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!
7001 reviews in the archive.
“Timmo” fills a niche market for the banjo enthusiast who favors the vintage banjos of the past. Originally, I had arranged to have a neck made by one of the premier neck builders for a Vega Little Wonder pot I had purchased. Unfortunately, after more than a year of waiting, I decided it was time to find a different builder. I stumbled on Tim’s “Save the Banjos” web site, contacted him, discussed my needs and he proceeded with the project. The end result—I could not be more pleased. He constructed a neck perfectly balance for the pot, did a banjo set up, supplied a quality bridge and strings (I supplied the tuners) all for an unbelievable price. The neck was simple and elegant… constructed from a maple blank with an ebony fret board and the traditional star on the head and 5th fret. I own several banjos from low to high end, and this, along with my Vega Tubby, are by far my favorites to play and to just admire.
In sum, Banjos are obviously a work of love for Tim, because he certainly cannot make a living on his prices.
(One caveat, Timmo did say this project was not his usual thing, but he did such a great job and I was/am so pleased I wanted to get the word out.)
Overall Rating: 10
Tim Smith of Mt. Wolf, Pennsylvania is an unusual luthier. His website is a statement of his working philosophy in a nutshell: www.savethebanjos.com. Tim's passion to reviving older, medium-grade banjos and finding homes for them. I purchased a circa 1900 no-name open-back with Cannonball nylon strings from Tim for a very reasonable price and was completely happy with. So happy, in fact, that I sent him my Deering Goodtime open-back awhile later and asked him to customize it by doubling the number of hooks, adding an ebony fingerboard, ebony heel cap, and re-styling the Gumby-like peghead. He did excellent work at a reasonable price. Tim represents his work fairly and his website contains step-by-step, illustrated case histories of many of the banjos he has brought back to like. Check with Tim if you're interested in an economical, turn-of-the-century instrument that shows its history -- Tim doesn't restore banjos to a like-new state; that's not his thing. But he definitely gives them a new lease on life.
Overall Rating: 9
'Tiger Rag' 2 hrs
'Validated!' 2 hrs