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: 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 (www.simdaly.com) 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
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
I love having this old banjo. It saw me through many miles on the road and hours in the studio...now it is a banjo curiousity...you 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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