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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!

7079 reviews in the archive.

Backyard Music  Fireside Banjo Banjo Reviews

Submitted by JSutkowski (see all reviews from this person) on 4/27/2014

Where Purchased: Newport Folk Festival

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 149 ($US)

Sound

Bright sound! It resonates beautifully and I especially like the natural reverb when I play single notes high up the fret board. I even like to use it to write songs strumming. Since it's light I can bring it anywhere and never get exhausted playing it as I do with regular full-weight banjos (being a smaller human with not hulk-like strength). Also it holds its tune as well as my best instruments.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I haven't made any changes but I think it would be fairly easy to do so. It was set up realy well.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

BEAUTIFUL! It's a simple design with an open back (which accounts for that great resonance I mentioned). It has a little scene carved in on the front of desert, mountains, and a couple cacti. Really nice. The contrast between the darker caramel Nicaraguan Mahogany of the fretboard and the light color of the hoop - which is "resin-impregnated fiberboard manufactured by Remo for hand drums." Again - a smart choice and accounts for some of that resonance, I'm sure!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I am not a hard-on-my-instruments type player so I'm the wrong person to ask about this. Like, I'm not sure it would withstand the playing style of one of my friends (Who I've seen literally bleed on his acoustic guitar, tear up the back of it with his belt buckle, etc.) and I'm not going to test it out on him. Seriously, though, it is very well made and I would definitely use it on a gig without a backup. It's light - but I think, as such, if you were to drop it it would probably hold up OK.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

SO friendly and nice. I bought this banjo at the Newport Folk Festival and we had a lovely chat while I was browsing. They seemed genuinely excited that I was taking home one of their creations. In fact - the reason I ended up reviewing it here is because I emailed them recently to tell them how much I still enjoy playing their banjo and they alerted me to this site (wrote back to me right away). Good question on the warranty - my guess is they would happily fix it if anything were to go wrong (but I didn't ask about a warranty and I don't remember if they offered one). Judging by their low prices and high quality I think they're in it for the right reasons and really care.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything is great.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am so glad I bought this banjo instead of a full-size full-weight one. Personally, for someone who wants to be able to easily play for a while it is a great choice. It's excellent in its simplicity and beautiful, sounds twangy but resonant at the same time. Easy to play. Just singing its praises makes me want to go pick it up now - and that's exactly what I'm going to do. 

Overall Rating: 10

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