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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!

6918 reviews in the archive.

Blakley - 1920's  Blakely 1920's Banjo Reviews

Submitted by JMarshallP (see all reviews from this person) on 9/6/2007

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 ( 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

Customer Service

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

Overall Comments

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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