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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.

Deering  Calico Custom Banjo Reviews

Submitted by DIV (see all reviews from this person) on 9/3/2008

Where Purchased: Janet Davis

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: ($US)


This is a custom Calico. I ordered it with Brazilian Rosewood instead of maple and Tenbrooks pot instead of Deering 06. The tone is incredible. It has that richness and depth that I have come to appreciate in my Gibsons, but the Kruger tone ring adds an amazing purity that is VERY pleasing. This banjo is suited to all types of music depending on how you play it.

Sound Rating: 10


Now I'm Obsessive compulsive about my set-up, but I didn't have do ANYTHING AT ALL. The set-up was perfeted by Janet Davis herself at Janet Davis Music. Nice and low action hieght, no buzzing or noises, perfectly even head tension. The only change I made was swapping out the SS bridge JDM placed (to replace the stock Deering bridge) with one another "Mystery" bridge that I had and it was the perfect touch.

Setup Rating: 10


The super-rare Brazilian Rosewood they used is old growth lumber, not stump wood that is often used. The finish and polish is flawless. I choose to upgrade to Abalone inlays and I'm so glad I did so: very colorful. The inlays are completely flush with the ebony fingerboard which is extremely smooth and flawless. The binding, the fret finishing--all absolutely flawless.

Appearance Rating: 10


The hardware is nickel plated and I hope it develops a bit of tarnish, but right now it's all very brilliant. The finish is of the highest quality.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've dealt with Deering on and off for over 10 years. They've always been there for me, even while I wasn't a Deering owner. My first resonator banjo was a used Deering Deluxe Custom and I was given lot's of support when I owned it. However, it did not need any service at all.
My new Deering Calico has a lifetime warranty that only applies to the original owner which will always be me while I'm alive!

Customer Service: 10


The tuners are the smoothest around (I believe their customized Gotoh tuners). The tailpiece is the factory Deering model which is their improvement over the presto. The flange is the lighter-weight Tenbrooks version and the unplated Kruger tone ring is the culmination of the tone ring evolution as far as I'm concerned. It's cast in Switzerland by the Ruetschi foundry who's been casting and repairing bells and sculptures for over 600 years.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I highly recommend Deering for you next banjo whether it's used, new or custom. Mine was a very personal combination of preferences and is thus my custom Calico is very unique. If it were stolen, I'd really be at a loss, both financially and emotionally. I am insuring it, but if were lost, I'd order another one, just like it. the wood species may have to be different however due to scarcity.
Deering has vastly improved on their design and tone and this is largely due to by the development of their Tenbrooks tone system.

Overall Rating: 10

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