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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!

6919 reviews in the archive.

Deering  Calico  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by wygyg (see all reviews from this person) on 11/1/2016

Where Purchased: janet davis music

Year Purchased: 1980
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I have owned a couple of calico banjos. Both were fabulous machines. I have also done set up for around 30 years so I have an adequate basis for comparisons. They compare to high end gibsons, wildwoods (love those), and many of the the other high end machines.

A quality banjo with the proper set up is a beautiful thing. I was blessed to touch so many built in the 80s and 90s,

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

I bought only new instruments and did my own set up work. If anyone has questions I would be glad to reply.

Most set up banjos are the manufacturers best guess on what you want. If you can find someone who can fine tune the set up to your playing style you will usually be quite pleasedl

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

All of the deerings I worked on were very well made.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Top notch hardware.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Did not really have need to rely on others for any kind of work. Must of what set up is......is personal preference.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Deering components are very nice. Never had a complaint.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would be glad to chat with anyone who has questions.

Roger 
211 S. 6th Street Until 504
Cocoa Beach, FL.  32931

Phone: 309-242-0867

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by dpdevendra (see all reviews from this person) on 5/30/2015

Where Purchased: Amazon

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 3,700 ($US)

Sound

I play mostly bluegrass Scruggs style. I like a bright sound I have tuned the head up to about 90 pounds per the drum meter and I am liking this sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

These was no setup required when purchased. The bridge and head were all set and ready to go. Just a little tune up. The action was spot on and has been for the last 7 months.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I am blind but everyone who sees this banjo comments on its appearance and how beautiful it looks.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

There is no doubt this banjo is reliable. I take it to my weekly jam session as well as an out of town banjo camp with no issues. As much as I play this banjo, there has been no real sign of wear.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I am the original owner so a lifetime warranty. I have not had too much need for customer service. I did ask about head tension and banjo tune up and received very detailed information in a timely fashion.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Every thing was good. One screw that holds the resinator only fits one of the nuts. That is the only flaw I can find. Tuners stay well. I played for an hour one night, travelled a 100 miles away and the banjo was still in tune from the night before.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I played my gold star banjo about 30 years ago.  About a year ago I decided to pick it back up.  I love the gold star but I was looking for something that had a brighter sound.  I looked around for the most expensive banjo I could afford that met my needs.  Since I am blind I need a reliable instrument that does not require a lot of tuning and setup.  From my research the Deering Calico looked like the banjo for me.  I ordered online from Amazon about 7 months ago and have not been disappointed   in my purchase.  I play at least an hour a day with up to 4 hours a day on the weekend.           I am in love with this banjo.  Every time I take it out I get a big smile.  Then I play it and it makes my soul feel good.  This is not just a banjo, this is my meditation.  There are probably better banjos and I could have played and tried out more banjos.  I cannot imagine liking or enjoying any banjo better.  My Gold Star must feel lonely in its case for the last 7 months.

  

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by roadstar75 (see all reviews from this person) on 12/27/2013

Where Purchased: Amazon

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 2883 ($US)

Sound

Very rich sounding, a huge improvement on the GoodTime Classic II-of course. This is a professional level banjo in the hands of an amateur.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

All I had to do was tune it up a bit, did not take much. Since I am a beginner I can't imagine fiddling with anything, leaving it all stock, no need to mess with Mother Nature.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very nice maple, flawless high gloss finish on the entire instrument. No complaints at all.
rated it a 10 after playing it for a while now. Really well made.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

High quality to say the least,
The case is higher quality than pictured on the Deering website. It is a TKL concept case retails for $199.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty as original buyer. Did not contact regarding this purchase, but they are very helpful from my personal limited exposure.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The person playing it could use an upgrade to being a better player...that will take some time.

Components Rating: 3

Overall Comments

This was a huge step up, but now I'll never need to upgrade again, no doubt about that.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by rickylacke (see all reviews from this person) on 11/12/2013

Where Purchased: Deering Banjo Company

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 4659 ($US)

Sound

After my setup the sound is good. But for the price I paid for the banjo, I should not have had to spend extra time and money to get it right !

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Trust Rod and Coordinator Rod needed to be adjusted, bridge and head need to be upgraded. Deering's setup was very poor.

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

Looks good, but I didn't like the Deering head with their cheesy logo on it. I changed it to better quality head, and lost the logo!

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Hardware is good.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I dealt with Carolina Bridges who was not helpful or friendly. She is arrogant, and not customer centric. Her attitude is terrible, she acts as if she is doing you a big favor by selling you a Derring banjo.

Customer Service: 1

Components

The screws in the Deering planetary tuners are cheap and strip easily.The neck is a bit bulkier then other higher end banjos I have played.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

The banjo is way overpriced for what it is.

The Calico is a good banjo, but it is not worth the selling price.

The Deering Banjo Company is not customer centric, and the banjo arrived very poorly setup. The Deering Banjo Company ​is very dismissive of customer concerns. I would never buy from them again. The company's arrogant attitude exists with everyone I talked to at this company.

Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for a high end banjo !​

Deering only posts positive reviews on their website, so don't bother doing a review on their website unless it is 100% positive. I guess its part of the Deering propaganda agenda.

Overall Rating: 3

Submitted by mikewood7 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/5/2013

Where Purchased: Eagle music

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: () historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds absolutley beautiful. I cannot express how pleased how I am with my Calico.
I play bluegrass and it suits me perfectly.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It was set up right out of the box,just a slight tune up and that was it.
The action is spot on and so easy to play.
I had been playing it a month,and it started to sound a bit woolly so I checked the tightness of the head,which had by now stretched a little.
I tightened it up about an eighth of a turn and its now back to normal.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Stunning honey maple wood with tiger stripes up the neck.
Unusual inlay up the neck along with calico name.
Check my pics of it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Absolutley flawless finish on the plating,no faults what so ever.
I wipe with a silver cloth after I play it,to keep it bright thats all.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eagle music give excellent service,I only hope they are as good as thomann in Germany if anything goes wrong
First buyer life time warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I guess you get what you pay for,expensive yes but I love it and well worth it.
After my bad experience with a Recording King Elite (see pics) I am glad I made my purchase.
Everything on this banjo smacks of quality.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Only time will tell how things last,but at the price if anything does go wrong I will be rattleing Deerings cage straight away.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by snapjackson (see all reviews from this person) on 7/23/2012

Where Purchased: Deering Endorsement

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: ($US)

Sound

My Calico has such a beautiful tone up and down the neck. This banjo definitely has some punch to it if that's what you're looking for. When playing straight ahead bluegrass it cuts like a knife and the note separation is tremendous, but what I really love about this banjo is as I move my right hand closer to the neck I can evoke such a lovely, warm, and milky sound that I just can't get enough of. It is by far the most versatile banjo that I have ever owned.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Deering set up the banjo. The action was perfect. I changed the angle of the tailpiece and raised it up a bit, switched out the Deering bridge for a Nechville Enterprise Bridge (sounds great!), and put on a heavier set of custom AMB strings (11 23 13 12 11).

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

BEAUTIFUL. I have the tobacco stained model. It is georgous.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have had it for coming up on 3 years (2011-2014) and it seems solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The folks at Deering have been a pleasure to work with.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No complaints.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This banjo is my road dog and I love it very much. The tone is punchy, precise, and pretty all at once. I play both clawhammer and 3 finger style and like I said above, it is the most versatile banjo I have ever had the pleasure of owning. I am very proud to endorse Deering Banjos.

Next on my list...the John Hartford (wooden tone ring) banjo!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by lexo (see all reviews from this person) on 10/23/2010

Where Purchased: Eagle Music UK

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 2900 (EUR) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I like this banjo because it is an universal instrument suitable for traditional bluegrass and also melodic style of playing.
It sounds great but it requires careful setup. I tune the head to A (92 on DrumDial), set tailpiece parallel to the head and resting on the tension hoop. Coordinator rods tension has big influence on the sound. I tightened the upper coordinator rod more then usually. I use Deering 5/8 bridge. I put OME light strings on it and now my Calico has full and rich sound. I like it very much.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was not setup bad when I purchased it but the sound was not what I was looking for. Too bright and sharp. It was not easy to setup it for the sound I want.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Calico is a very nice banjo. Look at some pictures on the official Deering web site.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All the hardware is nickel plated and requires regular maintenance. The armrest is very sensible on human sweat.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I bought Calico new and is under warranty. There is a lifelong warranty for the first owner.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All parts are good-class. I don't want to upgrade any part for now.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Great sounding universal banjo. Easy to play. Not so easy to setup (for me).

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by redneck579 (see all reviews from this person) on 12/8/2009

Where Purchased: Fuller's Vintage Guitar in Houston, Texas

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 2.2K ($US)

Sound

My Deering Calico definitely sounds as a curly maple banjo should, i.e., it truly rings like a bell. Playing such a fine instrument is a wonderful pleasure. I love it!!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I got no setup with the purchase of my Calico. In fact, it arrived from the dealer with old rusty strings, a bowed neck, and the wrong bridge. According to Deering's web page, a Calico should come with a 5/8" bridge; mine arrived with a 3/4" bridge. When I checked the head tension with my Drum Dial, I found it to be, in my opinion, a bit low at 85. So, I adjusted it to an even tension of 90. I also added Gibson light strings and an Ancient Tone 5/8" bridge; this bridge has an old maple bottom and an ebony top with fossilized walrus ivory inserts where the strings rest. Next, I set the tail piece at 1/8" above the head, and I adjusted away the neck bow. Now the action was very nice; in other words, it played like butter.

I'm giving this section of the review a score of five because that's the average of zero and ten, i.e., zero for getting no setup from the Deering dealer, and ten for the ease of setting up the Calico myself.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

I truly feel the Deering Honey Calico is one of the best looking banjos manufactured by any company. Its curly maple resonator, tiger striped neck, ebony finger board, beautiful inlays, nickel platings, and deluxe bindings all smack of Deering's dedication to produce a banjo that anyone would be proud to own.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I purchased my 2006 Calico in November of 2009. It was, in the dealer's words, "Old new stock." Except for a very small amount of checking on the peg head, this showroom demo was pristine. I have no way of knowing how the checking resulted.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I spoke with Deering's customer service a couple of times after receiving my Calico with the incorrect bridge. They confirmed that every Calico is setup at Deering with a 5/8" bridge. Each person that I spoke with was very friendly and helpful. Thanks Deering!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Well, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The Deering Calico is, without a doubt, a top shelf banjo with a top shelf price. Consequently, it's very well built and should easily outlast even the most dedicated pickers.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Since the dealer shipped my Calico less its factory bridge, I never got to hear its original voice. Nevertheless, I'm very pleased with the sound quality of my Calico with its new bridge. In fact, I'm very pleased with the Deering Calico overall. It's an American made banjo, which is constructed from wood that grows in this country, viz., maple. I love my Calico!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by rvrose (see all reviews from this person) on 8/28/2008

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 1700.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I like the bright sound. I played alot of other brands and like this one best.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I haven't touched the setup. Great action - easy to play.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The blond tiger maple and inlays are what initially drew me to this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I only wish it was chrome plated since the nickel does tarnish with use.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had to deal with support.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The neck size and action make this banjo very nice to play.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I highly recommend for sound, playability and beauty. If stolen - I would get another one - but with chrome plate. I have played Gibsons in shops and never found one that sounded better to me.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by banjoboy95 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/13/2008

Where Purchased: I Don't Remember

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It had an okay sound. But not as ringy as I like it.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

It was setup perfectly fine when my dad first bought it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Everyone loved how the banjo had a blonde finish.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I would rely on this banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nothing needed to be upgraded.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is a good banjo. I didn't care for it that much but it was good. My dad sold it last year I think.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Patrick Randall (see all reviews from this person) on 8/31/2007

Where Purchased: Tom Henderson (BG Parlor Tampa)

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 3K+ ($US)

Sound

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: 10

Components

I might have the nickel arm rest chrome plated but I'm nit-picking now.
Revision of my 10 aftyer a few weeks:
I know its only a little thing but I wish they'd chrome plate the armrests. I polish after every playing (EVERY TIME i PUT IT DOWN!) but can see it will still develop that wear in the plating where your arm rests. :-(

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Absolutely. I'd buy another if it were stolen. I love the sound, playability and general oozing of quality. I tried Gibsons, GoldStars and other Deerings (a Golden Era). I was extremely lucky to have Kelly Emerson (Bill's son ) play the GE and the Calico, giving them both a good back-to-back workout. I video'd the whole thing and uploaded the last 5mins to YouTube.

You can view it here:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=XkEiRRCU1A4

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by lost_virginian (see all reviews from this person) on 8/22/2007

Where Purchased: Turtle Hill Banjo Company

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I love the bright crisp maple banjo sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Dave set up it when I bought it and it sound amazing, easy to play the action is perfect for me.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's a Deering, the attention to detail and appearance is legendary and mine is no exception. It's beautiful. I use SimaChrome on all the metal parts and that protects and shines like crazy

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Everything on all my deerings has been great, I don't gig but as a recovering guitar player, I would always have a backup. Not so much for the banjo but the strings always break when you least expect it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never used them

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I love it, would track the thief down with a blood hound and re-aquire it from the booger

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by BanjoBobb (see all reviews from this person) on 7/8/2007

Where Purchased: Zepps Music

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Bright sound. Still experimenting with different strings though. So far GHS lights seem the best.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Zepp set up the banjo before purchase. No problems noted.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Great finish. The maple finish is great.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have had the banjo only six months, so it's difficult to tell how long the hardware will last. However, so far I have had no problems with any of the components.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

What little I have talked to CS at Deering, they are always great in returning calls and very professional to deal with.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Haven't found any problems with parts at this time. Have had banjo about 6 months.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would recommend this Deering. It's great to play and listen to.
If this banjo had to be replaced, I would consider another like it, but would investigate other manufacturer's models.
I would definitely consider purchasing a new one at Zepp's. He does a person right.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by jeanetbrown (see all reviews from this person) on 2/6/2006

Where Purchased: Mountain Music Shoppe

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 1995 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I have yet to get the sound dialed in, but it seems to be just a little right of bright, meaning maple banjo sounding, but without the annoying cracking. There is a huge difference when looking for the sweet spot to pick, so you need to experiment to find the sound you like. This is not a complaint at all. I like the tonal variety.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set-up seems fine, I thought the tailpiece is a little high, but that is easy to fix. I don't do much tinkering on a banjo, don't want to end up with a bucket of parts! I am going to put a Sosebee Cotton Mill on, 5/8", I think it will lower the action a little. The stock Deering bridge is a little high. It currently has GHS lights on, but I will change to Gibson Scruggs. They sound and play great, IMO.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

A beautiful banjo, particularly with the purfling alongside the binding. I also like the design of the fretboard inlays. I bought a MOP truss rod cover. I would have much preferred the blonde Calico, the best looking banjo ever made, but this honey finish is nice too, and expertly done. Had there been a choice of finish available, I would have gone with the blonde, but that is a personal thing. The blonde finish seems to set off the purfling better than the honey. Nice tiger striping on the back of the neck.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware is good. Had some cloudiness when I brought it home, but a simple cotton rag shined it right up. I may go with some engraved replacement parts, like the armrest.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

No warranty. I emailed Deering to ask about a re-finish, and they took awhile to reply. That's OK, and not a problem.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Deering, I know you are proud of your bridges and tailpieces, but there are better ones out there.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

When I get the sound right, I will love this banjo. I hate to say it, not real fond of the famous Deering neck. It is too tiny toward the headstock, and too thin toward the head for my liking, but I can live with it. I have a Morgan MGB-1C that is constructed just as well as this Calico, and sounds fine too. I probably could nave gotten by with the Morgan, but I wanted a step up. I would call the Calico a small step. Try one first, you probably will want something else.

Overall Rating: 5

Submitted by revdmike (see all reviews from this person) on 12/2/2005

Where Purchased: Hillbilly's (UK)

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 2,320 (UK Pounds) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I wrote the first version of this review when I bought the Calico in mid-2005. I think that perhaps my playing has improved a bit since then, and now tests the instrument a bit more. I have made a few changes and now have a Kat Eyz bridge in place with Fults tailpiece. Obviously sound is subjective, but I believe these changes have improved what was already an awsome sounding banjo.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I like a tight head and have found out by trial and error just how far I can go on that scrore - the second head is now installed after I broke the first! The way I have it now is much tighter that it was when delivered. As indicated in the 'sound' section, I have played around a bit, going from the original Deering bridge to a Snuffy Smith II, and now a Kat Eyz. I shall stay with the latter, and most probably with the Fults tailpiece I have just put on.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I love the appearance of the Calico. It is a delightful honey maple finish that corresponds well with the catalogue description. Mine is a standard production instrument with no custom features. It is not flashy with masses of complex inlays, but has a simple attractivenes, which in my opinion could not be bettered at the price.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I think I can now rate the reliability as good, if standing up to my tinkering is part of that! The only breakage has been a head, which I admit to overtightening. The instrument still looks pristine apart from a slight patina to some of the nickel plating, but I quite like that - makes it look used. Writing again in February 2007, I can say that everything hardware-wise is still in very good shape indeed, and I envisage no problems in the near future.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

It is covered by the Deering lifetime warranty, which covers the first owner. So far my contact with Deering has been via a series of friendly e-mails, when I wrote to thank them for the instrument. My rating reflects my limited contact so far.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Parts seem very good quality - nothing cheap. As said elsewhere, I have changed the tailpiece and the bridge, but that is no refection on the quality of the Deering originals.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I love my Calico. It is probably the only top range instrument I shall buy, and I couldn't wish for better. My other two banjos are completely outclassed by it. I would recommend it to anyone at the price. Incidentally, the UK price may seem high by US standards, but it reflects customs duty, etc., imposed by our government. As an alternative to buying from Hillbilly's I priced up a private import and realised that I wouldn't save any cash, and I would forfeit excellent local dealer service.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by trybinski (see all reviews from this person) on 12/20/2004

Where Purchased: Mountain Music

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Big full sound! I can actually FEEL the bass, but with no sacrifice of brightness on top.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect! Al Worthen at Mountain Music wouldn't let anything out of the store if it wasn't. I believe he added a Snuffy Smith bridge to it, but other than that, it's standard.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Bold, blond and beautiful! The banjo equivalent of Sharon Stone on a good day.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The only thing I can see is a bit of tarnish from my skin on the armrest. I need to be more religious about wiping the banjo down when I'm done playing, because the nickel plating is sensitive. I'm told that the cure is to chrome plate it, but that you lose some of the acoustics when you do. I'll live with replating the arm rest every 5 or 10 years.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I haven't needed much from Deering, but they have been friendly and responsive by email when I contacted them. Al Worthen at Mountain Music wanted to see the banjo at 1 month and 3 to 4 months. [I still owe him the 2nd visit.] He's sort of like a banjo Pediatrician, who wants to know how his, "babies" are doing, once they leave his shop and go out into the world.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The only other banjo I've owned is a Fender Allegro, which I bought in 1968 and still have. I must not be too hard on hardware. The tuners et. al. on the Calico seem top notch to me.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Since I tend to buy a new banjo every 35 years whether I need one or not, I've told my wife I want a new banjo for my 89th birthday. Until then, the Calico is likely to be all the banjo I'll ever need. I'm told that this is the bottom end of Deering's top of the line [excluding tenbrooks] and I believe it. A really nice banjo!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by rmiller (see all reviews from this person) on 3/28/2002

Where Purchased: Jim's House of Guitars, San Diego

Year Purchased: 1981
Price Paid: 1295.00? ($US)

Sound

Clear, bright, crisp, and distinct with a 5/8 bridge.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I picked the banjo up the day it arrived from Deering in Lemon Grove. I would have loved to pick it up at the factory. Straight out of the case the setup was solid gold. I had a bearclaw tailpiece on the Epiphone I had, but had it installed on the Calico. Later, I had three spikes added to the fifth string. I am now using a compensated bridge, but I am not satisfied that this has improved the sound, tuning, and so forth. I am exploring the acquisition of an Emerson "Power bridge."

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is so beautiful it hurts the eyes. The fellow who delivered the banjo to me said, "it has the prettiest flame on the neck of any instrument I have seen from Deering."

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Again, this is far more instrument than I have capability. I have certainly not pushed it past any limits it might have regarding reliability. A professional player, can't remember his name, in Mansfield, Ohio compared it to his Stelling. He loved my Calico. I sounded beautiful in his capable hands.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have not needed any repairs, but Caroline Bridges of Deering customer service responded the next day to my email recently as I bragged on the beauty of this instrument. She also offered suggestions on finding an instructor here in Indiana, and generously offered any services I might require of Deering

Customer Service: 10

Components

The nickel plating requires attention to keep it bright. I use no abrasives at all. The quality of the sound, the wood used, the workmanship, the overall appearance of the beautiful blonde flamed maple of the neck and resonator are the standouts of this instrument.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

The price I paid was well worth what I received, but I was single. Todays price is only a sign of the times and were I a very experienced amateur, semi-pro, or pro, I would not hesitate to purchase this instrument. This instrument is insured, but if it were ever stolen I would bawl like a baby. It has always been under lock and key.

Overall Rating: 10

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