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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!

6938 reviews in the archive.

Stewart MacDonald  Diamond Eagle Banjo Reviews

Submitted by roller24 (see all reviews from this person) on 10/6/2011

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

Customer Service

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

Overall Comments

It's my banjo! It's built with good stuff, the rest is up to me.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Kevin B (see all reviews from this person) on 4/14/2007

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

Customer Service

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

Overall Comments

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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