Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

138
Banjo Lovers Online


Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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!

7160 reviews in the archive.

Fairbanks: Whyte-Laydie No. 2

Submitted by GerryH on 10/20/2007

Where Purchased: Private Individual

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 2500.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

The Whyte-Laydie has a rich warm tone. The notes are distinctive & clear all the way up the neck. The volume is strong but not overbearing.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I purchased the banjo from a professional musician. I liked his set up and I have not modified it any.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Certainly the unstained maple is easy on the eyes. This banjo dates to 1919 and there is a noticeable patina that has developed on the neck near the first five frets and just under the binding where previous owners played over the neck. The No. 2 model is relatively unadorned with a simple dots and stars inlay on the fretboard and a star on the peghead.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware has proved quite durable over the past 88 years. There is no discoloration of the metal. I replaced one bracket shoe that had a small crack in it. I also replaced the no-knot tailpiece that was functional but had a broken hook. Fortunately, I was able to find vintage parts to put back on to retain the banjo's historic quality.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

N/A as the Fairbanks/Vega Company is no more.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Everything on the banjo is original with the exception of the armrest and a geared fifth string tuner. I love the history and character of these old Fairbanks/ Vega banjos.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I own several banjos and this one is my favorite. It's tone is unsurpassed to my ears. It is a historic piece. The previous owner is one of my banjo heroes and I am delighted to possess and play one of his former instruments. If the banjo were stolen I'd be heartsick.

Overall Rating: 10

Johannes Bonefaas: Fretted

Submitted by GerryH on 5/1/2007

Where Purchased: Ome Banjos - misc. used instruments

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 2800 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

John Balch has described the tone of the Johannes Bonefaas banjo as a "complex one." I think that is accurate. I love it's mellow sound and the rich sustain.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I bought the instrument used. I'm not sure how it was set up initially. It has a painted renaissance head. The bridge is the original compensated bridge JB makes for his banjos. At first I thought about replacing it because the action is higher than I am used to. However, I've realized it is much easier to play over the scoop with the action at this height.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The banjo has few frills in terms of inlay work or carvings. Yet, it seems like a work of art given the quality of the wood used for the neck, the steep angle of the peghead and the brass pot and hardware. The dark walnut neck is beautifully apportioned. You can follow the grain from the pot to the peghead end. It feels extremely comfortable when you hold it. The instrument is hand crafted by Mr. Bonefaas. I deem it an heirloom quality banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

As I mentioned above the banjo is handcrafted. Only the best quality materials are used throughout. The neck & dowel are a single piece of walnut which is beautifully hand finished. The fingerboard and peghead overlay are made of Macassar Ebony. The nut is made of bone. It has 5 star and Waverly tuners stripped of their finsih to expose the brass. The brass shoes and hooks are quite sturdy. The tone ring is patterned after H. C. Dobson's "silver chime" design.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've emailed Johannes Bonefaas several times and he has graciously answered all of my questions. The nut was damaged once in an accident. I mailed the old one to him as it was uniquely made to fit the neck of the banjo. He quickly made a replacement and sent it to me.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The craftsmanship is truly outstanding. The materials are top quality. The neck is so sturdy you can use either steel or nyglut strings. I anticipate this banjo will be around in the next century offering great melodies for years to come.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I highly recommend this banjo. I feel privileged to own one.

Overall Rating: 10

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.078125