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!
6920 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: McCabes, Santa Monica Ca.
Year Purchased: 1978
Price Paid: 333.00 ($US)
While not a pre-war Mastertone, I have enjoyed this banjo for nearly 25 years. I haveplayed in bluegrass bands for fun,my playing style was mostly shaped by players like John Hartford and Bela Fleck. I prefere miking the banjo, although I have used an Ibanez transducer. The Artist is plenty loud and very bright( my only complaint is that the harmonics at the 5th fret go
Sound Rating: 8
I Bought the banjo as damaged merchandice,while taking a repair class at McCabes. The pot had seperated between lamenations, which I repaired in class. I had lots of friendly advice on set-up...It's an easy instrument to work on. I have since gone to a clear 5-Star head, and replaced the clamshell tailpiece with a Bearclaw from Liberty Banjo Co. It has railroad spikes for 5th string capo.
Setup Rating: 10
The neck, pot,and resonator are curley maple, finished in tobacco sunburst (the only one I've ever seen in this finish) It has hearts and flowers inlays (mother of toilet seat) in ebony(colored) fingerboard. All hardware is chrome plated. The finish is still flawless after 25 years. This instrument is well travelled and not coddled!
Appearance Rating: 10
Clamshell tailpiece must go!
Reliability Rating: 7
I never dealt with the company. I've done all my own adjustments
Customer Service: not rated
That clamshell tailpiece was definately a
Components Rating: 8
Overall, I have loved this banjo (especially for what I paid for it!) I Don't want to think about losing it. It is still Striking in appearance. It has silently said to a few recording engineers
Overall Rating: 9
'Tin Lute Sound Test' 1 min
'Thunder Road' 8 min
'Cascade' 1 hr
'Is it the switch?' 1 hr