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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!

6909 reviews in the archive.

Arthur Hatfield Luthier Reviews

Submitted by ky shine (see all reviews from this person) on 1/29/2014

Overall Comments

I just picked up my Walnut Special I had Arthur make for me.  I am relative new to picking so I started out with an inexpensive Mastercraft.  Good enough, but not what I need to continue to improve.  I happen to be camping in the fall and was practicing.  The folks next to us came over and offered me an opportunity to play his banjo.  It was a what I was looking for, the sound, the quality, everything was what I had hoped for.  I contacted Arthur and went from there.  Have to say, it was a great experience.  Went by Arthur shop several time during the building process.  He took time out each time to explain how he works his magic.  I have had my new Hatfield Special a week and  have not been disappointed.  If you are looking for a top quality banjo, built by the best then you need to give Arthur Hatfield a call

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by chancy (see all reviews from this person) on 12/2/2012

Overall Comments

I have a 1929 style 1 Gibson that Mr. Hatfield converted from tenor to 5 string for me. He built the neck with FE inlays and rosewood fingerboard. He aged the binding to match the original binding on the resonator. Also the finish on the neck matches beautifully to the original resonator. The neck feels wonderfull and plays even better. He also turned the rim to accept a flathead tone ring and a one piece flange. The new finish where the rim was turned for the opf blends perfectly to the old finish. I opted to use Mr. Hatfields own 20 hole tone ring and could not be happier with the tone. In my opinion the outcome of this conversion is what we are all looking for. It sounds perfect to me and as it breaks in it has unbelievably gotten better. Gobs of that "pre-war" tone emanate from this thing and it is "LOUD" to boot. One of my friends that plays a Granada reissue asked me if I could turn it down some. LOL. The interaction I had with Mr. Hatfield and his wife during the process was very pleasant and they are incredibly kind. They were very patient with me and answered all of my questions promptly via email and telephone. I unfortunately was not able to pick up my banjo in person and had to have it shipped. It arrived quickly and extremely well packed. Mr. Hatfield's craftsmanship and customer service is bar none. Mr. Hatfield is my banjo Dr. from now on and I would recommend him without hesitation.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Mailman Ron (see all reviews from this person) on 8/15/2012

Overall Comments

I made the trip to Mr. Hatfield's shop this week from Akron, Ohio. I have a 2000 Gibson RB 250 that I wanted him to check out. The tone ring was too tight and had to be pried off. Arthur turned the rim until the fit was perfect. He then carfully shaved the rim where it fit to the neck until the whole contact surface of the neck fit the rim/ring seamlessly. He even stained the wood where he shaved it to match the neck, even though you only see it when you take it apart. After a masterful set-up job with new strings, he replaced my plastic 5th string nut with a bone one he fashioned before my eyes. The banjo came alive like never before. I tried one of his hand carved bridges and the sound jumped out even more!
When I walked in the door, Arthur dropped what he was doing and spent the next 3 hours on my banjo. I have never experienced such attention from anyone in the business, let alone from a world-class craftsman. While I was there, a young clawhammer master and his father stopped in for a visit from 100 miles away. Tyler May gave me a few tips and we all had such a great time hanging out I hated to go.
Arthur is the best and his services are more than reasonable. All the work he did, including the bridge was about the price of my lodging for the night. I can't praise him enough and he made me feel like an old friend!!!
Ron Good

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Milli2 (see all reviews from this person) on 2/9/2012

Overall Comments

I had a problem with my RK80. After reading a topic in which a problem with a similar banjo was resolved by Arthur I decided to email him and ask if he would be willing to do the same for my banjo. I was - and still consider myself to be - a beginner, and tried to explain what was wrong the best I could.

For a while I didn't hear anything and I assumed it wasn't anything Mr. Hatfield would be interested in, which I totally 100% understood.

But after a few weeks I received a very nice and pleasant email from Mr. Hatfield, explaining why he hadn't replied earlier, and invited me to send my RK80 to him, and he would take care of it. I answered that it already was taken care of satisfactorily.

So I haven't had any 'real' experience but the email he sent me was so nice, I was impressed with his kindness and the fact he had taken the time to respond to me.

If ever the occasion arises I need any help again, he'd be the first person I'd turn to.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Kevin B (see all reviews from this person) on 1/3/2012

Overall Comments

Mr. Hatfield did a heel recut, a nut adjustment, and overall setup on my RB3 and I couldn't be happier with the results. He worked painstakingly to get the banjo exactly to my personal preferences. When he was done the instrument played easy and the tone was greatly enhanced.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Huey (see all reviews from this person) on 7/17/2010

Overall Comments

Simply the best.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Chuck Ward (see all reviews from this person) on 4/12/2010

Overall Comments

My son and myself just got back with my Earl Scruggs (#1908) from Arthur's workshop in Glasgow, Kentucky. Bottom line - it was worth the 28 hour (round trip) drive from Toronto, Ont. just to have this instrument set-up; not to mention all the "banjo-talk" Arthur and myself engaged in. This man is not only a talented banjo maker; but best of all he is a heckuva guy to spend a few hours with. Never a sense of rushing me for something else; not even stopping for lunch...the man is a banjo machine! And I think you'd have to travel a fair distance to meet someone who is so down-to-earth. Heck, we even got into the Hatfield's and the McCoy's...turns out Arthur has a direct link going back. Speaking of which, he brought out his "The Feud" model banjo for me to play. This is really something with the inlays on the fretboard portraying different phases of the feud; and what ended it. Not to mention the artist's painting of the"boys" on the back of the resonator. Thanks, Arthur for a great set-up, it never sounded like this coming out of the factory, and an even greater experience with someone who loves the instrument.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by back to the banjo dave (see all reviews from this person) on 2/7/2010

Overall Comments

Back in December Arthur did some work to my banjo.He replaced a couple frets,adjusted the neck and action,installed 2 more railroad spikes,put some new strings on it and added a little fine tuner to the fifth string.Along with the work he did he also was real willing to show me some tricks of the trade and explain things as he worked on it. He didnt mind me staying there while he did the work and was glad to answer any questions I had too.Arthurs a great guy and he does great work.He makes you feel right at home and even though this was the first time I 'd met him I felt like I'd known him for years.He also showed me some of his banjos and I'll tell he builds some fine instruments.Arthurs fixed my old banjo up and its playing and sounding better than ever. Id recomend Arthur for anything you need done to your banjo. Hes open and honest and knows banjos.He wants you to be satisfied and I dont think He charges enough for his work.Hes also a good banjo picker and his video that I got from him on backup sure has helped me out.Arthur and Bev are fine folks and Im glad to have made them as new friends.Thanks Arthur

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Anthony_N_Ky (see all reviews from this person) on 1/23/2010

Overall Comments

I took my MM banjo to Arthur today to have the heel recut and ended up getting more for what I think is a real bargain, spikes which I requested and a 5th string nut that I didn't but the banjo badly needed, and he noticed that.My banjo is a completely different banjo thanks to his talent. To say I'm happy with his work is an understatement. I'm 110% satisfied. To keep from going on and on just let me say I highly recommend him for any type of repair and the banjo's he builds are top notch, he let me try out a Special even though I didn't have no intention of buying it. Arthur is a great guy and is not at all high minded, he referred to other well known builders as "great builders" and making "great banjo's," even though Arthur himself makes an excellent banjo. A truly humble man.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Stovepiper (see all reviews from this person) on 11/30/2009

Overall Comments

I took my banjo to Arthur for some minor adjusting. While doing the work, Arthur brought to my attention that the tone ring and the rim were not fitting as well as he would like. He fixed the the problem by simply inserting a metal shim. WHAT A BIG DIFFERENCE THAT SMALL SHIM MADE. My modestly priced banjo sounds better than I ever thought it could. Bottom line.......Arthur knows banjos!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jeremy blankenship (see all reviews from this person) on 8/24/2009

Overall Comments

Spent some time at arthurs place this past week and let me tell ya I am blown away by his passion for banjos. He just loves them. Even though he only did some minor work for me while I was there it was his attitude about doing it that was so great. I got the chance to play several of his banjos he built and let me tell ya that there is not a bad one in his bunch. If you need any work done from spike installs to having a full banjo built do yourself a favor and contact arthur before you make a decision. You will not find better service or quality at a better price!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by rb4player (see all reviews from this person) on 2/15/2008

Overall Comments

Arthur has done two necks for me: a diamond-and-squares for an early style 3, and a sunburst maple style 12 for a '54 conversion. Both are well made and play wonderfully. Arthur is particularly adept at matching stain colors and his sunburst neck matched the provided resonator perfectly. He will do everything he can to please the customer, and will generously offer his advice when asked. Arthur Hatfield epitomizes honesty, quality, and value.
Update: Arthur has more recently recut the heel of a copy neck for a BB Granada for me. Couldn't have imagined a better result. Two thumbs up!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by SJL (see all reviews from this person) on 11/3/2007

Overall Comments

I have had the pleasure of dealing with Arthur on a number of items over the last five years or so. It started with a bridge and ended up with a new Hafield Custom that I picked up in July.

I could not ask for anything more out of anyone. Arthur is one of the most honest, straight shooting people I have ever met. His work is outstanding. I have had my new Hatfield for five months and it just keeps getting better. I had numerous discussions with Arthur when planning this banjo. Arthur got every detail perfect.

Arthur does not charge enough for his craftmanship.

Overall Rating: 10

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