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: J. Romero Banjo Co.
Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 5,300 ($US)
This banjo has a 12" Claro Walnut rim with an inner rosewood core (a first for Jason) and is topped with a stained goat skin head. I opted for the integral Honduran Rosewood tone ring and the instrument is strung with Classical Nylgut string. The sound is rich and full with a powerful low end, clear mids and crisp highs. This banjo has a wide dynamic range which accommodates the playing of sensitive, soft passages as well as hard driving pieces with ease. It has excellent volume and projection and is the loudest banjo I own.
Sound Rating: 10
The setup was perfect and exactly what I requested. The action is .125" at the 12" fret and is a joy to play. Even when tuned to double C I can really dig in without any buzzing.
Setup Rating: 10
This banjo is stunning. It incorporates a beautiful, customized tree of life inlay on the fingerboard which was inspired by S.S. Stewart. I worked with Jason and Pharis on the design concept and their execution of it exceeded my expectations. The inlay is fully engraved which adds a high level of sophistication and elegance. The peg head inlay design is also S.S. Steward inspired and works perfectly with the fingerboard inlay. The Claro Walnut one-piece neck has gorgeous character as does the Claro Walnut rim. The lightly aged brass hardware, gold tuners and EVO (gold) fret wire completes the look making this a true presentation grade banjo.
Appearance Rating: 10
Everything about this banjo epitomizes quality. Every detail is perfect. The tuners are gold Gotoh with ebony buttons and they are the smoothest I've ever experienced. It is a very well built instrument that I’m confident will last for many generations to come.
Reliability Rating: 10
The entire experience was great. Jason and Pharis were a pleasure to work with. I too am a luthier and I believe that I set the bar very high for this instrument. Jason and Pharis accommodated all of requests and offered several ideas and design suggestions that were terrific. It was nice to be on the receiving end of a build experience for a change!
Customer Service: 10
As stated above in the Reliability section, every single component on this instrument is stellar and in my opinion is an example of one of the finest banjos being made today. Jason's approach to building is innovative while being equally respectful of time honored traditions. The best mix of both. I opted for a custom built Cedar Creek 900 series case because of the special nature of this banjo. The standard bump style case that Jason includes is excellent and I am using two of them on other banjos I own.
Components Rating: 10
This banjo is a feast for the ears and eyes. It truly is a piece of musical sculpture. And it's not just a pretty face either. This is a serious player's instrument. The sound is rich and the feel of the neck is perfect. It sounds great all the way up the neck. This banjo sounds equally great for Clawhammer or old time finger picking styles. What an amazing instrument!
Overall Rating: 10
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