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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.

Recording King  RK-80 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by JohnnyT (see all reviews from this person) on 11/4/2017

Where Purchased: BanjoHut Knoxville, TN

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1200 ($US)

Sound

Banjo sounds really good for a Chinese made instrument. Intonation is true throughout the neck. Very loud has no problem projecting sound over other instruments when playing in a group. Have received many compliments on the sound on this instrument.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set-up was excellent from BanjoHut.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The mahogany is beautiful the finish is great. The banjo does not look cheap at all but expensive.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Have not had any problems.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

n/a

Customer Service: 8

Components

All components seem to e very high quality.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I love this banjo, at the time I needed a good intermediate banjo that sounded and looked great, I definitely got what I was looking for with the RK-80.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by HPNomad (see all reviews from this person) on 2/3/2016

Where Purchased: Pick 'n' Grin

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 1,200 ($US)

Sound

Very aggressive bluegrass sound, loud and punctual. If you're looking for a intermediate bluegrass banjo then this the one for you

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was very well set up for me when I purchased it, innotated to perfection. Maintenence is easy.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

It says on their website that they gave this banjo a very 'Mastertone' look and that is very much the thruth. This banjo looks like it should sound.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

This is a very well made banjo, I've never had any problems with it in the 3 years I've owned it.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I've never dealt with the company.

Customer Service: 5

Components

As far as components go, everything is solid. The bridge could be upgraded though.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

If you're looking for an intermediate bluegrass banjo that will give you the look, feel, and sound that you need, proceed no further.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by andyleer (see all reviews from this person) on 9/22/2013

Where Purchased: SoundsCheapMusic.com

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 999 ($US)

Sound

This thing sounds great. I started on a Deering Goodtime and had the chance to play an ODE model c for a month or two. The RK-80 is awesome. The sounds is exactly what I expect a professional banjo to sound like. It came with light strings on it and I'll probably replace them soon, but it's plenty loud.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

SoundsCheapMusic.com did a great job having it set up. They said they had it out to their luthier and he did great. No buzzing and the head tension was great. I did a little more tightening when I got it.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The one I purchased was discounted because of a small finish flaw on the resonator. Very negligable. Doesn't effect the sound at all. There is some red coloration on the fretboard between the 1st and 3rd fret but again doesn't affect the sound.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Hardware and general build seems pretty solid. Looking forward to getting more time with it to see just how it holds up.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Company was great. I saw the banjo on ebay and got in touch with them directly and they were super helpful. Also got a great deal on this, so overall awesome experience.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The tuners seem great. Not 100% sold on the bridge, but I will probably be switching that out soon. Also need to install some railroad spikes, but other than that the components all seem great.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Overall, this banjo is awesome!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by dubtom (see all reviews from this person) on 12/1/2011

Where Purchased: Kieran Maloney

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 979 (euro) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Playing Scruggs, out of box it sounds good, bright and loudish.
I like it already.

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

It wasn't set up by the seller, the action is good. I intend fitting a snuffy smith bridge. I'd give it an 7 seeing as it hasn't been touched since the factory

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Very nicely finished, a tiny scuff mark on the reso although I could have done that.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I hope the hardware will last, the tuners certainly feel robust. I would use it at a gig. I don't know about reliability yet.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Lifetime Warrenty

Customer Service: 10

Components

Just the bridge I'd guess.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Very pleased with the playability so far,it seems so much easier to play up the neck,cumberland gap being one example,always have difficulty making a banjo sound good , with the 80 my playing sounds smoother,and the banjo rings all the way up the neck

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jayder1985 (see all reviews from this person) on 6/25/2011

Where Purchased: from origional owner

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sound is OK. Nothing to write home about. It is pretty dead sounding regardless of what is done with the head and bridge. I think the biggest thing causing this issue is due to the neck that was improperly cut as i am sure each neck is not individually fit to each banjo. Not to meantion an improperly fit tonering.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

Banjo was setup decently. It played well with a nice action and at least noted true.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

It looked good. It has a very thick plastic finish which makes it nearly impossible to scratch. I wasnt a huge fan of the headstock but i did like the fretboard inlay.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Cheap parts. But I will say this, for the money they are good banjo. Better parts would make for higher cost. Like i said that plastic finish isnt going anywhere. As far as playing it without a backup, this banjo would be my backup and there is no chance of it becoming a main ax.

Reliability Rating: 5

Customer Service

Bought it from origional owner making it devoid of any warrenty.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Like i said most of the banjo is cheap, upgrade the banjo and you upgrade the price. If you are going to spend more on this instrument than you already do, just spend the extra money and get a better banjo.

Components Rating: 4

Overall Comments

Overall is was an OK banjo. I got it on trade and would otherwise not have had one. It is a good beginner to intermediate level banjo, but is not one for a road musician to use as his main instrument. It is a good value for the money but is not worth anymore than $500-$600 in my opinion.

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by bloozhound (see all reviews from this person) on 2/14/2010

Where Purchased: second hand

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 800 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

loud, good strong tone

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

Action a bit high for me, easy fix. Tried a Snuffy Smith Bridge, but noticed no improvement over origonal

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

all good bar the frets. They are not hammered completely into the board on the edges, have actually caught the string on both sides in the resulting groove between edge of fretboard and fret. It makes the frets feel sharp and rough on the edges of the neck. the high D once snapped at the point where it catches

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

good bar the frets. good quality finish, glossy and durable. Very heavy compared to my alloy Epiphone

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Warranty non-transferrable, otherwise I would be asking for the frets to be fixed. but how do you fix them without stuffing up the action?

Customer Service: not rated

Components

fix the frets. This is the only Recording King I have seen in Australia, it is hardly a good advertisment. Overall finish very good other than that. Would advise all prospective buyers to check the frets

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

big improvement over the Epiphone M200 I had before, I can certainly be heard in a Jam session now. Apart from one flaw, good intermediate banjo

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by thomas15 (see all reviews from this person) on 8/1/2009

Where Purchased: private

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Overall, I'm happy with the sound. It is not as consistent as I would like but very good.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

I purchased this banjo used from an individual who bought it from a well known set-up shop with the initials CF. I say used but there was no indication that the banjo had been played, this thing was pristine.

This banjo has a Cox rim and Wadsworth bridge.

When I took it out of the box and tuned it up I couldn't believe how bad this thing played and sounded. It was so bad and I was so depressed about it I didn't play it for a week.

As another reviewer has stated, I also have one of the thumbscrews cross threaded and one of the brackets is not straight. The head was loose and I had to file some of the nuts to get the wrench to fit. Once I got the head tight, the action was wayyyy tooo high. I was able to lower the action using the coordinator rods, but I had to turn them more than is recommended without resetting the heel. I threw away the Wadsworth bridge and replaced it with a Katz Eye. Then I put on some GHS medium lights. Finally, I felt safe to take it to a jam.

I spoke the Greg Rich on the phone, he was very nice and helpful and I think he would do anything to make me happy. To be fair I didn't purchase the banjo from the set-up guy (initials CF) but I would advise caution there based on my experience and communications.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Some do not like the look of the RK headstock. I think it's nice and different. For the price, this banjo is very good looking, fit and finish is excellent.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

It is well built.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

As mentioned, Greg Rich at the Music Link spoke to me on the phone, gave me a lot of advice and offered to do more.

Customer Service: 10

Components

As others have stated, the plating on the arm rest is thin. Other than that, after a year of hard service, the banjo still looks new. I take very good care of it though.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I like the banjo. If I had written this review a year ago I would have been very negative on it. I'm not a banjo set-up technician by any stretch of the imagination but I have been able to tweek it enough to get a good sound and decent action from it. If I had it given the once over by someone who was willing to put in the time, I truly believe that there is an absolute killer machine hiding in my RK banjo case. It is, for the price a good deal and full of potential.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by steveforse (see all reviews from this person) on 5/1/2009

Where Purchased: Angie's Banjos

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 1050 ($US)

Sound

I love this banjo. I always go to stores to compare it to any other mahogany banjo I can find. The only one that sounded a bit nicer was the Stelling Crusader. Considering the price difference, I don't mind too much.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was setup alright. The action was a bit high, though.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

The stain from the fretboard had smeared onto the binding. There was some weird brown substance near the frets too. For a new instrument, that's pretty bad. I got #192, so I thought they would have fixed the problems of the initial runs, but that was a pretty glaring problem. It also makes me think that the banjo was just drop-shipped to me, though Angie says that they're set up by a tech before she send them out. Still, you'd think somebody would have noticed it before it got sent out. As this was my first bluegrass banjo, I didn't send it back because I wanted to play it. At the time, that was more important to me, but I notice it every time I play it. Otherwise, the banjo has a very nice heart's and flowers pattern.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

The only issue I've ever had with the banjo is that the binding began to develop a crackled texture on it. I have no clue what causes that.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have never dealt with the company.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The neck has always felt a little thin for me.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo because I love the sound. I bought them when they were new, but used ones are such a fantastic deal. I wish a local store had carried it around here so I could have tried one before buying it. Then I might have saved myself the trouble of having weird stains on the fretboard to this day.

Still, this is a great banjo even at it's new price. I don't think you can find a better value out there. This is just one of those cases where I think it beats the equivalent Gold Tone banjo.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Reneker (see all reviews from this person) on 4/19/2009

Where Purchased: Fitch Banjos

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 899 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has plenty of volume. It has a tinny sound that I do not care for. I have been able to make small improvements i the sound but not enough to my liking. My Gold Star GF-85 sounds much better

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

The action is good. Apparently the quality control at Recording King is lacking. I removed the resonator to check the torque on the bracket nuts and found that the supplied T-wrench would fit about half the nuts. The same was true when I used my other T-wrench on the RK. So, I bought a whole new set of brackets and nuts, problem solved. I replaced the Head with a Snuffy Smith and found that the tone ring was so tight I could not move it. I decided not to force it for fear of damage. Neck is too narrow from 1 to 5.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

The mahogany woodwork is beautiful, however the neck binding looks like cheap pure white plastic and does not match the antique tone on the peg head. To me it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I like the tuners. They are smooth but I do not believe I will be using this banjo on a gig. Just too many little inconsistencies for me.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I wish I had received a banjo which reflects Cliff's reputation. He offered to correct any issues. Unfortunately the expenses involved in shipping do not make it worth the trouble.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Wood work is killer. It is just beautiful. The neck or the nut problem needs to be addressed. I cannot push off string 4 without sliding off the neck. The brackets and nuts are very poor quality. The bridge is low end. I wish it sounded as good as it looks. The case is of poor, cheap quality. The leather tab on the inside compartment came off within 2 days.

Components Rating: 5

Overall Comments

I would not recommend this banjo. Maybe I got a lemon but I bought it from Cliff to insure I would not get a lemon. I have a Gold Star GF-85 which is far superior. I have had the RK for several months and played it to make sure I would not submit a "knee-jerk" review.

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by jeremy blankenship (see all reviews from this person) on 1/6/2009

Where Purchased: private seller

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 800.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

The sound and tone is amazing. perfect full and ring. The highs are high and the lows are lows.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I bought it used but it was set up very well and it plays real nice. The action is just a hair high but i am not going to full with it for now. May change bridge later on.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It's beautifull. Nice wood grain. Cleanly installed inlays. Nice metsl finishing. It had one nick on the headstock but i bought it used.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

It seems very stout. It has that heavy feel and I beleive it will last a long time. Seems very dependable and I would definately use it at a gig without a backup jo.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Have not yet had to deal with them. I bought it used and the guy i got it from was great.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The thin neck is a real nice feature. The inlays and binding are really nice too. I dont see any weak parts as of now.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

For the price that these are new or used I dont think you can beat them. This is a pro level banjo at a intermediate price. I have played banjo a long time and this one would hang with some of the high high dollar stuff i have played. If it was stolen someone would die:) and then I would buy another one to keep me company in jail. Great Banjo :)

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by bayouland (see all reviews from this person) on 12/13/2008

Where Purchased: Fitch Banjos

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

Sound

Great sound all the way up the neck. Clear tone with good note separation. Awesome 4th string.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Cliff Fitch set it up exactly how I wanted it. He replaced the original bridge with a David Wadsworth Old Piano bridge. Action is perfect for me. Cliff pulled every ounce of tone out of this baby possible.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful! Greg Rich did one helluva job designing this one. Fit and finish is flawless. Inlay is perfect.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Have had it about a year now at it has not given me a single problem.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have not had to deal with RK for customer service, but with a lifetime warranty, I'm sure it will never be a problem.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Great tuners, great sounding tonering (believe it or not), flange and all other metal are flawless.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Do yourself a favor. If you're in the market for a new banjo, don't let the low price of an RK turn you away. PLAY ONE! you won't be sorry. I love this banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by backbaybob (see all reviews from this person) on 12/11/2008

Where Purchased: Cliff Fitch

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I asked Cliff to upgrade the existing Rim with his new Nitro and the volume and tone are unbelievable. Lots of sustain and a very strong 4th string.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I told Cliff that I was a beginner with only a years experience. He set the action up nice and low, With no buzz at all. We all know his reputation, he exceeding my expectations

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

The Banjo is perfect. Fit and finish excellant, no noticable flaws

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This thing should last forever or until I buy another one!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Standard RK warranty. I have not dealt wtih them.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Everything is fine and I'm glad I upgraded to the Nitro Rim.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend both the banjo and Clif Fitch to anyone.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by warningbomb (see all reviews from this person) on 7/18/2008

Where Purchased: Fitch Banjos

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 1100 ($US)

Sound

I play bluegrass with a little jazz and this thing played amazing right out of the box! Of course Kudos to Cliff Fitch who did the set up for me. It is fairly loud with a real bright high notes and more mellow lows.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Good setup by Cliff. Only complaint is one of the thumbscrews for the resonater was cross threaded..

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Looks pertty... I'm not a big gold fan so the nickle suits me well, and the inlays are good looking along with the white trim around the neck and the rings on the resonator give it a little extra

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems like this banjo will last for long time. I would definitly use it on a gig without a backup

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I had some real issues with paypal, and Cliff was really patient while I got those sorted out.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would absolutely recomend this banjo to others. It is a really good intermediate/ second banjo to have. In my opinion it sounds a little cleaner than a Goldtone. I was looking at getting a ob 250 and opted for the RK80 and I am happy I did!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by taco (see all reviews from this person) on 4/1/2008

Where Purchased: fitchbanjos.com

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 1060 ($US)

Sound

What can I say? I love it. Plenty of volume, very rich full tone without an overabundance of sustain.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I had some initial concerns with the setup. Cliff was more than eager to tailor it to my liking at no additional cost. It came with D'addario light gauge strings, which I swapped out for medium cryogenics from American Made Banjo. I also replaced the stock bridge with a Sullivan which really seemed to give it a much richer and fuller tone. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with it.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Absolutely beautiful to my eyes. The finish on the mahogany neck and resonator is flawless. Inlay's are very well done. Not flashy or gaudy to look at, but far from simplistic.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I've only had it a couple days, but it seems to be built like a brick %*^&house. I'm confident it'll last me for years to come.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Was my first time buying from Cliff Fitch. He was extremely quick in responding to my questions and concerns. I specifically chose this banjo from this dealer due to the rave reviews on this website. I'm really happy with the banjo. I can personally assure anyone that Cliff will stand behind his products and will quickly work to resolve any kind of questions or concerns you might have.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I'm still not completely sold on the presto style tailpiece. I know a lot of people swear by them, but the lack of adjustability might get it replaced some day. For now, it sounds good so I am not going to mess with it. Everything else seems to be top notch.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would definately recommend the RK-R80 to others. Seems like it and the Gold Star GF-100 are the two top picks for this price range. I don't have a reputable music store that deals in banjos within close driving distance so I went out on a limb to get the RK. It's ten times the banjo my Gold Tone CC100-R is as far as tone, volume and playability. If it got stolen....I'd probably cuss for a while and then grudgingly buy another.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by saloonatick (see all reviews from this person) on 3/25/2008

Where Purchased: Instument Alley

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 1049.00 ($US)

Sound

It is very sharp on the pops. The 1-2-3 strings are real ringers. Mellow sound compared to any maple banjos I own or have tried.
Slides, po's and hammers are very distinguished.
Not used to the heavier tone ring and will prefer to sit more for now.
Very pleased with the sound and will keep this one for a long time.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Had to tighten the resonator screws up a bit. Retuned the banjo to open G. I torque my heads to 6 inch LBS to start. I will change the bridge to 1/2" Snuffy as I like the strings a bit lower. The setup looked and sounded good to me but I'm a novice at that part. the stock bridge was tipped on edge. I put snuffy 2 on & moved to recomended distance from 12th fret.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

No flaws at all not even in the interior. Someone else discribed how nice it looked when they 1st opened the case. They were right. :>)

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Very heavy plating and looks like it will last longer than this o'l guy will.
The finish is very classy and looks tuff. Time will tell.
4-30-08 update. Plating on the armrest already wearing off. Junked it & went to a wood rest from an old time Gibson.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Haven't had to deal with them so far. So I will give a nine from the buying only. The packing was very well done and strong for the other gorillas in Fedex to beat on.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The inlays are really sharp. The arm rest is wide and easy on the forearm. I will change the bridge but that is all for now. Update 4-30-08
The nut is a bit too wide and causes me to pull the 1st string off the neck during F chords.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Shopped a long time for what met my needs. This one does. For the price I paid they threw in a really nice stand, picks, strings (extra set)
arch top case, nicer elctronic tuner and as most do, free shipping.
This tops my other banjos.
Stolen-hunt them down and make them listen to 2 weeks of rap. Yes, I'd get another RK80 but I'd order it from Cliff Fitch. He has the REAL deal on setups.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Sweeman (see all reviews from this person) on 7/16/2007

Where Purchased: Banjohut.com

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 1050 ($US)

Sound

This is an amazing sounding banjo!! It picks up hammer ons Very well and up the neck sounds truly amazing.The low end is full.Very loud banjo.No Dislikes At All!!!! I love the sound 100% though im going to see if it can get better with a katz eye bridge!! ^^

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Everything was Done without any flaws that i can see or hear for that matter. Paul does a great job! no worrys there

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

When i opened the case i stood back for a second in amazment.It made the pics on the internet look not so good.Just how it shined.wow
Spectacular!! cant go wrong here.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

My first day but it seems Very solid! no worrys about it not holding up.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Great Service.Even got the shubb 5th string capo installed!!
Paul is willing to listen.I would buy from him in a heart beat again.

Customer Service: 10

Components

the fret board/inlays.The resanator.
That Whole Banjo Woot!

All looks great.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would get this banjo without hesitation.No worrys about sound or looks!! Cant beat it for the price every one says it sounds amazing!!
I think if it was stolen i would try to find the theif then id give him the worst lickin they ever had ^^.If not id would save up for another and put a gps tracker in it!

I love the neck/frets/inlays!! I really cannot describe how beautiful it is!
I had a goodtime 2 ahh well no comparison.RK all the WAY!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by wannabepicker (see all reviews from this person) on 7/11/2007

Where Purchased: Banjohut

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 1050 ($US)

Sound

The sound out of the box wasn't bad, but when I put a 5-star head and a Sullivan Old Factory Floor bridge on it ... BAM! It became a firecracker.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was setup fine, but I had my teacher do the above modifications which changed it more to my liking.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

There are no finish flaws and it feels substantial in the hands, but some of the binding looks plastic-ee.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

All parts seem to be of good quality. I am not a professional by any means, but I have heard many banjos that don't sound as good as this one.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Paul at the banjohut is great. I would buy from him again in a minute.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tone ring is strong, the bridge is awful ... I make that statement by the sheer fact of how it perked right up with a good one.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

For the money, this is probably the best banjo on the market. Money considerations aside, it seems to be a great instrument, period. I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone. For me, going from a cheapie to this banjo only made me want to play more.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by erstokke (see all reviews from this person) on 7/10/2007

Where Purchased: Private

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 790 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

This is banjo has the "real" bluegrass sound. It can be tweaked by setup to suit your taste. It is very responsive. It is loud, so you can bring it to a jam-session.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was bought used, and setup was just fine. The previous owner had installed a Scorpion bridge.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Some people think RKs are "loud" looking as well. I think it looks very nice. It does not look like every other banjo. Finish is glossy and perfect. The fretboad is real ebony, and mine has a brown beauty-spot between frets 18 and 21 which I just think adds personality.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware seems to be top quality. Build quality seems to be very high.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

You can meet the company´s representative Greg Rich and Scott Zimmerman right here at banjohangout. They are very serious about having satisfied customers. Mine was bought used, so the lifetime warranty does not apply. This doesn´t bother me at all - I don´t think I ever will need any warranty on this banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The banjo has excellent Gotoh tuners. There is no need to replace any components on this banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

If you are looking for a banjo above "entry level", this is the one to get. At the price, it is a steal, and you will have to pay three times more for a better banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by savzac (see all reviews from this person) on 12/15/2006

Where Purchased: banjohut.com

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 1050 ($US)

Sound

Purchased for bluegrass playing, sounds great. Loud, bright, plenty of punch. Has great growl on the 4th string and the banjo just has a nice tone overall. Very addictive, I find myself practicing more than I ever have just to hear it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was great, action was low and strings did not buzz anywhere. Paul at banjohut.com had it setup exactly how I wanted.
I raised the action because I changed to thicker strings and caused a small buzz on the 4th string. The banjo was easy to setup, I recently change back to lighter strings and went back to the original setup, should have just left things the way they were but I just had to try my old strings.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Great looking banjo, I'm not into appearances, more into sound but it sure looks nice. I dread my first ding, so far it's scratch free.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Yes, seems to be it's going to be very reliable, looks and feels like quality parts.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty. Contacted the place of purchase, banjohut.com about a nut issue where the 1st string slot was cut too close to the edge and response was immediate. So far so good.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I've heard of owners replacing tailpiece or bridge but I have everything original and it's sounding and performing great.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone. The price paid for the sound and playability I get from this banjo makes it a very much recommended banjo.
I would say the sound is my favorite thing about this banjo. 2nd favorite thing is the playability, I am now playing up the neck as much as I do down the neck. The sound I get when playing up the neck just makes me want to learn more.
I never thought I could afford a banjo that had the sound that I was looking for but I found it. I'm sure there are banjo's out there that are better but for the price I don't know what it would be.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jdmatthew (see all reviews from this person) on 11/26/2006

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 1050 ($US)

Sound

Good full bluegrass sound. A little more twangy than I expected from a mahogany banjo, but it sounds great. Very bright, very loud. Amazingly good sound for the price. Good full bass sound, nothing lacking on the 4th string, and I'm using a light (20jd) 4th.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I thought the action was too high. I also thought the head was too tight. I adjusted the action with the coordinating rods and loosened the head to a G# and it really came alive. Fret ends are cut at too much of an angle, making it easy to slide the first and 4th strings off the fretboard. My one major gripe with this banjo, but I hear they're fixing it on later models.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Finish is a thick kind of plasticy stuff, totally impervious to water or anything else. You can clean it with Windex. Not traditional but handy. Fit was flawless. Good looking inlay, really a nice looking banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I think this finish will last through a nuclear holocaust. I changed the standard Presto tailpiece to a Price Straightline because I just like the sound you get with a price, more sustain. Nothing wrong with anything on the banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The guys at RK are very responsive. They are very concerned about putting out a quality product and making sure their factory in China knows what is required by US pickers. Lifetime warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Schaller tuners, top notch. Nickel plating is top notch, nothing lacking in this banjo despite the price. Tailpiece is a presto clone, sturdily made. Bridge supplied is a generic maple/ebony, but it sounds fine. Neck has a great feel, reminds me of my Stelling. Tone ring is their own design, and it is a good one.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I don't think you could do any better in this price range. I find myself picking this one a lot, despite the fact I've got other more expensive banjos sitting in their cases. It's not the best banjo I've ever played, but it sounds as good or better as some $3000 plus banjos I've played. With the marketing of this instrument high quality and great sound have become available for a much lower price.

Overall Rating: 10

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