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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!

7185 reviews in the archive.

Recording King: RK-R35 Madison

Submitted by banjoboyone on 12/3/2015

Where Purchased: Soundhouse (Japan)

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 75,384 (yen) historic exchange rates / currency converter


Good tone and sound for an import.

Sound Rating: 8


Was not set up at all and is in need of an entire tear-down, re-assembly and some component replacement - especially the tuners which are junk. Stock bridge is too high. Fret buzz when a standard height 11/16 bridge is installed. Forget about 5/8.

Setup Rating: 1


Looks good on first glance but a once over reveals some fit & finish issues such as a dent in the fretboard; some chunks of wood inserted and sanded down in sections of the resonator and neckwood before finishing; a gap of at least 2mm all the way around between resonator and flange; and finally hardware was unpolished and looked like it had been handled extensivley by bare hands.

Appearance Rating: 3


With care and proper maintenance, this instrument looks like it will probably last a long while, if not a lifetime.

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

Haven't dealt with Recording King directly, but I have purchased from the dealer, Soundhouse several times before and they are first rate. They offer a 1 year warranty. Recording King guarantees the instrument for life. Hopefully, I won't have to find out what getting them to own up to it is like.

Customer Service: 8


As mentioned above the tuning machines suck - all of them. They either need to be taken apart and lubed/overhauled or replaced. Trying to tune with them is almost like trying to tune entirely with friction tuners.
Although the stock bridge doesn't sound bad, it is not a standard height and lifts the action way too high. Instrument needs to be set up to take a lower bridge.
Resonator is a bad fit, as well.

Components Rating: 3

Overall Comments

After reading other reviews and even trying one of these out on Gryphon Instruments showroom floor, I decided to buy, but was sorely disappointed with the instrument I got. 

Overall Rating: 4

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