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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!

6919 reviews in the archive.

Recording King  RK-97 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by The Joker (see all reviews from this person) on 2/3/2012

Where Purchased: Mike Halloran

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter


Well considering i like bright sound which the R97 has from the get go, I couldn't be happier. No buzzing and tone is in the right place for my liking.

Sound Rating: 10


On this when i recieved the banjo, I checked it over and tuned the strings and was great, upon greater inspection down the road i noticed the flange was not sitting in the resonator right but with the help of this site, I found out the L brackets were not long enough on the banjo, a lot of people were having the same issue with their Recording Kings, I made 4 simple square shims from 4 fender guitar picks, installed them and now the flange sits in the right spot on the resonator shelf it also improved my sound by making it brighter. so with this slight problem i give setup an 8, but the rest of banjo set up was good.

Setup Rating: 8


it is a very beautiful banjo love the wood finish is great, love the flamed wood on resonator, the inlay on this banjo is beautiful as well i looked at other banjos like the R99 but i like the inlays to be a little less gaudy, and the engraving on the hoop, arm rest, along with it being gold hardware it really catches the eye. Now there is some small signs of a tarnish effect on the gold, I assume its oxidation with the metal under the plated gold, makes it look antique to the finish. I will give it a 9 just for the slight tarnish on a few parts of the hardware

Appearance Rating: 9


well, I've only had it a couple of weeks but from what i can tell the construction of the banjo looks like it will last, im sure the gold will wear on the arm rest eventually, the tuners seem to work good, no complaints so far.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I delt with Mike Halloran, He was very helpful with any questions i had, very friendly, and even shipped it to me faster than i expected, according to the recording king website it has a limited lifetime warrenty which i hope i do not have to use but ya never know maybe they will replace the L brackets with longer ones so i don't have to use the shims

Customer Service: 10


well the standard bridge was okay, but i did upgrade to a sosebee bridge and it made the sound better and brighter, but then tried out a Steve Davis bridge(which he personally made to spec for the sound i was looking for) and it made it even better than the sosebee, the looks of the Davis bridge also gave the head some character. The rest of the banjo appears to be good and no upgrades needed as of yet.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

overall i am very pleased with this banjo it has the looks and the sound, volume, and reliability, who could ask for anything more, well maybe a gibson RB-4 someday but this will do just great until that day. seriously the only reason i'm giving it a 9 overall is just from the gold tarnish and the shims needed but those are small problems compared to the big picture.

Overall Rating: 9

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