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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.

Recording King  MADISON RK-R35 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Flatiron53 (see all reviews from this person) on 7/15/2019

Where Purchased: Jim Britton

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: 799.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Jim had Robin Smith reset the neck. Jim checked the fit of the tone ring himself.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

These are excellent banjos for the price range.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing needs to be changed.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Jim Britton is the consummate gentleman.  He is a man of the highest integrity and character.  I would never hesitate to do business with him again.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by loonsailor (see all reviews from this person) on 10/9/2016

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 475 ($US)

Sound

Sounds great, now that it's set up. Pretty much a classic flat head bluegrass sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was atrocious. It was a Guitar Center store demo (that's why it was so cheap) so most of that was probably GC's fault, since it was likely knocked around, but basically everything that could be wrong (head tension, strings, neck curve, action, ...) was, indeed, wrong. Two items, though, were probably RK's fault. The nut was not even a banjo nut, but was radiused (the neck is not) and was probably cut down from a guitar or something. Also, the 5th string nut was screwed up and caused it to buzz badly. Both needed replacement. Again, because it was so cheap, I was willing to do this but at full price I would have been mighty angry.

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

Looks nice. Not fancy, but nice.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

All the hardware seems fine (except see above re setup). Tuners are adequate, not wonderful.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

GC is worthless, and I've had no direct contact with RK.

Customer Service: 5

Components

Once i got it into shape I'm very happy with the instrument, with one exception. I just don't like the neck. It's too narrow for me, and is in fact objectively narrow (calipers say 1.2" at the nut, but it tapers in somewhat from there to the fingerboard). Sadly, that's pretty much the one thing that can't be economically changed on a banjo in this price range.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

This is a very good instrument for the price, but make sure the components are what you are expecting (look at the nut, specifically) and, depending on who you buy from, expect that you may need to do some work on the setup.  Also, be sure the neck works for your hand.  This may be the single reason that I replace mine at some point.

If it does work for you, it's a solid, great sounding instrument at a very good price.

 

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by flintlock54 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/20/2011

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 375.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Bought used but great sound, volume, tone and sustain. Several players tried it at a jam and said really impressed with it. Love the look and quality.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

No rating for set-up as was used. Is the prototype that was sold to Elderly. When I bought it had no bridge. Had them set it up with light-plus strings and a snuffy smith bridge. Have adjusted head tension and tailpiece. Plays easy and has sound of banjos costing much more.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Like the inlays and peghead. Tuners seem fine and it stays in tune very well.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

Finish is very nice, all hardware is holding up well. Neck fit is perfect and easy to play

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Since technically used, probably none.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Could upgrade tuners, but do not think I need to.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Love the banjo and don't think I need to upgrade unless I get to be a really good player.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Majorbanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 5/6/2011

Where Purchased: banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 699 ($US)

Sound

Sounds unbelieveable for the price....big, loud, open....i've had many banjos that cost much more that can't best this banjo....

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

setup was almost perfect....were some loose nuts on some of the head hooks....and the arm rest was a little loose....was a little rattle until I snugged them up....after that...perfect....

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

looked better than I thought....grain in the resonator was beautiful..satin finish was great......inlay was perfect...love the gulls....

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I'm sure it's reliable

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

not used

Customer Service: 10

Components

I'll replace the bridge with a taller bridge.....and replace the tuners with kieth d-tuners.....just a preference...not necessary...the current components are fine....

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I love this banjo; in my opinion it's definitley the best bang for the buck in the banjo world...you can play it anywhere and not be ashamed....it's a hoss....I love the feel of the neck....I might buy another one just to have a back up.....heck I could buy 7.1 of these for the price of the last new banjo I bought and I'd rather play this one....

Overall Rating: 10

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