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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.

Washburn  B-12  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by RacingStude (see all reviews from this person) on 11/27/2008

Where Purchased: Marietta, GA Music Store

Year Purchased: 1987
Price Paid: $425.00 ($US)


Great sound overall. Rich and full up and down the neck. Very loud and bright. There is no sound that any other banjo can make that this one can't make. I believe that the aluminum pot with the cast tone ring combine to make this one of the best sounding beginner/intermediate banjos "out there". For it's class, I give it a 10

Sound Rating: 10


I've found that unless you buy a banjo from a reputable music store/builder you can expect that you MUST have a setup done, no matter WHO made the banjo.The music store where I bought it didn't sell too many banjos and although it had a preliminary setup, I had to get it refined. It's had the head tightened, new bridge and strings. After this banjo was set up correctly it really shows. For lack of setup from the music store I rate it a 7.

Setup Rating: 7


This is designed/built/sold as a beginner/intermediate instrument. It has the identical "standard" utilitarian apreance that many banjos have, including the most vaunted. That means you would NOT be ashamed to play it on any stage, period. It does not have the "funky" look of some of those over-priced, fugly, natural colored banjos that I see advertised/recommended as super beginner banjos. Nothing to be ashamed of here. These banjos also make great backups.

Appearance Rating: 7


Like a concrete block! The ONLY thing that went bad in over 20 years was the 5th string tuner, (friction type), replaced with geared tuner, no problem....

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never dealt with the Washburn company, but I understand that anyone who has is well pleased. Washburn makes MANY different instruments, and from what I hear, are ALL quality. I'd buy a new Washburn instrument in a NY minute. I'm definitely NOT a "banjo snob", I look for the best bang for my buck, you should too!

Customer Service: 10


All the components in this banjo, as designed and built, as well as fit/finish, are all top shelf. Once again, this was sold as a beginner/intermediate instrument. For the price you pay for this banjo, it can't be beat. It is not a real heavy banjo, although it does have good weight, that's a plus for long playing. As I said, get ANY banjo set up properly before you play it!

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

As designed and offered, this beginner/intermediate banjo is VERY hard to beat. This particular model is not built/sold by Washburn any more, but if you can find one, don't be afraid to grab it, for beginner or pro backup, you won't be disappointed. As a beginner/intermediate banjo, overall I rate this a 10.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 8/16/2002

Where Purchased: Somewhere in Cologne

Year Purchased: 1997
Price Paid: 1100 (DM) historic exchange rates / currency converter


Quite good for frailing. I´ve put a new tailpiece to it (Kerschner)? I use thicker strings and a thicker drumhead, too (oh, my English). The mechanics were not good, so I changed them. Schaller-mechanics, made in Germany, are much better. The banjo could be louder. I´d like to buy a typical old style banjo for frailing, does anybody have a tip?

Sound Rating: not rated


All parts were easily to install. But I miss a tonering. So the banjo has a kind of tonering, but it´s very small and thin. Could be better.

Setup Rating: 5


The banjo looks good after all the years.

Appearance Rating: 8


After all, the banjo is ok for gigs and jamming. It´s well in tune and I can depend on it.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Didn´t deal.

Customer Service: not rated


The tonering is poor. The tailpiece and the mechanics could be better

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

Three years ago I played a brand made in Europe. It was much better for the price. But Washburn is an American brand and American brands are expensive in Germany anyway. It´s ok, but I miss the kick. (Taylor Guitars are a kick!)

Overall Rating: 6

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