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!
6904 reviews in the archive.
I purchased a guitar from Greg Boyd's and was very impressed. I've not ordered banjos or parts, but I would expect the same high level of service.
They had a guitar that was exactly what I wanted (the guitar was an anniversary gift for my wife). On the phone, I spoke with Chad who was very helpful. He accurately described the guitar (a used Gallagher Grand Concert) . I requested, and they obliged with, a change of strings (they had mediums, my wife prefers lights). We had a discussion on the phone about action, and Chad offered to lower action afterward for free if it felt too high (shippings costs would apply, of course). Chad was able to talk scale lengths, action, 12 frets to the body, and how it all fits for a women's smaller hands; very helpful.
My biggest concern was weather; the guitar shipped from Montana to Minnesota during an April cold spell. I followed his advice, and endured the torture of letting the guitar sit in my house for 24 hours before opening. I had the guitar shipped to a local Fed-Ex shipping office so it would arrive and sit inside an office convenient for pick up.
They were flexible with payment options.
I was apprehensive about spending this kind of money on a guitar I'd not seen, but the customer service won me over and to good effect. I have been in some guitar shops that convey the notion we "should" all drop a few grand on every instrument; I got none of that from Greg Boyd's. I would gladly order from them again, and highly recommend them.
My wife loves the guitar, and plays it every day.
Overall Rating: 10
Who'da thunk that one of the finest acoustic instrument stores anywhere would be tucked into a converted garage on a quiet residential street in... Missoula, Montana?
Boyd's is a bit hard to find and the exterior really gives no idea of what's inside. What's inside is a small, cluttered "showroom" of sorts with as many instruments as possible hung from the walls - and stacks of cases containing others everywhere else.
Presiding over the cluttered scene: Greg himself, an affable, gentle bear of a man who has probably had time to forget more about acoustic instruments than most of us will ever learn. The shop alternates between sleepy and crowded (five customers in the room, given the decor, is definitely a crowd). Boyd is a wealth of information, and he likes to talk, exploring every nuance of a customer's question. That's great as long as you're the person who asked it. If you're the second to arrive, you might be waiting for a while.
Greg has an eye (and ear) for high-quality instruments you might not have heard of. He was pretty much the first dealer in the US to recognize Prucha banjos for what they are, and is one of only two dealers in the States to sell them. He also championed the Wiliams banjo and several high-quality guitars.
Greg doesn't give his instruments away, but he charges fair prices for them and is always available, in person, online or on the phone, to answer questions (unless, of course, you're the second person to arrive). And he absolutely stands behind what he sells. He also does superb setup and repair work and stocks a wide variety of parts in the (much more spacious) warehouse and shop behind the store.
Having been to the shop and seeing Greg in action, I can say with confidence that I'd order an instrument online from him - without having first played it. And Greg is about the only person I'd do that with.
Missoula isn't exactly next door from anywhere, but if you're looking for quality instruments sold by a quality guy, touch base with him. Keep an eye on his website - his inventory changes a lot and he's pretty good at keeping the online store updated. If you see something of interest, call him - he'll give you the straight scoop. If you can find a way to get to the store, so much the better. I'd happily drive 5 hours to get to the store, and if you're looking at something really special a visit is not a ridiculous idea - you can fly into Missoula connecting from Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland OR, Las Vegas or Salt Lake City.
Overall Rating: 10
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