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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!

6918 reviews in the archive.

Recording King  RK- OT25 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by jroman (see all reviews from this person) on 11/16/2015

Where Purchased: recordingkingaus.com.au

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 619 (AUD) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo is super loud for no tone-ring but is lovely and warm sounding. Accurate all the way up the neck. It had a lot of sustain but I tightened the head slightly and it’s much better, especially once I get used to playing it more.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup good right out of the box. Excellent bridge position and string height. Set up by a guitar player so the sustain was a bit long for my taste but just a quick tightening and all good. Came with a T-wrench so that made it even easier.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Looks great. Minimalist simple design that I really like. I only wish it had a paddle shape headstock.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Solid construction, good tuners. For the price this feels super solid to me.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

No problems. $40 for interstate delivery to the door. 3 days from order to my house. Although I had to wait a few months for them to get the banjo in stock (but thats just Australia)

Customer Service: 10

Components

All in all seems good to my eyes. I might swap out the bridge on at some point.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I played one of these in the states and thought it had an amazing sound for the price. Ordered one here in Aus and was not disappointed.

For the price I am super impressed with this banjo. I bought it to upgrade from the complete beginners banjos that I have been playing for the past 3 years. The upgrade was a long time coming but I am super pleased with my purchase.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Phil Brockett (see all reviews from this person) on 7/2/2015

Where Purchased: Woodwind & Brasswind

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 440 ($US)

Sound

Sounds really nice. Has a good bite when sliding. Very pleased with the sound. Loud enough for me. Nice tone. Was looking at getting USA made banjos costing over 2 time the cost of this one. To get a USA made banjo of this quality would easily run $1200 or more new. Normally priced at $549. Bought when Woodwind & Brasswind gave me a giving 20% off coupon on their web site. Couldn't resist. Love the sound. Love everything about this banjo.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Likely a factory setup. Bridge position was marked in pencil. Factory setting was a bit high, but was in published spec for frailing style playing. I thought the necessary adjustments were easy after watching a couple of youtube videos.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

There were no appearance flaws. Appearance-wise it is superior to its competitors.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Everything was good quality. Did replace 5/8 in. $3 bridge that came with it with a 1/2 in. $3 birdge. Tuners were great. Tail piece great. the tuners were real geared banjo tuners. Think it will outlast me.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Little bit concerned about buying from Woodwind & Brasswind because of some general internet comments about it and guitar center. The coupon made the price too attractive to turn down. So I held my breath and ordered. Everything went great. Shipped fast. Got it quicker than promised. Great banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I think the neck and fretboard are very nice. The tuners a top notch. The $3 bridge that came with it was perfectly functional, but slightly cosmetically flawed. I am sure Woodwind & Brasswind would have replaced it, but I didn't want to go through an hassle for a $3 part. So I just ordered two additional $3 bridges from StewMac instead. Again, the bridge that came on it was perfectly functional.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Very pleased with this banjo.   I can set it up and make adjustments easily.   Very good quality for the money.  Based on this purchase, I think Recording King banjos are just great.  Would not hesitate to buy another.  I have never thought that folk instruments should cost a whole lot.  This banjo is pretty much all the banjo I need right now.  Overall, very pleased my purchase and the quality of Recording King banjos.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by bikeman (see all reviews from this person) on 9/9/2014

Where Purchased: EBay

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 449.00 ($US)

Sound

I play an RK-36 for bluegrass and have been very impressed with it. It is a real "work horse" and it's tone has just continued to improve as I have dialed it in over the last year. I was looking for a good banjo that I could set up for clawhammer without breaking the bank and I looked at used Bart Reiter Buckbees and a used Wildwood with Tubaphone ring. Because of my experience with the RK 36 I looked at the OT25 as well. This was a new "B" stock item with a few minor cosmetic dings. It is a maple banjo with satin finish, 1/2" rim and no tone ring, came with a fiberskyn head and scooped neck. I took a chance and ordered the OT25 based on it's price and could not be happier. The components are of similar quality to my RK 36 and while the OT25 is plain in appearance it's tone and volume first class. I set it up with a Renn head, no knot tail piece, ghs JD Crow 145 medium light strings with a 24 4th string. heavy moon bridge, and just a small bit of sheepskin to muffle the overtones and I think it is perfect. The tone is good over the head, and perfect over the scoop. I set the action at 1/8" at the 12th fret. The lack of a tone ring is no problem and the sound is clear with just enough plunk. It was a lacking in base but with the heavier 4th string and the heavy moon bridge it was perfect. It is responsive with a light attack and really cuts without distortion when I play harder. I did remove a bit of the fretboard on the leading edge of the scoop to make room for my thumb and raised the slot in the fifth string nut just a fraction but no other mods were required. The frets were good out of the box. It is not a fancy looking banjo, but in terms of tone and playability, I could not hear any difference between it and banjos costing twice or three times the price. Rich full round tones, just the right amount of plunk, ample volume when needed and clear with lighter attack. The only negative is that the neck is a bit narrow and the 1st string is easily pulled off. This is true with my RK-36 as well and you just learn to play it. A slightly wider neck for the first seven frets would help both models.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I set the banjo up to get the sound I wanted, but it responded to changes very well. The truss rod was fully accessable, the threads on the lug bolts were well cut and worked easily, same with the rods. Everything was "centered" and the neck seems to seat well with the pot.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

this is not a looker, its a player. The finish is decent, but the wood is not highly figured and there is no fancy inlay work. Standard RK block on the headstock. Nothing bad but its not a show piece. Frankly I like the plain look better and don't hesitate to take it out and use it.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

A bit new to tell but it is of similar quality as my RK 36 which has had hard use for the last 18 months and it still looks new. I assume the same for the OT25.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

no experience

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The parts I have changed were changed to get a certain tone, not because the stock parts were defective. The stock banjo was fine, I just wanted a different sound.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Great value. With the proper set up this banjo is all one would ever need. 

The price is not an indicator of the quality. It is a much better banjo than the

price would lead one to believe.

Overall Rating: 10

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