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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!

6919 reviews in the archive.

Recording King  RKOS-06 Starlight Open-Back Banjo Reviews

Submitted by OlJim (see all reviews from this person) on 11/8/2018

Where Purchased: Zinn Music, Rockbridge, Ohio

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: About $300 ($US) (bought USED)


I would describe the sound as bright. Not as loud as some banjos but an attractive and lively sound. I played about 10 used banjos in the shop and picked this one.

Sound Rating: 7


Banjo played well as purchased. Only thing I have did was a quick surface cleaning but that’s when I discovered an issue with bracket.

Setup Rating: 6


It looks like a dolled up cheap banjo. The tuners are little guitar tuners. The printing on the head stock looks cheap. The fret board and bindings look nice... kind of a tortoise shell... I liked the yellow enamel... something different.

Appearance Rating: 7


Well the tuners just feel cheap! My teacher said they will hold up fine but they feel cheap. The banjo does feel pretty solid.

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

Recording King customer service is bad. One of the brackets came loose and the screw was too short to get the threads to catch to reattach it. Recording King was zero help! Authorized reseller finally got out the Stewart Macdonald catalog and we found what we needed.

Customer Service: 1


I like the paint and bindings... tuners feel and look cheap.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I bought the banjo to support that little music store.  I always buy stuff from independent music stores... even if it’s just some picks and a song book not usually an instrument.  The bracket came loose right after I bought it which was disappointing and turned out to be a pain to repair.  It’s a fine front porch banjo, the yellow color is unique but I would not run out and get another.  So nothing to get excited about.  

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by Mr Walden (see all reviews from this person) on 7/22/2014

Where Purchased: eBay

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 159 ($US)


I play clawhammer, and it has a very appropriate tone for it. It gets more compliments on its sound than other banjos I have played, whether with or without tone rings. It has strong volume without being overpowering. I have no complaints about the sound.

Sound Rating: 9


Though the seller said that it was set up, it was not. I had to set it up myself, but it was no harder to set up than most. The action was good, and didn't need any adjusting for clawhammer.

Setup Rating: 6


It looks good. I got the "Midnight" color, which is a relatively dark grey, and thus the conservative choice in the Starlight series. The only inlays are plain position marker dots. It also has ivory-colored fretboard binding, with black position dots.

The biggest fault is that the grey paint started coming off at the edges immediately. That's a big flaw. I compared it against a cheap model Johnson banjo that I've had for some years, and played a lot, and the Johnson hasn't rubbed off at all.

Appearance Rating: 6


The hardware seems well-made, and the workmanship of the whole thing seems solid, but the insufficient paint on a line whose main selling point seems to be the paint job is a big issue.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I have not dealt with the company. It has a non-transferrable limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Customer Service: 8


The tailpiece works well. It has decent geared tuners.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

If you don't mind a finish that won't hold up, it is a good banjo, and I'd recommend it if you can find it on discount.

Overall Rating: 7

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