobridge.com/

Overall Comments

Just got my custom, #10 bridge for my vintage Slingerland tenor banjo, string for Irish tuning.  Installed the bridge as soon as I got it and my banjo has never sounded better.  My G string actually makes a sound, not a plunk and the rest of the scale opened up as well.  Fantastic sound, will absolutely do business again.

Overall Rating: 10

Musician's Friend sale Silver Creek 5 string resonator banjo case: Silver Creek 5 string resonator banjo case

Submitted by The Old Timer (see all reviews from this person) on 3/13/2021

Where Purchased: Musicians Friend

Overall Comments

I've been looking for a serviceable hard shell case at a bargain price.  Having previously been satisfied with the Musicians Friend crazy sale of an OK hard shell case at $39 and free shipping, I decided to take them up on a sale of the Silver Creek resonator banjo case at $79 with free shipping --- only visible difference in the on line ad was an arched top.

I ordered it and it arrived by US Mail in about 4 days.  Safe and sound.

Simply packaged in a cheap corrugated box.  Case was enclosed in a coarse, black textile material to prevent scuffing inside the box.

Everything looked fine.  Opened it up and noted the thick padded "rings" around circumference of inner lid and inner back of the pot.   Two stiff upholstered foam wedges in the peghead area, removable by pulling on Velco fastenings.  Opened string box and closed it -- noted it closed a tiny bit "awkwardly".  Tried it two or three time and thought something was slightly "off".   Felt down inside and found the right hand end of the string box was not pushed all the way to the back of the case on the handle side -- it was mounted in there and fastened with the usual screws/rivets/whatever slightly cock-eyed.  Could probably slide a tongue depressor under one end of the string box right hand wall.   Nothing worse than a flat pick could escape through that opening, so I accepted it.  Just a bit of slap-dash assembly I guess.

My Gibson Mastertone fit EXTREMELY snugly into the pot area.   Does not wiggle AT ALL.  Neck properly supported at two points by the left and right walls of the string box.  Better "fit" than any other of my 12 cases, including newish Gibsons.  I left one wedge under the tuners area -- the tuners do not quite touch the wedge.

Banjo latches extremely tight with all that new padding in there.  I'm sure it will "give" slowly to eventually latch with great ease.

One latch is keyed.  I've never locked a banjo case.  Found the key loose inside the case a week after receiving it.

Very nice, comfortable leather handle.

Plenty of "brass feet" in all the usual places.

Case is not the heaviest construction ever, but it's fine for me.  I hate heavy cases now in my senior years.   But it's much better than the flimsy "hard case" Mandolin Brothers once supplied for an old Mastertone I bought in the 1970s.

Looks good, feels good, banjo fits great.  1 point off score for sloppy fastening of string box wall.

Highly recommended at $79 with free shipping!

Overall Rating: 9

Bridges: KatEyz Prowler, Roxy Maple

Submitted by banjo1971 (see all reviews from this person) on 3/3/2021

Where Purchased: Mike Smith

Overall Comments

I ordered a Prowler bridge from Mike Smith of KatEyz Bridges about a month ago.  This particular bridge has 13-14 growth rings, radius ebony top, and made out of some old bowling alley wood from a place called Roxy Lanes.  Mike named the maple wood "Roxy Maple".  

I've been letting the bridge settle into the banjo.  From right off the bat, this bridge brought out the power in this banjo.  And the tone is superior.  I am really happy with this bridge after letting it settle in, too.  Thank you Mike for making such a responsive bridge!

 

Doug Knecht

Overall Rating: 10

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