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!
7088 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: eBay music store
I picked this up as a warranty return. I was looking for a travel banjo that wouldn’t break the bank. Out of the box it was bad. 5 string buzz, unresponsive, dull and hollow. Sustain 2 out of 5.
Sound Rating: 5
Between Ibanez and the retailer someone really dropped the ball on this. Starting at the top the strings had too much wound on the post. 5th string had cut into the binding and buzzed on the 5th fret as the peg was cut too deep. The neck was loose as was the head. Tailpiece was non adjustable because it was mis-stamped during manufacture. Resonator was loose and couldn’t tighten it due to jacked thread inserts.
Setup Rating: 1
The tree inlay up the neck is the one and only one feature that’s nice on this instrument. The gloss shellac is thick as on most Asian banjos. Hardware is devoid of flash but looks like what it is, cheap. Under the resonator, base of heal were a couple nicks from something. Did it leave the factory like this? I hope not.
Appearance Rating: 6
Hardware is thin and while shiny it’s still grainy because plating is so thin. 2 piece flange is OK overall. Tuners are ok with a moderate amount of slop in them. 5th string tuner seemed out of position. The tailpiece like I said, not made right and thin, just not good.
Reliability Rating: 2
N/A on this one. I can say that I got some of the original paperwork with the banjo and no customer service # anywhere. The website does have contact information but I have no experience.
Customer Service: 5
The acrylic neck and headstock inlay are nice.
The pot and neck made from sapele wood. An African mahogany replacement. The block rim has 4 blocks.
Armrest is ok.
Chip wood resonator.
Felt on resonator heel notch not glued in.
Components Rating: 2
Avoid unless it's free. Sorry to say.
so I fixed each and every issue and sound was improved from a 1 to a 5. All the money here is in the neck so the pot is so cheap as to ruin the whole thing.
Overall Rating: 3
Where Purchased: Connors Music
This banjo really does bark for something in it's price range - I couldn't believe that they were able to get a tone ring in for this price! : )
I think putting this up against banjos that are in a higher price bracket would be unfair, but I'm blown away at the sound for the price and my rating is based on price to sound ratio!
Sound Rating: 8
I work at the store, so obviously I'm a little biased as to how it was setup, so I won't rate that - but I will say that unlike other brands of banjo we've had in our shop, this one comes with the bridge in a separate plastic package so make sure you purchase it from a store where you can trust their banjo setups
Setup Rating: 8
The inlay work along the fretboard and headstock is certainly nice and the scroll work on the arm rest as well - even the added attention to the tail piece is nice on the eyes :)
Appearance Rating: 9
I would use this at a gig, although I would have to put a pickup in it - it does come stock with a standard planetary tuner, but I could see myself upgrading that in the future -
Reliability Rating: 8
The music store does a one year, in-store warranty but I can't say anything about how Ibanez will be for parts and whatnot - so really, it's too soon to tell -
Customer Service: 8
Again, focusing on the price - that a banjo in this price range could have a tone ring, planetary tuners, and the nice scroll work and inlays - makes me a happy banjo player!
Components Rating: 8
I think Ibanez has taken a leap back into the banjo market and the B200 is a great step back into the field! Looking forward to see what Ibanez does next!
Overall Rating: 8
'Saint James Infirmary' 3 hrs