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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!

7030 reviews in the archive.

Cedar Mountain: J200 Curly Maple

Submitted by nightingale on 1/3/2021

Where Purchased: Direct from Cedar Mountain

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


I customized this banjo to have a Dobson tone ring. To me there is something about the sound of a Dobson tone ring. This banjo did not disappoint and It gives me the tone I was looking for. It has a beautiful bell like, chimey tone. Wonderful for slower tunes where the notes ring out. I play clawhammer and this has the sound I was hoping for.

Sound Rating: 10


The action was set up a touch high, so I just use a lower bridge on it. The bridge placement was perfect.

It has a Renaissance head and I did play with the tension and have it set perfectly now. Other than that, no changes needed.

Setup Rating: 9


I did refinishing years ago and so am very critical of wood and grains used in instruments. I was extremely happy with the curly maple wood on the neck and pot. The banjo has beautiful curly maple, expertly matched. It is a joy to look at. I had stars and moon added on the headstock and a shooting star on the fifth fret. It looks amazing. No finish flaws anywhere. Just beautiful craftstmanship.

Appearance Rating: 10


This banjo will last a lifetime. Hardware, wood, finish - all top notch. I would use this anywhere, band, solo - its just a great banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've never had to use their customer service. I'm sure they would be extremely helpful if I did need to. Tim was super helpful with any questions I had and if he had a question he didn't hesitate to ask me. It was a pleasure dealing with him.

Customer Service: 10


The only thing I will probably upgrade in the future will be the tailpiece. But for now it is fine. All pieces are solid.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This was my first "custom" banjo.  This is a lifetime keeper with wonderful tone and construction.  I like that the woods are local and its is built locally.  I feel like I have an open back banjo closer to what was actually played by the people of the mountain/Appalachian region.

I waited over a year to write a review as I did not want to write one during the "honeymoon" phase.  I play this almost every day and have really gotten to know it and just sounds better with age. 

I would recommend Cedar Mountain to anyone looking for a custom banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

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