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!
6938 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Mandolin Brothers NY
Year Purchased: 1999
Price Paid: 1950 ($US)
Absolutely perfect. A great work horse with excellent playability and intonation as well as the tubaphone tone. To achieve my preferred sound, I changed the frosted top Deering head to a renaissance Remo to tame down the bright sound and achieve a nice balance
Sound Rating: 9
Setup was poor with the head so loose and action was also too high when tuned up. However, I am used to setting up banjos and sorted this out quickly.
Setup Rating: 5
It looks great and the finish takes a lot of punishment. Only issue was the alignment of the tuner holes in the peg head with too much or too little wood left on to the side depending on which way you look at it. About a difference of maybe 3mm at the third/fourth string side of the peg head
Appearance Rating: 9
Tuners were sticky, so replaced with Grover guitar style which respond excellently. I am prone to extra tarnishing of the nickel plating, so sent it back to Deering for chroming. This makes a big difference
Reliability Rating: 9
Both Mandolin Brothers and Deering were excellent with any questions.
Customer Service: 10
I was a bit dissapointed with the Waverly style tailpiece, even though simple and reliable, Also the tuners were sticky. Replaced the tuners with Grovers as mentioned earlier and fitted a medium moon bridge and genuine Price Tailpiece.
Components Rating: 8
After some component changes namely, the head, tuners, bridge and tailpiece, the banjo sings and gets complimented everywhere I go! It has become a part of me now and I can't see myself seperated from it until the end! It is now 10 out of 10
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Acoustic Outfitters, Stratham NH
Year Purchased: 2000
Price Paid: 2025 ($US)
The sound is unique. It's louder and brighter than a vintage Vega tubaphone...not quite as "old-timey", yet well suited for folk music.
Sound Rating: 10
Fairly well, although I needed to lower the acion a bit...no big deal.
Setup Rating: 8
I would have preferred a vintage maple rather than the chocolate brown. I was disappointed in the fact that the peghead overlay was very rough where it meets the nut. Gary, the AOMC owner fixed it himself rather than send it back. I also upgraded all 5 of the tuners, as they were sticky, and upgraded the tailpiece, the cover of which broke off.
Appearance Rating: 6
The finish after 8 years has held up well.
Reliability Rating: 9
I emailed my initial concerns to Deering, and they never responded other than with boilerplate. Gary, at AOMC, the dealer in NH where I bought it new was extremely helpful. It's warranted to me as long as I own it. Deering cust serv: 2 Dealer cust serv: 10
Customer Service: 5
Aforementioned tuners were cheap, probably Schallers. I upgraded to 4 Keiths and an old Kroll 5th.
Components Rating: 2
For the price I paid, I would recommend it. The list price, however is very inflated. I think it's now arond $4700. I also have a vintage Vega longneck, and I switch back and forth. They are both excellent, but sound different.
Overall Rating: 9
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'New Plates' 55 min
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