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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!

6920 reviews in the archive.

Recording King  RK-R20 Songster Banjo Banjo Reviews

Submitted by theronb (see all reviews from this person) on 4/15/2017

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: 450 ($US)

Sound

I play mostly bluegrass and I was pleasantly surprised how much volume this banjo is capable of producing, considering it doesn't have a solid bronze tone ring.The sound is bright and clear, although not as rich as my Gibson ESS, but for this price I am really pleased.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

I purchased this from Elderly partly because I know from experience that they do an excellent job of setting up new instruments and this one was not exception. It plays well all the way up the neck.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Excellent fit and finish,although the finish on rim seems slightly more orangey in color than the neck and resonator but only slightly. The hearts and flowers inlays are nicely done and the purfling is well done. The metal brackets, tailpiece and armrest are all quite bright with no signs of surface flaws. I'll have no problem taking this out to jams, although I'll stick to my Gibson for performances.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I've only had the banjo for a day so it's hard to say yet, but it certainly looks and feels solid. The tuners work great, with no slop.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Recording King warranty is "limited lifetime"; Elderly's warranty is one year. I have no experience with Recording King's service but Elderly is very reputable, which is why I had no qualms about ordering an instrument over the Internet.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The visible stuff all seems to be of good quality, nothing in particluar stands out, but what surprised me was how good the rolled brass tone hoop sounds.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I bought this for a "beater" banjo to take camping, on airlines but it would be excellent as a beginner banjo that would take a long time to outgrow. I wish I'd had a banjo of this high quality and good tone for my first one, 50+ years ago. At this price point I don't think you can beat this.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Ladelnutts (see all reviews from this person) on 5/26/2012

Where Purchased: www.banjohut.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 419 ($US)

Sound

This is my first banjo that I am learning on. I think for the money this thing sounds awesome. My instructor also thinks the tone and volume is great. I'm giving it a 9 because I am sure there are better sounding banjos out there.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup from the banjohut was great.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Great looking banjo at a reasonable price. I have gotten several compliments on it. I'm giving it an 8 because there are more ornate banjos out there. Of course those are more expensive.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

So far so good. I've been playing it for 6 months and so far no issues. Looks to be of good quality materials and has a limited lifetime warranty. Giving it an 8 because I'm sure there is better out there.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Paul at the Banjo Hut is easy to deal with. He answered quite a few questions for me on the phone about several banjos before I made the final decision on this one.

Customer Service: 10

Components

This banjo looks good to me and is great for a newbie. I am sure there are parts on it that aren't top of the line. For the price though I don't think you can beat it. Giving it a 9 because I'm sure there are better components out there.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I looked around quite a bit at banjos in local stores & online. I spent a little more than I had originally intended to and bought this. I am glad I did. Down the road I am sure I'll buy another banjo but I don't plan on parting with this. I want my kids to learn on it.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Ozark Clawhammer (see all reviews from this person) on 2/27/2012

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

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

Sound

Really great. Tom at Janet Davis sets up all their banjos and he can get the best out of any banjo. It is loud for having a rolled brass tonering, and NOT at all tubby. It sounds clear as a bell up the neck also. I play clawhammer and 3 finger both and I think this banjo does a nice job with either style.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up was awesome and still is. Like I said, Tom does the setup and the action was great, no buzzing frets. Head was nice and tight.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Great. It was setting right next to a Huber Lancaster and looked just about like it. The finish has no flaws and the hardware is top notch for a banjo in this price point.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware is solid and I think it will last a lifetime, but RK is known for good hardware. The finish isn't like that of a Deering or Gibson, but then again this banjo didn't cost that much. For what it is, it is fantastic.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

JDM is always great. I get a new instrument there about every 3 months and I just keep coming back.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The tuners are a real gem compared to my Morgan Monroe banjo. The coordinator rod is a little thin but that is really the only downside.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Great banjo, no better banjo in this price bracket.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by bearfoothillbilly (see all reviews from this person) on 3/4/2011

Where Purchased: musiciansfriend.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 374.99 ($US)

Sound

Nice sound. Better then an all aluminum pot
I can see me playing this in local Festival But not at the Grand Ol'd Opry.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was not as hard as I thought. Only problem was with the forth string tuner (keeps sliping) Set up ws easy thanks to all the folks at BHO.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It looks almost as good as some banjos coasting more than $1500. no cosmetic flaws I could find

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All the hardware seem in good order except the Planetary tuner
thy are of a very low quality. still for the money it is worth it

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I give them a 10 out of ten, Not I never used them so I give them a 10 for not having to put up with them:)

Customer Service: 10

Components

Planetary tuner are cheap quality the reast look great

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I am verry Happy it is a lot better the the washburn b9 my brother bought to save money. it is a banjo I can hand down to my children one day.

Overall Rating: 10

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