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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!

6978 reviews in the archive.

Pisgah  12" Rambler Special with Dobson Tone Ring Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Mudderhen (see all reviews from this person) on 5/3/2019

Where Purchased: Spendrift Guitars

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: $1100 ($US) (bought USED)


This is the third banjo I have owned and, like many, I started with a Goodtime (12" Americana) and have been in search of that perfect tone. My second was a Deering Deluxe, but I was still searching - until I discovered this gem. The sound is crisp and clear - just bright enough and just deep enough to call it a very well-balanced sound. The Renaissance head and Dobson TR are a great combination for a really responsive result.

Sound Rating: 10


The setup is "nice". It took some getting used to since the action is set a little higher, even with a 1/2" bridge, than either of my other banjos but it didn't take long and now I really like it this way so it is the way it will stay.

Setup Rating: 10


This banjo is a "looker!" It has an aged-looking copper spun rim with aged brass hardware. The neck is walnut with a beautiful grain and finished to a very smooth luster. It feels great to my hand. I love the plain paddle type peghead with no design and no fret markers on the face of the neck. This is just personal preference, but that plain-jane look is something I was after. The side fret markers are nicely done in brass and it came ready-to-play with RR spikes already installed at #'s 7-9-10.

Appearance Rating: 10


The hardware on this instrument looks top-notch. I have no reason to doubt that it will last the life of the banjo without having issues. The fret wire is on the large side compared to the others, but I find I'm using an easier touch for fretting and sliding and getting good results.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I did have occasion to deal with the company. There is no armrest on my banjo and I am really more comfortable using one. However, I could not find anything with hardware to match the aged brass or copper and I did not want to add something that looks like it does not belong. So, I sent an email to the company web site to ask where I can source one and within an hour Patrick emailed me back to say that if I purchase one on their web site and add a note regarding exactly what I want, they would make one with aged brass hardware. Additionally, he made a suggestion as to which armrest might be more comfortable. I think that is a portrait of what excellent service should look like.

Customer Service: 10


Everything about this banjo from the walnut neck and dowel to the aged hardware seems solid. The stock Renaissance head has a great sound and, in fact, I've noticed others in my circle of friends use this same head. There is nothing cheap about the construction and it looks to be done with the utmost craftsmanship.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Perception of excellent tone is very subjective. As I mentioned, I was searching for what I think is ideal for me right now and this Pisgah Rambler Special is it. Will it be my last? Probably not - I'll get the bug and purchase something different at some point in the future that satisfies another type of tonal quality, but I think this one will always be a "keeper".

Overall Rating: 10

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