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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.

Recording King  RK-80A Archtop Banjo Reviews

Submitted by AmishPicker (see all reviews from this person) on 12/9/2011

Where Purchased: Acoustic Vibes Music

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I am a real Ralph Stanley fan as well as a fan of Eddie Adcock so I was looking for that bright bouncy sound. It's also loud loud loud and I really don't have to dig in to make it stand out. With different setups it can sound so different so I am looking forward to playing with it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Banjo was setup by Acoustic Vibes, the guy there is mostly a guitar guy but did a surprisingly good initial setup on this banjo. He's very concientious about his work and does a great job. Also had HO spikes installed, great and neat job on those as well.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is beautiful. Greg did a great job designing these.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware is all top notch, very smoothe. Maybe one day I will go to keith tuners, but these will do for now.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: 9

Components

I don't see anything that would "have" to be upgraded but I will probably upgrade the bridge to a compensated one eventually. As I said above, maybe Keith tuners someday.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I played every banjo in the store(50+) from Stelling, to Deering to Bishline etc. and for the money, this thing is a hands down, no contest winner.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by fenderleo2 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/26/2010

Where Purchased: Sawnee Mountain Music

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 1500 ($US)

Sound

Its great loud, popping sound, i play stanley and scruggs style so it fits it perfectly. I use a 5 star smooth head cranked to 11 lbs. and a gary sosebbe bridge which i need to sand down and JD crowe studio lights by ghs. i have a presto tailpice on it now but im gonna replace it with a adjustable one here soon. Very rich, bright, and WArm at the same time.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It was set up by the great wayne wright and I tell you what this is the best sounding and feeling banjo, better than any american banjos i have played.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Its a mahogany resonator and neck with a really nice maple rim for the tone ring. the neck is nice, i wasnt a big fan of the white bining on the necks fretboard but that doesnt really matter because i bought for its sound not appeareance but still very nice look.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

all parts on this banjo seem to be the best and last me a while , unless i feel like making it gold plating.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

sawnee mountain music was great along with recording king, they shipped it to the music store, in 3 days and picked it up ready to jam it out. but service couldnt have been better.

Customer Service: 10

Components

the archtop is the only big difference in this banjo from the other recording king banjo in the line. the neck is pretty interesting inlay but the archtop ring just completes this banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Great, if you want an archtop without having to pay for an american made one or a custom fitted tonering to your rim this is the way to go.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by rollinalong (see all reviews from this person) on 8/6/2008

Where Purchased: Fitch Banjos

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Now that it's set up and played in a bit, it's sounding pretty good. Initially the set up was terrible on this banjo and even though it sounded "ok" it needed a bunch of work to get it as close to right as it could get. I'm rating the inital sound as an 8, shes WAY better than that now. After the set up and playing in shes more than I expected for the money.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Up the neck action was almost 5/16 of an inch, which is WAY too high past the 12th fret. The tone ring had major gaps between it and the rim. It took .05" shims in four places to get it to touch the rim. The heel needed to be hand worked to get the action right and the rim was out of round to the point that the tone ring had to be forced out to do the set up. I'm considering a Cumberland tail piece because the tail piece that came on this one has a buzz if the lid is completely closed.

Cliff did not set up this banjo before I got it. I won't go into details, but I got the banjo at a reduced cost. I'm sure much of this would have been corrected by Cliff had he done a set up before I got it.

Setup Rating: 4

Appearance

Fit and finish look very good. She's a beauty to be honest. There is one extremely small plating problem on the stretcher band. You seriously have to look for it to see it. No one but me will look that close cause I'm keeping her so it's a non issue.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Seems ok so far. She looks like a good one, I'd say she as good as any out there. The hardware appears to be good and tough, but who knows until it's been down a few dusty roads.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Customer service is across the nation. I had my local set up professional set this one up because I didn't want to be without it for the amount of time it would take to get it there, set it up, and get it back. I'm giving this a 8 only because I don't know how it would be. Cliff comes very highly recommended and I tend to trust the general consensus on here. He's a good man to deal with in my experience.

Customer Service: 8

Components

She looks good and has what appears to be great quality components. Time will tell.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Now that shes set up, I enjoy her very much. For the price I paid including the set up after I received her, I'd say shes worth every cent and more.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by cotton eyed joe (see all reviews from this person) on 7/4/2008

Where Purchased: The Banjo Hut

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 1450 ($US)

Sound

Has the high lonesome sound I like, rings like a bell, plenty of volume all over the neck, I play Stanley style and it fits it to a T folks, I've played a bunch of Stanleytones and archtop Gibsons that cant compare!!!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

My setup is different than alot of folks , I use a five star unfrosted white head and a long Kershner tailpiece with a Susan B. Anthony dollar under it, this makes this thing ring like no other!!!! Also I use an 11?16th bridge to load up the head more for a fuller tone. I crank down the head good and tight too- With all that bein said the factory setup was good too, Remo head and presto, good enough for most folks!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It really is a nice lookin banjer, the mahoghany wood is beautiful and the neck is superb, not fat at all like most production banjers, really easy to play!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All the hardware is the best stuff I've ever seen, all the machining and tooling is awesome, the fit of the parts is awesome as well, everything is put together the way it should be

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Haven't had to yet but I'm sure their good folks

Customer Service: 10

Components

The tailpiece is the only thing I upgraded, but thats because i like mine setup tighter than alot of other folks

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This banjer is awesome, they really are tellin the truth when they say these are major brand slayers, I've played everything there is to play pretty much including Stanleytones and Gibsons, prewar and otherwise and these are right on top!!!

Overall Rating: 10

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