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!
6918 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: From individulal on BHO classifieds.
Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 850 ($US) (bought USED)
I play mostly Scruggs style, with a little chormatic thrown in. This banjo fits my style of playing very well. It is a very good banjo for an experiienced player as well as a beginner. Especially if you can find a used one in mint condition like I did. The price was very good, and well worth the money.
It has a brighter tone than my Mastertone's, but still has a good bluegrass sound. It is loud enough to play in a bluegrass band and hold it's own. The RK-85-SN sounds good in all positions of the right hand and good sustain up and down the neck.
Haven't found anything to dislike.
Sound Rating: 9
Was not set up exactly like I set them set up. I put a Snuffy Smith 5/8 bridge on it and immediately changed the sound. Then I tried a KatEyz bridge and liked it better. Didn't care for the stock bridge. Also, the head was looser than I like so I tightened the head a good bit. Changed the sound again. I have never cared for the non-adjustable Presto tailpiece, so I put a heavier Prucha tailpiece on it. That helped a lot. The action was fine as I received it, and easy to play. Also, the banjo was easy to make the setup changes.
Setup Rating: 6
The RK-85-SN is a very nice looking banjo. The inlays are well done and good looking. The curly maple is beautifully grained and the finish is extremely well done. The banjo was mint like new condition even though it was used.
Appearance Rating: 9
It looks like it has well finished hardware, but I guess time will tell. I think it will be a dependable banjo, and have already used it on stage with confidence.
Reliability Rating: 9
Bought it used from a hangout member.
Customer Service: not rated
Most of the parts look as good as a high end banjo. The stock bridge is not sufficient. It needs a good quality bridge. The tailpiece is non adjustable, and a bit thin. It needs a better quality, adjustable, heavier tailpiece.
Components Rating: 7
I would recommend this banjo, especially to someone wanting to upgrade without spending a lot of money, and can find a good used one. I would not play something I could not recommend.
I love this banjo, and it will stand up to most other banjos I have played. You can spend a lot more money, without getting a lot more banjo.
Overall Rating: 9
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