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.
Where Purchased: From Zachary Hoyt
Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: $1100 ($US)
This is a custom made banjo with a 29" scale length, giving me a slightly shorter than normal long neck banjo. I generally keep this banjo tuned to F, but will occasionally tune down to E. This banjo works very well with both tunings. The tone is very similar to #60, which I previously rated very high as well. It's a walnut banjo with a Whyte Laydie tone ring made by Zach in his shop. It also has a 12" pot and is set up for finger picking (not clawhammer). The tone is very nice. Not too dark and not too bright. It can go from somewhat plinky to somewhat plunky depending on your position on the head. It's a wonderful cross between driving bluegrass and old time sound.
Sound Rating: 10
The setup was very good, as it was on #60 as well. I had Zach set this up for finger picking and he did a great job with it.
Setup Rating: 10
What a beautiful banjo! Seriously, it's understated but has a wonderful old time look about it. The brass hardware looks great and the walnut is beautiful.
Appearance Rating: 10
This is my second Hoyt banjo and I have not had any issues as of yet. I'm going to rate this a 10 due to the fact that the banjo seems very well made, but I don't have enough time with them yet to say for sure.
Reliability Rating: 10
Zach is an absolute pleasure to work with. He answers e-mails quickly and is eager to please.
Customer Service: 10
The hardware on this banjo includes brass tuning pegs, tension hoop, and hooks. I asked him to use a bronze colored Kirchner style tailpiece. The head is a Renaissance. Everything is high quality.
Components Rating: 10
As noted above, this is my second Hoyt banjo. This particular banjo has a 29" scale length and is kept tuned to open F with an occasional change to E. I had this banjo made to match my previous banjo (#60) but with a longer scale length. One thing I need to mention... Unless you stipulate otherwise, Zach builds his banjos with a larger neck than you'll find on most banjos. It's basically the thickness of a guitar neck. Since I play guitar, I find his necks to be PERFECT, but others may not think so. I recommend giving him exact dimensions if you want something different. If you want a particular sound, ask Zach and he'll try to help. Since I play three finger mostly, I wanted a banjo set up for three finger picking. I like Kirchner tailpieces, so he ordered one in the right color for me.
Upon receiving this banjo, I sold my Vega SS-5 long neck. This banjo covers everything the Vega did and for a lot less money. Zach really makes great banjos and sells them for way less than they deserve.
Overall Rating: 10
'dojo bridge' 9 min
'Banjo Heads Again!' 1 hr
'$...' 1 hr