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.
Where Purchased: Mike Gregory
The model does great, I am basically a blues/rocker. It has a mellow sound. It is a special order 4-string plectrum with the longer bluegrass neck. More chord room than standard plectrum on fretboard. Standard CGBD tuning strained the plastic, so it's set up at lowCGBD, somewhat a bass plectrum. The sound is as good as an unplugged solid-body bass, therefore I rate it 10 for what it is used for. It does great bottom end (with mic and amp) when played along with a standard plectrum-tuned banjo. The opening to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" sound GREAT on this thing
Sound Rating: 10
Set it up myself, all parts there, strings already on. Set on the bridge, no biggie. Action great, string spacing great for fat-pad fingers. Good geared tuners. Tunes up precise.
Setup Rating: 10
It's a homemade banjo
Appearance Rating: 8
Holds tuning well. Vega Little Wonder can't tune this low without bridge problems. No such probs on the Squared Eel. The heavy reinforced mailing tape bridge support strap keeps bridge from walking about.
Reliability Rating: 10
Builder delivered product as represented and in a timely fashion.
Customer Service: 10
The tape was kind of strained at standard plectrum tuning, but at this low tune it is perfect.
Components Rating: 9
Recommend it? Absolutely! With the tune change, this is one of the most wild sounds I have heard. This one is a signed special order, therefore it's a collector's item. Intend to build one to knock around; right now waiting on its return from loan to some songwriter buddies of mine who were also impressed with the bass sounds it can produce as tuned.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Mike's
Surprising sound, much like a skin-head gourd banjo. Mellow, quiet.
Sound Rating: 4
I would recommend some sort of reinforcement under the bridge, to keep it from sinking, since the head is merely several layers of tightly-wrapped 3M clear mailing tape.
Setup Rating: 3
It certainly stands out, visually.
Appearance Rating: 5
I would use it as PART of a gig, but not as a main banjo.
It would be ideal for sitting around with a few friends, especially if camping or canoeing, since IF it gets damaged, hey, it's easily repaired or replaced.
Reliability Rating: 5
Mike has so few customers, he greatly appreciates both of them!
Customer Service: 7
Upgrading the components would defeat the design intention of the artist who created it.
Components Rating: 2
Since the primary purpose of this instrument is to produce fun at a budget price, it does what it's designed to do.
Compared to a Stelling, it's way too light, and way too quiet.
But, eyes shut, it's as sweet a sound as most any $100-$300 gourd banjo I've ever heard!
Overall Rating: 5
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