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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!

7121 reviews in the archive.

Bishline  Harvest Banjo Reviews

Submitted by northernbelle (see all reviews from this person) on 5/23/2021

Where Purchased: bishlinebanjos.com

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Rob Bishline's mahogany "Harvest" model neck (only). But the neck greatly improved the sound of the pot, responsiveness and helped reduce some overtones with a Siminoff top tension pot along with Rob's great set up. Sounds fantastic and better than it ever did over the last 40 years I've owned this banjo.
I play Scruggs/Melodic style mostly but have used the instrument in recording studios for "faux" Irish Tenor, clawhammer styles etc. This instrument is a cannon and is adaptable for many styles.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up was perfect and exactly to my requested specs. Action as low as possible.
I asked for a Kirshner style tailpiece so that I could do quick subtle adjustments for studio work and the Siminoff Top Tension pot with a Stew Mac TR has a lot of overtones and I felt that style reduced them the best with more mass. Tuning pegs, tailpiece, bridge were all Bishline as was the head logo (Remo). The tuners have beautiful Amber knobs.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The mahogany "Harvest" model neck I requested for my old Roger Siminoff pot is absolutely gorgeous, had impeccable craftsmanship and finish.
I requested stainless steel frets and they were crowned, finished and polished superbly.
I now wish I'd requested larger side dots as I requested figured maple binding and I'm a geezer now! (but that's on me). I also asked for figured maple binding on the headstock which came out beautifully and receives many nice compliments at jams, etc.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The finish was absolutely incredible! A modern UV finish that's tough as nails. Zero strap wear or hand wear, etc. I think you'd need sandpaper or a file to do any damage.
Even though It's a Bishline neck on a different pot and resonator the (same) finish was applied to my 40 year old unfinished mahogany Stew Mac resonator which Rob inlaid figured maple into the concentric ring routed channels before UV finishing. I was astounded how beautifully it brought the grain out. Flawless application and polishing. He also stained and finished the unfinished Siminoff rim to match everything else.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

SUPER friendly, extremely helpful, polite and patient and communication was outstanding when checking in during the build/assembly from halfway around the world on a ship!

Rob's standard model banjos list his warrantee on his site. I anticipate no repairs to be needed for years if ever.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Rob's wood binding and stainless steel frets and UV perfect finish are all stand outs.
No weaknesses or cheapness anywhere. A very high level of craftsmanship and caring.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

l.) I wasn't sure that Rob Bishline would do one of his standard model necks for an old pot and resonator of a different brand but he agreed right away. This is over a year ago now (pre-covid 2020) so you'd have to ask if he still is willing now. I may have been the lst request for him to do so but I don't know for sure.

2. Rob and his staff were hands down, the BEST customer service and helpful business I have ever dealt with.  We literally worked up the order and discussed the job along the way while I was halfway around the world on a ship!  His communication was continuous and super helpful and polite even though I was OCD to the Nth degree in my emails and cell phone specs. discussions/checks because I was away from civilization during the build. 
He (they) was completely patient, cheery and personable and they did exactly what they said they would on a long list of custom features (binding, ss frets gold tuners/tailpiece, etc.  

If I had more money and didn't have the huge sentimentality of the original  unfinished Stew Mac resonator (this was my "Wedding Banjo" from 40 years back) played in memorable concerts, recordings etc. I would have gone for one of Bishline's gorgeous exotic wood backed resonators.  

FINALLY, I owe Rob and staff a HUGE apology for not writing a review MUCH sooner. 2020 was a heck of a year for all of us and we have been "otherwise occupied".

I feel very guilty for not getting to this sooner but it's my goal to send business Bishline's way as they are most certainly among the finest builders and luthiers in the U.S.  I want to reward good service, craftsmanship and honesty by sending as many people as I can to them. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

Although I don't own a FULL Bishline banjo (just the neck and finish on the resonator) I have played standard Bishline banjos with his tone ring, pot, resonator and they are wonderful instruments.  Playing someone's  Harvest banjo at a festival jam convinced me immediately to contact Bishline.  I have zero connection with Rob other than as a customer but he/they earned all "10"s from me because he/they absolutely deserved them.

I'm eternally grateful that Rob was willing to do this custom "parts banjo" job for me.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by camlan (see all reviews from this person) on 1/19/2020

Where Purchased: Morgan Music

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This maple Harvest is one great sounding Bluegrass banjo. It is a tad more clear sounding than my Huber, but still delivers great volume and growl. The sound is still perfect for Bluegrass, but those playing more modern genres will appreciate its clarity and balance. It can be played very loudly or can produce sweeter tones at lower volumes, it has wonderful range. See video on Bishlline website to see of what I speak.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

What can I say, perfect out of the box! Great action and I find this banjo super easy to play. It would be my most playable banjo out of the 12 I have owned.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Just look at the website. It reminds me of a Deering Calico at 50% of the price. The quality of the wood, stain, inlays and workmanship are unbelievable. I have owned Stellings and Hubers and this banjo is right there on quality.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have only owned it a short while but this thing looks bomber. It stays in tune well and I have had no issues whatsoever.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Morgan Music are great to deal with, Alvin and his team are very polite and service oriented, they try to make things work. My banjo was well shipped and packed. Rob Bishline did not sell me the banjo and yet he was willing to offer all sorts of helpful advice on what model was right for me and even on details of setup. Don't be afraid to discuss your dream banjo with this builder, he'll set you up!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tuners, flange, ring, hardware, and woods are all top notch, what you would find on a $4500 banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I was going to buy a Deering Calico which is a fine instrument. I had tried several. But I find the Harvest every bit as beautiful and amazing sound-wise but even better on growl, clarity of notes, and it is lighter. I think it is 2+ lbs lighter than my Stelling and I can now stand with my banjo in the Bluegrass circle. It blows me away that a banjo that has this aesthetic, sound quality, and playability is $1500+ less than comparable banjos. Buy this banjo, you will not regret it!!

Overall Rating: 10

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