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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  N/A Banjo Reviews

Submitted by broaj (see all reviews from this person) on 3/5/2006

Where Purchased: Corans Music Thunder Bay Ontario Canada

Year Purchased: Nov. 2005
Price Paid: CAN ($1298.00) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

After purchasing a Fender starter kit in Sept. 2005, it was suggested to me to find a 'pro-style' banjo at the end of Oct. 2005, due to the fact of being seen to outgrow this model. After trying out several banjos I came across the B-16 Flat top. The sound was exactly what I was looking for. Great sustain, just a hint of a folksy ring, and had a balanced bass and treble. By the bridge I get a wonderful 'twang' with great sustain, and at the neck base a lovely soft tone fro backup playing. The only concern I had was a little over-ring which ws taken care of by a thin piece of fabric under the strings in the tail-piece.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Knowing how to repair instruments wa a plus for me. Understanding the dynamics of the banjo "machine" I was able to discuss with the sales person the set-uo. The head needed to be tightened, bridge placement to be corrected, and truss rod adjusted to eliminate absolute flat fret-board. Sadly who ever strung the banjo managed to get 3 strings crossing over each other. Standard 5/8" bridge was on banjo and after a few weeks replaced it with a 1/2" bridge. That's all it needed to lower the strings.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Bell Brass tone ring - Engraved armrest (B16)
Maple neck - Flamed maple resonator (B16)
Mahogany resonator - 24 tension brackets
Fingerboard radius flat - Mother of Pearl Eagle inlays
Rosewood fingerboard Black/white truss rod cover Maple bass with Rosewood tip bridge - Clamshell Tension Tailpiece
Chrome geared tuning machine - Remo high tension head
(above is quote from washburn site)
Banjo is real easy to look at.
the only concern I had was with the hoop. 5th string would bounce of it on occassion. I just filed it rounded to avoid this situation.
I found the structure of the banjo real tight and no room for play in the engineering.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Definetely reliable. as a guitarist I would always have a back up though.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

No need for that worry at the moment. Our pervayors of musical instruments in Thunder Bay are pretty good at getting things done. Being located where we are (dead center of Canada, the closest Metropolis is 8-10 hours drive away.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All the parts on this banjo are excellent for what the banjo costs and how it is built. Having played instruments for solong (over 35 yrs) there is always a quirk in each one. You just learn to live with it.
the standout components of this banjo is the inlays, the 5th fret peg which is geared as opposed to some that are friction (cheaper models of banjos). One of the draw backs of some friends of mine towards this banjo I have is the weight (about 18lbs), heaviest model I tried.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

My overall comment of this banjo is:
a)If you want a good to very good banjo, but not willing to pay more than $1500-2000 American or Canadian this is the banjo to have.
b) If you going from guitar to banjo you will enjoy the sustain on this banjo model.
c) I ws interested to find that the neck (for) me had the best feel, yes even above the Gibson.
No matter the banjo folks....JUST KEEP ON PICKIN'

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by dogwalkin (see all reviews from this person) on 7/12/2005

Where Purchased: Ebay-warpdrivemusic

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 565 ($US)

Sound

Im a beginner but it sounds a million times better than the old Strad-o-Lin I was learning on. When my teacher plays it sounds like the banjo on all the banjo cd's it sounds awesome. For the money I think its as good as you can get.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Only thing I had to do was put the bridge on and tune. Action is about right it makes no buzzing sound and is easy to note.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Its a very pretty instrument the wood is great and the inlays are awesome.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Im only a beginner but I would take this thing anywhere. I think its put together very well.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I havnt dealt with washburn, and judging by the instrument i dont think ill have to.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The tail piece seems very durable and the bridge is better than some ive looked at.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I love it!! If it was stolen There would be one on its way immediately.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 2/16/2005

Where Purchased: Activemusician.com

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 659.99 ($US)

Sound

This instrument is a JEWEL!!!! This Banjo talks & sings!!! The sound is very
rich, full and Bright...with great sustain as well. I have had four other instruments by other makes but none of this quality for the money I've
spent on this instrument. What a pleasure to play!!!! When a Banjo is loud
enough to upset my next door neighbor, I KNOW IT'S GOOD!!!!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

This banjo was purchased factory new in box; there was virtually NO
setup performed upon the instrument, except a rudimentary/complimentary set of loose strings....this was actually preferable since it shipped clear across the United States in Winter. Washburn has upgraded its specs on this instrument, and NOW comes with a purty-darned NICE Rock Maple Rim; and an Bellbrass, Archtop tone-ring...with a "Waverly" style tailpiece, which....in my opinion is wonderfully adjustable. I spent a few hours setting this up to my likings and it just cracks, rings and sings. Setup? hehehehe...diddit myself!!!!

Setup Rating: 2

Appearance

Inlays and woodfinish are flawless on my instrument....there is a wonderful sunburst on the resonator....which any photo's have so far
failed to do justice. All the Metal/Wood/Perl/perling is flawless. A blind man could see that....

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware seems built heavy-duty; heavy duty enough to last several life times, really. This Banjo is HEAVY!!!! I think over twenty pounds!!!
And heck yes, you could sure use this on a gig without backup. Didn't
care for the factory strings, but I'm PICKY!!!! (and punny too!!!)

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty; haven't had any reason to contact them regarding service.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The tuners could be more ornate, but I doubt they would be or could be more functional.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone interested in playing Bluegrass....If this Banjo were stolen, I would hunt it back down and get it back.....and play Amazing Grace at the funeral of whomever STOLE IT!!!! Yes... I love this Banjo. Hope my girlfriend doesn't get jealous.
It has crisper, louder response and better sustain than my old IIda 236.
Played an Alvarez, which is another story....for the money this is one great instrument.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 8/16/2004

Where Purchased: SamAsh.com

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 230.00 ($US)

Sound

My music style is simply leaning to play the banjo. For this style it works out great. Although I am a beginner, I think it sounds great. Very clean and resonates great.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The setup was a little tricky, mainly because I didn't know how to set up the string board. I thought the banjo came busted, until I looked online for help. It would have helped a lot if it would have come with instructions on how to set it up. Additionally, the string board was not suited for the strings. I had to file down the grooves a bit more so that the strings wold rest on it properly. But for a little filing, it was worth it.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

I think the banjo looks great. It has a really nice finish and feels like a good quality wood. I really like the way it looks. It is not as fancy as many other banjos out there, but it is also not as expensive.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

To early to tell, but it seems to me at this point that the banjo will last as long as I need it to. It feels really solid and has shown no signs of weakness as of yet.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Havn't had the need yet, thank god.

Customer Service: 5

Components

The string board is not the best quality out their I am sure, but it works just fine for what i need for now. In some time I will buy a better board. The little plastic thing that holds the fifth string away from the frets seems like it is kind of cheap. It is a dinky plastic. But aside from that everything looks and feels like quality to me.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I would definately recomend this banjo. I got the banjo for 40 percent off, so for the price I paid, I am extremely happy with it. If you are willing to spend some time searching the web you are sure to find a good price. I love my banjo, it wasn;t love at first site, but it sure become love awefully quick when I began to play it more and more. This may not be the banjo for the pro player, but for beginners like me and average players out there, i think it a great buy.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by ryanidol (see all reviews from this person) on 1/6/2004

Where Purchased: bills music

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 600? ($US)

Sound

With a little bit of setup these banjos sound good. For the price you cant beat it. I am impressed with it despite others reviews. Has a nice ring to it.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup was terrible when i bought it. Tightened the head, put new strings on, a compensated bridge, d tuners, 5th string capo and now shes ready to rock.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

its pretty and simple. Its an inexpensive banjo, so inlays and all arent the best, but who really cares for the price.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

This banjo is very heavy, like a tank. Id trust every part of it through whatever i put it through.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Tone ring isnt the best, but it works. Most banjos in this price range dont even have one. Therews always room for upgrading butits not necessary.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

For the price i paid its a great banjo. Underestimated by many people. If it were stolen i'd use it as an excuse to buy an expensive banjo such as a gibson, stelling, or huber. I love it though.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Yohan014 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/11/2003

Where Purchased: Steve's musique

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 900$ (Can) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Suit perfectly my music style. Mostly bluegrass style. The sound is bright, rich and loud. It's a versatile instrument.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The setup and the action were good when i buy the banjo.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

The instrument shine, a very good finition. The wood seams to be of good quality.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The instrument seems to be reliable. I think it will last. I think i can rely on it.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I never deal with the company. I have a one year warranty.

Customer Service: 7

Components

The parts seams of good quality.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

For the price i paid, i think it's a good banjo. If it was stolen, i think i will buy a Gibson RB-3 to try a mahogany banjo and have a warmer sound. It was the best choice i had for the price. I love this banjo, he have a good sound.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 10/14/2002

Where Purchased: Folklore Center

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 600 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I think this banjo sounds great. I play with a guy who made his own archtop 30 years ago and even he likes the way it sounds. Not bad for

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

The banjo was setup fine, no issues there.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This thing doesn't look used. Everything looks brand new. Love the sunburst on the resonator.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The ole girl seems built Ford tough. Appears to be stout and it has never let me down. Been playing it hard for 1 year.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

good product, no need for customer service.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I like the tuners, the tail piece, the armrest everything is great. I have fallen to the darkside, however, I am converting it to an archtop.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This has been a great banjo, I don't think it is worth $600, but it was a decent price. If you want quality and dependabliltiy at a good price, buy this banjo.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 9/8/2002

Where Purchased: eBAy

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 459.00 ($US)

Sound

Loud, nice tone for the money. However, setup from the shipper was terrible. But with th assistance of the internet, my experience with guitar setup (32 yrs) I was able to reveal a nice pop. Sustain is lacking a bit. I'm going to work on that.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Set up was horrible, the head was slack, the strings were 1/4'

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

Excelent appearance inay work is nice and the fit/ finish is great.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Looks reliable enough.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Not needed

Customer Service: 10

Components

Quality components, well constructed

Components Rating:

Overall Comments

For what I paid for this axxe, it's well worth the $$. However, I have seen these on the internet for $680.00 - $800.00 range. For that price you can get a Gold Tone OB 250 or a Bluegrass Special. These I can recommend over the B-16 for the same approximate cost.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 7/2/2002

Where Purchased: Second Encore Music, Winnipeg

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 799 (Canadian) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Very warm, full sound. Projects well, and is not tin-like.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up not so good on purchase. Head was very loose, and was hiding the true beautiful sound of this banjo! Also, strings were not stretched out and I was having trouble maintaining tuneing for the first couple times I played it. I was worried! Still might need some minor adjustments, but I can't stand to surrender it to the luthier for a day!!

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Very beautiful. Very nice inlays up the neck, and some frets have little hearts, which make it a nice lady's banjo. The wood up the fretboard has a beautiful grain and is medium brown in color so if contrasts nicely with the pearl inlays. Sunburt finish on the resonator, tasteful white trim up the neck... I love it!! One thing I don't like is the shiney head. Shows lots of fingerprints, looks dirty and really takes away from the rest of the banjo. But, that is easily and cheaply replaced. Once I change it to a matte one, It will be perfect.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Although I think this is an oriental banjo, the workmanship is very good. You don't have to be an expert banjo player to recognise quality :) The hardware has smooth edges, and after careful inspection of the entire instument, I have not detected one flaw in the wood, finish or workmanship (Yes, even on parts of the banjo that are not visible.) Not surprised Washburn banjos are made nicely, since their guitars are so reputable.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

One year warranty from 2nd Encore, but don't know about Washburn itself. 2nd Encore has excellent customer service and more banjos than anywhere else in Winnipeg.

Customer Service: 9

Components

To me, the parts look like they are good, but I wouldn't know enough to say that for sure. I guess, just the shiney head is all I don't like.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Compared to other banjos in this price range, this was by far my favorite. Although it was expensive (when compared to an intermediate guitar), I feel that it is a quality instrument. I have noticed it's fashionable to say

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by luchuc (see all reviews from this person) on 5/12/2002

Where Purchased: Andy's Music Store

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 525.00 ($US)

Sound

Beautiful! Cracks, but has warmth. Very pleasing when playing either loud jams or subtle airy tunes. For the money, best sound I've heard. Even with the original old strings that were on it when purchased.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Haven't changed anything on it. The action was set up perfectly for me which helped me make a decision. If I changed anything, I'd tighten the head some and of course replace the old worn strings.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

It's gosh darn pretty. It's got the clear head so the sunburst inside the resonator shows, and the back is also sunburst. The inlay is very detailed, fingerboard not worn, and the polish is high gloss. The wood is solid with the specialty trim all way round. Not sure what type of wood, but sounds great.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This thing sat in the store, in the case, in the humitified basement for over 18 months. (I saw it repeatedly). Even so, it has NO damage. If that's not reliable, then I don't know what is. If it can sit there and still sound and look great... duh?

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had to get it repaired, but I know Andy's and they're the best. No warranty, but if I need something done, I know I can count of them. I did receive two sets of strings to replace the old oxidized ones. Besides, I shop there for lots of unusual instruments.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The components are quality stock. The whole banjo stands out as a result. Maybe a new bridge one day?

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Highly recommended! For the price as an intermediate banjo, can't be beat. I'd be crushed if something happened to it. I'd have to start the search all over again. Argh! Best sound when compared to any Deering (even the more expensive ones), or Vega, Lotus, Rover... Or at least according to my ears.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 5/1/2002

Where Purchased: Strings and Things

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 300 ($US)

Sound

I play Scruggs Style and it suits me to a

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It was setup nicely when I bought it. Chrome shined
I am planning on adding a fifth string capo here soon. If only I could find someone in Japan. HA HA HA
The cams are very nice and maintain good sound. Good strings on it as well. Not stretched too much since I bought it.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

To me, the finish is beautiful. It is like a dark oak. Smooth clear coat finish with pearl inlays in the head
When I look from the head down the neck, it seems a bit twisted. Might need a second opinion.
Other than that...Great Banjo!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Not for sure. I take good care of her. Could I depend on it? Of Course! I would not have bought it if it looked shakey. Survived a trip from Tennessee to Georgia and then to Japan. Good Quality! Built well.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Not had to use this avenue luckily.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I like the cams I have and the armrest suits me perfectly. The bridge is of good quality, two holes, not one.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would recommend it for the med. or average player. Not something you want to spend a lot of money on and then decide you don't want to play.
If it was stolen: I would cry day and night till I found it. I like it a lot.
I would ask what could I do to improve the appearance(i.e.-custom inlays or my name put on it)
I have played an Alvarez and like the sound from mine better. Maybe it is just the resonator?

Overall Rating: 9

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