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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!

7189 reviews in the archive.

Helix: cherry blossom

Submitted by Good Buddy on 8/19/2020

Where Purchased: Online

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: 250 ($US)


The cherry rim with the rolled brass tone ring sounds great on my Deering maple neck. It has a nice rich sound when I pull off the picks and a nice bright sound with them on. It is perfect for Bluegrass and Old time. It is plenty loud without the resonator on and the tone is fantastic.

Sound Rating: 10


I didn't send the neck to larry, but all the hardware was installed perfectly. When I stuck the neck back on it played great.

Setup Rating: 10


The Rim matches perfectly to the resonator and neck. It has a nice dark, almost chocolate color, and every time I look at it, I want to take a bite. The construction of the Helix rim is very beautiful to look at. It is especially interesting on the inside where the construction is celebrated. The concentric Fresnel rings are very exciting to see and add an extra layer to talk about while describing this beautiful pot.

Appearance Rating: 10


The Pot is very well made. It looks like it will last a lifetime or longer. I have no plans to buy another. At the same time, It will be hard to find a better sounding banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Larry was a pleasure to work with. He has a way to pull out important information that he needs for construction by asking simple but necessary questions. Larry sent me updates all the time via email with attached photos of the banjo's progress. He got the pot to me in less time than he quoted me. It has a "deep warranty" whatever that means.

Customer Service: 10


This job was a rim change-out. We reused all of the original deering hardware and added a rim and a flat rolled brass tone-ring. The original neck and hardware was attached to the Helix rim.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

     Six months ago I received this banjo from Larry. I wanted to wait to write a review because, I feel, that everyone will be happy and excited about a brand new banjo. I wanted to make sure that I still love it down the road a ways. So I waited to write this review.

      I had a 5-string Deering Boston with a maple neck that I loved playing, but didn't love the sound of. The Cherry wood pot and rolled brass tone ring that Larry crafted adds the missing link to an excellent sounding and playing banjo. I wish I had made this change years ago. This is now a banjo I can play  for the rest of my life and be happy. It sounds great and loud without the resonator and the tone is perfect. 

     The only disappointing thing was not receiving a Helix T-Shirt along with the rim changeout. C'est la vie.

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Steve Davis compensated bridge

Submitted by Good Buddy on 8/19/2020

Where Purchased: Directly from Steve

Overall Comments

I contacted Steve, told him about my banjo and he suggested a roasted maple base with an ebony top weighing around 2.25 grams. I ordered a 5/8" bridge with Crowe spacing and received it without incident a few weeks later.

This Steve Davis Bridge is the best bridge I have ever had. The craftsmanship is superb. It has the most interesting shape I have seen in a bridge. The compensation is amazing. Every note is perfect up and down the neck checked by ear or by electronic tuner. Every G note on every string and every fret rings true as well as all the other notes. When I put on the capo, it doesn't go out of tune. The Tone has improved greatly. I used to have a great bridge, but this one blows it out of the water. And there is no comparison to any straight bridge. The tone, volume, clarity, response and tuning are better than I have ever hoped for in a bridge.  The best $35 I ever spent on my banjo. 

Steve is a pleasure to work with. I will definitely buy more of these when needed. I should probably get a backup or two just in case.

Overall Rating: 10

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