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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!

6920 reviews in the archive.

Recording King  Dirty Thirties RKOH-05 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Iderhobanjer23 (see all reviews from this person) on 7/22/2015

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter


8/10. For the price of the banjo, the sound really is incredible. It could use some more bottom end, but i've yet to do any set up work on it.

Sound Rating: 8


7/10. Banjo came with 1/2" bridge, which caused ringing on the fifth string due to improper truss rod setting. Put a 5/8" bridge on, which I prefer and solved the problem, but it still needs a truss rod adjustment.

Setup Rating: 7


Beautiful! Incredible craftsmanship. Easy to play neck and great matte finish. I always hated gloss.

Appearance Rating: 10


Seems dependable; all my other experiences with RK have been great.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated


Guitar tuners and no tone ring (even a simple hoop would be nice). Presto doesn't come with felt on the cover so i took it off to prevent buzzing.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

incredible worksmanship and sound for the price.  Every RK product I've owned, I've regretted turning loose.  For the price, this simply can't be beat.  And nice and light for a bad back like mine!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by mojohand40 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/2/2014

Where Purchased: MUSIC 123 Online

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 229 ($US)


I'm playing Old Time, Clawhammer mostly, on it. It has a nice plucky sound. No tone ring, so it's a little "woody" sounding. More balanced in volume across the strings then some other cheapies I've had and played before.
My MAIN banjo is a Gold Tone WL-250. Does the little dirty Thirty sound as good as my Gold Tone White Layde? no...of course not (IMO), but the Gold Tone cost about four times as much and weighs a LOT more.....
BUT...the Dirty Thirties open back does sound pretty darn good. Not a lot of volume, but nice tone.

Sound Rating: 7


The banjo came packaged from the Manufacture. Bridge laying down, strings wrapped in wax paper, etc. So no "set up". I have a lot of experience with a lot of instruments, so not worried. I put the bridge where it should go, tuned her up and she was playable.
Not sure what strings come on it, but the stock ones aren't bad.
No real set up needed! The action was good etc. I did tighten the head a tiny bity with the wrench provided, but that's just a matter of taste.
Fit and finish are very good for an instrument this inexpensive. Very nicely done.

Setup Rating: 7


I think it looks great! I like the finish a lot. Like I said, for an instrument in this price range, it's actually assembled and finished pretty well.

Appearance Rating: 8


The head brackets seem a little cheap. (16 brackets only). the tail piece seems nice. The bridge seems especially nice for a beginner banjo. Tuners are guitar style, but seem fine.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

limited lifetime warranty.

Customer Service: 8


The things I like about this banjo; the vintage feel, nice old timey "plunk", light weight and the simplicity of it.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Like I said, I own a few other banjos and my main one is my Gold Tone WL-250. This banjo isn't in that league,'s still a darn nice instrument.

I wanted something light (this is like 4 pounds), something well made and playable, something that looked good and had a real old time sound.  I think, all in all, I got a lot more then what I paid for.

This is a great banjo for just leaving around the house or taking on trips or just lounging around your backyard or porch.

Would make a great first banjo for anyone looking to learn clawhammer, and could last them years. Or it may make a great backup instrument or just something for variety.

Overall Rating: 8

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