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!
6919 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Turtle Hill Banjos
The Torch has the 15 degree beveled granadillo tone ring that Jason Romero makes. It gives the banjo a warm, mello tone with plenty of sustain. The banjo sounds sweet right up the neck. The sound is rich and full without being harsh. The handmade compensated bridge, beautiful in its own right, contributes to this honey-warm tone. When frailed over the scoop, a bubbly round tone can be achieved.
Sound Rating: 10
I had some trouble with the setup as the action was too low for my tastes. I was also getting some strange tones on the second string. I sent it back to Jason who perfected the setup. It's ideal now: medium-low action, new graphite nut, handmade Romero bridge. Since Jason graciously offered to tweak the setup and it's now ideal, I'll give this category a high mark.
Setup Rating: 10
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The flamed rock maple is figured in an unusual way: not tight fiddle-back curls but widely spaced ripples with lateral grain running throughout. The peghead veneer, fingerboard, heel cap and pot cap is bubinga with wide flamed figure. This is inlayed in an abalone torch motif which accents and compliments the grain in a tasteful way without overdoing it. Jason has a wonderful appreciation of the natural beauty of the wood.
Appearance Rating: 10
I wouldn't hestiate to use it for a gig without a backup. It's solid. The pot itself is incredibly thick and sturdy. The finish is of a very high quality and I expect it will wear extremely well. Time will tell, of course, and I'll update this review accordingly.
Reliability Rating: 10
Jason is the easiest banjo maker I've ever dealt with. He responed to my concerns rapidly via email. I've had real trouble with several other makers. Most are very difficult to get a hold of. As mentioned above, I had some initial trouble with the general setup. Jason took the banjo back with no questions asked and dialed it to perfection. He also added his new lathed wooden dowel stick to it free of charge. I'm extremely happy with his service.
All of his banos come with a lifetime warranty. Most one-person builders do not offer this kind of generous service. It just goes to show how dedicated Jason is to his product and how confident he is in his service. This feature alone should cause folks to pay serious attention to this new builder.
Customer Service: 10
There are no weaknesses that I can see with the components of this banjo. The metal parts are all top shelf quality.
Components Rating: 10
I've owned over 8 banjos in the last few years alone. This is easily among the top two I've owned (the other being an Ome Colubine, a $4000 banjo). I can't sing Jason's praises enough. He's got an innovative, beautiful, carefully thought out product backed by incredible service. Currently his prices are extremely low as he's trying to get his name out there. If you are in the market for a banjo, Jason deserves your attention. I predict that his waiting list will get longer and longer as time goes buy. I consider myself very lucky to own a Romero and heartily recommend them.
Overall Rating: 10
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'Down Yonder' 3 hrs