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.
Where Purchased: Banjo.com
Out of the box, this banjo was loud and a little too brightfor my taste. I experimented with a number of bridges and several different heads. The combination of Renassaince Head, Moon med wt bridge, and medium strings just works wonderfully on this banjo. It sounds terrific.
Sound Rating: 9
Banjo.com is a great place to do business and they do a professional setup on anything you buy there.
Setup Rating: 9
Deering is conscientious about their fit and finish. Inlay fit, pot and neck finish, nickel plating--all solid quality. It's what you would expect in this price range.
Appearance Rating: 9
This banjo will be around 100 years from now.
Reliability Rating: 9
I had occasion to talk with Deering CS sereral time on the phone, and returned it once for warranty work (slight separation of upper rim cap from rim and loose shoes). Overall, I want to give them good marks. They were always courteous and willing to honor the warranty. The turnaround time for the work I needed done was excellent. They installed a new Ren head and new strings without charge. My only disappointment was the banjo came back to me with a big stain on the head and a seriously crimped string. Some owners would excuse this as minor. I figured I wouldn't send out a banjo that way if I repaired it, so I wasn't too happy about receiving one in this shape.As to whether the repair work they did will last, time will tell.
Customer Service: 8
Wood and metal quality, fit and finish, are very good to excellent. Inlay quality was excellent. These are the things that really tell you Deering is serious about making a good banjo. However....the shiny-pearlie tuner knobs would be more at home on a $300 banjo than on a $3000 one. I replaced them with ebony, which this instrument deserved. Then there was the tail piece. Deering created a new one just a year or two ago. It's adjustable and looks nice. It is, however, a stamping, not a heavy one at that. It never felt solid. I replaced it with a Price, which is a very solid piece of machined brass. Again, the Vega#2 deserved it.
Components Rating: 8
I'm doing this review on the eve of my first full year of ownership. I can say this is a quality banjo and worth the money. There is a design issue with this model I will mention, but not to turn a prospective buyer away. The tubaphone design attaches the shoes to a heavy brass band that slips onto the rim. As a result, the nuts that hold the shoes on are hidden between the brass band and the rim, and are inaccessible without disassembling the whole banjo, neck and all. After a few months, when I changed heads I noticed some of the shoes were quite loose. I called Deering, and was informed this was a common problem with the original Vegas, "the old timers didn't worry about it," but if I preferred, they'd tighten the shoes at the factory. I put this off, but later found some of the shoes had loosened alarmingly and returned the banjo to the California factory with a request to loctite the nuts to prevent further problems. Deering did, and paid return shipping. Is this a common problem? I dunno. Did the "old timers just accept it?" I dunno that either. I do know I found posts by one other Vega#2 owner who had the same problem. As far as I'm concerned the inaccessible shoe nuts constitutes a slight "design flaw" in an otherwise excellent design. It's not a reason not to buy--just something to be aware of. You could get more charisma by buying an old Vega, or more status by buying a Huber, but you're gonna pay a lot more money. With the Vega#2 you have the solid quality of the old Vega, and the great tubaphone sound, with none of the age-related problems of a vintage instrument
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments
Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 2,250 ($US)
Changed out the maple bridge to a walnut/snakewood Hoyt Swafford bridge. I play folk or up picking style. (Pete Seeger style). I love the nasally rich tone with a hint of bass. It is not syrupy sweet like some White Ladies I've played. It is pletny loud. it just rings so true and bell like. I love it.
Sound Rating: 10
The set up was perfect except for one thing-- the RR spikes were a slight bit too low, making it a pain to capo the 5th string with one hand. Otherwide the head tension and action were just perfect. It is so easy to play.
Setup Rating: 9
It couldn't be more beautiful. I just love the tiger striped hard rock maple neck. The bracket band is very rich looking.
Appearance Rating: 10
Yes it sure does seem like it will last. The nickel plated hardware looks very substantial.
Reliability Rating: 10
Elderly Instruments was fine. Yes I have a life time warranty on it.
Customer Service: 10
The 3 ply maple rim, the hard rock beautiful neck, the smooth tuners, the deering head--- all of it is so beautiful. NO-- no chea parts at all.
Components Rating: 10
I feel that this banjo is worth every penny I paid for it. If this banjo were stolen, I would cry for months. My favorite feature is the very comfortable neck-- so easy to play on. I used to own a Maple Blossom bluegrass model. This one is even better than that. Also I love how the bracket band give this banjo so much punch.
Overall Rating: 10
'Down Yonder' 3 hrs
'New Banjo' 4 hrs