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.com
This is the best all around banjo I've ever owned and played. I mostly use it for sing along or church service accompaniment, but I can make a decent bluegrass quality come out of it, or move my right hand toward the neck and make passable clawhammer work. The combination of the tubaphone tone ring, the bracket band, and the rim without bracket holes makes for a banjo that is rich, has enough volume to stand up to most instruments, has both brightness and warmth.
Sound Rating: 10
Set up was nearly perfect with respect to the action. I have tightened and loosened the head to find the tone I want - a little tighter than when I brought it home - but those are personal preferences and don't reflect on the quality of the setup. I tried a Deering Signature bridge on it but put the original back on. The Deering Signature was not quite as high, and the original is a full 3/4" bridge.
Setup Rating: 9
Classic Vega long neck (Pete Seeger Model) inlays and dot. Simple and elegant with the all caps VEGA and the Vega star inlay in the peg head. If it didn't look like it does, it wouldn't be the Vega Long Neck.
Appearance Rating: 10
If it were available, I might have opted for chrome plated hardware instead of the nickel. The arm rest tarnishes easily and may need to be replaced earlier than other parts. I'm not expert in judging tail pieces and tuners, but the instrument stays in tune and I don't hear anything amiss with the tone, so I guess they're all good.
Reliability Rating: 9
I've called Deering several times to ask questions, all of which were answered cheerfully and accurately. I visited the factory last June and they recommended banjo.com when it was time to purchase. Deering charges full retail price with no discounts, so they did me a favor with that.
I live in Atlanta, so it was a short trip to visit banjo.com both in the old store in the industrial park and at Town Center Mall where they are now. Each time I've been treated very well - more like an old friend than just a customer. When I called to see if they had this instrument in stock, Barry found it and insisted I hear it over the phone. When I heard it, I was a goner.
Customer Service: 10
No weak parts that I've found. The instrument came with a TKL American Vintage Series hardshell case that is snug, has two storage compartments under one flap type door, and offers excellent protection for the banjo. If available for a long neck banjo, I would be tempted to get a Price case for it.
Components Rating: 9
This is the banjo of my dreams. I've already put it on my home insurance so it it's stolen or destroyed, I'll get another (less the $500 deductible).
Overall Rating: 10
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