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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!

6951 reviews in the archive.

Zachary Hoyt  Custom Banjo Reviews

Submitted by 2hennepin6 (see all reviews from this person) on 5/19/2018

Where Purchased: From maker

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: 1030 ($US)

Sound

Bright and resonant. Good sustain as well. The internal resonator adds volume. Less plunky and "woody" due to the tone ring and i.r. but still very warm and old time sounding (relative to what I hear in a bluegrass banjo with its resonator and metal).

I really like how slides, pull offs and hammer ons sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up and ready to play on arrival. No changes needed. To this day after 3 months of use. I expected I would need to get used to this banjo but it was comfortable and easy to play right away.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is very beautiful. The pot is a block rim pot made out of cherry. The neck is also cherry with a thin maple center stripe that is present on dowel stick as well. The internal resonator has a striped maple bottom.

I ordered a synthetic ebony substitute called Rocklite Ebano which Zach used for the fretboard and peghead. There was enough left to use a piece for the heel cap as well. I really like its look, function, and durability so far as well. I, or someone can report back next century. I also value it from a sustainability standpoint.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Every thing about this banjo says reliable and well made. Attention to detail by shaping the area around the tuner to match its shape was classy and well done. Zach's custom made hardware-tone hoop, tone ring, dowel stick hardware are all super solid. The tuners are gotoh so no question there. The fifth string tuner is a guitar style Wilkerson tuner for a slotted 5th string.

The finish is tru oil. I imagine it may wear over time more than other finishes but I think it is easier to touch up or recoat. I also think the wear or patina it will develop will look nice. Lacquer finishes may be more durable but don't look good as they wear in my opinion.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Zach provides super customer support. I visited him first to see his shop and play some banjos he had in stock. After that we communicated via email. Customer service was super at every step of the way. As far as I know Zach offers a lifetime warranty. I am sure he would be very helpful and accommodating with any issues that might come up.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Gotoh brass tuning pegs plus guitar style Wilkinson 5th string tuner for slotted 5th string
Zach's custom Whyte Laydie style tone ring
Internal resonator
Renaissance head
Maple bridge made by Zach
Van Eps style tension hoop built by Zach-I really like this style.
I ordered a matching cherry arm rest from Zach which is very comfortable and sharp looking. The square edge of the tension hoop did dig into my arm. Easily remedied with a long sleeve shirt or the arm rest.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am really happy with this banjo-cherry neck and pot with internal resonator and Whyte Laydie style tone ring.  I have no complaints at all.  

It is solid and heavy with the tone ring and resonator.  The connection between the pot and neck is tight and rock solid.  I could bend notes on my old banjo if I put any pressure on the neck.  Not on this one!

Very, very fair pricing for this beautiful banjo.

Super customer service.

I have put all 10s for ratings.  There is nothing for me to fault and much to praise.  I am very happy with this banjo from start to finish. 

I would recommend anyone in the market for an openback banjo consider a Zach Hoyt banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by BoneDigger (see all reviews from this person) on 1/5/2018

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: $1150 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play mostly bluegrass and folk "Americana" musis, so I had Zach build a banjo to my preferred specs. This banjo meets and exceeds my expectations. It is set up for finger picking and gives me exactly the sound I was searching for. I already own a flattop Mastertone style banjo, so I was shooting for something between a bluegrass sound and a clawhammer sound. This banjo delivers that perfectly.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo (#60) is setup perfectly and theinstalled RR spikes are also done well.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is a beautiful walnut banjo with brass hardware. The finish is true oil, which should hold up well. The finish could perhaps be a little more even, so I'll subtract a single point for that.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I just received it yesterday, so I can't attest to it's longevity, but it seems well made.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Zach is a joy to work with. He answered all emails in a timely and courteous fashion. Anything I asked for, he tried his best to accomplish.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Gotoh tuners, Rennaisance head, Kirschner style tailpiece... All parts are good.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

As noted earlier, I had this banjo specially made to my preferences. It is a walnut banjo with a 12" pot. It has a Kirschner tailpiece, bone nut and pip, Rennaisance head, and a Silver Laydie tone ring. It has an understated elegance and is just a wonderful banjo. Setup by Zach for finger picking, this banjo nails the tone I was looking for. I am very happy with this purchase and may order a long neck version with the same setup soon. I highly recommend a banjo from Zach!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by artbyrusty (see all reviews from this person) on 5/21/2017

Where Purchased: Directly from Zach

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo is great. I wanted an openback banjo for easy picking at home on the couch but I play all bluegrass, no frailing. He made the banjo sound great for scruggs style. It is mellow enough to pick in my apartment and can be loud if I need it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The action is perfect on this banjo. It's easy to play and sounds great all over the neck.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The craftsmanship is top notch, it's a great looking banjo. I actually sent a 35 year old neck my dad built for a 1-piece flange and he made it fit an openback pot without altering the neck in case I ever want to put it back on a resonator banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I've only had it a few weeks but it feels really solid and I can't image having any issues in the future.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer service was amazing. Zach worked with me every step of the way and gave me alot of freedom in choosing the wood and materials used on the banjo. He gave me updates on the project frequently and it was a very quick turn around.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Pairing a 35 year old neck to a pot it wasn't made for was not easy task and Zach did an amazing job. The Mahogany pot he made matches the wood of the neck almost perfectly!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I couldn't be happier with the banjo and experience working with Zach. I highly recommend him!

Overall Rating: 10

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