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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!

6951 reviews in the archive.

Quail Creek Banjos Reviews

Submitted by Quigg (see all reviews from this person) on 6/25/2020

Where Purchased: Bought direct from Quail Creek Banjos

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: $1960 ($US)

Sound

I am a relatively new Scruggs style player and wanted a much lighter banjo than my Gibson Granada which is HEAVY for a 60 year old in long practices. So I opted for a lighter, open back banjo. Lindsey at Quail Creek Banjos has dialed in the sound I wanted for an open back. Clean, warm without being muddy. The wood, Dobson tone ring, goat skin head and other components allow me to play primarily Scruggs style albeit with a nod to the Blue Ridge mountain sound. Lindsey listened carefully to my desires and nailed it. Obviously, fairly quickly I will need to learn the right hand "claw" so I can add a little clawhammer style to my repertoire!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Very well set up (and bubble wrapped and packed I might add). All I had to do was install the bridge post shipping. Action is perfect. The frets on this custom banjo are a bit more robust and higher than my resonator Gibson Granada but I will quickly get use to that. I recommend a wood armrest as open back tension hoops are a bit uncomfortable on my right forearm. I am an unusual customer in that I bought an open back primarily to have a lighter banjo that I could use for three finger "Scruggs style" Bluegrass.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Oh my goodness this banjo is stunning. LOOK AT IT! Beautiful CUSTOM inlay of a bear on the head stock, an outline of Bent Mountain at the 5th fret and a one an only custom inlay of a black bear print at the scoop. Brass dots are classy and subtle. And did I mention the warm, slightly textured goat skin head? The rich, antique brown, custom stain and the aged brass tension hoop and hooks make my new banjo look like it is vintage era

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I requested 10:1 Rickard tuners which are a God-send. All other hardware is top tier stuff. While a light banjo, it is rock solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

If I could, I would rate Quail Creek Banjos and Lindsey as a 15!! Seriously, Lindsey is the most attentive and helpful builder I have met. (My daughter is a singer/songwriter in Nashville so I have worked with a good number of top builders and luthiers). Lindsey listens. He has the knowledge and skills to create a custom banjo ANY player would love to have. Bet you won't find many if any used ones for sale because they are too special to give up. Did I mention that the entire process was fun and Lindsey's passion and sharing of update photos and videos made it more more fun?

Customer Service: 10

Components

No cheap parts on this banjo. Lindsey doesn't use second rate material sand parts. While I am relatively new to open back banjos, I have not seen but one or two banjos out of 15 different brands that even come close. Again, my personal taste would be to add an armrest for comfort but that is an easy fix. Here are the specifics: Bent Mountain Banjo

- 25.5" scale
- 11" rim
- Rickard 10:1 tuners
- Dobson tone ring
- Aged brass hardware
- Goat skin head
- Figured maple
- Dobson heel
- Ebony peghead
- Ebony fingerboard
- Dowel stick
- Paddle-shaped peghead
- Carbon fiber rod
- Seeders bridge
- Hawkeye tailpiece
- Frailing scoop
- Bone nut

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

There are many good open back banjos on the market.  Nechville, Ome, Bart Reiter, Pisgah, Rickard, Chuck Lee and others.  I have played a few of these and they are well made,  all great instruments. 

 

That said, the quality, custom design, custom inlay and voicing and tone of Quail Creek Banjos coupled with A++ service and update photos and videos while the banjo was in production was super fun. The price was less than I expected and more than fair

Here is a video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n_JCuQzBGs

Here are some photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBvZZe3hJ9b/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by chambers (see all reviews from this person) on 2/13/2020

Where Purchased: Direct

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: 1450 ($US)

Sound

Worked with Lindsay to describe the sound I wanted and he delivered. I wanted an emphasis on the lower end and the mids, with just enough note separation to cut through and be heard with other instruments. He helped me think through the options to get that and suggested the dobson ring and the goat skin head. Came out exactly how I imagined it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup is great. Neck angle is right, head tension is consistent, action is good all the way to the scoop. Bridge needed minor adjustment for intonation, but every banjo is subject to that. String height coming off of nut is perfect. Break angle to nut looks good.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

People lose their minds when they see this banjo. Worked with Lindsay on a headstock design that has a story behind it, and the antiqued look of the stained goat skin head matches, with the antiqued brass and all the walnut tells a single story. Oh yeah, the black tuners are smoking hot too.

There's an ebony cap on the rim that sets off nicely. Subtle. Walnut staining is clearly hand done, creating minor variations that are consistent with this kind of instrument and make it obvious it wasn't sprayed on in a factory.

Lindsay handcut the inlay, and added brass stars too. Wicked good work.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Of course.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Working with Lindsay is enjoyable. He clearly cares about what he's doing and getting it right. Example - he realized during the sanding of my rim that there was a knot or some imperfection. So he started over. No charge to me. I just had to wait a little longer and appreciated the honesty - when he probably could have easily stained over it or explained it away.

I don't know if it has a warranty. I've played world class banjos for 25 years. I've never needed to use a warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

all solid reputable parts. Gotoh and industry standard stuff.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Just go ahead and get one. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/rInO0O0bMLM

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by wrj01 (see all reviews from this person) on 12/31/2019

Where Purchased: From maker

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: 1650 ($US)

Sound

11” 3 ply maple pot, regular scale, Dobson tone ring/heel/Cole peg head/ man in the moon / stars inlays/ goat skin head/partial fretless-brass. Fantastic build. Sound is loud and clear. Lindsay is building a great banjo.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

No setup changes needed. Perfect action. May experiment with different bridges, but the Sosebee on it now is great.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful banjo. Dark stained figured maple pot and neck. Cole peghead, Man in the Moon motif with shooting star. Coffee color stained goat skin head.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Top quality hardware. Tuners are Gotoh. Should hold up under all playing conditions.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lindsay was great to work with. Kept me abreast of the build with photos every week.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All parts are first quality.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Fine purchase from an excellent builder.

Overall Rating: 10

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