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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!

7075 reviews in the archive.

Banjo Bridges: Purcell Locust Bridge

Submitted by Beardpicker on 2/21/2021

Where Purchased: Direct from Tim Purcell

Overall Comments

This Locust bridge is perfect with my 12" Pisgah Cherry Dobson, outfitted with a  J. Balch select African Goatskin head.  The bridge brings out the true character of the Dobson tone ring with out too much ringing/overtones, and eliminating the need to stuff a towel under the head to control them. Tim dubs it as a bridge for clawhammer/frailing players and it truly is perfect for that! Mine was made in a .656" height with Crowe Spacing.

I use Tim's bridges exclusively these days. As a discerning claw hammer player that has tried different bridges from various makers I can honestly say Tim's are my favorites, and this Locust bridge is no exception. His design eliminates the possibility of sagging in the middle and his workmanship is impeccable. His prices are quite reasonable, but the best thing is the fact that you can contact him, tell him what you're after and he will gladly accommodate you! Rare these days! Tim is genuinely a great guy, making some great bridges and this latest Locust addition is a testimony to it!

Overall Rating: 10

Arm rest: Pisgah Banjo Armadillo Persimmon wood armrest

Submitted by Beardpicker on 2/21/2021

Where Purchased: Direct from Pisgah Banjo

Overall Comments

Purchased this armrest for my Pisgah 12" Cherry Dobson to eliminate the tension hoop hooks from digging into my forearm and minimize the possibility of depressing the banjo head while playing, and it does both exceptionally well! Although this armrest may seem a bit pricey at first look, don't be put off by that. You get what you pay for! The guys at Pisgah have come up with a perfectly designed armrest that is rock solid, and a breeze to install.

I purchased the persimmon model to compliment the persimmon fretboard/headstock on my banjo, and like all of the great instruments and parts they put out, the workmanship is impeccable, and aesthetically pleasing. You will not be disappointed. A great compliment to a great banjo!

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Purcell Ambrosia Maple Bridge

Submitted by Beardpicker on 9/13/2016

Where Purchased: Tim Purcell (direct)

Overall Comments

Recently purchased several bridges from Tim Purcell directly at the recommendation of a friend and first class, veteran claw hammer banjo player/forum member. If you are an open back player that uses genuine hide heads this may be the bridge you need to get! Bought this bridge in 5/8" height w/ Crowe spacing for my Pisgah 12" Cherry Dobson mounted w/ J. Balch 4 Star select goatskin head.  This bridge with my setup produces amazing tones, still "old time" plunk but with incredible, full rich clarity over the entire fretboard. Fourth sting is clean, crisp and deep voiced, and the overall sound has to be experienced! Sustain is perfect with controlled overtones, and when tuned to Gm or Double C you won't want to put your instrument away! Hope your wife or girlfriend likes to hear you play! Got this bridge in 2.1 grams, but will order some slightly heavier ones soon for what I believe will produce even thicker richer tones perfect for solo work or recording. To top it off Tim was easily reached via e-mail, responded quickly, shipped promptly, and is just a great guy to deal with. I would encourage anyone who hasn't tried his bridges to contact him, give him your setup info, pick his brain and give his bridges a try. You will not be disappointed!

Overall Rating: 10

Pisgah: Cherry Dobson

Submitted by Beardpicker on 5/9/2016

Where Purchased: Direct from Pisgah

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 1300 ($US)


Amazing sound! Clear crisp top end, and incredible bass! Great note definition..clean and not muddy. Even volume and balance across the strings and up & down the fretboard. The dobson tone ring adds a "perfect substance" to every note played. Great for my style of playing Gospel and Hymns, both modern and old time stuff.

Sound Rating: 10


Banjo came with string tension relieved and bridge laying flat. The bridge location was clearly marked on the head. Neck was slightly canted rotationally (most likely from rough handling during shipping even though banjo was expertly packed and protected) but an e-mail to Patrick @ Pisgah and speedy response provided direction for simple quick fix. Intonation was spot on, and action perfect in very aspect for my preferences

Setup Rating: 10


Opted for the brass hardware, paddle headstock, and traditional boat type heel. Headstock inlay work is perfect and the wood selection could not be better. Beautiful grain, clarity and color on rim, neck and persimmon fretboard. This instrument is "old time simple elegance". If you want the "the real deal", you could not ask for a better looking banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10


This banjo is rock solid! Hardware substantial and first class. This instrument will be around in great playing condition long after I'm gone!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Visited Pisgah Banjo shop earlier this year. Patrick and company are first class! Throughout the order and building process any questions I had were quickly answered by e-mail or phone. That's rare these days! As stated above, slight "glitch" with neck upon receiving the banjo was quickly resolved by Patrick via e-mail.

Customer Service: 10


Beautiful native Appalachian woods, heavy duty raw brass parts made in USA, and excellent brass Dobson tone ring.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The guys at Pisgah banjo make great, high quality, unique instruments, that appearance wise and more importantly tonally, will stand up to many others costing way more money. The Pisgah Cherry Dobson is not the only high quality banjo I own, but it is definitely as good, if not better than any I've ever played.

Overall Rating: 10

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