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!
7071 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Derek Easter (Eastbanjo)
I had been searching since before my birthday in March, for a good set of the "Scruggs"/D-tuners, but hadn't seen anything yet that I could afford.
Later on, I happened across Derek's ad for the gold-plated Keith tuners. I thought, "It'll be really dumb of me to pass up his offer." The next paragraph describes my satisfaction, once I saw them in person.
These are the best D-tuners in the world, they are built like a tank. 100% USA made, and will never disappoint the user. Worth every part of the price I paid for them. I got them for my Deering Intermediate. Normal retail price for the gold-plated ones is $312. I saved close to $100 on my set.
Good friends still exist; thanks goes to Derek for the tuners and the Beacon Banjo Co for making them available in the first place.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Banjo Teacher.com
Nice piece of work. Well designed, bullet proof, and very smooth in operation. Holds the string's tune solid. I bought 2 d-tuners for the 2 and 3 strings, and standard tuners for 1 and 4 strings.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: used
what other product that is over 35 years old works as well as the day it was new/ I took these fro a banjo i got in trade, sent them to Mr. Keith (who by the wy answers his own phone) for a lube job (they were working fine when i removed them). I got them back in about a week with a letter telling me how old they were. The cost was aorund 15 bucks plus some minior shipping. I also bought two more regular tuners from him. These are SMOOTH as all get out
Given the over the top quality and service, these are NOT EXPENSIVE as other will claim.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Yates Banjos
These have been a fixture in the 5-string banjo (and Telecaster guitar) world since the late 1960's. They are without compare as an example of modern American industrial art. They are marketed only by www.beaconbanjo.com, with personal service from Bill Keith.
I ordered four of these on my new Yates banjo. I kind of decided to get them at the last minute, just before the instrument was about to be shipped. Warren Yates called up Bill Keith, found the rather more elusive 1/4 set, and got them sent in time; something of a contrast with the usual multi-national corporate service.
To me these seem unchanged since the appeared on the scene in 1966 or so. They have always been stainless. I think they were originally $75 per set; now they're $210. Back then that was expensive, but now they're a steal. They are sold only in pairs, which is odd. Because they are so timeless, they work well on vintage instruments as replacements or on new instruments that are constructed to look vintage.
The D-tuning function requires the high note be tuned and locked followed by the lower note. After that there is no regular tuning allowed without unlocking the set screws. That's a bit of a pain compared to what I'm used to, the old-style Scruggs tuners that required two more holes be drilled in the peg head, (way more of a pain).
The D-tuning is kind of a one-trick-pony in my estimation. I got four of them for another reason. If you spend some time with the electronic tuner and get the tuning right you can tighten both set screws and the tuners lock! On my Yates banjo this really works - it stays in tune despite normal handling, pretty much all day. That's a nice feature for performances.
Another feature that works pretty well (on my banjo) is to set up alternate tuning stops. My favorite is to set the 4th string between C and D and the 2nd string between B and C. The other two are locked. With this setup I can get many of the tunings I like instantly. My Yates stays in tune adequately with this arrangement - it's really bliss. I haven't tried D-tuning between G and D-modal. In that case you might have to leave the first string unlocked for a little touch-up tuning.
The disadvantage is that the initial tuning takes more time. The actual process of tuning is flawless with no observable hysteresis. Still, I believe you should tune from below to set the upper stop and, from above to set the lower. I'm used to Pat. Pend. Grover Rotomatics, and these are as smooth although geared higher.
The overall rating would be a 10 if they tuned themselves, you could buy a 2/4 set or a single tuner, and they were tri-state.
Overall Rating: 9
'Cousin Sally Brown' 8 min
'Reubens Train' 19 min
'Parts lot' 52 min
'Pot assembly' 57 min