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: Folk of the Wood
Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 880 ($US)
I'm updating my review after a year with the banjo. It is loud and clear but the notes don't have the 'roundness' and character you hear in top-end banjos. I've been capoing the 3rd fret full time to learn Scruggs style, but this banjo really sounds best with the strings open. Then it has a rich sound with a lot of sustain, almost halfway to a guitar. ('Course it's tuned to E - the guitar key!)
Sound Rating: 7
Sort of a mess. The fifth-string capo was poorly installed so it buzzed, and in the wrong place. When I moved it I found a screw or a drill bit broken off in the neck under the capo. The strings were mismatched, one was really old. FOTW shipped it tuned up to G, and I bet they kept breaking strings during setup.
Setup Rating: 4
Very nice, pretty simple. A couple of the inlays a little crude, and a couple of galvanized parts have rough edges. But that's nitpicking.
Appearance Rating: 8
Seems sturdy. In the long long run, I'll keep my eye on the tuners, but I wouldn't hesitate to play out with it. *$#!# keep sticking the head into the ceiling fan! but it's holding up fine.
Reliability Rating: 9
Wayne from Goldtone sent me new tuner buttons free within a week when one of mine cracked, so this rating is for him. On the other hand, FOTW rates a 4...the order from start to finish took over 3 months (first banjo broke in shipping; reorder from Goldtone; couldn't find a case; wrong strap...) and they never once contacted me to let me know what was going on - I had to call them. I hung in there because of the good price. Did I get a warranty? I dunno.
Customer Service: 10
I like the Price-licensed tailpiece. I replaced the the Grover bridge with a Sosebee and I got more volume. The tuners are less smooth than my 5-Stars. The resonator attachment hardware seems a little clumsy. The neck feels good but doesn't fit all capos.
Components Rating: 7
A good banjo at a good price.
Overall Rating: 8
'John Prine' 20 min
'Shorter Neck, Same Scale' 42 min
'Tom Arri (BanjoTom2)' 56 min
'Super Moon' 1 hr
'Very sad news!' 1 hr
'Billy Strings' 2 hrs
'Pandemic response' 4 hrs