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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.

Schattl Conversion  Vega Little Wonder Conversion Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Kimerer (see all reviews from this person) on 7/31/2017

Where Purchased: Direct Purchase from Gary Schattl

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: 899 ($US)

Sound

The sound is bright but full. It is loud enough that I can play with less force on the strings than I am used to. It has a very nice sound. I play frailing style and finger style with no picks. Even without picks it is plenty loud.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo is strung with steel strings. The action is low for easy playing, and there is no fret buzz. It plays in tune all the way up the neck. The third string might benefit from some gentle compensation, but that is not unusual on a banjo. I have made no changes to the setup. It arrived completely playable.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Gary made a maple neck with a walnut stringer, heel cap, and peghead overlay. The neck is maple and stained perfectly to match the color of the mahogany pot. The hardware is in excellent shape. I have found no flaws with the banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have just received the banjo, so I have very little time on it so far. However, the construction appears to be rock solid, and I anticipate having no problems with it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Gary shipped the banjo very quickly. It arrived in perfect order in just a few days. Excellent experience.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The pot is in surprisingly good shape given its age (about 92 years). The new neck that Gary built fits in perfectly with the pot and is very solid and well made. The neck is bound, with side dots. The inlay is excellent. The tuning machines are smooth and solid. Very nicely done.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This banjo is a Vega Little Wonder pot from circa 1925 combined with a new 5 string neck. The hardware on the pot is original and in excellent condition. The banjo has a Little Wonder tone ring in it and a new head. The sound is wonderful. The neck is new by Gary, and fits seamlessly with the old pot both visually and mechanically. It is a short scale neck that is 23 1/2" from bridge to nut, which is what I was looking for since it helps me reach the more complex chord positions. I have it tuned to standard G tuning, and it plays just fine at that tuning. The banjo plays in tune all the way up the neck. The third string might benefit from some gentle compensation, but I have not made any changes because there is no noticeable intonation problem when playing. Gary put a truss rod in the neck, so it is strung with steel strings. It feels very solid.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by PeterKSiegel (see all reviews from this person) on 7/23/2017

Where Purchased: Direct from Gary Schattl

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: 999 ($US)

Sound

Exquisite sound for frailing. Delicate transparent sound but plently loud.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup seems perfect. I have not made any changes.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Yes, Gary fashioned a maple and walnut neck that looks great with the original Vega pot.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo is rock solid. The pot has already been around for 90 years and the neck will last another 90!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I just got it. There were a few emails between us and everything went smoothly.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything is solid, either original vega parts or high-quality hardware replacements.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The pot on this banjo is an original Vega Little Wonder pot made in 1924. At that time tenor banjos were all the rage, and the Little Wonder was only made as a tenor. It turns out that when fitted with a 5-string neck, the Little Wonder is a great-sounding banjo for frailing.

This banjo does indeed sound great. Gary has equipped it with a maple neck with walnut trimmings, and the neck is extremely comfortable. It practically plays itself. The neck has a truss rod which is accessed through the heel end to preserve the antique look of the banjo.

 

Overall Rating: 10

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