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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.

Washburn  B120 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by jblakey (see all reviews from this person) on 6/18/2018

Where Purchased: Music Store

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: 600 (CAD) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I would say this banjo is more old-style than bluegrass. The tone ring is a rolled 1/2" brass ring. Sound is good, but not as bright as my Goodtime Special.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

When i bought this banjo, it had been sitting for 4+ years. The head was loose, the shoes were loose, and the strings were oxidized. When I tightened the head, i discovered the action was too high, so I ended up switching out the bridge for a 1/2" bridge, and now the action is fine. Everything needed a tightening. Strangely, the neck did not require any torsion work. The bend was fine.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Very nice appearance. Heavy steel engraved rim. All the metal parts are nicely-antiqued bronze. The hooks/shoes look to be good quality. The tailpiece is a little chintzy looking, but I'm planning on replacing it as some point, and it's working fine so far. The fretboard/inlays are very well done.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

So far, so good. Very good pot -> ring fitting. Nice, clean neck -> rim join.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: 5

Components

The tailpiece is a little chintzy. The "ivory" pegs are a little rough from the casting process. Everything else seems fine.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Nice banjo overall.  Wouldn't have paid 1200 for it, but at 600 taxes in, it's a steal.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by bornold (see all reviews from this person) on 2/8/2014

Where Purchased: Private Store

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: $600 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

This Banjo has very nice mellow tone (it does have a resonator) and sounds very good with clawhammer, seeger style, and Scruggs style. This banjo has a frosted head. very pleased!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Like all banjos it needed some basic setup. I bought it used so the person who had it had it setup for Scruggs style. I put a high bridge on it to suit my playing style and some new strings. That was all that was needed.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This is a part where this banjo really shined. It has amazing pearl inlays and nice ingravings on the metal parts. The finish is wearing on the armrest but it just makes it look more rustic.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have had this banjo for around 2 years and have had no problems.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Not dealt with washburn for this banjo, but washburn has very good customer service.

Customer Service: 8

Components

This banjo has very nice componets in general, it just need a new bridge.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Overall this is a wonderful intermediate banjo with wonderful tone.  This banjo is also great for those who know multiple banjo styles, this banjo versatile.  I got it used with a $200 fishman so it was a great deal.  I highly recommend this banjo.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by PapaSquatch (see all reviews from this person) on 7/19/2013

Where Purchased: Dave's Music in Winchester, IL

Year Purchased: Summer 2012
Price Paid: $900 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The banjo has a renaissance head which is somewhere between a fibreskyn and a plastic head in terms of 'brightness.' But don't be alarmed, it might work for you. I definitely really enjoy the sound. To me it sounds very balanced. It sounds decent even when you play without a guitar to balance out the sound. I think this would be fantastic for someone who plays in a two-piece band with just banjo and guitar, as the slightly-less bright sound would be a good fit for bands unable to find a bass player (and we all know how difficult it is to find a bass player, especially a straight-up bass!) It would also be ideal for anyone wanting to hit up open-mic nights or do various stuff solo. In my opinion the warmer sound also mixes in better with different genres that other banjos might have trouble (ex. rock & roll, modern country). I play a lot of jam sessions with people who like multiple genres, I find this banjo to be very useful in those situations. There is also a huge sound difference in X & Y positions on this banjo. I love the playing it right next to the bridge, in my opinion it excels in that harsh dirty sound that can be found here.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Decent you might say. I have not replaced the stock strings and I've had the banjo for a year. I haven't even adjust the action yet surprisingly. The store I bought it from took care of that. But what got was the fact the head wasn't tightened from the shop. I almost didn't buy the banjo because of this. But I kept feeling like it would tighten up and sound good, to which I was right. Your shop may tighten the head beforehand unlike mine, but if they don't just be aware that putting a wrench to this baby will make a huge difference. Oh and the resonator is a little difficult to put back on, it takes me multiple tries each time. I regret taking it off actually.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

The strong point of this banjo is definitely aesthetics. Some might argue that we should not worry about appearance, but solely sound. I disagree. I think it is important to be satisfied with your banjo. If you are someone who appreciates the beauty of a well crafted instrument, then appearance may be required for you to be completely satisfied with an instrument. This banjo does not disappoint. The banjo has a road worn finish that has been all the rage with electric guitars with brands like AXL. The finished is faded in appearance. The hardware is all dirtied up brass that almost looks like copper. The tooling and designs on the hardware is absolutely amazing as well. The inlays on the neck are also cool. They're a bit flashy, I'll admit. My favorite feature has to be the binding. Its been yellowed to give it a worn appearance. Its also been scratched and dirty up in certain places. When I take the banjo out of its case I almost always hear at least one person ask how old the banjo is. They're very surprised when I say its only a year old. Washburn did not miss a single detail on this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware seems fine to me. The armrest is showing a bit of ware on the finish, but it only serves to add even more character to this banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have not dealt with the with the Washburn company. But, the store I bought the banjo from was very nice and worked out a decent trade on the banjo. I brought it a local luthier to have the head professionally tightened and had the bottom of the bridge flattened for just a bit more pop.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The hardware is all very unique in appearance. I'd be afraid to upgrade most of it. Like I said though, the resonator is a pain to put back on. It should be noted that the bolts for the head brackets have a very weird end that prevents you from tightening them with a socket, so you'll have to get a wrench on them instead.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I love this banjo. It has a sound many people are not accustomed to, but it is by no means a bad sound. I've grown to prefer it actually. The banjo looks stunning and will be sure to catch people's eyes at jam sessions.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Twiss (see all reviews from this person) on 6/18/2012

Where Purchased: 5 Star Music, Ringwood, AUSTRALIA

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 950 (AU$) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Love the sound. I play anything on it. I tightened the head and put a new Bridge on. Great rich sound with loads of projection. Easy to play. Fantastic sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The Banjo was well set up on purchase, however I set it up myself with the help of the hangout and Utube! in order to improve what was there.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This has an aged appearance and is a stunning instrument. It gets comments from other players on how cool it looks and sounds.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Time will tell but I am confident. I gig with it, totally reliable, don't take a back-up.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Fine Banjo off the shelf as it were. Needs the setting up that I suppose most banjos need. But I think you have to set them up to "Become one" as it were.......

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I originaly went to buy a B17, saw this on the wall and..........after playing it bought it!...........nothing wrong with the B17 another fine instrument . The B120 just "spoke to me"
A lot of Banjo for the money.

Overall Rating: 10

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