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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!

7163 reviews in the archive.

Zachary Hoyt  Cherry 5 String Open Back #16 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by cottontop (see all reviews from this person) on 5/15/2015

Where Purchased: Direct from Zachary Hoyt

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: $650 historic exchange rates / currency converter


I expected a hollow type open back sound, but was pleasantly surprised by its fairly bright sound; i.e., not to loud, but not dull at all. Play it toward the bridge and you will get a brighter blue grass type sound; play it closer to the neck and the sound mellows out a bit. I feel that for me, it is the perfect compromise. I'm sure the block rim adds to this banjo's projection and great sound.

Sound Rating: 10


The banjo was perfectly set up and required nothing but minor tuning up and it was ready to play. The playability and action is perfect. The strings are just the right height from the fret board; not too high and not too low. The handmade bridge looks almost too simple, but no need to change it as I believe it lends to the bright sound. The banjo was also very well wrapped and packaged for shippment.

Setup Rating: 10


The banjo has a Tru-Oil finish that is a kind of semi gloss. I have used Tru-Oil on gun stocks and it is good stuff. The banjo is absolutely beautiful as I believe that its intrinsic simplicity lends to its over all beauty. The cherry wood is lighter than I thought it would be, but not as light as maple (which to me is almost too light in color). I would describe it as looking a bit like maple, but with a reddish hue. Simple maple dots on the jabota wood fret board adds to its simple yet functional design, and a beautiful and functional block rim lends to its great sound and good looks. I found no flaws in the finish.

Appearance Rating: 10


I know for a fact that Tru-Oil is a great durable finish as I have used it myself for years on other items. It will last. The hardware looks like it is quality stuff and not cheap or chinzy at all. I like the No-Knot tail piece. I would not hesitate to take this banjo to the coffee houses where I have performed in Tampa for years with no back up. I think it will be completely dependable.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Zachary Hoyt is an honest standup guy. We communicated via emails for several days before I finally bought the banjo. I know that if anything should go wrong with the banjo, he will make it right, but I don't expect any problems. Zachary's shipping is also extremely fast. I paid for the banjo on Wednesday and received it on Friday.

Customer Service: 10


There is nothing cheap about this banjo at all. The 5-Star tuners are great and so is the No-Knot tailpiece. The brackets are solid also.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

For a beautiful looking and sounding open back with a simple elegance at a very reasonable price, you can't go wrong whether you are going to play in a concert hall or on the back porch. This banjo and I am sure that any other banjo that Zachary Hoyt makes is a one of a kind piece of original American folk art that anyone will be proud to own and proud to play. One could not find a better open back for even a lot more money. I believe that Zachary Hoyt will become one of the premier banjo makers of our time.

Overall Rating: 10

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