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!
6936 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Kernersville, N.C.
Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 1500 ($US) (bought USED)
This 1966 conversion (to 5 strings) banjo has a rich full but very audible sound. I play an unconventional lead finger 3 finger picking style and find this instrument to be just about everything I could ever want in a banjo.
Sound Rating: 10
The banjo was well set up by its previous owner when I purchassed it. I fell in love with it as soon as I played it. The banjo has the keith D tuners, which I find little use for, but retain. The instrument also came with RR spikes placed at the 6th and 8th frets, which are very handy. I recently increased the volume of the sound chamber by installing 1/4" nylon spacers on the resinator screws. That increased to sound and sustain somewhat. I also replaced the metal arm rest with a Nechville wooden rest which looks nicer and is imminently more practical and comfortable in our humid sweaty Florida conditions.
Setup Rating: 10
The banjo is in good shape with only a few very minor dings and two very tiny holes along the topside of the neck, where I assume a sliding capo was once mounted. The finish is decent and a few of the the diamond shaped inlays on the neck have faded.
Appearance Rating: 7
Finish, setup, functionality, and reliability are spot on. I would not hesitate taking this instrument to any gig or jam occasion.
Reliability Rating: 10
I have never had occasion to contact the company, nor have I had any need for luthier services with this instrument.
Customer Service: not rated
All of the componants and parts of this banjo are top quality. The tail piece and tuners are good quality, and very little retuning is required either during or after a jam or after sitting for a week or 2 without being played.
Components Rating: 10
I would recommend this banjo to anyone wanting a really great sounding, reliable, and easy playing instrument. I don't know if I paid too much or too little for this instrument, but I love it, and to me, even twice that price is not excessive. I have 4 other banjos, Deering Sierra which I use mainly for practice, an Ozark which I use as a theoretical backup instrument, an inexpensive Rogue which is a bush and travel instrument, and a nameless old clunker my grandchildren can mess with. The Gibson TB100 conversion is far and above any banjo I have ever owned or played. I consider it a lifetime keeper.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Eagle Music (London)
Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 600 ($US)
A bright and truely audible banjo. I play a non traditional 3 finger style favoring mainly folk / country but including bluegrass as well. The banjo is solid, well constructed and aesthetically pleasing. It is a pre-war Gibson Mastertone replica (can't afford a Gibson) made in Korea and sold only in Europe at present. It consists of rock maple construction with a heavy bell brass tone ring. The banjo was well set up, but some modest improvements made it sound better and easier to play. I had the plastic nut replaced with a custom fitted bone nut with modified groove positioning to move the 1st string closer to the center of the neck. I also recently replaced the original bridge with a Snuffy Smith bridge and, much to my delight, it made significant a improvement in tone and audibility.
Sound Rating: 8
The banjo was set up well, and the modest modifications mentioned above were relatively inexpensive and easy to make. I also immediately removed the metal armrest and replaced it with an aesthetically pleasing tropical wood armrest. I use them on all 3 of my banjos and find them much better suited for the warm climate and accompanying perspiration, here in Florida. The action is low enough to make the banjo easy to play, and I have not been troubled by any string buzz.
Setup Rating: 9
The appearance of the banjo is up to normal standards, without the excessive (to my liking) fru-fru cosmetic inlays and ornamentation found on some of the more expensive banjos. The resonator has the concentric circles design on the back, which I don't particularly care for, but the rock maple grain is pleasing to the eye.
Appearance Rating: 8
So far I have had no problems with the hardware. The banjo stays in tune and plays well up and down the neck. I have not tried to attach any pickups or other electronic hardware, YET!
Reliability Rating: 9
I had to make the financial transaction via internet and credit card, and arrange for a specific day for delivery to my London address, to enable my niece to pick up the banjo just befor her return trip to the States. It all worked out fine and the Eagle Music folks did a great job of making it all happen. Have not had any other customer issues or contacts since the initial contacts.
Customer Service: 9
The weakest component on the Ozark 2141G is the plastic nut. The first string is too close to the edge of the frets and plastic does not transmit sound vibs as well as bone. The bridge is a can do component, but a better bridge produces a better and more sound from an instrument that is inherently bright.
Components Rating: 8
A very nice banjo. I have 3 banjos and I consider the Ozark to be my best. It is the one I always use for any jamming or outdoors playing.
I t is a keeper.
Overall Rating: 9
'Presbyterian Guitar' 12 min
'West Virginia Gals' 14 min
'Priming the Pump' 33 min
'Old Rim, New Neck' 1 hr