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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!

7001 reviews in the archive.

Jay Moschella Luthier Reviews

Submitted by Paul Draper (see all reviews from this person) on 3/13/2014

Overall Comments

I own two banjos made by Jay Moschella, both of which I ordered directly from him.  The first is a fretless gourd banjo that Jay made for me two years ago.  The second is a steel-string 12" open-back banjo which I received from him two weeks ago.  Both banjos are exceedingly fine, both in looks and in sound.  Both banjos seem to be characteristic of Jay's work:  his attention to detail does not permit him to cut corners, and his work is guided by his aesthetic sense as well as his intimate knowledge of banjo construction.  While building both banjos Jay made me feel like I was part of the process by our continuous stream of emails back and forth, and by sending me photo updates as the construction progressed.  During the process I was full of questions, and Jay not only answered them in a very timely fashion but also went to lengths to explain why it was best to proceed in one way rather than in another.  Jay is very generous with his time -- he explained each step of the building process as he worked, and it made me get a glimpse into the complexities of banjo building.  When finished the banjos where carefully packaged up and shipped out.  The banjos were so well packed, it took a good 15 minutes to unwrap them!  In addition to having the banjos all set up and ready to play, Jay also sent along extra bridges for me to experiment with.

I would recommend without reserve a Moschella banjo to anyone who is serious about playing and is concerned about the sound quality and playability of custom built banjos.  Not only is Jay an excellent luthier, he is a good person when it comes to his relationship with his customers.  I would not hesitate to buy another of Jay's banjos -- I could see one of his minstrel banjos in my future...

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by craigmsherman (see all reviews from this person) on 6/22/2013

Overall Comments

I just got my fretless minstrel style 5 string banjo from Jay Moschella, and it's beautiful. He used nylgut strings on a goatskin head which he dyed with coffee grinds to give it a nice aged look. It has ivory markers inlaid on the neck for fret position, which is nice because being new to fretless instruments, I could probably benefit from the guidance of those markers. The banjo plays like liquid and it feels great. It's got a 11.75" diameter on the head and he stained the wood a nice dark color. It's a hell of a job. Moderately priced, which is good too. He really enjoys what he does, and you can tell by the car he put into this thing. I love it. I can't wait to learn a whole mess of minstrel banjo tunes and really get this thing singing. My grandmother and my wife (who doesn't always love the tinny twang of my other banjo) both said they love the way this piece sounds...and while some of that is perhaps from the player, a lot of it is from the maker.

Overall Rating: 10

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