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!
6920 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: EBay
Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 1075 ($US) (bought USED)
I play some Bluegrass and some Melodic. This suits Melodic well. It's well balanced between strings up and down the fret board - which I wanted. Not a loud as a Maple Banjo (It's Walnut). I'm still doing some tweaking with bridges and control rods, so this may get better. It's what I expected.
Sound Rating: 9
Awful! One of the control rods wasn't even tightened. The 5th string geared peg fell out on me! The bridge probably came with the Banjo in 1979 and was U shaped! A cleaning, tweaking, tightening, and new bridge have made it pretty decent - Neck is straight and looks as though it's never been played.
Setup Rating: 1
This is one of the reasons I went for this banjo. Walnut with concentric circles on the resonator, tasteful MOP on the fingerboard. I did some polishing on all the Nickel, and most of it came out like new. This is a beautiful instrument.
Appearance Rating: 10
Hardare is very robust. This is the Abram's Tank of Banjos! The Tone ring, Flange, Tail Piece, and Tension Hoop are all cast and heavy. The neck is walnut with two stripes of maple and a rosewood piece in the middle. Nice!! The finish on the resonator has some cracks, so it either has seen some temperature/humidity extremes or had poor quality finish.
Reliability Rating: 9
Can't say - they are History.
Customer Service: not rated
Everything is top notch except the Pot is a 12 ply something that just may get replaced. Hardware is Military Quality - all heavy, all cast. One of the inlays in the neck is way off center. I guess the guy that built this one knew the place was going to close!
Components Rating: 9
Compared to what I've played at stores, the nearby Deering factory, the Wildwood factory (These are Stunning and sound great), and the Gold Tone Maple Classic I built from a Kit, this ODE is a great looking, good sounding Banjo for the price I paid. And there aren't a bunch of them around.
Overall Rating: 9
'Tin Lute Sound Test' 12 min
'Thunder Road' 19 min
'Cascade' 1 hr
'Is it the switch?' 1 hr