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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!

6942 reviews in the archive.

Pollmann: unknown

Submitted by meritcooper on 10/30/2008

Where Purchased: Cole Music Company - Ebay

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 595 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

This banjo probably dates back to 1895-1905. With the skin head and nylon strings, it has an old time plunky sound. The bassier notes sound real nice and you can feel it in your belly. This is an open back banjo used for Clawhammer playing.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

No knot tailpiece. Pot is wood on the inside but an aluminum or metal on outside. Skin head and nylon strings. Very old tuners but effective. The 5th string tuner looks like a violin tuner. It always takes awhile to get nylon strings to stay in tune, but now they are great. The action is higher over the head than the frailing scoop (branded ivory).

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This is a very cool looking old banjo. It looks like it sat in a box somewhere untouched. It has 40 tension hooks. It is aged but it aged well. It looks to be a shorter scaled banjo but only by a little bit. Perfect for me because I am female. The neck is also shaped perfect for my hand. For the frailing scoop, there is a branded ivory piece that has the Pollmann trademark on it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

It will probably last since it has lasted all these years already. I would carry it somewhere to play because it is very playable and not that fragile. The only thing I could see wearing out in the future would be the tuners.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Cole Music Company was honest and provided a good deal. It was shipped in a reasonable amount of time and came in a hardcase with padding.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Standout components would be the ivory branding and the 40 tension hooks. I am also a big fan now of the skin head. It sounds great.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I can't believe I got this banjo for this price. It has turned out to be my favorite banjo. I feel nostalgic playing it. When I was listening to some recordings of older mountain music collections, I could hear banjos that sounded like this one.

Overall Rating: 9

Deering: Goodtime II

Submitted by meritcooper on 12/6/2007

Where Purchased: Mundt Music - Tyler, TX

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: around 450 ($US)

Sound

I was just learning when I got it. It was fine for anything I needed to do on it. amazing to get such a big sound out of a lightweight instrument. It doesn't have the long resonance like a larger banjo, but it is plenty for beginners.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Already set up when purchased. My teacher checked it out and said it was fine. We never made any changes to it. The only thing I think they should add to this model is to add some spikes to it. My version did not come with any sort of gig bag. I had to purchase a chipboard case at the time of purchase. That may been something to do with where I bought it.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

It was a really pretty instrument and had an old timey look to me. Nice light colored wood and made in the USA. Dots were easy to see. After a year, it still looked just as good as it did new.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

It had open geared tuners like on a guitar. It stayed in tune for long periods of time. It was very durable and I used to walk around the yard with it all the time. I could set it on the ground and prop it up on a chair and wouldn't have to worry. I never had anything break on it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

It had a year warranty, but I never had to use it. Deering has a great reputation so I am sure they would have fixed it had it needed it.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Open geared tuners - worked great and held a tune. Nothing ever broke. Very sturdy. I never fooled too much with it either.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I have recommended this banjo many times. I just sold it last week. It was great to have for backup even after I got another one.

Overall Rating: 8

Morgan Monroe: Cascade MFB-5DX

Submitted by meritcooper on 12/6/2007

Where Purchased: www.banjohut.com

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 699 ($US)

Sound

Sound rings and has great quality. Once it was tuned, it sounded wonderful. Melodic sounds great on it. Harmonics really ring. I play bluegrass and melodic. It has the sound that I was looking for.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

We tightened a few things but it was setup for me. The action was fine.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful with inlay. There was a little crack at the 5th string peg but it is hard to see. I figured it happened while being shipped. It is a pretty heavy banjo. I would say it is heavier than average. It has so much shine to it. It has some little engravings or designs on the armrest.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Everything has lasted so far. I have had it for one year. I took this to Camp Bluegrass and it worked great for me. I have put many miles on this banjo and it is holding up nicely.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I dealt with the seller but not Morgan Monroe. I am a very happy Morgan Monroe customer and have tried to purchase one more since this one. I tried to bid on it in an auction site unseen because I know how great mine is. I figured they all must be great. I believe I have a good warranty on mine - I think it is lifetime.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The only thing I think is a little cheap is the tailpiece. Mine has a real sharp corner on it. I will eventually sand it down so it quits poking me. That is probably the only thing I have found about it that I didn't like and that is so minimal.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Great banjo for a great price. I received a hard case with mine. BanjoHut.com was excellent seller. My first one came cracked bad from shipping. They got another one to me right away. I would buy from them again.

Overall Rating: 9

Gold Tone: Dojo

Submitted by meritcooper on 12/6/2007

Where Purchased: Ebay - private seller

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 249 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Nice acoustic sound. Plays like a banjo and sounds like a guitar/dobro. Has great resonance. I know some have had problems with theirs but mine is wonderful.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Already set up for me since it was used. All I had to do was tune it. I am currently having a strap button installed on the heel and a few spikes on it at the music store. I want to be able to play it just like my banjo.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

My quality of the craftmanship was fine. Beautiful wood and cutouts with metal resonator on front. Mahogany wood with rosewood fingerboard. Nice cutaway design.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

So far so good. I haven't had it very long so I don't know about long time wear and tear. Everything feels sturdy enough.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have never dealt with Gold Tone. No warranty that I am aware of.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Parts seem fine to me. Not cheap feeling. I am not upgrading anything at this time. I thought of adding an electric pickup but found out that it would be a booger so I may just deal with it. Some models come with this already.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

yes, I like the way it sounds. The only difference is the neck is a little larger around so my banjo capo doesn't fit. I would probably just try to use my guitar capo when I need it. It is nice to be able to play something a little softer for the late night practicing.

Overall Rating: 8

Other: Golden Gate Banjo Mute

Submitted by meritcooper on 12/3/2007

Where Purchased: Ebay

Overall Comments

I bought this Banjo mute on Ebay for 10 dollars but it can be purchased almost anywhere for 15 new. It is heavy metal with teeth that let it slide right down on the bridge. There is nothing you need to do to it to. It just slips on. It really dampens the sound but you can still hear what you are playing. You sound like you are playing acoustic guitar. It lets you get down pretty good but don't go to moving around too much or it may come off. I was able to practice for hours last night after my family went to bed. This was well worth the money.

Overall Rating: 8

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