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!
7163 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Direct from Rob
This banjo has 'the sound' I had only heard before on recordings. Note separation down the neck is exceptional. I especially love the poppy tone when playing up the neck...brilliant for back up. The highs are bell like and the lows full and rich without being muddy. Big variety of tone possible depending how and where you pick the strings. The sound really is getting better and better every time I pick up this banjo.
Sound Rating: 10
Intonation perfect. Neck relief needed a slight tweak because of a little fret buzz and that extra forward bow was easily achieved on the super smooth truss rod. Action was too low for my preference. I discussed this via email and Frank sent me a 11/16 Sosebee bridge to replace the 5/8 bridge fitted, at no charge to me. This put the action exactly where I wanted it without having to adjust cooordinator rods. Perfect!
Setup Rating: 9
This banjo has exceptional fit and finish. It is a custom instrument in that it has fingerboard and inlays from Rob's standard Classic model but the neck and resonator are those fitted to the standard Cardinal model. The burl walnut resonator veneer has to be seen to be believed! the neck is laminated walnut, beautifully put together. I especially like the various layers of walnut, ebony and???? which make up the headstock. the finish and attention to detail are virtually flawless.
Appearance Rating: 10
I specified all American hardware for this banjo. I have no worries about durability or reliability. The finish appears to be bomb proof.
Reliability Rating: 10
Dealing with Rob, Frank and Andy has been a total joy. All my questions before ordering were answered very quickly and thoroughly by Frank or Rob. While the banjo was being built Andy kept me informed of progress, including a short video and many photographs. When ready to ship we even discussed how the banjo was to be packed. I cannot think of any other major purchase ( including my house and car ) to beat this one for being made to feel so very special as a customer.
Customer Service: 10
Tony Pass ( Bishline ) thin skirt rim, Kulesh Big10 tone ring, Waverley tuners, Fults 1934 tailpiece, Ameritage Deluxe case. Just all top of the tree components and no upgrades needed. The laminated walnut neck, as well as being beautiful to look at, provides a very stable platform.
Components Rating: 10
As well as my Bishline, I own and play Deering, Stelling and Ome banjos. None of them are slouches but my Walnut Classic does everything better than they do! This is an exceptional instrument and exceptional value for money. Rob, Frank and Andy are also front runners when it comes to looking after customers. I cannot recommend the whole package highly enough. I will be buying another Bishline banjo.
Overall Rating: 10
'Hatfield Custom Banjo' 2 hrs