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!
6942 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: From Mike
Bought a banjo, needed it as quiet as possible so that I could learn to play and not bother anyone. My living situation isn't as conducive to playing instruments as it used to be and I wasn't taking that into consideration when I decided to start over learning banjo...selfish me. So, I bought a Gold Tone mute, which is fine if I was alone outside and did not want to bother my deaf uncle that lives a couple of doors down from me, but it isn't good for my current needs.
So I wasn't playing at all. Then I found Mike's Banjo Mute. In videos, it seemed like it cut the sound down further than it does. What it DOES do is cut the sound of a resonator banjo by more than half and that is amazing. The tone is dampened but sounds good. Its about the volume of an un-amped archtop or hollowbody electric guitar. The mute installs easily, in seconds. Also, it has a low profile as well and isn't in the way when playing. I would recommend this mute over any other. The only reason that I gave it a 9 instead of a 10 is that I had a much higher expectation than is probably physically possible to achieve and hoped the volume would be reduced further.
Either way, I love it! Get one. Especially if you live in an apartment/condo or similar situation, you are a new picker and want to keep a happy marriage, you have young kids and can only practice when they are asleep, and/or you like your neighbors.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Deering through Amazon
Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 650 ($US)
I have a wide range of music styles. This is my second banjo in 5 years. The first one was a piece of junk "just to learn on". The sound response was awful and hard to tune. However, the Deering Goodtime 2 Classic is very warm but still has the brightness and great tone response.
Sound Rating: 10
I was amazed when I tuned it up, that the intonation and action were already well set. The head is tight enough for bright sound.
Setup Rating: 10
I was also surprised at the feel and appearance. The mat chocolate finish is almost as smooth as a baby's butt. There were no blemishes or flaws of any kind.
Appearance Rating: 10
This banjo is built to last. I'm happy with this purchase and will be playing this banjo for the next four years at least and then I may upgrade, but this banjo will never be put down for long.
Reliability Rating: 10
The banjo has the standard Deering warranty.
Customer Service: 10
All parts seem solid and well made/assembled. This instrument has the 4:1 planetary tuners. After decades of playing guitars and mandolins with 12:1, 14:1, and 16,1 tuners, it was took a bit of getting used to tuning up but that's the nature of the traditional looking tuners. To keep the price down and the quality craftsmanship up and USA made, the banjo only has one compensator rod, there's no truss rod, the resonator and flange are removable (not master tone style), the inlay is basic and logo is just stamped on the headstock. However, the neck is still easy to play and not made thicker from lack of truss rod. This is something that I was not paying attention to until I opened the box. It did worry me at first but I realize that I'm not going to be playing a lot outside and in varying conditions, it will not be kept in a hot and humid location either, so I'm not worried.
Components Rating: 9
The Deering Goodtime 2 Classic banjo was an excellent choice. I'm happy that I made this purchase rather than buying a Chinese or Korean made instrument. I've owned a few instruments made in China and Korea and they weren't too bad but there is a huge difference in quality between an instrument made in the US and one made in Asia. I'll take the chance with an instrument I know well but I wasn't going to take the chance with a well adorned but lower quality made instrument. Now I need a better mute so I don't disturb my neighborhood. A review of Mike's banjo must is on its way.
Overall Rating: 10
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