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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!

6773 reviews in the archive.

Deering Service

Submitted by DrBillM (see all reviews from this person) on 10/4/2018

Overall Comments

Not sure what category this should fit under. I purchased a 1997 Deering GDL from Banjo Warehouse (Geoff Hohwald) in Atlanta in the Spring of 2018. Great place by the way.  Check them out. Played it awhile and it developed a little buzz. Just couldn't solve it. Eventually the magicians at Bernunzio's here in Rochester said something was off. They contacted Deering who said send them a  few pictures. Mike at Deering didn't like what he saw and said send the banjo to them. They determined that the co-rod holes had been drilled off center and  thus didn't line up quite right with the tail piece. The previous owner was a well known recording artist so the banjo clearly worked just fine for a long time. They didn't care because it wasn't right. They took the GDL apart, plugged and then re-drilled it, and fixed the problem on  my 21 year old, at least two owner banjo. Then they cleaned  and polished it, set it up and sent it back to me no charge. That is customer service!

Overall Rating: 10

Geoff Hohwald's BanjoWarehouse

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

Overall Comments

I was planning to head down to Atlanta for some family business and contacted Geoff Hohwald at Banjo Warehouse (geoff@cvls.com  404-218-8580 2947 East Point Street East Point Georgia 30344) to see what the fuss was all about. I asked if he was interested in a trade as I had a Deering Maple Blossom with some extra features. He said "Sure bring it down". He said to just call when I got into town and I did so. He then met me at the mothership of all vintage banjos. I was looking for a walnut banjo and sadly the one I had come to see had sold a day or 2 before. He then spent about an hour or more digging through his astonishing inventory of banjos and kept finding another one for me to try. I eventually chose a 1997  Deering GDL. It was a great banjo and with the trade, and after he had "sharpened his pencil a bit", we found a number that we could both live with. Then, Geoff proceeded to give me some of his great teaching materials and a quick lesson on backup skills that was elegant in its simplicity and truly useful. He demonstrated how you could play a pretty straight backup, then add a little augmentation and then some really cool stuff with very minor left-hand work. Whoa-how cool is that? I then got the banjo home and was starting the cleanup process which was really unnecessary and found that the banjo I had purchased had previously belonged to professional player and ground breaker Barry Waldrep. Anyway-I would highly recommend Geoff and Banjo Warehouse in Atlanta and will return there for any future banjo purchase.

Overall Rating: 10

elderly Instruments

Submitted by john houston (see all reviews from this person) on 4/24/2018

Overall Comments

Elderly Instruments offers an amazing selection of banjos ... check them out!

 

Overall Rating: 10

Gryphon Stringed Instruments, Palo Alto, CA

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

Overall Comments

I purchased a RK-OT25 BR Banjo a couple of weeks ago from Gryphon. My intension are to use this Banjo as my travel Axe to and from our vacation cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains of north Ga.

I didn't buy it with a hard case because i already have an extra one. The Banjo was package very well, better than what I expected. It arrived in pristine condition.

The set up was spot on as received. All I had to do was install the bridge. Bridge placement was marked with blue painters tape. I was very happy to see that it was not done in pencil. I really don't like pencil marks on the head of my Banjos'. I can't say enough about their great customer service.Thank you very much Gryphon.

Overall Rating: 10

BanjoTeacher.Com

Submitted by BigBen (see all reviews from this person) on 1/28/2018

Overall Comments

I've been wanting to learn how to play banjo for decades (I'm almost 59).
After doing research and ready to buy one, I narrowed my search down to a few choices.
I called Ross@BanjoTeacher.com and he discussed each and every option of mine, PLUS offered a few of his own recommendations.
I had MANY questions before I made my purchase as well as after my purchase, so I have had many lengthy conversations with Ross, and he has always been courteous and honest when answering my many questions.
I opted for the Recording King R-36 with the Mahogany & Maple wood construction, and Ross worked-out a very fair price for my order!
Ross and his team set-up my Banjo before it shipped, as I made a few upgrades to my order.
My banjo arrived in a securely packaged box, along with it's accessories package, straps, and solid banjo case.
When I opened the box I was amazed to find that this banjo is a work of art!

I'm havin' a BLAST learning!

Thanks Again Ross!
Ben

 

Overall Rating: 10

BanjoTeacher.Com

Submitted by rb4 (see all reviews from this person) on 12/31/2017

Overall Comments

I bought a recording king banjo from Ross at banjoteacher.com, he was very helpful. I had a couple different banjos in mind he had me call him and he discussed them all with me and gave me his honest opinion. It was very helpful since he plays these banjos all the time and has many years of experience in both playing and selling banjos. He cut me a great deal and had the banjo set up and shipped out promptly.

Overall Rating: 10

Bedford Banjo Shop

Submitted by violinoldbanjonew (see all reviews from this person) on 11/24/2017

Overall Comments

Mike was amazing.  I showed up saying I have a bad neck and that I needed a tiny banjo because I'm tiny.  So, he put together a lady's banjo that was waiting for repair, and then slowly and systematically encouraged me to play on all of his banjos, least expensive to most.  I ended up with an Aria Pro 2, a big ole thing that rings to kingdom come.  Half the price, makes me smile every time I play it.  I made a 3 1/2 hour pilgrimage to go play his banjos and would encourage anyone to do the same and more if you have any idea that you want to buy a banjo.  Thank you Mike!

Overall Rating: 10

BanjoTeacher.Com

Submitted by TonyB_1958 (see all reviews from this person) on 10/13/2017

Overall Comments

As a student in his first year of banjo instruction, and looking for a banjo that would be a good upgrade to my first banjo, I settled on a Recording King RK-35.

After much research and consideration, I chose Banjoteacher.com as the store to purchase my RK from for a few reasons:

  1. BanjoTeacher's price was a good as any, and better than most
  2. Instead of receiving an instrument off the rack, I would be getting one setup and customized (if that was what a I needed, and I did want the zero-glide nut and and Snuffy Smith bridge) as upgrades.
  3. And finally, I wanted to be able to contact someone for support, especially in the first days and weeks after receiving the instrument, if I had questions or concerns.

Banjoteacher.com's Ross Nickerson was able and happy to provide all of the above. I couldn't be happier with the RK banjo, and its setup and modification by Ross. I had a couple of questions for him after receiving my banjo which he helped me with right away.

It was a pleasure dealing with Ross at banjoteacher.com. I'm a lifelong customer now, and am so thankful to have come across banjoteacher.com

Thanks Ross! Keep on pluckin'

Tony

Overall Rating: 10

Bedford Banjo Shop

Submitted by Bluegrouse (see all reviews from this person) on 5/19/2017

Overall Comments

I had decided that my Vega (Martin) 1972 banjo needed to be sold.  Sound and action were just dull and sluggish.  I took it to Mike at Bedford Banjo Shop and he worked magic.  It looks great and I didn't know it was capable of such great sound.  He is a patient craftsman who provides the best service you will ever find.  While he worked on my instrument he recommended a great NY style pizza shop around the corner.  Banjos and pizza!  what a great day!  thanks Mike.  

 

Overall Rating: 10

BanjoTeacher.Com

Submitted by chkland724 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/8/2017

Overall Comments

I ordered a Gold Tone BG150F from Ross over the phone on Monday. The banjo came Friday which is good service. Ross is one of the good guys. Very easy to deal with and as mentioned the service is great. I cannot imagine anything a banjo player could need or want that Ross does not have. Ten  BIG stars.

Overall Rating: 10

elderly Instruments

Submitted by WiscRick (see all reviews from this person) on 3/27/2017

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 9

First Quality Music Supply

Submitted by Bigger Al (see all reviews from this person) on 2/24/2017

Overall Comments

Well, I almost feel guilty writing this review after looking at all the others here, but, I purchased a roasted maple bridge from them on 2/16.  After not hearing from them in a couple of days after placing the order I sent an email requesting to know when they expected to ship.  No response for two days so sent another.  No response again.  Called, and whoever answered the phone got nasty after I said that no one responds to emails and said "I've got them right here, you only sent two, I'm busy."  I would expect that woman to respond after the first email, not collect them and not reply to them.  That was on 2/22.  After being told it would ship that day (which at this point was only because I was interrupting her busy work schedule), I hung up after thanking her and telling her "that's all I wanted to know in the first place."  Well, it's now 2/24 and the item has finally found its' way to the PO in Louisville.  Well, I guess next time around, I'll just have to be too "busy" to waste my time with FQMS.

Overall Rating: 3

Bucks County Folk Music Shop

Submitted by GruberHuber (see all reviews from this person) on 9/2/2016

Overall Comments

As a shop they are certainly well equipped and authentic, with reasonable prices and quality banjos. When it comes to repairs steer clear! I went in with my precious Huber in pristine condition and sounding marvelous. I was preemptively having some frets replaced and decided while it was going to be in the shop I would move up to a taller bridge. Seemed like routine work for a store with 50 years of experience specializing in banjos, I thought my banjo was in good hands, but to my dismay my banjo will never be the same. The craftsmanship was careless to say the least: frets were poorly set, my fretboard was chipped, frets were filed atrociously and the neck binding was chipped and horribly marred resulting in an uneven, unsightly line which once was straight and precise. The bridge setup seemed okay except I realized when I got home that the bridge was setup nearly 1/2 an inch out of place. For the first time in my banjo's existence many of the frets are buzzing and up the neck several frets are completely muted, which is hard to explain considering I now have a taller bridge and higher action! Overall the tone is dramatically disappointing. To make matters worse instead of an apology/refund I was met with uncooperative arrogance and a total lack of ownership for the shoddy work and for devaluing my most prized possession. The pure bliss that was once associated with opening my case, has now been replaced by sadness, and frustration as it pains me to look and hear what has become of my banjo. I'm now $250 dollars in the hole, looking to find a way to repair the "repairs" and an instrument that is scarred for life. 

Overall Rating: 5

Gear4music.com

Submitted by FrLe23 (see all reviews from this person) on 5/25/2016

Overall Comments

http://www.gear4music.com/ are an excellent internet shop based in the UK

good points of being in the EU : shipping and VAT included in price, no import taxes

excellent contact both via email and phone;

they have a dedicated phone number for french customers, the person speaks fluently french

and answers quickly and efficiently

I would have given 12 if it had been possible

Overall Rating: 10

Bedford Banjo Shop

Submitted by SJMcVaugh (see all reviews from this person) on 5/20/2016

Overall Comments

The owner of Bedford Banjo Shop is knowledgeable and honest. While talking on the phone with him, he was courteous and helpful answering my many questions. The instruments I purchased were as described and packed with great care. I highly recommend this shop and look forward to visiting it when I travel to western Pennsylvania!

Overall Rating: 10

Banjo Bob's

Submitted by drdecanto (see all reviews from this person) on 5/7/2016

Overall Comments

Great Experience at Banjo Bob's in Cedar Crest, NM

Spent several Saturday mornings playing through a stellar lineup of Banjos before choosing a used Deering Calico. But there were easily half a dozen in my price range that I'd have been happy with. And Bob's a gem. If you're in this part of the world looking for a banjo at this price point or even above or below, he's your guy.

Overall Rating: 10

Bedford Banjo Shop

Submitted by russinpa (see all reviews from this person) on 3/12/2016

Overall Comments

Mike the owner not only did a world class job setting up two old banjos that i rescued but he also took the time to teach me about them. When I picked them up I was so shocked at how much better they sounded I almost couldn't believe  they where the same ones I took down.  His skill and knowledge are far above anything I would have expected. I would without any doubt recommend him to anyone else looking for repairs or a new banjo.  

Overall Rating: 10

Guitar Center...Bad News

Submitted by jcimino (see all reviews from this person) on 3/11/2016

Overall Comments

I have been buying and selling instruments all my life (mostly guitars), and have and tried to stay away from Guitar Center because of some of the tricks I know they have pulled.  I saw what I thought could be a pretty good deal on a Deering Maple Blossom Banjo on their website during one of their sale weekends.  It only had one picture showing that it had some wear on the head and it stated the condition as "great condition" which says "very little signs of wear, fully functional, may have a few scratches".  It also showed it with a nice leather strap and stated it comes with a hard case.  Anyway, contacting the store with questions was a waste of time, did not get any answers.  I went ahead and purchased it.  It arrived in a timely fashion, when I opened the box the banjo was just packaged inside without the case or strap.  I immediately went on line to use their chat function, which after spending about a half hour explaining the situation, I was told I would need to give them a call.  So I called them and after they checked, they said sure it was supposed to have a case and would contact the store and have it shipped, they did not respond to the missing strap.  I decided to go ahead and tune it up and see how it played and check it over.  When I went to tune it, the aftermarket tail piece came flying off the banjo, there was no nut holding it on and it was not in the box or inside the resonator.  With the strings now off, I checked it over more, the fret wires on the top six or seven frets are completely worn out and need to be replaced, and the chrome on the tension ring, flange and tone ring is heavily worn.  If this is great condition I hate to see poor condition. I tried sending them an email and never heard back.  I sent another one and they did respond and told me I could return it if I wanted...the closest store is 75 miles away.  I decided to keep it and fix it up myself.  The case arrived a few days latter, a beat-up hard shell case, not a Deering case...never did get a strap.  I took it completely apart and have had the neck down to have the frets repaired and sent the tension hoop and flange out to be re-plated, I am going to live the tone ring alone.  I am still waiting for my parts to be repaired and have had this banjo for almost four weeds and have not played it yet.  I have purchased used instruments online before from other places and many of them needed a little more work than they advertise, but this is over the top and I would not trust Guitar Center to do the repairs.  My advice is that if you purchased a used instrument from Guitar Center online, have it shipped to a store near you and then go and pick it up when you can look at it.

Overall Rating: 1

instrumentalley.com

Submitted by jcimino (see all reviews from this person) on 2/16/2016

Overall Comments

I try very hard to be fair in my reviews, so I will do my best here.  I did have problems with getting my Deering Eagle 2 Banjo, but it may be that the biggest problem is the communication from the store.  The banjo arrived today and I ordered it twelve days ago.  It came in perfect condition except there is a small tear in the case.  I am not hard to get along with and I do not feel that I am impatient, but of coarse I was anxious to get my new banjo and a little worried with the negative reviews that I have read for this vendor.  I ordered it on a Thursday and almost immediately started receiving emails from them stating that the payment did not go through and then they sent me an invoice to pay through paypal.  By the time I got to check it, they had canceled the invoice because the payment had cleared. I knew it would not ship on Thursday and was not really expecting it to ship on Friday.  But on Friday I received an email from them stating that the banjo had shipped and it was scheduled to arrive on Thursday with a signature required. I checked the status of the shipment on the weekend and it still stated that only the label had been created.  Checked it Monday and Tuesday and got the same results. So late on Tuesday I sent them an email to inquire the status and to find out if it had really shipped.  I was told that it had been processed and was just waiting for FedEx to pick it up.  I was a little confused as I know I can call FedEx and they will pick up a shipment the next day.  I asked him about that and was told that he only has FedEx pickup on Tuesday and Thursday.  I thought that was a little strange and it was the end of the day on Tuesday and still not in the system.  I asked him if he actually stocked this banjo and he said he did and had three in stock.  I asked if I could cancel my order and was told I could not because it had been processed.  I pointed out that indeed they told me it had shipped, but now he tells me that it is still there and I can't cancel the order. I said that you are telling me then that it will definitely ship on Thursday. I got an email back stating that he did not say it would ship Thursday and would be leaving today (Tuesday).  I sent an email back telling him that when I first inquired about the shipment, all he had to say was that he only ships FedEx on Tuesday and Thursday and that it would indeed ship today. I pointed out that we could have avoided a lot of confusion especially if I would have any idea that it could not be picked up until five days after the purchase.  To make matters a little worse...not his fault, because of the later shipping date, the arrival was pushed to Saturday.  I made it a point to hang around for FedEx and was home all day, around 4:15 I checked the status online and it said there was an exception, that no one was home to sign for it and they would try again on Tuesday (today).  Apparently FedEx came up to the walk-in basement door and may have knocked, but apparently not loud enough for any of my three dogs to hear them and of coarse they did not ring the doorbell that is right there also, they just left the call tag. So it took the additional four days to get it and I wasted a Saturday.  As I said this is not the music store's fault.  I mentioned earlier that I think that the only down side is their communication.  On their website, they state most orders ship in 24hrs and I did receive shipping details within 24 hrs., but no where do they state that FedEx only picks up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If they had this on their website or even sent me an email to let me know that it wasn't shipping on Friday like they said, but would ship on Tuesday, then I think everything would have been fine.

Overall Rating: 6

Banjo Teacher.Com

Submitted by Kevin B (see all reviews from this person) on 2/4/2016

Overall Comments

Ordered the Snark SN8 and JT's Pix Tuner Bracket combo from Banjo Teacher.com.  I couldn't be happier.  Fast service, competitive price.  I would shop here in a heart beat.

Overall Rating: 10

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