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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!

6953 reviews in the archive.

Turtle Hill  Bluegrass Woody Banjo Reviews

Submitted by CFR (see all reviews from this person) on 4/23/2007

Where Purchased: Turtle Hill

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 2350 ($US)

Sound

This is a loud banjo with a rich sound. I wanted a walnut banjo to go with my maple Gold Star and mahogany Nechville. This is as loud as either of those. It is definitely suited for bluegrass. Dave at Turtle Hill said this was the best sounding Woody he had sold. My wife liked the sound of this banjo also. She said it was not as ringy as the other banjos.The Woody is acceptable for clawhammering but it shines playing bluegrass.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was set up well. The action is little higher than I have on my other banjos but it plays easily so I won't mess with it. The bridge was positioned properly. The head is at the right tightness. I just tuned it when I got it and started picking.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I like the looks of this banjo. I wasn't really sure from the pictures at Turtle Hill about the inlays but the more I play the banjo the more I like the way it looks. It is a tastful appearance but not a copy of anything else out there. The metal shines. The finish on the wood is perfect.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I do not expect any problems. Everything seems solid and high quality. Finish is smooth and the neck plays fast.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Dave is great to work with at Turtle Hill. He stands behind his brand and I have never seen any negative comments so I am not worried.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Gotoh Tuners, Kershner tailpiece and a Z-bridge are standard so I don't expect any problems. The resonator is a walnut veneer.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This is a great value. Dave doesn't provide this to other dealers although he has been asked. Since there is no tone ring it is lighter and easier to tote around. I plan to use it a festivals. The Gold Star archtop has a crisper ringier sound than the Woody. The Woody, although loud, does not punch quite like the Nechville.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by pdtek (see all reviews from this person) on 11/7/2006

Where Purchased: Turtle Hill Banjo Co.

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 2300 ($US)

Sound

To describe the sound, it first needs to be said that this is the new design of bluegrass resonator banjo that does not have a conventional metal tone ring. The banjo is made with a Tony Pass rim, similar to his other block rims that are standard on many new banjos made today. The big difference is that the top of the rim is in the shape of a tone ring. The rim and the wooden "tone ring" are all one piece.

Therefore, the expectation is that the banjo should have a low, openback-like plunky tone. The shocker is that it truly sounds like a banjo with a high quality metal tone ring. The tone leans toward a prewar sound. A full gutsy low end that you can feel vibrating against your body, while at the same time has plenty of highs, bright and bell like without being harsh. Good balance of tone and volume up and down the neck. Played hard close to the bridge, you can get a lot of great pop and snap.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was setup well when I received it. For once, the nut slots were actually filed down low where they should be. Just out of personal preference though, I made some changes. I put on lighter strings, and though I like the Z lite bridge, I put on a Huber which I like a bit better. The action was set low, a bit less than 1/8" at the twelfth, but I was surprised to find no buzzing anywhere. Most banjos have a high or low spot somewhere but I have not found one on this neck. I also tightened the head a bit which is normal.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The banjo is maple, with a reddish brown finish which is very attractive. The fingerboard is ebony and the inlays are well done and tastful. Kershner tailpiece. Gotoh tuners which are ultra smooth. My only complaint was that the fret ends needed some finish work. They felt a bit sharp when you ran your hand up the neck. A little filing and shaping and they were fine.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I have not had it very long so it is hard to say. It appears to be very well built and I have no reason to think that it would perform with less reliability than any other top make.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Dave at Turtle Hill is famous for his great service. I had no chance to see one of these banjos before I bought it so he played one for me over the phone! After the order he kept in touch and answered any questions I had. When I expressed concern that the nut was filed TOO low (only because I changed to lighter strings) he immediately sent me a new string nut.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All components are top notch.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have been playing for over thirty years and this is my favorite banjo so far. I bought it because I had neck and shoulder problems and needed a lighter banjo. (This banjo weighs almost four pounds less than my last banjo and feels more like holding an acoustic guitar) I was prepared to make consessions as to the sound, but was elated that it sounded as good as anything I have owned.

Overall Rating: 10

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