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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!

6617 reviews in the archive.

Washburn  B15 Limited Edition Banjo Reviews

Submitted by MoTomCat (see all reviews from this person) on 11/17/2007

Where Purchased: Music 123

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is a great beginner banjo for 3-finger (Scruggs) style bluegrass. It has a rich full sound and is very clear up and down the neck. I rated it an 8 because it's not really a professional sound, but it does sound very good for a beginner level, or a little above beginnere level, instrument. It is as loud as most banjos and sounds very good with a decent setup.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The setup wasn't bad when I received it, but I did have to tweak it a little. The head was a little loose, and the action was a little high. Tightening the head and a very small adjustment to the coordinator rods brought it into very playable condition. Since I was new to the banjo when I purchased this one, I had an experienced player help me set it up. A KatEyz bridge was added, and a couple of tailpieces tried, but went back to the original tailpiece and it sounds fine. When I learned more about the banjo, I replaced the plastic string nut with a bone nut and this helped the sound too. The action is about 3/32" at the 12th fret and it plays great.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I found no flaws in the fit or finish. The banjo was advertised as having a maple neck, but it looked like mahogany in the pictures and I believe it is mahogany. It has very nice wreath-style inlays in the rosewood fretboard and is a great looking banjo. Since this is a limited edition, only 144 made, there may not be many of them with these inlays, and it does make it a very pretty banjo.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I see no problem with longevity of this banjo. It is built solid and the fit and finish are great. It is a typical import finish, some sort of polyurethane I believe, over nice stained wood and it seems very rugged. The banjo was on loan to my granddaughter for about 6 months and doesn't appear any worse for the wear after she returned it. I think it could be counted on to last a long time.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have had no warranty claim or experience so can't rate this.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Even though the tone ring is an imported "bell brass" ring, it has a very good sound. When I purchased this as a beginner, I wasn't aware the bracket shoes are not considered the norm for better bluegrass banjos, but they don't seem to detract from the sound. No parts seem weak or cheap at all, except for the generic bridge that was on it. I was really impressed with the neck as compared to other Washburns I have seen and played. The neck is as smooth and playable as any I've seen, even high-dollar banjos, and has a great feel to it. The banjo came with Washburn's BC-82 case in a beige color, looks very nice.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Yes, I would recommend this banjo to anyone who wants to purchase in the ~$500 or less range. As I said, the neck is very playable and the banjo has a very good tone. If it was stolen, I doubt I could find another one to buy since it's a limited edtion, but I would consider replacing it if I could find one. In comparing it to some others:
Tyler Mountain - this banjo sounds every bit as good as the Tyler Mountain TM5-80 model;
Gibson RB-250 - after the Gibson was set up right, the Washburn doesn't sound quite as good, but that is to be expected;
Recording King RK-80 - The Washburn is not in the same class of the RK-80, so I would not expect it to sound as good. It is nearly as loud though, and does have a good sound.
I think the better Washburn banjos, B-15 and up, sometimes get a bad rap from those who don't like imports, but this banjo is solid and makes a great banjo for learning and well into intermediate playing.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by theantdog (see all reviews from this person) on 5/31/2007

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo has a great sound. I used it to learn three finger style. It is easy to coax a loud bright sound out of it.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I didn't make any big changes... I had my first teacher help with the setup, which took him all of 10 minutes or so.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I love the look of this banjo. Nice inlay on the fret board.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Finish looks nice, has held up well although I've put it through a lot.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I've never had to deal with the company.

Customer Service: 9

Components

As I have been using this as a learner banjo, I have not noticed that any pieces seemed cheap or poor quality. Everything has held up well.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I'd recommend this banjo. It is a great starter.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by elliottdaryl (see all reviews from this person) on 5/9/2007

Where Purchased: Danville VA

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 599.00 ($US)

Sound

Awsome Tone

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was excellent and so was the Action

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Very nice inlay. No flaws that I can see

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

1 year warrany , First time buyer

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nicest banjo I have owned, My next banjo will certanly be a Washburn.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Love it very much. I etched a number on the inside in a not so conspicous place. I would reccommed this banjo or any washburn banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

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