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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!

6855 reviews in the archive.

Capos: Kateyz Capo B Capo: V-frame

Submitted by skevincampbell on 2/13/2017

Where Purchased: Phil Wyatt - Kat Eyz

Overall Comments

This is a fine finished, professional quality capo. The best one I've ever owned. Phil also provides excellent customer service, and is committed to make the customer happy. I know I am.

Overall Rating: 10

Hatfield: Aurora

Submitted by skevincampbell on 6/24/2013

Where Purchased: Hatfield Banjos

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is a bluegrass banjo player's dream. It's a little brighter than some mahogany banjos, because of the Ebbe tone ring. It is a very responsive banjo, that you don't have to pick hard to get a full loud sound. I love the tone. There is a presence in this banjo that is unmistakable. I've had it a month, and I'm sure it will just keep getting better.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup, action were perfect, right out of the shipping box. What else would you expect, from Arthur? I've made no changes, except to tighten the head a little after about 3 weeks.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is a beautiful banjo. The mahogany neck has a rich brown stain, and the grain is very visible. The wreath inlays are abalone, I believe, and they are beautiful. The quilted maple resonator is also very nice. All the hardware is bright, shiny, and flawless. The big surprise is the Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. The grain and color of the rosewood is astounding, and complimented wonderfully by the inlays.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All top quality metal hardware. I don't expect any problems. The wood finish is excellent. There are no places where you can feel any imperfections, or high spots. The finish appears perfect, and I don't anticipate any lack of reliability.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

No repairs. Arthur and Beverly are wonderful people, and they were a a joy to deal with. I've known them a few years, and they are always friendly, helpful, and never try to push a sale, or expensive upgrade.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I have seen nothing that I think needs to be upgraded. May try out different bridges, at some point. The Gotoh tuners are as smooth as butter, and I love the cream colored buttons.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I started out, in my communication with Arthur, wanting a custom banjo. As time went on, I could not get over the Aurora. This banjo is exactly what I wanted, and I'm thrilled with it. There are no shortcomings. I could have paid more, but I don't think I could have ever gotten any more banjo. There is a presence to the tone of this banjo that I have not heard in another new banjo. I certainly haven't tried them all, but this is my banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Gold Star: GF 100 Wreath

Submitted by skevincampbell on 8/29/2006

Where Purchased: Hangout member

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 865 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Good sounding banjo. They are known for flathead sound, and it suits me and my playing style well. It has a rich tone, plenty of volume and sounds better up the neck than my old Morgan Monroe. Sound improved after I put on a McPeake bridge and a Kershner tailpiece. Volume and ring are both more consistent now.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was setup pretty well when I got it. The action is not as low as some I have played. I like it where it was when I got it. I made the changes noted above, and they were fairly easy. This is my first real foray into tinkering with setup, and I am pleased with the results.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Standard inlay and Gold Star look. Not real fancy. I like the wreath pattern. The orange tint of the mahogany is a positive for me. I really like the color and consistency of the wood. The binding on the reonator is off white or cream, while the binding on the neck is pure white.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

I believe the hardware is dependable. I would use it on a gig, although I don't have one, and nobody would pay to hear me play. It stays in tune really well, and more so with the cryoed strings on it. The tuners move really easy, almost too easy. But, it does stay in tune well.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

No contact with the company.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The remake Presto is not real strong, but it is servicable. I like the Kershner much better. I have heard it might be good to change the tuners, but they seem fine. I won't change them until I find exactly what I want. I would like Keiths on 2 & 3, with matching 1 & 4 tuners. I would like amber buttons on them.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I would reccomend this banjo, whole heartedly for the price. I would also not hesitate to buy a new one. It is a good value either new or used. If it were stolen, I would pray for the thief's legs to fall off, and go get my banjo back. I plan to always have this banjo. I want one of the killer $4 to 5,000 banjos, but I want to always keep this one. Great experience buying from a Hangout member.

Overall Rating: 8

Morgan Monroe: Rocky Top MRHB-1

Submitted by skevincampbell on 2/28/2006

Where Purchased: Individual

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 450 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

This banjo sounds great. It was richer originally, but now is much brighter after setup. I play Scruggs style. It suits me fine. I now have a narrower bridge, and the head is tighter than it was originally. It is louder now, also.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

This banjo was fairly well setup. In tune. Nice mid to low action. It just needed a little tweaking. I'm sure the seller had it set up to suit him. We are not done with it yet.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This banjo looks very nice. It is a mass produced instrument, but has some nice inlay work. The wood is mahogany and in perfect condition. The seller took great care of it. It has a black Deering head on it, and it looks great.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have not had it long, but everything seems adequate and more. The finish seems very durable. It stays in tune well. I won't be playing on stage any time soon, but that is not the banjo's fault.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

N/A, as of now. No need to contact Morgan Monroe about anything.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The tailpiece might not be as strong as it could be, according to my teacher. I'm interested to see how it will look and sound with a 5 Star white head on it. Everything else seems to be very good on this banjo

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would absolutely reccomend this banjo for the price. At $450, I don't think I could have beaten it. I was looking at more expensive models, mostly Gibson and Sullivan, and I was surprised by how this banjo looked and performed. It was in excellent shape and I am very happy with it. It sounds as good as the others I have played and tried. If stolen, I would certainly be upset. I would have a hard time getting as good a banjo for the money.

Overall Rating: 10

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