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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!

7121 reviews in the archive.

Yates: Ron Stewart

Submitted by Sheldon Friesen on 8/15/2008

Where Purchased: Warren Yates

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: ($US)


This banjo is the Ron Stewart Signature model with the straight grain maple neck. This banjo has that sought after 'prewar' sound. It rings like a bell up the neck and growls like a tiger at the bottom. Each note rings clear with a slight 'zing'. You get the feeling that each note is encapsulated in a bundle of perfectly orchestrated tonal symphony. Its actually hard to describe but extremely pleasing to hear and play. I get this amazement every time I pick it that somehow this instrument just knows how to bring out just the right tones to create a perfectly balanced sound. Volume is exceptionally even up and down the neck. By adjusting your picking style and hand position, you are able to mold the tones in countless ways. This truly is a remarkable instrument.

Sound Rating: 10


The action was setup just like I like it. The action is not too low and not too high. It actually plays very well, right out of the case. Warren suggested that I check the head tension after shipping. I tweaked it just a bit as the head settled in shipping. This is normal and not a problem. The head is now tuned to about a G# where it has come alive.

Setup Rating: 10


This model has what is called a distressed finish. I must say that I had mixed emotions about putting out the money for a new banjo that looks old. However, I can't stop admiring its beauty. It doesn't look worn out, it just looks like it is asking to be played as opposed to simply hanging on a wall to be looked at. Personally, I like to play my banjos. Having said that, this one has a unique beauty that will get people asking questions about it. When the mandolin player in our band saw this banjo, he thought I had picked up a vintage instrument. When I told him that it was only a couple weeks out of the shop, he was amazed. I really like the appearance. The speed neck is simply wonderful to play. The inlay work is beautiful. Very nice interpretation of the flying eagle design. I absolutely love the peg head shape and inlay design.

Appearance Rating: 10


I can't see any reliability concerns. The parts are the best. The Keith tuners are without equal. If there would ever be a problem, which I don't think there will be, I know Warren would come through with his awesome personalized service! I have every confidence that this ax will come through in any gig for me.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Warren Yates is a pleasure to do business with. You can tell his love for his work and the pride he takes in producing a banjo that stands out from the crowd. With people like Ron Stewart working along side in development and promotion, you can be sure you are dealing with a reputable builder who will go out of his way to make you happy.

Customer Service: 10


This banjo is built to be a working banjo that will last a lifetime. The components are all of the highest quality. Can't see any problems.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This banjo is a tremendous value. You get that prewar sound without the prewar collectors price. You also get the satisfaction of dealing personally with the builder himself. I ordered this banjo sight unseen, something I would not usually do and had it shipped. I put my trust in Warren and his crew and they did not disappoint me. I now own and play a banjo that is better than any I have ever laid my hands on before. I am proud to play it on any stage and in any venue.

Overall Rating: 10

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