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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!

6918 reviews in the archive.

Recording King  RK-75 Elite Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Fretting Fingers (see all reviews from this person) on 2/10/2018

Where Purchased: Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased: January 22,2018
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The RK-75 Elite suits my picking style (Scruggs) perfectly. When I unpacked the banjo I was blown away by the sound, rich/full. Close to the bridge it is bright and clean, closer to the neck deep and full. The 75 has a wide range and it tones out perfectly. I have really cracked down on the 75 and it just wants more. The 75 is loud and I do mean loud, it seems that when I play light, it is still loud. I am one of those who thinks a banjo can't be too loud lol, and the 75 comes through like a champ. The low end is exactly what I was wanting, that deep growl.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Ross Nickerson and his team set the banjo up perfectly. I am going to play it for a while to let it settle in and then see if it needs to be tweaked, but out of the case it sounds really really good. Intonation is spot on.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The looks, finish, inlay, plating everything is flawless. No complaints it is just a really nice looking instrument. I keep looking for inlay mistakes or finish mistakes and I can't find any at all, just a beautiful looking banjo. The 75 elite has the flying eagle inlay pattern which I love. I thought the Recording King block on the peg head would bother me. I thought it was going to have a "sticker" look but it doesn't at all, it is inlay and actually looks good.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware is solid like the rest of the banjo. The plating is good no sign of bubbles anywhere. I can't see a reason the finish will not last. I would play this banjo in any situation. A very dependable banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have not had a reason to deal with Recording King so I can't comment on their service. BUT, I did deal with Ross Nickerson. A very impressive guy. I called him on a number of occasions to talk about the purchase. It is a very impressive thing to call a company and the owner answers the phone. You don't talk to "Roy" who has never played a banjo, you talk to a professional player who actually knows banjos. Ross was very patient, answering all the questions I asked with clear and honest answers. There was not "selling" involved, just plain upfront talk about the banjo. I talked to Ross about other banjos and he never ran them down, never tried to "push" the RK over other makes. I guess a couple of the things that most impressed me about Ross was that he will talk banjo with you, not just selling banjos but playing. Another thing that impressed me was Ross in just a nice guy to deal with, wants to get you the banjo you want and to help you in anyway he can, you can tell his heart is in helping banjo players play. I would encourage those who are looking for a RK, to contact Ross I promise you, you will not go wrong.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything stands out to me about the 75 Elite, it is a pretty instrument to look at. I had spikes put in at the 7th and 9th frets, the 5th slides in smoothly, no snags at all. Another compliment to Ross and his team. I have played other banjos where the 5th string would catch or not slide under the spikes easy.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

As you can tell, I am pretty pleased with the banjo. I intend this banjo to be handed down through the family. When I am gone it is to go to one of my girls and then handed down to one of the grand children, hopefully they will love bluegrass and the instrument as much as I do. This is the first and probably my last NEW banjo I will buy and I feel I made a great choice. Very pleased all the way around with the purchase. Dealing with Ross Nickerson was just a pleasure and would not hesitate to deal with him again. I purchased the banjo on January 22,2018 and on January 26, 2018 it was sitting in my house. Not sure of the sound you are looking for, we all have "that" sound, but the 75 Elite has that sound for me. 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by kowen1 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/10/2012

Where Purchased: Online

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The sound is amazing. Very bright and clear. Much louder than I expected.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It arrived fairly well setup. The head was a little loose and it was out of tune but those are to be expected. Ten minutes of work and it was right as rain.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful. The craftmanship is top notch for a banjo that isn't a "custom".

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The hardware seems very sturdy and reliable. I don't have alot of experience judging this but it seems very well built.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

It has a limited lifetime warranty. I haven't had to occasion to deal with the company.

Customer Service: 7

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

This is a great banjo for the price. I can't imagine getting a better sounding/looking banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Upriver Banjo (see all reviews from this person) on 7/31/2012

Where Purchased: Angie's Banjo

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1399 ($US)

Sound

set up professionally by Kyle K Smith www.banjosetupspecialist.com
I communicated to Kyle the sound I was looking for and he did a fabulous job in setting it up. I also had him install 4 spikes 7th through 10th frets.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo went directly from Angie's Banjo to Kyle for a professional setup giving it the ultimate playability, and tone and timbre that I desired.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The banjo arrived in perfect condition. Wonderfully pleasing in appearance with no flaws.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The quality of the components are superb for a banjo in this price range.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have never dealt with Recording King directly although they did send me a nice hat via Music Link.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Gotoh Planetary Tuners, Nitro cellulose Lacquer finish, Remo frosted head,Presto-Style tailpiece, Nickel-Plated hardware.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I amazed at the sound and quality of this banjo. It can hold it's own with banjos double the price. Although this banjo is still settling in and I've only had it only a month I'm confident of my assessment.
I know there are many fine banjos out there but this evaluation is in comparison within the price range.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by nikosmanias (see all reviews from this person) on 1/30/2012

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: 1475 ($US)

Sound

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Very poor setup although I paid 84$ for a setup with low action Snuffy Smith 3 bridge and D'Addario J55 strings, the action is too high and if I try to lower the action I get buzzes on the 19th fret that seems to be higher than the others

Setup Rating: 2

Appearance

The flange did not seat in the resonator because of neck notch not deep enough

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Here is the reply from Recording King !
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: The Music Link Inquiries
To: Nicolas MANIAS
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: RK75 Elite very poor setup

Hi Nicolas,

Thank you for your interest in Recording King. I'm sorry to hear about the issues you have been having with your RK-ELITE-75. Our QC department has been made aware of your concerns and the problems you have had with the banjo.

Best Regards

Amazing , nothing else and no suggestions !

Customer Service: 1

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Here are my comments set to Elderly and Recording King:
Dear Sir,
I would like to express my disappointment concerning my purchase of a Recording King RK75 Elite banjo.
After reading a lot of information on different sites and Forums, I decided to go for it and placed my order to you (Elderly Instruments) online.
I asked a specific setup with a low action and a specific string set.
The Banjo came in and at my surprise, the action was way to high. I thought I'd set it up and started by taking off the resonator.
Other surprise:
The flange did not fit parallel in the resonator because the neck's notch is not deep enough, so at one end it seats about 5mm in and on the neck side it's at the same level with the resonator.(Where is the Quality Check ?)

While trying to set the action, I noticed that I could not lower the strings to the point I wanted because the 19th fret is higher than the 20th and 21st fret thus my action has to be high to avoid buzzing at the 19st fret down.
I really regret my purchase and money spent on a so called setup (84$).

My problem is that in my area (Geneva Switzerland) there are no Banjo specialists and my skills are not good enough for a major setup like fret alignment.

Concerning the flange-resonator assembly I can manage by cutting the neck notch a little deeper so it fits right.

My point is that for the price I paid I did not get what the advertising points out.
That “all the banjo's are checked and professionally setup and bla bla.. “
Again it's a great disappointment and I will not endorse this product in any way.

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by beegee (see all reviews from this person) on 8/7/2010

Where Purchased: Musicgearclub(ebay)

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 950 ($US)

Sound

This banjo is bright and clear and has plenty of depth and sustain. Bell-like tone up the neck. Plenty of punch and power. This has a 27.5" scale whereas most modern Gibson copies use a 26.25" scale. This gives the banjo a more open gutsy sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Banjo was not set-up. the coordinator rods were loose, the head was loose. I tightened the head, added a Scorpion 11/16" bridge, tightened the co-rods. I have not yet removed the tone ring from the rim. It came equipped with a high-crown head, so I will probably use a medium crown. The head hoop is bottomed-out in head-notch in the heel, so there is no more room to tighten the head, but it's as tight as i want it right now. I may try a tensionator finger tailpiece, just for fun. I'm not a large fan of the non-adjustable Presto-type.

Setup Rating: 3

Appearance

Nitro finish, red-brown mahogany, double-cut Gibson-style headstock, modified flying eagle pearl inlays. This was sold as a 2nd because of resonator finish flaws, but I can't find any. The heel shape is refined and more attractive than earlier models and the nitrocellulose finish is better-looking than the other models' catalyzed polyester finish. The resonator is the striped figured mahogany with the double concentric rings.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware is flawless and well-plated and polished. Gotoh tuners work well. Except the resonator thumbscrews(see below)

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I'm not concerned with that

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Everything seems to be high quality, except the resonator thumb screws. The tops of the screws show rough machining marks and one of the lugs is located slightly off the correct position to easily work.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I think this is the best effort of Recording King yet. I like this better than my Scout and the RK-80 and Deco I played. I give it a 9 because there is always room for improvement. This banjo olays like a dream and gives plenty of sound without having to bear down on it. Intonation is fine and sound is balanced across the strings. I'm using med-light AMB cryo strings and I may go back to mediums.

Overall Rating: 9

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