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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!

6832 reviews in the archive.

Pisgah  Woodchuck Banjo Reviews

Submitted by scalrtn (see all reviews from this person) on 11/30/2018

Where Purchased: Pisgah Banjos (Online)

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: 1604 ($US)

Sound

It sounds just right, not too muddy, not too bright. Very warm. The standard scoop and tailpiece affords variation of timbre.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I had to reset the bridge slightly to correct intonation

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Gorgeous and rock-solid. I custom-ordered all Brass fittings/hardware, standard scale, plain Richlite fingerboard, Vintage headstock with Star inlay, and a Fiberskyn head. It's flawless in construction and appearance.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Looks like it would last a thousand years.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty, they did everything I requested in my order. Fast, courteous response.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I custom-ordered some components that don't come standard (all brass hardware).

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Some notes on my custom 12" Pisgah "Woodchuck" (no. 1293). I opted for all Brass fittings, a Vintage headstock, Standard scale, a plain Richlite fingerboard (side dots only) and a Fiberskyn head. I had to order it special, because Pisgah's design tool doesn't offer Ash (at time of Review) as a wood choice - and Ash is what I wanted. (Price included shipping, hardshell case, extras).

I first visited Patrick at the shop near Asheville last summer, and he was very gracious and hospitable. I got to play just about every model he had (none were completely finished, so the experience was pretty exciting) but he didn't have a Woodchuck at the time. Not that I was looking for one particularly, but I drove over to Acoustic Corner in Black Mountain the next day, and they had one, as well as a Possum. Not sure why, but there was something about the Woodchuck that completely won me over. I paid extra for the ordered modifications, and I was very specific about what I wanted, including string height off the fretboard, and railroad spikes at frets 7 and 9.

I figured I probably would find something I didn't like about it, because I'm so nitpicky - but the banjo actually exceeded my expectations ! The only problem I had was the need for a slight adjustment of the bridge to set correct intonation (which was easy), and locating the production number on the dowel rod. Again, I absolutely love my Pisgah banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by bmifpg (see all reviews from this person) on 10/11/2018

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: $1195 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has a wonderful, full and ringing tone. It fills my room and has excellent volume!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo came fully set up in my opinion and it is an absolute dream to play! The neck is beautiful and the grip suits me perfectly! Obviously, the only thing I had to do was re-tune it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Although somewhat simplistic in design, it is a true work of art in my eyes! The finish is fantastic!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I believe that the hardware and the finish is outstanding! I don’t believe I will ever require another banjo. I am that pleased! This banjo will last me for my lifetime and will be a wonderful family heirloom to cherish!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I chatted online with at least six different people at Elderly Instruments trying to make the best decision for me and my budget. Each individual provided me with enough feedback and assurance that my decision to purchase the Woodchuck was a no brainer for me! I have utilized them for many years and will continue as the need arises.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I believe that this banjo was designed and built to last a lifetime. I am extremely happy and believe that there are no weaknesses!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have several members in my family that play the banjo. All of them are “Scruggs” style players.  I have been intrigued by the old time sound and particularly claw hammer style. I spent about two months researching several makers and models and I always came back to the Pisgah models.  I am a veteran and I think there is nothing better than having something handmade with sustainable hardwoods from North Carolina by folks who have a passion for what they do!  I emailed Patrick at Pisgah right after I received my Woodchuck and he responded within minutes to congratulate me on my purchase and to invite me to the shop for a tour and see where my new friend was created! It was fate for me and as corny as that may sound to most, there was a reason that I kept going back to Pisgah and ultimately, the Woodchuck! I am looking forward to many years of making my new friend, my best friend!

Overall Rating: 10

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

Where Purchased: Reverb

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo has a great dynamic range. From warm and plunky to bright and sweet. It has a lot of volume, but also sounds heavenly with a t-shirt in the pot. Unsurprisingly I play old-time music in the clawhammer style, and the Woodchuck suits this style perfectly.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I'm no expert, but I am very happy with the action when it came to me. I'm not sure if the factory setup had been altered as it was a used banjo, but it felt comfortable to me.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is pretty subjective, but I very much prefer plain banjos as opposed to those with a lot of ornate inlay. It feels strange to be playing working-class music on a fancy instrument. The woodchuck is plain, yet beautiful. The brass against the black pot adds a touch of class.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The word I would use to describe this banjo is solid. It seems like it could handle gigging without breaking a sweat. I don't feel any need for a backup. The hardware is all very high quality.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Patrick is a pleasure to talk to and I am confident he would do anything within reason to solve any problems I had. I bought the instrument used, so I am unaware of Pisgah's warranty policy.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The rolled brass tone ring sounds killer. There is absolutely no need to upgrade any of the parts on this banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Overall this is a stellar mid-tier banjo that can easily duke it out with the best of them. I previously played a very low-end Epiphone banjo and quickly realized I needed an upgrade. If you are looking to upgrade from your beginner banjo but don't have thousands to spend; this is the banjo for you. The care and passion is evident in the quality of the Pisgah Woodchuck and I could happily play it for the rest of my life. 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by pfosinger (see all reviews from this person) on 3/22/2017

Where Purchased: Acoustic Corner

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: 1045 ($US)

Sound

To my unschooled ear, the Woodchuck is the perfect blend of warm and biting, full and focused. I spend some time comparing it to a Wildwood Mistrel, another very fine instrument, and found the Woodchuck to have better projection, without being too bright. In a band with fiddles and guitars, it might not cut through like a tubaphone, but the sound is perfect for me.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect setup, almost as if the maker is right down the road (which he is).

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Not an ornate instrument, which is one of the things I love about it. Richlite fretboard, black headstock, and black ash rim make this a very classy banjo. I love its simplicity. Best of all, part of the Pisgah mission is to use native North Carolina woods (the richlite is not wood, per se, but is certainly sustainable, fitting the company's mission). Only improvement I might have wished for would be dispensing with the dot position makers. But that's a quibble.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

These are not an assemblage of parts from here and there. Pisgah makes most of their own hardware, very high quality. As the resident picker at Acoustic Corner told me, This instrument will last you your entire journey.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Patrick Heavner in Asheville makes these instruments, and he's very personable and eager to talk about his instruments. I corresponded with him and spoke with him on the phone, and found him patient and friendly. Invited me to come over and visit the shop in Asheville, which I plan to do some day.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing cheap, nothing weak. The instrument is sturdy and solid, a joy to hold.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I live in North Carolina, and have hugged a few trees along the way, so I found the company's mission of sustainability very compelling even before I picked up one of the instruments. For me, their sourcing of local woods is not a compromise, it's an enhancement. These are not bluegrass-style instruments with exotic woods and frilly inlays (which, personally, I find ostentatious)—they let the sound do the talking, and the sound does not disappoint.

Their little Woodchuck may be their entry-level instrument, but it fits me perfectly. I have three very fine guitars--a Bourgeois, a Martin, and a Taylor--but the Pisgah is not a poor cousin. Visually, it's subtle and elegant, and the sound is killer. Very happy with my purchase.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Twangcat (see all reviews from this person) on 9/16/2016

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 1,095 ($US)

Sound

From ringing sustain to traditional clucks the Pisgah Woodchuck produces the full spectrum of sounds for clawhammer style. Strung with d'Addario mediums it is bright and balanced without being metalic when played near the bridge, and is throaty with good separation when played over the scoop.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was great for me when I received the banjo and I have not found need to alter it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I prefer instruments with minimal bling and the Woodchuck suits that preference nicely. The pot and neck are both ash with black on the pot and walnut stain on the neck. Zinc dots contrast nicely with the Richlite fingerboard. The hardware is a mix of nickel and brass that work well together. The overall appearance of the banjo is appealing and speaks to its utility.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I see no flaws or basis for thinking the hardware will not withstand years of playing in any conditions.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Though I did order my Woodchuck from Elderly Instruments, I communicated both by phone and email with Patrick Heavner prior to receiving it. He reponded promptly in both formats, quickly answering my questions, confirming some logistics associated with the shipment, and generally being helpful and friendly. Knowing the makers of my musical instruments and establishing a friendly working relationship with them has always been an important and necessary piece of what I consider in the decision to buy a particular piece. Patrick has been great all along the path.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No faulty or under performing components. I don't envision any upgrades being necessary.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am very pleased with this purchase.  I wanted a good quality open back banjo with a 12" pot, short scale (25.24"), scooped fretboard, and reliable components.  The Pisgah Woodchuck checks all of those boxes at a very competitive price point including a well padded, durable Access gig bag.  I look forward to playing and enjoying my Woodchuck for many years to come, and will unquestionably consider the Pisgah Banjo Company for future purchases...perhaps a fretless someday down the road!

Overall Rating: 10

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