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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!

6919 reviews in the archive.

ODE  Model D  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Tom Rutledge (see all reviews from this person) on 7/5/2003

Where Purchased: Sho-Bud Guitars, Nashville,TN

Year Purchased: 1978
Price Paid: 1400? ($US)


I purchased this banjo new in 1978. It was a replacement for a Model C I had recently quit playing. At the time I purchased it, almost everyone working in the studios, here in Nashville, were using Baldwin/Odes. I had really liked my Model C and decided to upgrade to a Model D.
Bobby Thompson, Vic Jordan, Larry Mcneely, Jack Hicks, John Hartford were playing Model D's in the 60's & 70's. In 1990 I started using a Gibson Granada and put it away for 13 years. It had developed a crack at the neck heel and I just lost interest in it. I recently brought it back out and had Sim Daly ( repair the neck and generally tweak the set up. Wow...I now remember what I liked about these banjos. It does not sound like a pre-war Gibson...that is not what it is trying to be, but it IS a good bluegrass banjo...just not a Gibson. It is balanced and a real pleasure to play. It does not have the power of some Mastertone type banjos, but it is no weak sister either. Baldwin/Odes had narrower necks than Gibsons, so that takes some getting used to, if you are a Gibson player. If you get a chance to play one of these old Baldwin/Odes give it a try. They are a nice subtly alternative banjo.

Sound Rating: 10


I do not remember the setup when I purchased it (1978). I do remember doing just normal head and bridge adjustments. It was basically ready to go. One caveat: The original tailpiece is not the best design in the world. It can be a real pain in the a$$ to do a string change.

Setup Rating: not rated


These banjos have walnut resonaters and necks. It is a fancy banjo with gold hardware and engraved armrest and tailpiece. The resonater is a little less deep than a traditional Gibson style resonater. The fingerboard is ebony. The inlays are very cool.

Appearance Rating: 10


This banjo has held up well over the last 24 years. It has had a lot of playing and

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Never had any dealings with them back then.

Customer Service: not rated


Some people have replaced the tailpieces...if you can't deal with it's unsual design.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I love having this old banjo. It saw me through many miles on the road and hours in the it is a banjo never see them anymore...everything now is PRE-WAR GIBSON SOUND... I love the pre-war Gibson sound...and I have a Granada ( Earl was my hero)...but it is not the only sound. Check one of these out sometime if you don't mind being a little different. A lot of top players in the 60's and 70's played 'em.

Overall Rating: 10

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