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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!

7188 reviews in the archive.

Bishline: Harvest

Submitted by northernbelle on 5/23/2021

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter


Rob Bishline's mahogany "Harvest" model neck (only). But the neck greatly improved the sound of the pot, responsiveness and helped reduce some overtones with a Siminoff top tension pot along with Rob's great set up. Sounds fantastic and better than it ever did over the last 40 years I've owned this banjo.
I play Scruggs/Melodic style mostly but have used the instrument in recording studios for "faux" Irish Tenor, clawhammer styles etc. This instrument is a cannon and is adaptable for many styles.

Sound Rating: 10


Set up was perfect and exactly to my requested specs. Action as low as possible.
I asked for a Kirshner style tailpiece so that I could do quick subtle adjustments for studio work and the Siminoff Top Tension pot with a Stew Mac TR has a lot of overtones and I felt that style reduced them the best with more mass. Tuning pegs, tailpiece, bridge were all Bishline as was the head logo (Remo). The tuners have beautiful Amber knobs.

Setup Rating: 10


The mahogany "Harvest" model neck I requested for my old Roger Siminoff pot is absolutely gorgeous, had impeccable craftsmanship and finish.
I requested stainless steel frets and they were crowned, finished and polished superbly.
I now wish I'd requested larger side dots as I requested figured maple binding and I'm a geezer now! (but that's on me). I also asked for figured maple binding on the headstock which came out beautifully and receives many nice compliments at jams, etc.

Appearance Rating: 10


The finish was absolutely incredible! A modern UV finish that's tough as nails. Zero strap wear or hand wear, etc. I think you'd need sandpaper or a file to do any damage.
Even though It's a Bishline neck on a different pot and resonator the (same) finish was applied to my 40 year old unfinished mahogany Stew Mac resonator which Rob inlaid figured maple into the concentric ring routed channels before UV finishing. I was astounded how beautifully it brought the grain out. Flawless application and polishing. He also stained and finished the unfinished Siminoff rim to match everything else.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

SUPER friendly, extremely helpful, polite and patient and communication was outstanding when checking in during the build/assembly from halfway around the world on a ship!

Rob's standard model banjos list his warrantee on his site. I anticipate no repairs to be needed for years if ever.

Customer Service: 10


Rob's wood binding and stainless steel frets and UV perfect finish are all stand outs.
No weaknesses or cheapness anywhere. A very high level of craftsmanship and caring.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

l.) I wasn't sure that Rob Bishline would do one of his standard model necks for an old pot and resonator of a different brand but he agreed right away. This is over a year ago now (pre-covid 2020) so you'd have to ask if he still is willing now. I may have been the lst request for him to do so but I don't know for sure.

2. Rob and his staff were hands down, the BEST customer service and helpful business I have ever dealt with.  We literally worked up the order and discussed the job along the way while I was halfway around the world on a ship!  His communication was continuous and super helpful and polite even though I was OCD to the Nth degree in my emails and cell phone specs. discussions/checks because I was away from civilization during the build. 
He (they) was completely patient, cheery and personable and they did exactly what they said they would on a long list of custom features (binding, ss frets gold tuners/tailpiece, etc.  

If I had more money and didn't have the huge sentimentality of the original  unfinished Stew Mac resonator (this was my "Wedding Banjo" from 40 years back) played in memorable concerts, recordings etc. I would have gone for one of Bishline's gorgeous exotic wood backed resonators.  

FINALLY, I owe Rob and staff a HUGE apology for not writing a review MUCH sooner. 2020 was a heck of a year for all of us and we have been "otherwise occupied".

I feel very guilty for not getting to this sooner but it's my goal to send business Bishline's way as they are most certainly among the finest builders and luthiers in the U.S.  I want to reward good service, craftsmanship and honesty by sending as many people as I can to them. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

Although I don't own a FULL Bishline banjo (just the neck and finish on the resonator) I have played standard Bishline banjos with his tone ring, pot, resonator and they are wonderful instruments.  Playing someone's  Harvest banjo at a festival jam convinced me immediately to contact Bishline.  I have zero connection with Rob other than as a customer but he/they earned all "10"s from me because he/they absolutely deserved them.

I'm eternally grateful that Rob was willing to do this custom "parts banjo" job for me.

Overall Rating: 10

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