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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!

6975 reviews in the archive.

Various artists: Good for What Ails You

Submitted by Paula_DHJ on 4/16/2011

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Overall Comments

Good for What Ails You is a compilation of music of the medicine shows from 1926-1937. It features 48 tracks on 2 CDs showcasing a bunch of different artists, who performed with the medicine shows of the era. There are too many to list here but some of them include Daddy Stovepipe & Mississippi Sarah, Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley, The Allen Bros., The Carolina Tar Heels. The set is packaged beautifully and comes with a really interesting booklet, that is almost worth the purchase price alone. The book provides a really neat look at the history of the medicine show, with a variety of photos of artists, and posters from the shows, as well as a brief write-up about each track/artist. A real gem for anyone who is interested in this area of old-time music. I don't remember the exact price, but it was around $25.00 I think.

Overall Rating: 10

Dan Levenson: Old-Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo

Submitted by Paula_DHJ on 7/1/2010

Where Purchased: Elderly

Overall Comments

This is an awesome, awesome book. First off, this is not a book with lessons or technique on playing clawhammer banjo. This is a book full of tunes that you are likely to hear at todays festivals. There are 117 tunes in the book to learn. Some of them are chestnuts, and some may not be so familiar. The book comes with 2 cds with all the banjo tunes recorded. Fiddle versions of all the tunes are available to download from Mel Bay. These are great to play along with.

Each tune in the book is displayed in 3 formats. There is a standard notation line, a basic tab line, and an advanced tab line. The format Dan uses for his tab is very pleasing to the eye and easy to read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who already has the basic clawhammer techniques down, and is now wanting to add some tunes to their repertoire. This book will keep you learning new tunes for a long time.

Overall Rating: 10

Enoch: Tradesman

Submitted by Paula_DHJ on 7/1/2010

Where Purchased: Zepp Country Music

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 900 ($US)

Sound

I love the sound. It has a nice bright sound. It has no tone ring so it is not as loud or full sounding as some banjos, but it has a really thin pot, so that really makes up for the lack of tone ring.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was set up perfectly when I bought it. I have to tighten the head up every once in a while, as it is a rennaissance head, and they seem to stretch a bit. About a year after I bought it I put a heavy moon bridge on it. I didn't really notice that the bridge change made a huge difference. The one it came with sounded almost as good I think.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I love the look of it. I think the beauty is in the simplicity of it. I've never really like gaudy, flashy instruments. It has a nice cherry neck with a Dobson style heel, and a thin 12 inch pot with a glossy black paint finish on it. I think it looks great.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have been playing this banjo for at least 1 hour a day for about a year and half now, and have never had any problem with it. The tuners seem to be of pretty decent quality, and the finish on the wood is really nice. It is starting to show a little fret wear, but I think its normal considering how much I play it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've never had to deal with a problem. The first time I replaced the strings I wanted to know what Kevin recommended using on it. I emailed him and got back to me immediately. I also heard about someone else who had a small crack develop in the neck of their Tradesman. Kevin replaced it. no problem.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I've heard some people say they though the tuners were kind of flimsy, but to me they are fine. I've never owned anything better so I can't really compare, but I've never had any trouble with them slipping or anything.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

A really great looking and high quality banjo for the price. I highly recommend to anyone who wants a really nice, light banjo of high quality, without spending 2000 dollars.

Overall Rating: 10

Prust: Boucher

Submitted by Paula_DHJ on 3/4/2008

Where Purchased: Eric Prust

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 260 ($US)

Sound

The banjo produces a nice warm plunky sound which is great for playing old-time and minstrel styles.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

All I had to do was tune it and start playing

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It is a fantastic looking banjo. Beautiful maple neck, white oak pot, and the calfskin head is attached with nice antique brass tacks.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

n/a I don't play gigs.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eric and Donna were a pleasure to deal with. All my questions and emails were answered very promptly.

Customer Service: 10

Components

This is a Civil war style tackhead banjo. It is fretless and has a calfskin head, and fiddle style tuners. Ease of tuning can be affected by weather, but this is a known fact with this style of banjo so it is a non-issue for me.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have only had the banjo for a couple of days, but it is everything I wanted and more. As far as I am concerned Eric does not charge nearly enough for these fantastic banjos. Even though the price was really low, I would be extremely annoyed if this banjo were stolen, as it is a beautiful peice of artwork.

Overall Rating: 10

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