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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!

6661 reviews in the archive.

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

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by job8223 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/10/2018

Where Purchased: Mike's website

Overall Comments

Was dubious at first when I messed up and it moved the bridge.  After replacing bridge in proper position and replacing mute properly, worked perfectly.  I am happy with the mute, and so is my wife who doesn't have to listen to me in the next room doing my practice sessions and repetitive tunes and partial breaks as I learn them.     May need to get a few more for my other instruments.  Have corresponded with Mike and he has been very responsive.

Quick service.  Great transaction.

 

Thanks, Mike.

 

John

Dallas, TX

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by jwong (see all reviews from this person) on 1/3/2018

Where Purchased: Online

Overall Comments

Just received my Mike's Banjo Mute yesterday. It's easy to install, fit both of my banjos bridges, and works as advertised. It's really quiet and makes practice easier when others are trying to sleep or read, etc. 

Because it mutes out droning of strings, it's good for hearing that your picking notes clearly and cleanly. Mistakes with hammer ons, pull offs, etc show up as well as separation of notes.

The sound is definitely different and takes a little getting used to, but for practice it's great.

Jason Wong

 

 

Overall Rating: 8

Banjo mute: Mike's Banjo Mutes

Submitted by mphIII (see all reviews from this person) on 1/3/2018

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

Overall Comments

So I received my "Mike's Banjo Mutes"  earlier this week and I had the chance to try it last night, all I can say is WOW. First the mute went on easy enough loosen the screws attach to the bridge and tighten easy enough but how did it sound? Well the proof was trying in the living room while my wife and I were watching TV (now mind you I was not trying to hammer out anything) I was working on roll patterns and finger placement on the neck and I was not only able to watch the TV, my wife told me that it was barely noticeable and it didn't mind her at all. I would highly recommend the "Mike's Banjo Mutes" to any one that needs to do some of the mindless tasks that make us better banjo players. they just work.

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by Willy J (see all reviews from this person) on 1/2/2018

Where Purchased: Christmas gift

Overall Comments

I received mikes mute as a gift.  I love the way my banjo sounds with the mute on, it doesn't take the banjo feel away.  I have been playing my banjo at night after my family is asleep...I haven't bothered anyone yet.  My wife even said my banjo now has a "pleasant sound" so if that's not worth the 30 bucks, I don"t know what is. Thank you Mike for making a heck of a mute and allowing me to play more.

Overall Rating: 10

Capos: Banjo Highway 5th Capo

Submitted by rdump (see all reviews from this person) on 12/10/2017

Where Purchased: Banjo Hangout Newsletter link to Banjo Highway Site

Overall Comments

This is a great option for a tone-full capo on frets where you don't have a railroad spike. And it doesn't fly off during playing like pen caps tend to do.

Even better, it's the perfect companion for using capos on fretless banjos (in concert with the Perfect Pitch Capo for strings 1-4). Like the Perfect Pitch Capo, this Banjo Highway 5th String Capo provides its own fret/nut analogue, so the 5th string remains live and full.

Overall Rating: 10

Capos: Perfect Pitch Capo

Submitted by rdump (see all reviews from this person) on 12/10/2017

Where Purchased: Banjo Hangout Newsletter link to Ferguson Perfect Pitch site

Overall Comments

I've been using this capo extensively for a few years now, and it's stood the test of time.

It takes more careful positioning than I was used to getting away with. I had been using Keyser or Shubb capos slapped on just about anywhere between the fret wires. This Perfect Pitch capo needs to be right against the fret to work best. But it's easy enough to get there, with a modicum of attention. It's actually faster than doing the angle adjustments I have to re-do with my Shubb capo. I slide the Perfect Pitch capo's tab under the strings, snug it gently against the fret wire, and then turn the tension screw the half turn remaining to keep it in place.

When playing old-time fiddle tunes, it sits there staying accurate for me with minimal tension through the entire session in whatever key we're in. When playing bluegrass or folk-ish, it's on and off as the singer calls different keys and I switch up to match.

The only downside I've encountered, in my dry climate, is the glue holding the rubber pads onto the bar and the tensioning screw became brittle. A dab of cement easily reinforced the attachment; nothing actually fell off.

As an added bonus, this is the only capo I've found that works on my fretless banjo. The tab under the strings gives a perfect fret-wire/nut analogue for letting me more easily use my fretless banjo for A or D tunes. While I could tune that banjo up (it's a strong and hearty Pisgah, after all), using the Perfect Pitch capo is a heck of a lot faster and smoother.

Overall Rating: 10

Necks: Zach Hoyt custom banjo neck

Submitted by planxty (see all reviews from this person) on 12/10/2017

Where Purchased: Zachary Hoyt Banjos

Overall Comments

Over the past couple of months I've been working with Zach Hoyt on the creation of a custom neck for my 1922 Vega Little Wonder banjo. When I bought it, the banjo had a Gold Tone BC-350 neck, which I liked in a lot of ways: I loved the width, and I loved the slim profile. I also absolutely loved the banjo's deep, plunky tone. But I could never get used to its 26-3/16" scale length, so I finally decided to replace the neck. I contacted Zach and sent him a bunch of very specific requests: I wanted a 25.5" scale length, a 1-3/8" nut width, and a few rather unusual specs as well. I asked him to do a boat contour on the heel, and an unusual configuration for the position dots (two on the fretboard, two on the side), and a longer-than-usual frailing scoop with an "M" contour at the top (instead of the usual "S" shape). I asked for a neck profile that roughly matched the one on the BC-350 neck (making it shallower than his standard necks). I had also seen a photo of one of his recent banjos that had a naturally streaky piece of ebony for the fretboard, and I asked if he had any more like that lying around. I wanted a very specific string height, and I had a coin that I wanted inlaid on the peghead.

I was a little bit nervous that all these out-of-the-ordinary requests would be met with irritation, or at least with surcharges. But no: he worked with me closely, patiently, and responsively throughout the process; he charged me nothing extra for the boat heel or the unusual frailing scoop contour, even though he had never done either of those before, and he sent me photos of available wood slabs for both the fretboard and the peghead overlay, letting me pick the ones I wanted and charging me nothing extra for the unusually beautiful streaked fretboard I ended up with. He also put a lovely narrow hickory center stripe in the neck at no charge. 

Throughout the process, Zach sent me photos of the neck as it reached various stages of completion -- an especially considerate gesture that I appreciated very much, as I was really excited about the project and it was lots of fun to watch it unfold. (Every photo he sent me got posted to my Facebook page.)

When my banjo arrived with the new neck, I was thrilled: it looked even better in person than it had in the photos, and it plays wonderfully. The tone is consistently clear and pretty all the way up the neck, the fretboard surface feels great, and I can't stop looking at it. Everyone I show it to oohs and aahs over how beautiful the wood and the craftsmanship are. If someone held a gun to my head and said "Identify a flaw," I guess I'd point to a few small areas of unevenness in the finish, mainly on the front of the peghead. But you'd only notice them if you look for them. 

Overall, I would strongly recommend Zach to anyone who's looking for custom banjo work. Working with him was a pleasure, and the finished product is an absolute delight. Photos available on request -- just hit me up. Or check out the video of me playing this banjo with the new Zach Hoyt neck at https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/videos.asp?m=d&catID=0&id=31937

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: First Quality Roasted maple

Submitted by bluegrassbanjopicker (see all reviews from this person) on 12/9/2017

Where Purchased: First Quality Music

Overall Comments

The First Quality/Sullivan roasted maple bridge is a guaranteed accolade to anyone's banjo. For me, it was the difference between night and day. That cheap stock maple bridge came off and the roasted maple simply blew it away. Solid, crisp tones all the way up and down the neck. I could not be more satisfied. You can't go wrong with this bridge! 

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by CodyW (see all reviews from this person) on 12/3/2017

Where Purchased: MikesBanjoMute.com

Overall Comments

Recently picked up one of Mike's Banjo Mutes and I'm extremely impressed at how effective this device is. Installs (or uninstalls) in just a few seconds and makes a very noticeable difference in the overall volume of my banjo while still maintaining a pleasant tone (the sound somewhat reminds me of an electric guitar unplugged). It's still loud enough to hear but much more tolerable for my wife while I'm practicing at home, and it also comes in handy for trips/hotel rooms (used mine a couple of times at the end of a day during banjo clinics/workshops).

Mike's site was also easy to order from and his service was quick and friendly, would highly suggest his products if you're looking to make practice a bit more tolerable for anyone in your house!

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: ACRI Thumb pick

Submitted by Owen (see all reviews from this person) on 12/3/2017

Where Purchased: Elderly

Overall Comments

I have an ACRI with the brass band, and although I had to do considerable "surgery" [i.e cut kerfs and bend the band] to make it fit my tapered thumb, I like it so well I ordered the "new and improved" one with a stainless steel band...expecting I'd have to taper it as well.  Indeed it comes with parallel sides, BUT  the stainless band is so flimsy, and has 3 holes in it [which isn't part of the catalog description], and  they're in exactly the same places where "surgery" is required.  Plus "lick and stick" doesn't work at all with the SS band [Edit: a layer of "liquid electrical tape" seemed to remedy that.]  Can you say "very disappointed"?   The plastic [delrin?] blade seems fine, so I rate it a "2."

Overall Rating: 2

Banjo mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by mfbrin (see all reviews from this person) on 12/3/2017

Where Purchased: From Mike

Overall Comments

I purchased Mike's mute and it arrived on time.  I tried it out.  It is easy to use, and the sound is actually quite "sweet".  I know that is odd, but it is quite pleasant when playing at home and others are in the area.  I am not a sound expert, but would love to better understand the physics.  

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by Banjoz (see all reviews from this person) on 12/1/2017

Where Purchased: Online from Mikes website

Overall Comments

This is my second Mikes Mute.

I live in Australia and he post's them without any trouble.

I tried a few types a number of years ago when I was starting out at learning the banjo.

Now I am teaching a Mate to play and have lent my mute to him. So, it was time for me to buy another. 

I used it a lot when starting out on the banjo and was wanting some time when only I could hear myself play, and have taken it on a cruise and other overseas travel and have managed to get some 'quiet' playing in.

The thing about Mikes Mute is that it works.

 

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: Wyatt

Submitted by saulsmanb (see all reviews from this person) on 11/29/2017

Where Purchased: Purchased from Randall Wyatt

Overall Comments

While I’ve tried a fair number of different picks over the years I don’t consider myself an expert. I am a mediocre banjo player and have been playing almost exclusively one brand of picks for several years.  I recently wanted to try something new so I bought a set of Wyatt’s picks. I am really happy with them. Looking at Wyatt’s picks they are nicely shaped with a wider blade than my other picks. 

I really like these picks for a number of reasons. First, they are beautifully made and arrived in perfect condition. Second, they feel great on my fingers, straight out of the mailer. Third, they sound great to me. Finally, I really like purchasing something directly from the person responsible for making them  and Randall seems a straight up, nice man.

I have always felt that picks are a personal thing so I can only speak for myself. I like these picks a lot  and intend to use them as my main picks. While I can’t claim that they make me a great banjo player, I am really happy with my purchase.

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by 2BUCKS (see all reviews from this person) on 11/18/2017

Where Purchased: Mike's site

Overall Comments

It works great with my standard 5 string bridge. It works great with my custom 4 1/2" radius compensated bridge.    It works great with my compensated " stepped" bridge. It works great on my Gibson RB-250. It works great on my Bart Reiter Regent. It works great!! Buy it !! Pickin' since the 70's.

Steve

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: mute

Submitted by erat999 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/6/2017

Where Purchased: Online from Mike

Overall Comments

I'm a brand new banjoist and have purchased a Goodtime 2. Whenever I have shown it to anyone, the primary comment is, "It's loud, isn't it?" I just received my new Mike's Mute and installed it on my bridge. One word to describe it, WOW! I was so impressed with the reduction in volume, I decided to measure the difference. I used a handheld sound meter and set it about 18" away from my instruments and then played a single strum on each. The results were:

12 string acoustic - 78db,

6 string acoustic - 79db,

Classical nylon - 81db,

6 string round back acoustic electric (no amp) - 77db,

mandolin - 76db,

and my new banjo - 82db. 

Then I put the mute on the banjo. A single strum on the banjo was 72db. Like I said, WOW!

i know my testing methodology was not very scientific but was enough to prove to me the efficacy of Mike's Banjo Mute and bring peace to the house! Thanks Mike. 

Overall Rating: 10

Balsam Banjo TH-12GN Tension Hoop: Tension Hoop

Submitted by liuto (see all reviews from this person) on 10/23/2017

Where Purchased: Balsam Banjo Works

Overall Comments

        Balsam Banjo Works Grooved 12" Tension Hoop TH-12GN

I recently acquired a Deering, Vega Little Wonder Custom 19 fret tenor. It's a 12" pot with the John Hartford tone ring. It's a great sounding banjo for Irish tunes, and has a lovely rounded quality to the tone with low end growl. I loved everything about the banjo but the tension hoop. It didn't have any heft and was simply a rolled piece of flat stock. If I have any criticism of Deering it would be that the tension hoop seemed like an after thought, certainly not worthy of a banjo in this price category. I called Deering but they didn't have anything to replace it with. Anyway I started searching for a replacement on the internet and came across Balsam Banjo Works 12" grooved hoop, number TH-12GN. The photos looked good so I ordered it. It came well packed and undamaged. Beautifully made 3/16" solid brass, nickel plated with a milled 60 degree groove that will accommodate both flat and round hooks. It has a nice solid heft and mounted perfectly on my banjo, the Deering flat hooks fit the groove exactly. The tonal improvement was immediate, less high partials and a bit, for lack of a better term, more solid sound. Less bite more focused projection. Balsam Banjo Works offers it in raw brass and nickel. I can highly recommend this part and Patrick Heavner is a great person to work with, quick to answer emails and any questions you ask.

Overall Rating: 10

Capos: shubb f5 fine tune capo

Submitted by john bange (see all reviews from this person) on 10/19/2017

Where Purchased: Shubb

Overall Comments

this is the best capo I have ever found for my long neck Vega/Martin banjo.  It has rubber bumpers on the sides for protection.  the adjustability is second to none.

I get a clear note from each string without any volume loss.  Mine is a flat fret board but they make one for a radius also.

expensive but worth it...so I bought a spare

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by jeanzjazz (see all reviews from this person) on 10/18/2017

Where Purchased: From Mikes Banjo Mute website

Overall Comments

Wow, we love the mute. We tried a Recording King and well - not even close  to the quality or sound of Mike's Banjo Mute. On the Recording King the little furry stuff shredded off on the banjo. I brushed it off with a soft lens brush. Anyway we love it and think it's the very best!!!We like the full tone yet quieter sound. Actually just a new sound that could be it's own instrument you might say. It's much quieter than the Recording King and I am sure much quieter than the Jim Dunlop cloth capo that Pete Seeger said would work as a mute if need be! ( In his banjo instruction book found in a dark corner of our library). Anyway we think it's just wonderful and our cat even stayed in the same room while we each took a turn playing as we currently own one banjo- a used Deering Goodtime  in excellent condition which is a logical for us as beginner's choice . So kudos and I would recommend to every beginner and anyone else who wants or needs a mute. I work in the travel industry and it's a must have for anyone who travels with a banjo or is considering traveling with a banjo.  With some banjos and maybe all as we have only tried it on ours- you should  be able to play in a motel or hotel room without distrubing other guests!

Overall Rating: 10

Mike's Banjo Mute: 5-string Standard Model

Submitted by davidbanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 10/16/2017

Where Purchased: www.mikesbanjomute.com

Overall Comments

Amazing mute!! It's the best I have tried!! I bought it from Spain, and thanks to Mike I could receive my mute in perfect conditions. Totally recommended!!

Overall Rating: 10

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