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!
6871 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: GAK (online UK store)
It's not 'plunky'. At first there were slightly excessive (to my ear) overtones which reduced when I later put on a heavier compensated bridge.
Stuffing helps this banjo as you can alter the tone well by sliding the stuffing. It is miles ahead in sound terms compared to my last banjo, an (only slightly cheaper) Ozark bottlecap.
Sound Rating: 9
After I set the shipped flat bridge the action was fine. I had to nip up one of the co-ordinator rods, and one of the tuners needed the screw adjusting. Pretty happy with the condition it turned up in.
Setup Rating: 9
Looks fine. Nothing fancy. Planetary tuners at the price range help the look.
Appearance Rating: 8
Looks like it will last well. I've been using it every day for 10 months with no problems.
Reliability Rating: 9
Never dealt with them. Have to give 1-10. So a middle 5.
Customer Service: 5
For £199 planetary tuners and rolled brass tone ring are a bonus. Also dual co-ordinators are unusual at this price.
Components Rating: 10
Judging by what others say the pot is a rebranded RK OT25 with an added rolled brass tone ring.
I think I got this banjo at a really good price, as other retailers had it at almost double. However, commenting on the deal I got, there were no other banjos at the same £199 price point with planetaries, tone ring, and dual co-ordinators. Add in a scooped fingerboard (which it turns out I have needed as my hand naturally comes to the neck/pot junction when playing with pot on rh thigh) and this banjo was extremely good value.
Given that this turned up pretty well set up I did well as a beginner in the 'online lottery' albeit having put in a fair bit of research to what I needed before-hand.
Given this is so much better banjo than my last bottlecap I would say even though it is a cheaper price banjo it is still a 'step up' from ultra cheap. I see no practical reason why I should need a new banjo for the next few years, whereas with my previous 'cheapest' banjo I sold it on after 3 months due to it's sound and gave up on banjo for 5 years. Hopefully this time with a better purchase I will be going strong as a reasonable player (fingers crossed) 5 years from now.
A big thumbs up from me for the Gretsch Dixie Special.
Overall Rating: 9
'Skin Heads for Open Back' 20 min
'Good Tuesday Morning' 2 hrs
'Junker for sure?' 7 hrs