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: From Jason Romero
Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 2060 ($US)
I will admit that it took me a while to get accustomed to the sound of this banjo. I'm a new player, and I'd become very used to the sound of my Deering/Vega Old Time Wonder. This Romero banjo really resonates, and (to my ear) it sounded way too bright.
I was getting some fret buzzing, so Jason sent me a new bridge to raise the action a tad. The new bridge is also much heavier than the original. After about a week of playing -- and especially after installing the new bridge, I can now say that this banjo sounds absolutely superb to me. The tone is perfectly balanced, and it no longer sounds too bright. I'm not sure how much of it is due to the different bridge or how much of it is just getting accustomed to playing a responsive and very resonant banjo. But, in any case, I'm a happy camper. But I still keep a sock stuffed under the head.
Sound Rating: 10
As I mentioned, the action was a tad too low, but a slightly taller bridge solved that problem.
Setup Rating: 9
If you've browsed Jason's web site, you know that he makes some absolutely gorgeous instruments. Mine is no exception. I chose the "all wood" rim, and it's made of black walnut with a rosewood integral tone ring. The fingerboard (and overlays) are ebony. Here's the link to Jason's photos:
The only difference is that the banjo actually has a calfskin head rather than a Renaissance.
My original plan was for much fancier inlay, but I eventually decided that simpler is better. He made a cool lizard inlay on the peghead, and some "petroglyph" fret markers.
Appearance Rating: 10
When it arrived, I gave this banjo a thorough inspection and I couldn't find a single flaw.
Everything about this banjo screams quality. Barring total destruction of the globe (or a nasty accident involving a pickup truck), it will still be around and playable in 100 years.
Reliability Rating: 10
When I ordered this banjo, Jason said it would be ready in six months at the latest. the delivery time was actually about 7.5 months. Not a big deal, but people do tend to become antsy when they're waiting for a new instrument to arrive.
I spoke to him on the phone 3-4 times, and he's a very easy to get along with, and anxious to do whatever it takes to make an instrument that you'll like. No complaints in the customer service department.
Customer Service: 10
As I mentioned, everything about this banjo is top-notch. There are no cheap parts, and even the case is impressive.
Components Rating: 10
What more can I say? I took a risk,and it worked out great. I'd never even seen a Romero banjo in person, much less played one. Two words: Highly recommended.
Overall Rating: 10
'[FF] String Chickens' 2 hrs