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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!

6788 reviews in the archive.

Hatfield  Special  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Chris270 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/4/2018

Where Purchased: At Arthur's shop/Glasgow

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: 2900 ($US)

Sound

Awesome flathead sound. Exactly what I was looking for after owning a Gibson RB250 and a1980 Ode style D 6500.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was perfect. No need to change anything!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful walnut banjo. Awesome inlays. The finish Arthur put on the wood is beautiful.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I am sure this banjo will be doing it's thing long after 'm gone!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Excellent. The best!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Top grade. No cheap parts on a Hatfield banjo. Arthur's banjo neck is beautiful and so is the burl walnut resonator. Arthur's 2nd and 3rd string compensated bridge is unbelievable. I highly recommend it.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Arthur is an awesome down to earth man and a joy to hang out with. It was an honor to meet him in person. Arthur had 3 models the day I was at his shop. I must have played each one 3-4 times each. Arthur said play them as long as you need to. Take your time he said. I decided on the Special. It's been about a month or so ago and I am so glad I decided on a Hatfield banjo. I highly recommend a Hatfield banjo. 

Thanks to Arthur for a great sounding banjo and the time you spent with me trying to decide on which model as all three models sounded great.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Deb D (see all reviews from this person) on 6/19/2013

Where Purchased: from Mr. Hatfield

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 2800 ($US)

Sound

The sound is absolutely beautiful - like dark chocolate, very rich and just sweet enough!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I wouldn't change a thing. Arthur had it set up perfectly when I arrived.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The banjo is beautiful walnut, flawless and perfect in every way. The inlay is just right - not overdone, very elegant.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I noticed immediately the precision of the Gotch geared tuners. All components are first rate, I've no doubt this instrument will produce beautiful music long after I've gone on to glory!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Arthur and Beverly were wonderful to work with. Meeting Arthur was a pleasure and a privilege. I’m only sorry Beverly was out of town the weekend I picked up my banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

My Hatfield Special is just as advertised - Hatfield flat head tone ring, Gotch tuners, Jimmy Cox resonator and maple rim, neck handmade by Mr. Hatfield, inlay by Custom Inlay.

While at Mr. Hatfield's shop, he fitted me with a beautiful, buttery soft Lakota leather strap.

The case is sturdy and attractive. A Banjo Newlsetter review noted the top did not stay up - no longer true. The case stays firmly open until closed, and the numerous latches keep it closed!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I couldn't be more thrilled with my Hatfield Special. For the first time in my life, with two of my three children graduating from college this year, I treated myself to a special gift - the banjo of my dreams!

I replaced a very basic Fender beginner's model, and immediately noticed the difference between a beginner and a professional - quality instrument. The Hatfield frets with very little effort, my slides and pull-off's ring on, the sound couldn't be more beautiful.

I only hope that some day my playing ability will be worthy of this amazing banjo. Regardless, I will enjoy trying!

Owning a banjo made by hand by Luthier in Kentucky, to have been able to drive to Kentucky to pick up the banjo, and to have spent time visiting with Mr. Hatfield himself has brought me tremendous joy!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jackbarb (see all reviews from this person) on 10/8/2012

Where Purchased: Hatfield Banjo

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 2900.00 ($US)

Sound

Beautiful sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect, I'm a lefty and Arthur set it up himself.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Excellent all areas.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Should last 100 years.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The Best. They treat you like a king.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything top grade.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would buy another in a heartbeat. Good Ole' Kentucky Hospitality. Plus, Arthur is one of the "Real Hatfields."

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by darlo (see all reviews from this person) on 9/19/2012

Where Purchased: Arthur Hatfield

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

a very warm mellow sound it is beautiful to listen to

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

being a beginner left the decisions to mr hatfield and to me personally it was perfect .
nb at american banjo camp i attended the comments received by more advanced players re the set up were excellent

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

absolutely drop dead gorgeous ,words like classy ,and elegant come to mind,the walnut of the neck and resonator is beautiful and warm

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

dont really know a great deal about components all the materials and hardware look to be of exceptionally good quality ,and it will see me out that is a certainty,and still look good

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

tina turner could sum up mr and mrs hatfield "Simply the Best" you may ask why well i am english when mr hatfield found out i was going to the banjo camp he contacted members on this site to help and boy did they ,this saved me quite a substantial amount of money in postage to the UK ,and i collected my banjo from montana mike en route to the camp,regarding the rating for this section i am leaving blank because the afore mentioned people went way
beyond that,not only for a stranger but a foreigner as well ,these people really do restore your faith in human nature.
so once again to arthur,bev , and mike thank you so much

Customer Service: not rated

Components

i couldn't choose one component because they fit together and work in harmony perfectly

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

absolutely superb banjo,excellent value for money,made by a man that knows his craft inside out,mr and mrs hatfield great people with a brilliant customer service ,if and when i decide on another i already have mr hatfields number and e mail

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Poisoned Dwarf (see all reviews from this person) on 8/24/2010

Where Purchased: Arthur Hatfield

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 2800 ($US)

Sound

Sound is wonderful warm and full with just the right volume. Exactly what I wanted from a walnut banjo.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Arthur made and set it up exactly as I asked. Action right on the money low enough for easy play but high enough for great sound. He also threw in a extra bridge to see which I like best.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful banjo dark stained walnut very pleasing. Nothing custom all high quality with no flaws.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo will last longer than me I'm sure of it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Arthur and Bev cant be beat by anybody in customer service. Call and find out for yourself.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Arthurs neck is just perfect along with everything else.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The best banjo for the money and some of the nicest people you will ever deal with. If in the market for a new banjo check them out.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by banjodave93 (see all reviews from this person) on 3/14/2010

Where Purchased: From Arthur Hatfield

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 2800 ($US)

Sound

Its awsome, its got the snap and rattle of those old flatheads. I Absolutly LOVE IT.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Arthur Set em up just they way i like em, .656 Hatfield Bridge and a Head around an A.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The Burl Walnut Resonator is the most beutiful peice of wood i have ever saw

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo had been on the road since ive got it and it gets better and better everytime i pull it out of the case. VERY VERY Extreamely nice and neat Craftsmanship.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Arthur and Bev are the 2 nicest people ive met. I was treated with so much hospitalitly there and on the phone. there both awsome and cant be beat

Customer Service: 10

Components

Ive had alot of Tonerings, but Arthurs is my Absolute Favorite.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Folks, you cant beat the sound of a Hatfield. As Far as Craftsmans ship, quality, and customer servie, ill give ya 500 bucks to find someone better than Arthur. I wouldnt endorse these fine banjos, if i didnt like em.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Timron (see all reviews from this person) on 12/17/2007

Where Purchased: Hatfield Banjo's/Glasgow

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Really good sound and is still getting better as it gets played. It is good all up and down the neck and is suitable for any style.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect I have made no changes except I had Arthur put a bridge on it he made from some old piano wood.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Burl Walnut Resonator is awesome to look at....Walnut neck. No flaws in the fit or finish. It has the Hatfield inlay pattern.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Arthur uses all top quality componets there are no issues with reliability.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The best............. Arthur and Bev take care of their customers. They are always under warranty if you have the need for it.

Customer Service: 10

Components

There are no cheap/weak parts on these banjo's. The Gotoh tuners are very good and I like the Hatfield ring with the Cox rim..... good combination.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is without a doubt the best banjo for the money being built. Stolen ? I would be calling Arthur to build another one if I could not get it back.
I highly recommend these banjo's if You have never played one you should.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Secretec (see all reviews from this person) on 1/22/2006

Where Purchased: Authur Hatfield

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sound is incredible. It's just keeps getting better. Some of the best pickers in the area have played it and just love the tone and clearness. It has the warmth of a Walnut banjo, but the bottom end will surprise you. The more I play it, the better I like it. I chose Authur's tone ring with a cox rim and am very glad I did.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Excellent setup by Athur. String height, tailpiece, bridge placement were all perfect. I did tinker with other bridges and tightened the head just a tad to my liking.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It has a beautiful Burl Walnut resonator by Gil. The Prucha hardware is all excellent in finish and appearence. The tuners are smooth as silk and have worked flawlessly. Rosewood fingerboard with Authur's inlays are very nice. The finish Authur puts on the wood is beautiful to say the least. I love the looks of this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware as I mentioned before is all top notch.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Authur & Beverly Hatfield, need I say more? I will. Authur is one the nicest fellows I have ever delt with or even spoken too. The first time you speak to Authur, you will feel he has been a close friend forever. He will do anything to make you happy and always has all the time needed to explain things and answer your questions. I'm sure if anything ever needed any attention, Authur would take care of it.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I feel the whole banjo is standout!!! Excellent fit and finish of the wood. All hardware is solid and well put together. There is NOTHING cheap about Authur's banjos.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I highly recommend Authur Hatfield's banjos. I'm already thinking of maybe getting another one from him in a different wood. Authur answered all my questions, told me all the options and explained everything to me. It was an excellent experience to deal with Authur. I highly recommend his banjos. You won't find a better banjo at a better price. Excellent quality!!!!!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by hopemi (see all reviews from this person) on 1/26/2004

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 2,300 ($US)

Sound

The Special has a clear mellow tone all the way up the neck. I am totally satisfied with its sound and am inspired everytime I pick it up.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was setup very well. In fact, there are riffs and notes I can play on this banjo, that I had trouble with on other banjos. I told Arthur to take his time with it and I believe he did just that. I don't foresee making any changes.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful burl walnut resonator-glad I paid the extra 50 for it. I went with the rosewood fretboard and Arthur's standard inlay pattern. I really like how it all fits together, the shape of the neck is very appealing. All tastefully done.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I look forward to playing this banjo well into old age. With proper care I have no doubts that it will be my trusty ol' banjo as long as I'm able to play.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I honestly don't think it gets any better. Arthur will build your banjo just the way you want it. He is there to answer your questions at any time literally day or night. I was stationed in Japan at a USCG Loran station and now live here permanently. Arthur and his wife, Beverly always were there or got right back to me when I contacted them.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Top notch components. Someone in another review mentioned tuning machines. Arthur and I discussed this as he uses Gotoh machines. I have no problem with their appearance or mechanical quality.Again it only takes mentioning it to Arthur and he'll install whatever hardwear you desire. The Cox rim and Huber tone ring are a great combo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I WOULD recommend this banjo and am so glad I waited and got this one instead of some of the others I was considering. Noone better try stealing my special. My frech mastiff loves lying at my feet while I play it. She is the best of security systems. After reading these reviews, if you still aren't sure, contact some owners of these fine banjos before going elsewhere.

Overall Rating: 10

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