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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.

Bob Thornburg  Gourd Banjo  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by MusicManMike (see all reviews from this person) on 3/13/2015

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I love the plucky warmness to this banjo. You would think with a gourd as big as it is that it would become muddy but that's not the case at all. The attacks are crisp, clear and focused

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The amazing thing about Bob's gourd banjos is that they are setup with a head tensioning system. I don't think I've ever seen any other builder use this

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

INCREDIBLE!!! Beautiful instrument and I understand that each one is unique. Mine happens to have a star with patterns burned intot the back of the gourd. Very cool looking

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Head tensioning system and all its still a gourd banjo. The changes in humidity can pretty pretty harsh on this thing and despite the size of the gourd this is still a very delicate instrument. I would love to travel and perform with this but Im terribly afraid that it may be busted (Note: this is no fault of Bob's, it's just the nature of the instrument

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Got this from Elderly instruments so I didn't deal with Mr. Thornburg directly. The banjo did come with literature explaing that if the gourd should become broken you can send the neck,dowl and strings back to him and he would replace the gourd for $50, which I thought seemed pretty fair

Customer Service: 9

Components

Again the head tensioning system really stands out on this, not sure but Mr. Thornburg may be the only gourd banjo maker out there doing this. Being a leathersmith I also thought the leather tailpiece was really cool!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Overall a very wonderful banjo, one of my favorites among my collection. But again because of the fragile nature of this thing, Im afraid to ever travel with it or play it outside. 

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 4/9/2005

Where Purchased: Individual

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

Sound

This is my first gourd banjo, but I think it sounds kind of cool. Much quieter than my Ramsey, but still a nice mellow and relaxing sound.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Banjo was set up fairly well as can be expected. This model has a real skin head with Bob's adjustable tension setup. I haven't had to adjust it any yet, action seems fine.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This is a very attractive gourd banjo. Bob's workmanship is excellent! Very nice satin finish on the neck and a glossier sealer applied to the gourd. Very nice woodburned designs on the gourd itself.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems like a very well made and reliable banjo. I have had a few problems with the wooden tuning pegs slipping, thats my only complaint.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Have never dealt or talked to Bob directly, but I hear he is a nice person to deal with.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All the parts seem to be high quality...no needs for upgrades that I can see.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This is a very nice and fun and unique banjo. Lots of fun to just pick up and plunk around on sometimes. If you've never had the chance to plan a well made gourd banjo, put it on your list of things to do!

Overall Rating: 10

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