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.
Where Purchased: musiciansfriend.com
This banjo sounds very good after a good going-over and set-up. The volume is good, although the tone is a little thick. I believe this is primarily due to the resonator, which is heavy and crudely finished on the inside. It is the one place where the comprimises required to sell this instrument at such a low price really shows, although it must be removed to see this, as the outer surfaces are nicely finished. The resonator is retained by 4 screws which are knurled, making removal easy, and the banjo sounds brighter with the resonator off, although volume suffers, as one might expect. Overall, sound and tone are better than one would expect, given the low purchase price.
Sound Rating: 6
My banjo was shipped to me still sealed in the Washburn carton. It was not setup at all, and numerous brackets, screws and other parts were not adequately adjusted or tightened. With an hour or so of tinkering, it shaped up into a pretty good low-end banjo.
Setup Rating: 4
This banjo is nicely, if simply, finished, and feels good in ones hands. Nothing fancy, but it is a nice looking banjo.
Appearance Rating: 7
No problems at all.
Reliability Rating: 9
No experience with them involving this banjo, but my experience with the guitar side of Washburn makes me have my doubts. Although they are an old company with a rich history, they seem to be clueless when questioned about out-of-production models. The B-8K is still a current model, so support may be better...for now.
Customer Service: 3
As stated earlier, the resonator is cheaply made. Also, the "case candy" that came with this banjo was mostly useless junk. the guitar-style strap could not be attached to the banjo because there is no guitar-style strap button, A tuner that was supposed to come with it was nowhere to be found.
Components Rating: 3
This banjo is very good, considering the low price, and I believe anyone with reasonable expectations would be happy with it. Even seasoned players may find it useful, especially in situations or locations where they might not want to take a beautiful, high-dollar instrument. As far as new players are concerned, if you are looking for a gem that will play well right out of the box, this banjo is not going to make you very happy. If, however, you don't mind making a little investment of time and effort to tidy up the loose ends, so to speak, this is a perfect learning banjo. The "hands-on" needed to sort this instrument out could itself be an important and entertaining education.
Overall Rating: 7
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