Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

554
Banjo Lovers Online


Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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-16  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by ivanh3 (see all reviews from this person) on 5/2/2016

Where Purchased: eBay

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 475 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

As this was my first banjo, I thought it sounded okay, but after comparison to other banjos I feel the overall sound was a bit dull. This was after a professional setup from a reuputable shop.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

Was not expecting a good setup as I bought it used off of eBay, but after a professional setup locally, I must say it played fairly well.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

Very good looking instrument. No qualms there.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

It was built well. I think this would last for decades without signficant issues.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

n/a

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Components seemed fair. Nothing was flimsy or cheap feeling.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I think this was good as a beginner instrument for several reasons. I bought it used, and when I (quickly) outgrew it, I was able to sell it and get my money back. Coming from a guitar background I can tell you what makes a top end guitar a top end guitar. I could not do that when I started banjo. The B16 was really the first banjo I ever really touched and after I comparing it to other higher end banjos I can now tell the difference better. 

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by Twright33 (see all reviews from this person) on 6/7/2015

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: $700 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Great sound for bluegrass, nice heavy tone ring that produces a clear bright sound. Good volume for acoustic/outdoor gigs.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

When I bought mine, it had a crack along the neck and was missing the 5th string tuning machine. I had the crack repaired and replaced all the tuners with Waverlys, including a planetary 5 string tuner. Everything else is great for hardware, though the clamshell bridge makes it difficult to change strings.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The inlay on the neck and head are beautiful, and the stain on the neck and resonator shows the wood off really well. There is nothing too fancy about this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I'm sure this banjo will last me at least 20 years or hard playing (with proper maintenence). It feels like it was made with great care and craftsmanship. I use it on gigs around Texas and haven't ever had to use my backup.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I contacted Washburn to see if they could replace the 5 string tuner, before I got the Waverly tuners, and the service was great. They offered to even pull one off of an older B-16. Best customer service I've dealt with with musical instrument companies.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All of the hardware seems really solid, but I would replace the bridge with an intonation-compensated one, just for better intonation. Other than that, everything else is great

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This was my first nice banjo (worth around a grand) and it's been really great playing it for the past year or so. I had planned on getting a nicer banjo (around 2-3 grand) in about a year but now I'll wait a little longer, just because I like this one so much. 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by JohnWaters (see all reviews from this person) on 10/16/2013

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 799 ($US)

Sound

The Washburn B16 sounds great for bluegrass! I bought this as my first banjo based on reviews alone. After six months, I can play 13 songs at full speed with 95-98% accuracy. Sure, there was a lot of practice time, but the banjo made it enjoyable. After listening to many other brands/models since, I have been very impressed with how close it comes to banjos at 2-3X its price.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was a little off, but not enough to affect playability. It was easy to resolve as I became more experienced wit exception of the heel cut. I had to shim it to get the action correct.

Setup Rating: 4

Appearance

It's a beautiful banjo - no defects that I could fine.No expensive details, but very attractive nonetheless.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Yes, this banjo will last. I have worn the frets substantially, but that is normal for the hours of play. Rest of the banjo shows no wear at all. I would be comfortable performing with this banjo.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A, and I don't know. I have had zero problems.

Customer Service: 5

Components

The pot is well designed and the brass tone ring lends to a very sweet sound.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I have ordered a Deering Maple Blossom. I listened to a lot of banjos under $4000, and it was the only one that sounded significantly better than my Wasburn B16. It says a lot for a banjo when you have to spend over four times as much to get a better sounding banjo. 

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by tscj (see all reviews from this person) on 4/4/2010

Where Purchased: Encore Music

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 700.00 ($US)

Sound

I love the sound. The only thing that I have done so far is put the strap on. I would like to hear from players that use pickups.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

yes it seems like it will last a life time.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Unsure at this time.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

no

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by gangelone999 (see all reviews from this person) on 10/12/2009

Where Purchased: World Music Supply

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 599.99 ($US)

Sound

Great bluegrass sound, loud and clear

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It needed to be setup. the head was loose, and a lot of loose bolts. Don't know if this is the way that they are shipped to the distrubutor? This distributor didn't offer a setup. Anyway, It was easy to do. The only thing I changed was the Bridge, because I had a spare moon bridge.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Very nice looking banjo. great finish. no flaws anywhere

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The banjo seems really solid and well built. No weirds rattles or other noises

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

haven't had any problems , so I can't comment

Customer Service: 10

Components

The only thing I replaced was the bridge, because I like the moon bridge for better intonation

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I think this is the best deal I ever got on an instrument. But the price was a mistake on the world music supply website. It was supposed to be $899, but they honored the $599 price.

About it getting stolen, I would find the guy and kick his ass

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by sparksfurr (see all reviews from this person) on 6/14/2009

Where Purchased: Off of Craigs List

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 450 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I love it. It has a beautiful ring to it

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It had a compensated bridge and I changed to a Snuffy Smith with Crowe spacing. It was done by Mike Munford.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I is so pretty. See the pics on my page

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This is a 1987 banjo and it was beautifully kept and everything is in perfect condition so I think it is reliable

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

None since I have had it

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo. I am a beginner and it is fitting my learning needs

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by brucejr (see all reviews from this person) on 10/14/2008

Where Purchased: Hill's Music Shop

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 700 ($US)

Sound

Excellent sound all around

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup by local music shop and could not be happier

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Looks like a Gibson Flying Eagle Granada,great fit and finish,tuner knobs were split though...

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Absolutely reliable,holds a tune very well

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Call Washburn directly about the tuner knobs and was mailed a new set in no time

Customer Service: 9

Components

Everything is great to me

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

For the price I paid ,I would recommend this banjo to anyone.You may get it cheaper elsewhere,but I could hold it and play it at my local music store.Rode out of town and did compare other banjos,but kept coming back to the Washburn

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by officer_214 (see all reviews from this person) on 10/12/2008

Where Purchased: e-bay

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 350 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I play 3 finger style and it sounds great for that. Nice and loud and bright. Right now I play un-amplified. Good variety of sounds when you pick in different places on the head.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The bridge wasn't on it when it arrived. I put a Gary Sosebee Crowe spaced bridge on it. i tightened up the head a little. Had to tighten up the tuners. Kept the strings that were on it but I don't know how old they are.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Looks great. It was advertised as used but I don't see any evidence that it had been played. Nice shiny metal parts. Engraved arm rest looks good. Fretboard inlays nice to look at.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware looks like it should hold up. Finish adequate. I don't have a backup so I'd have to use this one exclusively.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Haven't dealt with Washburn. Used so no warranty.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I took the resonator off and looked at the tone ring. It looks nice and stout (this is a reasonably heavy banjo.) I haven't run across any parts that I think should have been upgraded.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone. I feel like I got the deal of the year on this one. Loud and bright. Easy to play. I've only played a couple others but nothing that I'd consider way better. I'd feel proud to play this banjo in front of people. If it was stolen I'd find the thief and beat them senseless with the banjo they stole from me then I'd make them listen to me play it.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Do335Dave (see all reviews from this person) on 3/9/2008

Where Purchased: EBay

Year Purchased: 1996
Price Paid: 800 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Nice, loud sound. Rings beautifully. I play Scruggs-style, mostly, but like to strum on occasion - it works well for that also. I'd like a little more 'twang', but that may be a matter of setup. Still kind of new to the game.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The instrument was used when I bought it and, as a beginner, I did some homework to see what I might safely adjust on my own. I put on a new set of strings and tightened the head - I don't think the previous owner tried as it was fairly loose. The operation was very simple, however.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

No complaints at all about the appearance. I've always had used instruments and this is the most pristine of them all, and it has held up well.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware seems of high quality. Nothing has gone wrong in the few years I've had her.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have not dealt with customer service, though the website is fairly well laid out.

Customer Service: 9

Components

After some experience with a low-end acoustic guitar and banjo the tuners alone please me no end: it's a luxury to play for an hour or two without having to retune.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I'd certainly recommend this banjo at the price. If it were stolen I'd do some comparison shopping as I'm a bit more experienced now than when I got her. This make and model would certainly be towards the top of the list.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by grandpajack (see all reviews from this person) on 11/11/2007

Where Purchased: Local Music Store

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 850 ($US)

Sound

sounds great, very loud compared to my inexpensive starter banjo
no amps
rich, loud (very), bright
i'm quite sure this banjo can make any sound a banjo should be able to make, I however am not yet able to help it do that. ha ha
I especially like the fit and finish of the craftsmanship

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

instrument came setup from washburn. I had to loosen the strings and re-position them in the tailpiece as they were not set evenly and 2 were slightly touching as theycame through the center opening. minor but I would say that the design of the tailpiece makes this very easy to happen. no problem really

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It is a beautiful instrument
since i am a manufacturing engineer by trade i am able to see design/manufacturing flaws in everything. I think that considering the price paid for this instrument there are no flaws. If this were a $5000 banjo I would complain of one very small flaw in the chrome plating around the rim. But most people wouldn't even see it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Reliability appears to be good and I only wish I was good enough to play a gig !

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

When I discovered the incorrectly set strings in the tailpiece I emailed their customer service just to inform them of the issue. I received a prompt response (within 3 - 4 hours) and was told that they "only do a basic setup at the factory because most customers have varied tastes and choose to make adjustments" This looks like a "canned" response that is probably posted on a wall banner in the customer service office reserved especially for cases such as mine. I doubt very much that any customer would want their "basic setup" to have strings touching in the tailpiece. Although it was really no problem, I would have expected an apology for the error in setup and thanking me for bringing it to their attention. No problem really, just an indication that at least one of their customer service people needs to attend a seminar in customer relations. Or maybe stop looking at that banner ? ha ha
warranty is supposed to be lifetime of the original buyer

Customer Service: 9

Components

fit and finish is very good
i especially like the maple back of the resonator
As stated earlier I think the design of the tailpiece makes it a little tricky to get the strings evenly spaced but it is not a big deal.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

would recommend it
if it were stolen i don't think there is much i could do except be angry ?(that is a dumb question)
i love it so far
no questions i wish i had asked. i researched it thoroughly
very LOUD compared to other banjos. would be great for outdoor gigs. i just ordered a mute because I am waking up others in the house now when I practice

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by uwanapick (see all reviews from this person) on 1/30/2005

Where Purchased: Individual

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 350 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Excellent sound. Rings out rich,full, and clear all the way up and down the neck.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The person who had owned it before me just did not know how to set it up correctly and never had any one else do it for him. After a good over all adjustment to the rods, head and tail piece, and a new bridge she cracks like the best of them.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

This particular one was built in 1985. It has the most beatuiful maple finish. It has the clear head on it that allows the inside of the flamed maple resonator to show through beautifully. The chrome is like new and the finish still lusturous even after 20 years.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

After 20 years she is still as solid as a tank. I don't see any issues developing that would lead me to think that it would not last several lifetimes.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Components are all excellent quality. Kershner tailpiece, Waverly tuners dual leg arm rest. You could go to more decorative ones but probably not more functional.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend it at even twice the price! I have not had much experience with the new models that are coming out today so it would be hard for me to evaluate them, but if they are of the same quality as the ones of this vintage, you can't go wrong!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by BTILLM (see all reviews from this person) on 1/13/2004

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 439 ($US)

Sound

Sound is very good for the price. Loud , great for Scruggs.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Not bad .

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Good detail. Nice fit and workmanship. Compair to other $400 banjos

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

no issues

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

cant tell no issues

Customer Service: 8

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Very happy for $s spent .Not the best but a good value.

Overall Rating: 9

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.078125