Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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.

Recording King  Madison RK 25 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by ronbrown1947 (see all reviews from this person) on 1/13/2013

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 499.00 ($US)


I play a Gibson Mastertone (ESS), the sound and action are probably among the best available but with age coming on, it's heavy and I needed something to take the pressure off when just noodling, practicing and jamming. I looked and played most brands and models looking for something light and was sold on the Vega Bluegrass Wonder but the price point was not attractive. I had heard about the Madison line but most weighed about what the Gibson did, a woody was what I needed. I stumbled across the Madison RK 25 and based on several reviews, bought one and am glad I did.

Sound Rating: 7


What set up? They shipped it with the bridge standing, who does that, wonder it did not puncture the head but then it was loose (head) so I doubt if that would have happened. Action was about what you would expect coming out of a Chinese factory. Bridge must have sold for at least $ 1. I switched bridges, tightened the head, shimmed the neck away from the tension hoop, adjusted the tailpiece, put a decent set of Gibson strings on it. Action is now excellent and the tone is acceptable but after playing a Mastertone for some time, it has a ways to go but it has a woody, earthly sound and it's a pleasant change.

Setup Rating: 2


I would guess it's a "blem". Lots of nicks up the fretboard, nickel finish is not consistent, truss rod cover leaves alot to be desired but all in all, not bad for the price, a little tweaking and it's more than acceptable.

Appearance Rating: 7


Looks well built, components look like quality, Recording King claims they use the same hardward on their entire line, except for the shape of the peghead, it's pretty much a Mastertone clone.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty, only reason I bought it from banjo. com is due to their pricing, did contact them with a couple of questions, never heard back, probably busy answering questions of those that bought the upper end models.

Customer Service: 4


All in all, components look good, other than the bridge and stings and possibly the head, after the set up, I will leave it alone and just enjoy the different sound.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

For the money, I would buy another one and just might do that if the price is right. I tried many of all makes and brands and feel this model with a good set up will serve the average banjo player for many years and if you want a true tonering sound someday you can change that. Neck is better than most, tuners are adequate, bridge is a Presto cloan, the same as I use on my tonering banjos, no problems there. I like the satin finish, I would recommend the Madison RK 25 not only to beginners but seasoned banjoists looking for a different sound, something fairly light weight and well built.

Overall Rating: 9

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories