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!
6938 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Gift from Father Tony, Meherrin Virginia Catholic Church
Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 0 ($US) (bought USED)
I play Claw Hammer after trying 3 finger picking, I like the style as it is more traditional to the Appalachian songs I play. I never played any other banjo, So I can't compare, but it sounds good to me.
Sound Rating: 10
The banjo was in playable condition, but I have made adjustments, the head is a 5 star.
Ive changed the strings to D'addario custom Medium, Tightened up the tuners, head and neck
I may change to a slightly heavier string next time around, and may try a skin head.
Setup Rating: 8
It's not a purty banjo, the inlay is sloppy, and it looks as the builder may have been impatient.
But it sure sounds good to me
Appearance Rating: 5
No corrosion, the frets are slightly worn near the peghead, but overall, this banjo was built to last.
Reliability Rating: 9
Father Tony has passed on.
Customer Service: 10
Everything seems to be high quality, it's very heavy, so I know the tone ring is serious.
Components Rating: 9
It's my banjo! It's built with good stuff, the rest is up to me.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: The Fret Factory
Year Purchased: 1981
Price Paid: 316 ($US)
It has a classic flathead sound. Good bottom end, Enough sustain. The intonation is accurate.-
Sound Rating: 8
Since it was a kit I set it up myself. My current setup is Snuffy Smith 3/4" bridge, Price Straight Line tailpeice, Fivestar head. The head is fairly tight. Not much sag at the bridge. Just enough tension on the tailpiece to keep the bridge in place. Action 1/8 at 12th fret. I didn't like the Waverly tailpiece that it came with it seemed to vibrate too much and lead to overtones, a Kerschner helped some but the Price really helped.
Setup Rating: 9
One peice mahogony neck, ebony fretboard and peghead overlay. Tasteful diamond inlays and a few leaves and petals on the peghead of my own arrangement. The finish is hand rubbed laquer that I applied myself.
Appearance Rating: 8
All of the metal parts in the kit are quality Stewart MacDonald nickle plated replacement parts. Ivoroid binding and keys. I did replace a badly tarnished tension hoop with another (after 20 years+)
Reliability Rating: 8
You can't beat Stewart MacDonald. Their parts are quality stuff. It is a shame they discontinued the high end Diamond Eagle banjo kits.
Customer Service: 10
Fivestar flathead tonering. Fivestar planetary keys and planetary fifth string tuner. As stated above I upgraded the tailpiece and tension hoop.
Components Rating: 10
I love this banjo. It was a way for me to get a quallity working man's flathead for low bucks. Building it was a blast. I enjoyed doing the inlay, shaping, finishing, fretting and assembly. I'm proud to play something I built and have folks tell me it has a good sound. They are usually surprised when I tell them I built it. It's as good as most I've tried.
Overall Rating: 9
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