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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!

7179 reviews in the archive.

Nate Calkins: Calkins open back dobson tone ring

Submitted by tbar_434 on 4/17/2023

Where Purchased: Online

Year Purchased: 2023
Price Paid: 1700 ($US)


This is a very high quality beautiful instrument.
It suites both clawhammer and finger picking, for styles.
Has a rich tone with good volume,
The thin rim matched with the tone ring adds plenty of punch.
The workmanship is notable, and the wood and hardware choice makes for a very nice finish.

Sound Rating: 10


The action is set up very well,
I would recommend standard size 5/16 bridge or even lower for about an 1/8" at the 12th fret.

Setup Rating: 9


Black walnut neck with a slotted head and aged brass nickel make for a very nice looking instrument.

Appearance Rating: 10


Hardware is high quality and should last with lots of playtime.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Nate is very responsive and helpful through the whole process of the build.. I haven't encountered any issue. However if there is anything wrong than I'm 100% confident that Nate will help resolve any issues.

Customer Service: 10


The tuners are exceptional.
As well as the slotted head.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Nate is an exceptional builder, and very nice to deal with.. 

I would highly recommend him if you're looking any custom banjo build.

Overall Rating: 10

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