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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.

Romero  13" custom walnut #0684 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by WGE (see all reviews from this person) on 2/27/2008

Where Purchased: from Jason Romero

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: $2350 ($US)


I wanted a big pot, nylon-strung banjo that I could tune to Briggs-era pitch. With the skin head, it sounds just like I wanted, quite minstrel banjo-like in its voice. I tune it down to dGDGA, dADF#A, and dGDF#A with wonderful results. I liked the sound clips for his nylon-strung banjos on his website, and the banjo we worked up was similar to one Jason made for Dirk Powell. Update: see below, I have switched over to steel strings for now on this banjo and I am tuning up to normal pitch.

Sound Rating: 10


General setup was fine. I found the string action fine. There were a couple of very minor issues I had to deal with, however. I had to deepen the bridge slots for the first and fifth strings and the fifth string pip was loose causing a string buzz. A drop of super glue and a then saw blade took care of those problems in short order. I have made no major changes to this banjo in a year and a half.

Setup Rating: 9


Jason really outdid himself with the aesthetics of this banjo. I asked him to scout up some really nice figured walnut for the pehead veneer, backstrapping, heel veneer and rim cap. He got some fantastic crotch claro walnut that was perfect. The neck blank he used also has wonderful figure near the heel. We worked up a custom inlay duplicating a black walnut leaf in the scoop. This is the perfect cosmetic touch for a walnut banjo. This banjo is truly stunning. You can see it on Jason's website.

Appearance Rating: 10


After taking care of the little issues, this banjo has been rock solid. The Gotoh tuners will last and since it is nylon strung, the frets will last forever.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Jason was great to work with as we designed this banjo. He really took a sincere interest in the vision I had for it. He was helpful in getting the minor problems with the fifth string nut and the bridge worked out. This banjo has a lifetime warranty.

Customer Service: 10


The tuners are great. Jason uses his own hybrid dowel stick/coordinator rod that really does the job and looks good too. This banjo came with his custom ring tailpiece. This really looks nice but it does make changing a single interior string somewhat difficult. Nonetheless, I think it looks and works great for this banjo. Update: about 6 months ago I decided to try steel strings on this banjo. I popped out the old nut and installed the steel-cut nut I got with the banjo. I really liked the tone. However, the Romero ring tailpiece that worked great for nylon strings didn't work well for steel strings. I bought one of Jason's cast tailpieces and everything is now roses.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is another banjo that I ended up buying based on online research and reviews. I had never had a Romero banjo in my hands before. I was confident that I would get a great and truly unique instrument that would meet my expectations. It is a real joy to be able to design a custom instrument and then find someone to turn the design into reality. Jason certainly did that. His instruments are expensive, but I have found them to be worth every penny paid for them. My favorite feature is its wonderful deep voice that contrasts so nicely with my steel-strung Lee.

Overall Rating: 10

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