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!
6938 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Through trade with Clancy Mullins
Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 1800 ($US)
I'm new to banjo, less than a year....I've been playing guitar professionally over 30 years.
Not bad overall, but somewhat thin. Have tried several head tensions, two different Snuffy Smith bridges; a KatEyz bridge helped give it some pop. May try another head. Volume is good, seems to have really strong mids and I have a hard time getting a good snap out of it. It's a wet sounding banjo.
Sound Rating: 6
Head was way too tight (close to C), truss rod needed adjustment. Fret work is adequate at best, had one high fret, and one that was so loose it required removal and re-install with glue......slot cut too big.
Setup Rating: 5
Inlay work is good, but Mr.Mullins doesn't do that, Custom Inlay did it......nice clean inlay work. Binding is not executed cleanly, edges are not crisp like they are on better banjos. Lacquer has imperfections that should have been buffed out. It looks fine from a few feet away.
Appearance Rating: 4
Tuners are Gotoh, they seem okay but not the best. Flange, hooks, hoop etc.. are (according to Mr.Mullins) RK or FQMS...whatever happens to be handy at the time.
This banjo was delivered with a Mullins block rim which was cracked, he replaced it with a Cox 3-ply. Resonator is Cox and Buck No-Hole ring.
Seems reliable enough, it's not my Stelling for sure.
Reliability Rating: 7
Mr.Mullins has been willing to address issues without problems; I would discuss shipping reimbursement before shipping, it actually wound up costing me money to send this banjo back for repair since I wasn't reimbursed the full cost of shipping.
Customer Service: 9
I'm not sure I'll keep this instrument....if I do I will get a new head, better tailpiece and fret-job. Tailpiece seems cheap, will probably replace soon.
Gotoh Tuners, Cox Rim and Resonator, various hardware.
Components Rating: 6
I got a Mahogany Mullins that had a poorly aligned neck, I sent it back and added money to upgrade. This banjo really hasn't cranked my tractor yet and I've had issues, especially cosmetic (on both banjos) that just shouldn't get by a small builder, I'll resolve the issues and decide whether or not to keep.
The components are there, this banjo can be made to sound good........
I suppose it's okay for the price point......but it's not in the same league as my banjo built by Wyatt Fawley which only cost me 100 bucks more than this one. I also own a Stelling.......I've had my hands on two Mullins banjos and they are priced cheaper for a reason.........I think it can be a good working banjo with some tweaking. Were I back at the beginning of the trade, I would have just sold my guitar and added money to buy a Hatfield or Bishline, they are close on the price point, but better instruments.
Also has a cheap case, would have expected a better case.
Overall Rating: 5
'5-String Neck' 42 min
'Home Sweet Home' 44 min
'New Plates' 55 min
'Low Road to Aspen' 57 min
'Straploks' 2 hrs
'Vance banjos iOTA 11"' 3 hrs