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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!

6617 reviews in the archive.

Project banjos: Parts

Submitted by Banjophobic on 8/1/2017

Where Purchased: Ron

Overall Comments

this is a shout out to Ron Coleman. Ive collaborated with Ron on many custom banjo builds over the past few years. His work is top notch and he is professional throughout the process. It is great to have anoth Luthier to collab with and make customers dream banjos happen. Thanks Ron and here's to more projects!

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Inlays: Custom Inlays

Submitted by Banjophobic on 8/1/2017

Where Purchased: Wyatt Pearl

Overall Comments

Randall does fantastic Pearl work and is my go to Pearl cutter. He especially excels at custom inlay work and has done numberous customized inlays for my customers banjo projects. He's professional in both quality of work and how he handles the business end of things. I always highly recommend him 

Overall Rating: 10

Tim Davis

Submitted by Banjophobic on 2/17/2017

Overall Comments

Tim recently sent me an overlay and fingerboard, inlayed for a custom neck I'm building. His work was flawless and I highly recommend him for all you inlay needs. He is also building some great banjos and his reputation is growing rapidly in the banjo community. He's a standup guy doing great work..please support him banjo folks. 

Overall Rating: 10

Necks: 5 string neck

Submitted by Banjophobic on 11/28/2015

Where Purchased: Ron Coleman

Overall Comments

I commissioned Ron to build a neck for my KK-10 and he did a great job. Ron does Greta work, for a great price and  turn around times are always quick. My workload in the shop,and my gig schedule meant I had very limited time to build a neck myself, so I appreciated Ron helping me out!

You'll be very happy with Rons quality of work and I highly recommend it. 

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Block rim: Randall wyatt block rim

Submitted by Banjophobic on 11/27/2015

Where Purchased: From builder

Overall Comments

Randall always provides high quality items and service and I've installed another of his block rims in a customers banjo just recently. This block rim replaced an Rb-800 "million ply" rim from the early 70s. The rim arrived quickly and the price was great. The 800's tone is greatly improved. Thanks Randall. 

 

Overall Rating: 10

custom banjo parts: pearl inlay

Submitted by Banjophobic on 10/20/2013

Where Purchased: Randall Wyatt

Overall Comments

Wanted to give a shout out and review to Randall for a great looking FE overlay. I was in a hurry to complete a special neck build for a customer and Randall stepped up to deliver not only a great looking rosewood inlayed FE overlay, but got it to me in record time. His work is always first rate and his customer service is also first class. He is my go to pearl guy now, for good reason. 

Overall Rating: 10

Armrests: Ron Coleman

Submitted by Banjophobic on 6/4/2013

Where Purchased: From Ron

Overall Comments

Just received and installed my mahogany armrest cover. The angle of the bend on my RK-36 armrest is a little too sharp and has been digging into my forearm. Its a very good armrest, so instead of replacing it I opted to install one of Ron's covers. I choose a plain mahogany with satin finish.
It arrived quickly and looks great and installed perfectly. My forearm thanks Ron and so do I.

Overall Rating: 10

Other: Peghead Overlay

Submitted by Banjophobic on 5/31/2013

Where Purchased: Randall Wyatt

Overall Comments

Ive been getting Randal to do some inlay work for me over the past few months to speed up my neck building process. I no longer cut pearl and it was imperative to find someone capable of doing first rate work and doing it on time and reasonably priced.
Everything I've gotten from him has been great quality. He does quality work and delivers it on time, which is important when trying to stay withing a specified time frame for my customers. A couple of my other pearl guys gave me the run around or simply refused to give me any updates on my orders. Randall is now my only pearl guy. I highly recommend him as a person to deal with, and his work, which is first rate.
Thanks Randall

Overall Rating: 10

Tuner bracket: Snark Adapter

Submitted by Banjophobic on 5/22/2013

Where Purchased: jtspix.com

Overall Comments

Great little item that works as advertised. It allows your Snark tuner to be mounted on the hooks of your pot assembly. The price was cheap, fast shipping and quality made. It actually improved the Snarks response time too, as a side benefit.

Overall Rating: 10

Ron Coleman

Submitted by Banjophobic on 3/13/2013

Overall Comments

Ron helped a customer out of mine who was completing his first "build". He assembled some great parts and wanted a partially completed neck to try and complete himself. He asked me to build it but I was just too covered up and didn't want to make him wait a long time for me to finally get to it (which has happened occasionally with other customers).
I recommended Ron to him and gave Ron a call with all the details about the neck and what the customer wanted. Ron jumped on the job quickly and everything was done exactly as specified. The neck looked great and the guy was thrilled to get it so quickly.
Ron's work is first rate. Its nice to have a fellow professional luthier who will help out like this and is willing to take on such custom projects. I highly recommend him to anyone needing quality work at good prices, with great customer service.
The guy is now playing the banjo and is really tickled with the neck. He's not a BHO member, so I send this for him (and me).

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Tim Purcell Banjo Bridge

Submitted by Banjophobic on 2/8/2013

Where Purchased: Tim Purcell

Overall Comments

I've reviewed Tim's bridges once before, but I had to send in another one. I am a luthier /repairman by trade, and try to keep as many great bridges in stock as I can afford to.
Tim's bridges are very high on my list. But sometimes I forget to re-order them when I run out (as he well knows..lol). This happened again recently and there were a coupe of set-up jobs coming up and I needed these bridges asap.
I contacted Tim and he jumped on the job and made two bridges for me and I had them the next day. That's service you cannot beat with a stick! The bridges are great but the customer service ranks right up there with the quality of the work. Thanks Tim

Overall Rating: 10

Recording King: RK-R36 Madison

Submitted by Banjophobic on 1/1/2013

Where Purchased: Endorsement

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: none historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The banjo has the classic mahogany tone and response, which is warm and full but also with a good attack and sustain, when needed.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was shipped with a 'factory' set-up but it was understood I would be doing my own set-up anyway, as I am also a luthier/repairman. But the banjo could have been played as it was set-up from the factory.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I really like the whole look of the Rk-36. The gloss finish really highlights the grain and color of the mahogany. The 'gull wing' inlay motif and 'coke bottle' peg head is a nice combination. Its ornate enough to be classy and tasteful. There are no flaws in the appearance of this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This has been my "go-to" banjo for gigging over that past few months I've owned it. The hardware is top notch and is holding up as well as any banjo I've owned.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Greg and company have been great to deal with. All these models have the lifetime warranty. Many of my students and customers in the shop own Rk's and the customer service experiences i hear from them have been very positive.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The Rk pot assembly is one of the best values on the market today. There is nothing 'short' about the quality of them. There will always be an occasional quality control issue to deal with in producing banjos in higher volumes, from a 'factory' setting. Rk has been on top of those issues and I know Greg takes great pride in making sure they continue to improve. There was a small issue with one co-rod being out of alignment, but i reported to them that i was taking care of the repair myself,. Greg assured me that it would be reported to QC. As a repairman, I work on LOTS of banjos, from every maker you can think of, In terms of overall quality, the Rk is great.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

The reason i submitted this review was to give an honest assessment of this banjo. Yes, it was given to me as part of an endorsement deal, but I was a fan of the Rk banjo line long before that transpired. I would not play any banjo that I did not like, regardelss of how I came to own it. Nor would I play gigs with a banjo that did not perform well in those gig situations. This Rk-36 has done everything I needed it to do and beyond. I would not stake my reputation as professional player and teacher endorsing a banjo and or brand name that I had doubts about. Overall, this banjo gets a 10 from me for its tone and quality. If I was looking to buy a banjo in this price point, the 35 series is what i would get.

Overall Rating: 10

Heads: John Balch Skin Heads

Submitted by Banjophobic on 9/10/2012

Where Purchased: From the Maker

Overall Comments

These are some of the finest skin heads you'll find, for any price. Expertly pre-mounted on the flesh hoop and reasy to install in most cases, with little or no wetting.
I never enjoyed mounting a skin head (uggg) and with his heads available at this price, i wont be mounting any more in the future,lol. You wont go wrong with this head choice.

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Tim Purcell Banjo Bridge

Submitted by Banjophobic on 1/9/2012

Where Purchased: Tim Purcell

Overall Comments

Tim sent me this 5/8 "piano wood" bridge, with ebony top. This wood is recovered from old pianos and is the first one of Tim's bridges I've used in the shop, or on my personal banjos. There have been great things said about his bridges so I decided to add a few of them to my shop stock.
Let me say first that the overall craftsmanship is first rate, from the look, cut of the wood and notches for the strings. My first impressions after trying it on the customers' banjo in the shop was always that the bridge was very consistently solid sounding with excellent volume and separation of notes. The tone is very deep, full, with good hollowness and 'dry' sounding (no bad overtones). It sounded excellent on about every banjo, imparting that dry old sound most Scruggs players desire.
Then, I decided to put it on my prewar tenor flat head conversion 'jo. Let me say that I've used/use many great quality bridges on this banjo over the years. But this Piano bridge is THE best sounding bridge for this old Mastertone that I have ever used,period. The only words I can use to express the tone is dry,full,deep, but with exceptional power up the neck and amazing clarity of notes. The note separation is also phenomenal. The bridge has now had a full day of hard playing and it has settled in to be a killer bridge.
Im not one to go on and on so much about something like a bridge, but this one deserves it.
If you own a flat head banjo and want to give it that older sounding pop and clarity, but keep the depth too, this could very well be that bridge. Tim also has excellent customer service. I Highly recommend this bridge.

Overall Rating: 10

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