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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.

CloverLick  Pineywoods Eklyte Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Brooklynbanjoboy (see all reviews from this person) on 7/17/2007

Where Purchased: from banjo maker

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is an ideal banjo for clawhammer, but I'm also finding that it is rich and responsive in an uppicking role, too. It's got a cross between a bright and a plunky sound, with just the right touch of "rain on an old tin roof" to make it a great old time player. I cannot begin to describe the depth of sound that comes from the Tony Pass pot, nor can I fully capture in words the artistry and impectable woodwork that Tony does with his submerged wood. Jeff's neck is just the right design to bring out the best in this pot. His tonerim system is a well worked out design that puts out a fine clawhammer sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was set up expertly and attentively. Jeff Kramer, the maker, has an engineer's sense when it come to figuring out sound dynamics, design, wood choice. I did shift the position of the arm rest to suit my eccentric playing posture. Apart from that, this is the first of some 20 banjos I've owned over 40 years on which I have not immediately swapped out the original bridge, or done some other tinkering.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's a balanced, simple and straightforward machine with a range of possible responses according to how I'm attacking the strings. I'm beginning to see that it responds most effectively to a subtle approach rather than a muscular one, but at any point along that continuum -- from strenuous and athletic clawhammer to more subdued, quiet hammering -- the Cloverlick is a joy to play, easy to handle, comfortable to hold, and inviting to play.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Bill Keith hardware. It will last through a nuclear event. The finish -- oil and wax -- is deep and appropriate for the walnut.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Nearly a year ago, I contacted Jeff Kramer and, on the basis of a one day opportunity during the winter of 2006 to play Dwight Diller's Cloverlick banjo, I asked Jeff to work with me to come up with an equation for an open back banjo with a slightly shorter scale than "normal."

He did all the hard stuff, like talking me out of eccentric scales, guiding me through his thinking about wood choices, explaining his clever tone ring alternatives, and laying out for me the engineering behind his approach to building necks that fit Tony Pass rims.

Between mid July 06 and the finish date for the banjo which arrived yesterday, 3 July 07, Jeff and I exchanged emails that piled up to an inch thick accumulation of paper that constituted his exceptionally straightforward philosophy of banjoing, his reasoning about building choices, and his elegant, simply, understated aesthetic when it comes to inlay, finish, and other decorative choices.

I learned a great deal from this dialogue, and owe much to Jeff for his willingness to take the time from his busy productions schedule to answer questions on the progress of this project.

Fully warranteed. Flexible, accommodating company. Consistently helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing cheap about this banjo. Keith tuners. Top of the line head. Excellent hardware.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I've owned several made from scratch modern banjos, and this one represents the most seriously engineered design, the most thoughtful effort to match functionality and appearance. Great price for the banjo, especially the Pass pot. I consider this irreplaceable. If this banjo were evert to be illegally removed from the owner, the perpetrator would need to spend the rest of his living days looking over his shoulder. I'm certain that would effect his playing...

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by RWPark (see all reviews from this person) on 4/25/2007

Where Purchased: Jeff's Website

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

Sound

At first I thought the sound was a little thin, but I was comparing it to my other banjo which has about 10 lbs. more brass in it. The more I play it the better I like it. It's not real loud and sort of hovers between bright and plunky and very mellow.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up was great but I gotta mess with it. Put on a medium Moon bridge.
I like it better.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Walnut neck, Walnut burl on the peghead. Man in the moon inlay (my choice) Brass hardware. Good lookin 'jo. Walnut has pores and if you turn the peghead in the light you can see some of them . It bothered me at first but now I think it adds character.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

This is a solid, well made banjo. I don't anticipate any problems.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Jeff was helpful and easy to deal with when I placed my initial order in Dec of '05. I had initially chosen an 11" rim but in Feb of 06 I changed the order to a 12 inch rim. When I received the banjo in Jan of 07 it came with an 11 inch rim. I should have sent it back, but after waiting a year for the banjo, I decided to live with it. Update 5-19-07- Jeff offered to put a 12 inch on this jo or refund half of what I paid for it or build another at half price. Outstanding.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Keith standard tuners (brass finish) Kramer's handmade brass hardware. Tony Pass rim. The neck/fretwork is excellent although the width (34mm) takes a bit of getting used to. I have small hands and at first, the width bothered me. The neck is nicely slim (about 3/4's of an inch thick) so really, the width is not a real problem...just different than I'm used to, and slides and pull-offs seem to come easier.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Yes, I'd recommend it.
If it was stolen, I'd collect the insurance and buy another one from Jeff.

Overall Rating: 10

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