Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

317
Banjo Lovers Online


Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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!

6773 reviews in the archive.

Chuck Lee: custom

Submitted by bosborne on 2/21/2017

Where Purchased: Online

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 3430 ($US)

Sound

Chuck Lee banjos have deep and heavy rims, and thicker necks than I've come across, they have "mass". This gives the banjo a powerful sound - not for the faint of heart - but it can also be played softly, it is a very responsive instrument. This is the banjo I bring to the jam, it stands out. Skin head, by the way, with a Dobson.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Perfectly set up, yes.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's beautiful. The maple wood, rim and neck, are died blue, the bridge is blue, and the skin head is tinted blue. No inlay, very simple fretboard. So, it is black and blue. My only reservation is that the blue tint on the skin head is not uniformly applied, it would have been nice if it was blue all over.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Yes, forever. It is solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty. Chuck is great, very friendly. No need for repair, as of 2017.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No cheap parts.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is a powerful banjo, and very well constructed. It has great bass. One reason to consider a Chuck Lee would be if you wanted volume. Really good sustain, which I love. The sound cuts through the other instruments in the jam very well, you can really "drive" a song with this!

Overall Rating: 9

Sagmoen: Custom

Submitted by bosborne on 3/9/2013

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 1200 ($US)

Sound

I play 3-finger, but on open backs. It's both plunky and sustained, with those bright Dobson overtones. My wife says it sounds like a _real_ banjo. Unique and wonderful old-fashioned sound. Plenty of volume. And it's a skin head, so it has that richness.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Very well setup, yes. Certainly no additional work necessary, just tune and play!

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The cherry armrest matches the body which matches the skin head which matches the rosewood. No fancy inlays, very simple and pretty. Half moon on the peghead. No flaws, no.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Hard to say, just got it, but Wayne Sagmoen is very experienced builder. Has a tung oil finish, it will last.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

No warranty. Wayne's very easy to work with and delivered it when he said he'd deliver it.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No cheap parts, but I'm not an expert on parts either.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

This is a custom, cherry A scale banjo, 12" with a Dobson ring. It has a rosewood fingerboard with plain dot inlays, white Gotoh tuners, a no-knot tail piece, and natural skin head, tinted to match the cherry. Excellent banjo for $1200, I'm very pleased!

I'm coming back to this review after a few years of playing this banjo and, I have to say, I am so pleased with this banjo after a few years with it. The warm tone, the sustain, and a very good price. You will find louder banjos, you will find fancier-looking banjos, but this one has a wonderful sound all its own. Highly recommended.

 

Overall Rating: 9

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by bosborne on 5/15/2008

Where Purchased: From BHO member mike_cabinet

Overall Comments

I've tried this one, Mike's Mute, the Gold Tone mute and the Fielding-Cutler mute. The F-C mutes the most but its sound is a bit like a harp or a dulcimer. The Gold Tone mute slides onto the bridge, and taking it on and off actually moved my bridge - not good. Mike's Mute mutes well, goes on and off easily, and the resultant sound is nice (a bit like a guitar). It's pretty too. Definitely my first choice.

Overall Rating: 10

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.0625