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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!

6880 reviews in the archive.

Davis: Vintagetone Top Tension

Submitted by mhammer on 2/17/2018

Where Purchased: Davis Banjos and Inlay

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It's a fantastic Bluegrass, hard-driving banjo. It has volume to spare and is extremely clear and crisp, all the way up to the 22nd fret. The harmonics are perfect.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo came set up perfectly. Nothing was out of place when it arrived. I might loosen the head once it has settled in more, but extremely happy the way it is now.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I cannot say one thing negative about this banjo. The finish, grain, fretwork, inlays - EVERYTHING was as I expected. Not one thing was out of place.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware is top notch and has substance. I don't think you would need another banjo aside from this one - unless you need a lighter banjo (but that's a whole other discussion).

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Tim is as good as they come. He know his stuff and discusses all the options prior to starting a build. When discussing this model, we went over every detail and he made sure that we had every I dotted and T crossed before he began. His communication was stellar. I have never had an issue with any banjo I have played or owned from Tim, and I doubt that will change. He backs up his work and will do everything he can to take care of his customers.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The entire banjo just came together beautifully. I don't think one thing stood out, except maybe the play-ability of the neck. It was speed necked with a 12" radius and is a dream to play.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I couldn't be happier with this banjo.

Tim has posted a video of this banjo on his Facebook feed and everyone who watched/heard the clip was just really impressed. Tim  not only makes a great product, but he makes buying a banjo a really enjoyable experience - and I have bought and traded for a lot of banjos. If you are looking for you first banjo, or an upgrade - I don't think you could do better than Tim.

Overall Rating: 10

warren yates

Submitted by mhammer on 9/17/2017

Overall Comments

I recently had Warren build a pot for a neck I acquired. From the beginning, we discussed all the options and what sort of tone/sound I wanted to achieve. He was communicative, responsive and honest about the entire process.

The end result was simply fantastic. I got exactly the tone I wanted from the banjo and it plays like a dream.

If you want to work with a luthier who really understands tone dynamics, Warren is your man.

Here is the video sample of the banjo before shipment: https://youtu.be/y11TCwYtCtU

Overall Rating: 10

Yates: RB-75 Torrefied

Submitted by mhammer on 11/24/2015

Where Purchased: Yates Banjos

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo is like nothing I have picked up. The tone is crisp and clear and the sustain is fantastic, all the way up the neck. It's only going to get better with time, but it's special.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was flawless. I haven't needed to make any changes, but it would not be difficult at all.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's stunning. Mahogany with distressed metal parts. I can't say enough about this instrument. When I opened the case for the first time it was like opening a window in the pre-war days. It's a show stopper - if people don't know Yates, they should take another look.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware is top of the line. Warren only uses the best materials possible.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Warren was both phenomial to work with and learn from - right from the start. His warranty is for life and he stands behind his work. He is a true craftsman with a passion for this instrument and if you have ever talked with him you know what I mean.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All? I don't think I could single out one part over another. It's a complete system and it's done the right way.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I know there are many people out there claiming that they have the "pre-war" sound. I am sure there are many that come close, but in my humble opinion, Warren has captured it.

I will never sell this banjo - ever. I have an almost mint pre-war 1930 conversion and I would sell that one before I sold this Yates banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

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