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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!

6918 reviews in the archive.

Ramsey  Bacon Banjo Reviews

Submitted by mrbuster (see all reviews from this person) on 9/20/2015

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 1350 ($US)

Sound

Sound is a little too loud and ringing for my liking. Thought I was getting the Bacon tone ring that he has always put in them. It's some different type of Bacon tone ring. It kind of looks like a Dobson. Bacon Silver bell maybe?

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Set up was good. came with 1/2 inch bridge. I changed it to 9/16 also Loosened head a little.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The banjo looks great from a distance but closer up there is a knot in the wood on top of the pot. Also the ivoroid binding up to the frets has a gap between the fret and the binding on every fret so if you do a pulloff on the bottom string the string falls in a trench. Inlay is good.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Hardware looks great. Good components. Great wood as well exept for knot on top of pot.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Elderly was great and I will do more business with them.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components are good. I will probably put the Bacon FF tone ring in it once I get one tho.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by velocette (see all reviews from this person) on 1/25/2009

Where Purchased: Mandolin Bros

Year Purchased: 1998
Price Paid: 1200 ($US)

Sound

Very nice sound but must admit it is getting better with age. I have tried various heads with renaissance head now which is by far the best. Fibreskin was good but like the new one more.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up was no problem and ready to play. Changes have been the heads only apart from strings. Use LaBella 730M strings with a second on the fifth for better sound (less bright 5th for Old Time)

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Inlays nice and general finish is pretty good. Only fault is one of the tuning pegs is not exactly in the right position but doesn't affect the sound.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

After 11years everything seems fine. I have used it for a few concerts and it is always reliable. Only minor complaint is the 5 star tuners aint the best to tune up.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Mike Ramsay was helpful after I bought the instrument. I am sure I could get it repaired if it was damaged but would tend to get done in the UK rather than send back over to the States.
Mandolin Bros whenre I bought it were very good albeit a bit dearer than others (hadn't heard of Elderly when I bought it and just happened to be in NY for honeymoon)

Customer Service: 8

Components

Only dislike the tuners as said above.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

A nice instrument which as said is sounding better with age. I was going to buy a Bart Reiter Grand Concert (internal tone ring) at the time and wish I had but don't get me wrong the Chanterelle is just great.
If it was stolen it would be so difficult to get rid of in the UK that I am certain I would get it back.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Road Dog (see all reviews from this person) on 4/17/2006

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 975 ($US)

Sound

I've been playing bluegrass banjo for 28 years. This banjo is a real departure for me. I've just started to learn some clawhammer banjo. I don't really have knowledge of the vocabulary to describe open-back banjo tone. This banjo has a Bacon-style tonering without the internal resonator. I would say the tone leans toward the "bright" end of the clawhammer tone spectrum -- it is sufficiently "plunky" for my bluegrass ears. I like the way it sounds.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was excellent. I purchased the banjo long distance, but the folks at Elderly had pencil marks on the head to help with correct bridge placement. I've made no setup changes. If I ever need to, I'll need some help. The neck attachment is with a dowel-stick - I'm used to coordinator rods.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It's a beauty. Flamed maple, two-piece neck, there's a thin ebony or rosewood strip (maybe it's not even wood) where the two pieces are joined. The peghead face and heelcap are ebony. Maple rim with rosewood cap. The maple is unstained with a non-glossy lacquer finish. Grained ivoroid-bound ebony fretboard. Engraved MOP position markers (diamond-shaped) with the Ramsey shooting star at the 5th fret. Ramsey states the peghead inlay is an engraved dragon - actually it's their interpretation of the old Fairbanks mythic lion's head. The banjo has a frailing scoop.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware is nickel-plated. It seems slightly more susceptible to tarnish than the plating on my Deering Hartford. The Deering is a year older than the Ramsey and has basically been exposed to the same conditions. The top edge of the rim on the Ramsey showed some tarnish this summer which required attention.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I've had no dealings with Chanterelle. Elderly Instruments are always great to deal with. The banjo has a 5-year warranty.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Tuners (5-Star) are top quality. Buttons are cream colored plastic - Ramsey's specs indicate ivoroid - don't know what happened there.

No-knot tailpiece.

I added a Vega-style armrest.

Has a Fiberskyn head - considering a change to Renaissance due to the rave reviews out there, but like the tone of the Fiberskyn just fine.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Great banjo for the price - highly recommended. If it was stolen, I'd probably get another Chanterelle (might opt for the Tubaphone pot with Bacon model inlays). I like it alot.

Overall Rating: 9

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