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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!

6626 reviews in the archive.

Second Life Banjo - Carl Arcand  5-string open back Banjo Reviews

Submitted by sold1ode (see all reviews from this person) on 9/11/2017

Where Purchased: from Carl Arcand

Year Purchased: ca. 2014
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Great, bright and loud enough to require a towel to mellow the ring

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Excellent. I wanted both low action and a high bridge; Carl angled the neck to pot perfectly

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Tigre maple with Chubby Dragon head inlay. Stunning.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Excellent hardware, Carl is quite particular.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Excellent. Carl is prompt to reply and sent numerous pictures during the building stage.

Customer Service: 10

Components

There are no weak or cheap parts on Carl's banjos.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

As someone who either presently owns or has owned many fine banjos, from Romeros to Doc's to Chuck Lee's to Deerings, Ode,  Cloverlick,  Rickard and others, all much better banjos than I deserve, the work of Carl Arcand certainly belongs in the prestigious category of fine makers. In my case, Carl built a long neck for an old Vega LIttle Wonder tone ring pot. The result is an absolute joy to play up and down the neck. His neck is much more comfortable than Deering's newer "Vega" Longneck, and his detailed inlay work makes my banjo far more beautiful than the Deering or the original Vege Seeger long neck.  In fact, I like Carl long necks so much that I am thinking of having him make me another, for a Tubaphone pot I recently acquired. Carl Arcand is one fine maker of banjos. 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by plossrw (see all reviews from this person) on 7/19/2012

Where Purchased: Second Life Banjo

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1450 ($US)

Sound

Nice warm mahogany tones tempering a tubaphone style tonering, even tone up and down the neck. Lots of volume for an open back, and great clarity in individual notes. Sounds particularly good in double-c tuning!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Carl set this instrument up perfectly, in my opinion. Head tension was great, neck action perfectly suits the instrument. Nice job on the nut slots and bridge.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is a satin-finish mahogany instrument, with ebony and maple accents. Fretboard is nicely done in understated MOP dots, star at the 5th. Really good workmanship, incorporating Bill Rickard parts with a couple of vintage Vega pieces.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

See above. Hardware is solid as it comes. Playing my first gig with it next Sunday - a wedding, doing a duet with my wife playing guitar. I don't foresee any problems at all.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Carl was great to correspond with. He has a great website, and responds quickly to inquiries.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All the hardware is first-rate, from the new Rickard stuff to the Waverly planetary's with ebony tuner knobs (wow!) to the vintage Vega head hoop.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is a very nicely built one-off. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another banjo from Carl. He runs a nice shop, and deals with the highest quality materials and components. Obviously a very skilled craftsman.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by banjorev (see all reviews from this person) on 2/29/2012

Where Purchased: Second Life Banjo - Canada

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 850 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Carl Arcand of 'Second Life Banjo.com' restores old banjos and builds his own. This one has an original neck with an old pot with original hardware. It sounds amazing! It has a no-holes flat head tone ring, medium strings, and an Elite Fyberskin head. It has a great 'rumble' with nice volume and an old time plunk. It's perfect and sweet!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was spot on. I didn't have to do anything except tune up the strings. The pot, neck and hardware are in excellent condition and I was playing it within 5 minutes after receiving it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is a partially restored banjo. Carl uses old, aged rims and hardware whenever he can. Mine had an old pot which was re-finished perfectly, along with it's original hardware that was in perfect condition. The neck was new, but has fantastic inlays and hard maple binding with hand carving at the heel. Very nice indeed! The tuners are high quality with ebony buttons. Overall the banjo is beautiful!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware is top-notch. Any aged hardware is restored to it's natural beauty or new hardware is added...usually from Rickard Banjo...and we all know how excellent his stuff is! I've only had the banjo a short time but it's solid and feels and sounds great.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Contacting Carl at Second Life Banjo is just a matter of sending an e-mail. He responds within a day and seems very friendly.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Even though some parts are older or restored, the banjo looks new. He uses the best hardware available and everything goes together really well.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Overall I am very impressed with Carl's work. I think the banjo I have could easily be sold for twice what I paid (don't tell Carl!). The workmanship on this banjo is excellent. My next banjo will be from him.

Overall Rating: 10

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