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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!

7190 reviews in the archive.

Quail Creek Banjos  11" Custom Bent Mtn Bear  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Quigg (see all reviews from this person) on 6/25/2020

Where Purchased: Bought direct from Quail Creek Banjos

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: $1960 ($US)


I am a relatively new Scruggs style player and wanted a much lighter banjo than my Gibson Granada which is HEAVY for a 60 year old in long practices. So I opted for a lighter, open back banjo. Lindsey at Quail Creek Banjos has dialed in the sound I wanted for an open back. Clean, warm without being muddy. The wood, Dobson tone ring, goat skin head and other components allow me to play primarily Scruggs style albeit with a nod to the Blue Ridge mountain sound. Lindsey listened carefully to my desires and nailed it. Obviously, fairly quickly I will need to learn the right hand "claw" so I can add a little clawhammer style to my repertoire!

Sound Rating: 10


Very well set up (and bubble wrapped and packed I might add). All I had to do was install the bridge post shipping. Action is perfect. The frets on this custom banjo are a bit more robust and higher than my resonator Gibson Granada but I will quickly get use to that. I recommend a wood armrest as open back tension hoops are a bit uncomfortable on my right forearm. I am an unusual customer in that I bought an open back primarily to have a lighter banjo that I could use for three finger "Scruggs style" Bluegrass.

Setup Rating: 9


Oh my goodness this banjo is stunning. LOOK AT IT! Beautiful CUSTOM inlay of a bear on the head stock, an outline of Bent Mountain at the 5th fret and a one an only custom inlay of a black bear print at the scoop. Brass dots are classy and subtle. And did I mention the warm, slightly textured goat skin head? The rich, antique brown, custom stain and the aged brass tension hoop and hooks make my new banjo look like it is vintage era

Appearance Rating: 10


I requested 10:1 Rickard tuners which are a God-send. All other hardware is top tier stuff. While a light banjo, it is rock solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

If I could, I would rate Quail Creek Banjos and Lindsey as a 15!! Seriously, Lindsey is the most attentive and helpful builder I have met. (My daughter is a singer/songwriter in Nashville so I have worked with a good number of top builders and luthiers). Lindsey listens. He has the knowledge and skills to create a custom banjo ANY player would love to have. Bet you won't find many if any used ones for sale because they are too special to give up. Did I mention that the entire process was fun and Lindsey's passion and sharing of update photos and videos made it more more fun?

Customer Service: 10


No cheap parts on this banjo. Lindsey doesn't use second rate material sand parts. While I am relatively new to open back banjos, I have not seen but one or two banjos out of 15 different brands that even come close. Again, my personal taste would be to add an armrest for comfort but that is an easy fix. Here are the specifics: Bent Mountain Banjo

- 25.5" scale
- 11" rim
- Rickard 10:1 tuners
- Dobson tone ring
- Aged brass hardware
- Goat skin head
- Figured maple
- Dobson heel
- Ebony peghead
- Ebony fingerboard
- Dowel stick
- Paddle-shaped peghead
- Carbon fiber rod
- Seeders bridge
- Hawkeye tailpiece
- Frailing scoop
- Bone nut

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

There are many good open back banjos on the market.  Nechville, Ome, Bart Reiter, Pisgah, Rickard, Chuck Lee and others.  I have played a few of these and they are well made,  all great instruments. 


That said, the quality, custom design, custom inlay and voicing and tone of Quail Creek Banjos coupled with A++ service and update photos and videos while the banjo was in production was super fun. The price was less than I expected and more than fair

Here is a video clip:

Here are some photos:




Overall Rating: 10

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