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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!

6864 reviews in the archive.

Fitch: Palomino Champion 2008-21

Submitted by hawksbill on 12/22/2008

Where Purchased: Banjo Hangout

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 2500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Varried styles, bluegrass, jazz, ragtime, freestyle. Suits me fine. This banjo has Fitch's "NITRO" tone ring. It has a balanced, well-seasoned sound, that will be enhanced with a new Kirshner tailpiece, and a compensated radiused bridge.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Yes. The Presto tailpiece is going Bye-Bye, a Kirshner is replacing it, Medium strings, radiused compensated bridge, tuned the top to A-444, re-set the trussrod, might go with a clear head later?....

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Presentation Maple natural blonde.Few small Finish flaws in the resonator back, small chip at the rear of the pot, Would have prefered an Ebony fretboard, but the Rosewood is very clean, as are the inlays.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

All excellent

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Cliff is contactable. Very available, and friendly.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I thingk Cliff put the Presto on these because tailpieces are like wheels on a hot-rod....everyone has thier own desires. The tuners are just super! as are all other componants.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Yes, after a small $ bit of tweaking, it is worth over $3K to me. If it were stolen, I would be sad. Love it, The maple is so BLOND! and the tortoise is such a rich contrast...eye-catching! It's right in there with my other stallions.

Overall Rating: 10

Brazos: none

Submitted by hawksbill on 12/7/2008

Where Purchased: New York

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 1,800.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

5-string banjo. classical, ragtime, bluegrass, free-style. This is the 2nd. Brazos, 1970's I have owned. The first was a flat-top, and I sold it to a player in England for $1.100.00 Been un-happy ever since. Found this through a player in Boston, and bought it sight un-seen. It is a MONSTER. every note explodes, or whispers, and the power range is incredible. This is an archtop, weighs 13.5 lbs, gold-plated Gibby RB-250 copy. Highly flamed reso and neck, concentric reso rings, Keith tuners, as near mint as can be. easy player, truss-rod , just the best I have ever owned.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The neck-stud was stripped, and the strings were light-guage. I repaired it and put Gibson Medium guage on it. The set up is mine.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

This Brazos is STOUT, and even though it is very "pretty", I will take it and play it anywhere. It holds it's tune, and has a very solid neck. All hardware is clean, Gplated, and very well designed. I would use it as a solo player.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

No Brazos company anywhere...very clouded history with these...I hear the Brazos was Brazos, before it became the"Saga" Banjo Co. I do my own repairs.

Customer Service: 1

Components

All parts are impeccably made, and all componants are of the highest quality.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

RARE BIRD! These Brazos "top of the line" 1970's/early 80's are some of the best playing, sounding instruments I have ever seen. If you get the opportunity to buy one of these reare, 13.5 lb. "Monsters", DON'T turn it down! I have played it up against Granadas, 250's, Stellings, and a few custom units, and the over-all quality of this banjo has not met it's match. In my opinion, it is one of the sweetest sounding, and easiest playing units around. The upper chord tones, and intonation, and "bell-chimes" are incredibly true, and LOUD. Overtones just aren't present...but a TON of depth.I am VERY happy with it. I am not bragging, I am just being as honest as I can.

Overall Rating: 10

Alvarez: Whyte Eagle

Submitted by hawksbill on 12/7/2008

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 850.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Excellent deep, sustain without high-end over-tones. Very loud if needed. Tailpiece dictates brightness. Harmonics are like bells!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I set it up, Kelly Emmerson Bridge, all original 1982/4 Medium Gibson strings.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Mint condition, Flame maple reso, ebony fretboard, MOP etched inlays, Eagle on peg-head. Nice quality all around.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Very.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Alvarez is reliable if you are able to nail em down. (parts, etc). Older items like these are a problem only if there is inlay damage, or specific parts replacement needs, (tailpiece, flange, etc.)

Customer Service: 8

Components

Nothing is sub-standard

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This banjo is comparable to many $1600 dollar banjos I have played. It's all in the set-up, and if you enjoy "eye-candy" this is a GREAT banjo, with lots of folks looking for them. This one is MINT.

Overall Rating: 9

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