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!
6918 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Banjo Hangout Classifieds
Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 400.00 ($US) (bought USED)
This is an old time open back. The banjo was refurbished by Lloyd Blakley in Bellingham, WA (fancybanjo.com) at the request of Andrew Stevenson of Alexandria VA. (Andrew actually played the banjo for me over the telephone before I purchased it.) It has very "friendly" mellow old time sound. The skin head subdues the sustain a bit, and that's good. It is a bit quiet for jamming, but great for practice and quiet settings.
Sound Rating: 9
The setup is as Andrew described it to me. He sent the banjo with the bridge disengaged. I set the bridge, tuned it up, and started playing. The action is low enough for easy left hand work - can play "up the neck" with no problem, and high enough for easy clawhammer playing.
Setup Rating: 10
Lloyd and Andrew guessed at the year of the model: somewhere in the 1920's. But despite a few normal signs of use, and age, such as pitting of some of the brackets, it looks great. New skin head; new turners; new bridge; a very user-friendly banjo.
Appearance Rating: 8
So far I'd predict the reliability to be excellent. The tuners are not "top of the line" but it hold tuning just fine. I'd use it at a gig no problem, so long as it was mic'd.
Reliability Rating: 9
Excellent! Dealing with Andrew was a pleasure. He was forthright and flexible. He even offered to let me have a ten day trial, full refund if not completely satisfied deal. He answered all my questions. He was extremely careful and diligent in packagng the banjo: UPS re-enforced box; packing kernels; (came with gig bag - banjo in paper in gig bag); bubble wrap on exterior of gig bag. Remarkable.
Customer Service: 10
Excellent on the components, especially for the quality of the re-hab work, and the price. (My guess is that Andrew sold this at a loss.) As stated, all looks pretty much like original parts, except for tuners. New skin head; new bridge.
Components Rating: 9
This is probably a one-of-a-kind banjo in that the original manufacturer is unknown. However, given the quality of the rehab work, the very truthful and super-responiveness of the seller, I would highly recommend purchase from this source. The banjo is perfect my current needs. It fits in with my Reiter long-neck and Rickett fretless perfectly.
Overall Rating: 10
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