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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.

Prust  Boucher Banjo Reviews

Submitted by dnachman (see all reviews from this person) on 7/12/2014

Where Purchased: From Eric Prust

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 278 ($US)

Sound

This banjo is perfect when I am playing 19th century songs. It is unamplified and has Nylgut strings. I like the volume and tone which is as good as I've heard for a tackhead minstrel style. It complements the sounds of my other fretless banjos - a Sholder gourd and a Peterson Appalachian.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Banjo was well setup when received. Really like Eric's suggestion to inlay brass position side markers for positions 1-4 and use the Boucher ogee for 5-12.
He supplies 3 bridges of different heights to adapt to moisture effects on the calfskin head.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is obviously a very basic banjo. As other reviewers have said, the fit and finish is even better than I might have expected and perfectly in character for this type of instrument.
The pot is oak and the neck is maple. In talking with Eric, I mentioned that I like woods with visual character. He said he had some maple that was a little darker (almost cherry in color) and with a little more grain than usual. I said OK, and could not be more pleased with the result.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

There really is no hardware other than the high quality furniture tacks. Otherwise it is all wood and skin. It is exceptionally light (maybe 2 lbs), but everything feels solid.
The finish is very natural - no high gloss to wear off.
Will not hesitate to use without a backup.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Dealt directly with Eric and Donna Prust. Like dealing with Barry Sholder and John Peterson, they could not have been more helpful. All have been quick to answer even what may have seemed dumb questions and offer valuable suggestions that helped me make better feature selections.
No specified warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The neck is a beautiful piece of maple. The pot is highly grained oak with a great look to it.
The calfskin head is uniform in thickness with balanced tension all around. The tuning pegs are violin type.
If there is anything to watch over the years, it is the way the tailpiece uses gut hooked over the dowel where it extends through the pot. But this is not a worrisome issue.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am really pleased with my Prust Boucher #2 style banjo. I have more expensive instruments - none more satisfying.  There is truly nothing to complain about.

It is well and stoutly made. It is fun to play. Represents 19th century instruments fairly.  Has a sound and visual appeal that fascinates listeners at performances.  All this at a price point that makes it one of the best instrument buys I've ever made. 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by gregsbanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 4/26/2013

Where Purchased: Direct from builder

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 306 ($US)

Sound

Love the sound. I got an A scale (just because,lol). Nice plunky sound in all tunings I have tried. I got the banjo delivered with Nylgut strings. Cannot seem to put this one down.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Eric provided 3 bridges with my tackhead; which is what you need for a tackhead due to weather changes.
Could not be happier with the setup.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I was looking for an older looking banjo; hence, the boucher neck. I had Eric put small position dots on the neck.I am new to fretless; this helped alot. I know this is not "historically correct", but it helps me fret strings properly. Wood is maple for neck and rim.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo is well built. Eric does a great job on the build. Neck is particularly nice; smooth finish and fits well in my hand. I got the violin tuners. Slightly more finicky than mechanical tuners; but not overly so.
I plan on keeping this one around for a long time.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eric is great to work with; very responsive. You tell him what you want. He then sends pictures; if you like it, he sends the banjo to you. He only asks for payment if you like it.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Some may choose to put mechanical tuners on it; I think i will keep everything as is.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

If you are looking for a tackhead banjo I would put Eric at the top of the list.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Pennsyltucky (see all reviews from this person) on 2/11/2013

Where Purchased: Prust website

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 311 ($US)

Sound

I'm using the nylgut strings, and for old-time clawhammer there is not a more authentic historic sound. Mellow and plunky,

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

includes 3 bridges of varying height. Changes in the weather affect the tackhead and on rainy days you'll need to raise the action with a higher bridge. Great that he includes these. I usually use the lowest and the action is fine, only when its really humid do i need to switch to a higher bridge. It makes the action slightly higher, but it's what you gotta do to keep things from buzzing. simply the way it has to be for a tack-head banjo.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Paid 30 extra bucks for figured maple, got an excellent piece of wood that looks amazing in the sunlight.

My only complaint is that the neck itself was not finished entirely to my liking. The clear lacquer had not been finish sanded, still had orange-peel to it and you could feel the texture, was kinda 'sticky' since it was so glossed . I did some extra fine wet-sanding with 1000 grit to smooth that out and its fine now.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I really can't imagine what would even break on this banjo, it's so simple. Short of actually falling on it or slamming it in a car door or something nothing on it is going to break of it's own accord.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Great service, you tell him what you want, he makes it and sends you pictures. you say "OK looks great!", he ships it, if you like it, you mail him money. This guy really doesn't want to take your money unless you are completely happy with the instrument.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I got the violin style tuners because I was going for a historically authentic banjo. In retrospect - modern tuners are a great invention, and I would probably spring for them if I could do it again. The violin tuners are fine and do function well, but it does make tuning a bit more of a process. I've found that the banjo likes to be tuned down by a step, and that makes it much easier to tune.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

great banjo. well worth the money to have around the house. I would only caution people that these are kinda a novelty banjo and not something you will probably want to learn on. It's fun to play, but it's a whole different animal from any 'regular' banjo you'd buy, fretless or not.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Frontiersman101 (see all reviews from this person) on 7/17/2012

Where Purchased: From Eric through email

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 300 ($US)

Sound

I am learning clawhammer and this banjo is definitely setup for this style playing.

This is my first banjo, so I am undetermined on sound. Though on first impressions it has a nice old-timey sound and is louder than I expected.

I give this a 10 because I am sure it will sound just the way I hope it to when I learn how to play better.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo came with strings attached, but with no bridge under them. It came with three different bridges of different heights, also a piece of paper with instructions on which one he recommended and where to place it on the banjo.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

You may say it isn't a highly finished banjo (no stain, nothing flashy), but is a piece of art in my mind. It looks hand made and it has the appearance of a banjo from the 1800s.

It has a maple neck, quality wood fittings and a real calf skin head.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Quality wood used. No plastic or cheap parts.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eric and Donna both responded quickly and got strait to work. I can't believe they send the banjos before receiving any payment. That is extremely trusting of them and you just don't see many people operate that way.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Parts are great. Only thing I can see maybe needing replacement is swapping out the violin tuners with mechanical ones, if the buyer so chooses.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I spent a full year looking for my first banjo, trying not to buy some cheap one made over seas. When I came across Eric's add one here I was ecstatic. A hand made banjo made here in the USA for only $300! I thought to my self you will never come across such a deal again. I can't wait to learn how to play, and I think this banjo will stay with me for a long time.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by ananok (see all reviews from this person) on 12/21/2011

Where Purchased: From Eric Prust

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 298 ($US)

Sound

The sound is exactly what i was looking for. I play clawhammer and was wanting a deep mellow sound and that is what i got!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The strings were loosened for shipment with the bridges,3 included, in a bag. He gives you an info page that describes how to set up and tune the banjo( in plane english)

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It is Really a beautiful banjo, i went with the highly figured wood. for the price you cant beat the appearance. it was a one pice flame maple neck. the Boucher neck was well done.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

No metal on this banjo, feels really solid, but light weight. got it very recently so cant attest to longterm reliability.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Eric was a joy to work with, he sent pictures of the banjo before it shipped. i had no concerns or questions that he didn't address.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The wood is beautiful, the finish is great, the strings are good, every thing is great.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

the key word is simplicity. If you want a beautiful, hand-crafted, tack head banjo, this is the place to go. took about 3 weeks from first email to playing it. Really pleased!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by roosme (see all reviews from this person) on 5/5/2008

Where Purchased: Eric Prust

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 270 ($US)

Sound

I play clawhammer and just love the sound of this banjo. It has a warmth and richness that seems to come from deep in the earth, the reality of things, the good and the true.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Eric sent three bridges of varying heights to accommodate the variations in the tension of the calfskin head, recommending the middle height, which I used and haven't had reason to change in two months of spring weather. The playability has been excellent thus far, perhaps a bit high as you go up the neck, but this may be a characteristic of fretless banjoes. I should mention this is my first fretless.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Though no one will say this is a highly finished banjo, it is still a beauty in my eyes, and everybody I've shown it to seems to love the look of this banjo. The calfskin head looks like a piece of the sky, and the maple neck is very nicely figured. Yes, there is a rough hewn quality to it, but I like that. It's real. It's not trying to be anything more than what it is. And the sound and feel are what matter most.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I think this banjo will surely outlast me, provided I don't run over it with a truck. I hope my children and grandchildren will love it as I do. I think they will.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eric and Donna deserve beyond a 10 here. I didn't think there was anyone on the planet who still did business this way. First of all, communication with them was excellent. You tell them what you want, they make it and send photos. If you like the photos, they ship the banjo, well packed, but they won't take money until you receive the banjo and are satisfied with it. There's a level of honesty and trust here that you just can't find anymore. I can't praise them enough.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Eric has chosen the components well. Everything seems as it should be on a replica of a Civil War era banjo. When I play this banjo, I know I'm playing something real, made by a real human being, with a big heart. The music benefits, believe me.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I absolutely recommend this banjo if you are looking for a Civil War era replica that sounds terrific, plays terrific, and has the look and feel of the ages.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by derwood400 (see all reviews from this person) on 3/4/2008

Where Purchased: Eric Prust

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 260 ($US)

Sound

The banjo produces a nice warm plunky sound which is great for playing old-time and minstrel styles.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

All I had to do was tune it and start playing

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It is a fantastic looking banjo. Beautiful maple neck, white oak pot, and the calfskin head is attached with nice antique brass tacks.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

n/a I don't play gigs.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eric and Donna were a pleasure to deal with. All my questions and emails were answered very promptly.

Customer Service: 10

Components

This is a Civil war style tackhead banjo. It is fretless and has a calfskin head, and fiddle style tuners. Ease of tuning can be affected by weather, but this is a known fact with this style of banjo so it is a non-issue for me.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have only had the banjo for a couple of days, but it is everything I wanted and more. As far as I am concerned Eric does not charge nearly enough for these fantastic banjos. Even though the price was really low, I would be extremely annoyed if this banjo were stolen, as it is a beautiful peice of artwork.

Overall Rating: 10

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