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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.

Romero  "Fireweed" 11" Tubaphone Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Medwin Bew (see all reviews from this person) on 3/15/2010

Where Purchased: Jason Romero

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter


Romero #10219. I wanted a banjo that delivered some power when wanted, something that also gave a rich sound, not too bright or brittle. A banjo that was mostly for frailing but also useful for the occasional 'up-picking'. Jason certainly delivered exactly what I wanted. This banjo sounds wonderful - can be played really loud near the bridge, or as soft as you like over the scoop. I love it! Really rich tones, every note as clear as a bell. And she plays as sweet as anything capoed to double D, my favourite.

Sound Rating: 10


The action was set up just as I wanted it, realtively high, like my other banjos. But since this one has a scoop (none of my others do), I may try lowering the action with a shorter bridge, just as an experiment., but that's just my inclination to fiddle with things! The only adjustment I have made to this banjo, aside from tuning her up fresh out of the case, has been to tighten the head a mere fraction after a few days, not surprising given that its a new skin and has travelled half way round the world to my door.

Setup Rating: 10


I can honestly say the finish on this banjo was perfect. Very, very impressed with Jason's workmanship and attention to every detail which is the mark of a quality craftsman. The chechen rim has a gorgeous grain to it and the bookmatching of the 2 piece cherry neck is beautifully done. The ebony/maple purfling and chechen neck binding are beautifully executed as well, as are the ebeony/maple pinstripes under the peghead overlays. The cut and finish of the peghead is also wonderfully crisp. I wanted a 'presentation grade' inlay to celebrate many years working professionally with honeybees, something a little different to my normal 'plain Jane' banjos that I go for. Again, Jason and Pharis delivered something really special for me. The inlay is simply stunning, website photos cannot do any real justice to the detail and delicate shifting understated colours of the materials used.

Appearance Rating: 10


I have only had the banjo a few days, but the hardware looks and feels top quality, very robust, but also good looking. Should last for many years to come. The hard oiled finish of the woods is beautiful, its almost like polished marble! I have worked with woods since I was a youth, building furniture and also woodcarving in my spare time. I was always quite proud of the finishes I could achieve. But now I am really jealous. I wish I could get that sort of finish!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

This banjo comes with a lifetime warranty for the original owner, but obviously, being a new instrument I haven't had to test it. I can say though that both Jason and Pharis were a joy to work with on this project; you always feel like you are the only customer they are dealing with, even though you know they are busy with others. And they were always very keen to check details along the way to ensure you got exactly what you wanted with the instrument.

Customer Service: 10


Nothing cheap used with this banjo. All top quality woods and hardware with good quality Gotoh tuners that I have found to be excellent. so far with my limited use of them. Difficult to pick out a single 'standout feature' in a quality banjo in which everything is beautifully done!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I waited 11 months from ordering for this banjo in the end but can honestly say it was worth every minute spent waiting and every penny that I spent on it. It is already very special to me for so many reasons. Would I buy another Romero? Well, I am already saving for that fretless I promised myself. If its a truely custom instrument you are wanting I can't think of a better banjo luthier to go to IMHO. Pity I can only give Jason 10 points in this review.

Overall Rating: 10

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