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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!

6867 reviews in the archive.

Pisgah  Custom Banjo Reviews

Submitted by The Prarie Frail (see all reviews from this person) on 7/17/2019

Where Purchased: Online

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: 1860 ($US)

Sound

This Banjo sounds incredible, full stop. The tonal quality is retained all the way up the neck right to my frailing scoop. I chose the persimmon tone ring because I play frailing style. I was searching for a rich but "earthy" tone. After some excellent communication, Patrick and his team guided me towards the wooden tone ring (which was cheaper). One of the distinguishing tonal qualities is the bronze 4th string. It adds such a rich bass sustain that I haven't seen elsewhere.It's something small but the devil is in the details, and this devil can play. I really love the end result which to me sounds like a beautiful instrument made to frail. People take notice of how this banjo sounds.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I loved almost everything about this setup. It shipped internationally and barely needed any tuning. My only complaint is a personal choice. I think the action is a bit too high. Especially for a banjo with the frailing scoop. I haven't endeavored to change this but have treated it as something to get used to. I'm not experienced enough to know if it's something to fix or something to get familiar with. Aside from that I had to adjust the height of the railroad spikes I had them install a little bit. nothing major and very easy. Aside from this it's masterfully setup.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This Banjo is a flat out stunner! I chose a curly maple pot and neck with a vintage head stock (which comes with a standard star inlay). I also chose a goatskin head and aged brass tuners and j hooks. The end result is a dark, sultry, vintage looking banjo that happens to be brand new. It isn't the fanciest banjo I've ever seen but it has class and looks like something that's been made to play. The design is simple, elegant, and exactly what I wanted. I've received numerous compliments and I've only owned it for a month.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I can't speak too much on reliability as I've only owned it for a little over a month. However it is very sturdy and all the parts are very clearly high quality. I really like Pisgah's design for local made hardware and components. It's cool knowing every part of my banjo was made in NA and Patrick and his crew clearly are aware that all components reflect on the end product. I envision myself playing this banjo for the next several decades without a hiccup.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

This is truly where Pisgah Banjo's stand out heads and shoulders above the rest. The customer service I received throughout the entirety of this project was on another level. I changed my mind several times throughout the process. Usually on their recommendation, after I was able to voice my desires more clearly to them. It was an absolute joy to go through the process of getting this build to completion. This was hands down the best shopping experience I've had in my life. AND I never even had the pleasure of meeting the Pisgah crew. They were so fast in response. Let me know certain deadlines for decisions I had to make. Were VERY helpful when it came to helping me make decisions based on my opinion and their expertise.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Build Components: 12" Curly Maple Pot and Neck. Persimmon tone ring. Richlite Neck with dots. Vintage headstock. S - Frialing scoop. Goatskin hide head. Standard tailpiece. Aged Brass Tuners and hardware.

All the Components are very clearly top shelf. The Gotah tuners are perfect and even with the aging process on them. The head is very high quality hide. Even the railroad spikes I had them installed were done to perfection with tone in mind.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The other thing that I found incredibly well done and easy to handle was Pisgah's website. The banjo builder tool is where I started and it was so handy in helping me create my initial vision. It was definitely tweaked and adjusted as time went on but that process was also a delight with the Pisgah banjo teams assistance. It's super helpful for pricing out something that you want.

I would only add some sound bites from each of the different tone ring options as well as maybe a bigger viewing for the wood choices. However they're truly miles ahead of anything else I've seen as far as websites go.

The last thing I would mention is the Pisgah production method. I really admire them for sourcing all of their parts and wood from local and sustainable sources. Also their whole workshop is run on solar and alternative power sources. I doesn't add value to my Banjo but I really applaud them for going the extra mile in this regard.

All in all I'm over the moon delighted with my Pisgah custom banjo. If you're looking for the world's fanciest inlay crazy custom piece. Look elsewhere. But if you need a REALLY high quality sounding instrument that isn't going to break the bank... PISGAH PISGAH PISGAH!!! I added a bunch of choices that increased the price significantly but I would do it again and again. It looks SO freaking nice. I just hope one day I'll be able to do my little beauty justice and really let her sing.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by marktsmall (see all reviews from this person) on 4/26/2018

Where Purchased: Direct from PBCO

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: around $1700 ($US)

Sound

Perfect nice and crisp without being too bright

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I asked that the banjo be set at 1/10" from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the 1st string - that is exactly what arrived

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Walnut w antique brass - very nice - the banjo has a bunch of character and the fit and finish exceeded my expectations - so much so that I ordered another one the week this one arrived. The next one is a different style

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have some top notch instruments, including a Martin 00-45 and several other Martin Custom Shop guitars. I am proud to have this banjo sitting right next to them on any stage. I am also confident that this instrument can take the heat.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Patrick Heavner is the owner of this 5 or 6 person shop. Every communication with him was prompt and helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I love the antique brass hardware. My recollection is that Patrick founded the company that manufactures the hardware. I would not change anything on the banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Has anyone out there tried Pisgah Banjo Co. banjos? I have been playing banjo for a few decades and was ready for a change. I had some very specific ideas about what I wanted for a new banjo, but could not find anything to fit the bill. I looked around on the web and went to some boutique shops up here in Boston. I still could not find what I wanted. I was looking for an A SCALE neck, light weight, antique looking but new, with a few other features. I saw Pisgah banjos in a couple of spots and I thought they played well, were priced reasonably and looked pretty cool, but they still didn't include all of my specs. I emailed Patrick Heavner at Pisgah and he got right back to me. We started communicating, he took all of my specs, gave further input and in less than 3 months, I had exactly the banjo I wanted. (check out the “banjo tool” on their site) 

My Pisgah is absolutely perfect for what I want to accomplish. The look, feel, and right down to my 1/10” at the 12 fret  spec, fits me to a T. My shoulder is loving the 23 1/2” scale too. The banjo has a Victorian peg head, a persimmon tone ring (light weight) walnut neck and rim (light weight). I like this banjo so much that a week after I received it, I ordered another Pisgah;  curley maple, paddle headstock, persimmon tone ring, antique brass… - to use with nyguts. What tops it all off is that the wood used is harvested right there in Asheville where so much of this music was and is being developed. To me that is one notch higher than “made In The USA”. Most importantly, the communication with Patrick was outstanding. I find all of this to a rarity in any marketplace today. If you are looking for a banjo that is perfectly custom and reasonably priced, Pisgah Banjo Co. is the destination. I hope that this post is helpful. Mark T. Small     Please visit www.marktsmall.com

marktsmall

www.marktsmall.com

Mark has played on the bill with; Johnny Winter, Albert Lee, Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe, Coco Montoya, James Cotton, John Mayall, Jimmy Thackary, Shemekia Copeland, Bettye LaVette, Marcia Ball, Toots & The Maytalls, Elmore James JR, David Lindley, Robert Cray, Savoy Brown, Charlie Musselwhite, Jonathan Edwards, Robert Randolph & The Family ...

Overall Rating: 10

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