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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Gibson: Tb3 1025

Submitted by Bastertone on 6/27/2017

Where Purchased: Private sale

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 2300 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Love the tone of this banjo, it's alive like no other banjo I've played. Great note separation. Clear all the way up the neck. It's capable of a delicacy that other banjos have trouble finding but still with power if you need it. My deering calico has similar delicacy but doesn't hold up with a stronger attack.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Just a new set of strings and a little head tighten and this banjo was great. I switched to medium gauge strings but lights sounded great too.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Although it's a 3 pot it came with a 6 resonator and a Grenada repro neck that is very nice to play. Looks great. Much prettier than a regular 3

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Looks solid, 92 years demands a 10

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

It has all the mojo. I'm sure the flatheads are amazing but this was the prewar I was looking for. Lloyd loars design, fantastic.

Overall Rating: 10

Stelling: Hartford

Submitted by Bastertone on 6/27/2017

Where Purchased: Private sale

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I keep this banjo with hartfords low tuned string gauges for e flat. This is one of those magic banjos. It sounds rich, has lots of volume and dynamics. I also have the deering hartford and this banjo is a much better sounding banjo. It has tha same sound as Johns gum tree canoe album.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It had recently been set up by Geoff when I bought it and it was perfect.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very simple stained maple or maybe birch. Little heart inlays and just the name hartford on the block. Very understated and clean.
With a wood rim with integral tone ring shape, it's light but somehow it doesn't seem to loose much volume. For what it has in character the volume range is insignificant.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo was played a lot before I bought it and I've played it a lot and it's still in perfect condition. Totally reliable

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I called Geoff after I purchased it. He had done the upkeep on it over the years and was very helpful. I have full confidence.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All the best

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I just feel lucky to own this banjo. I don't know anyone else who has one but if you do you'll understand. 

Overall Rating: 10

Deering: Hartford

Submitted by Bastertone on 6/27/2017

Where Purchased: Private sale

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I had high hopes but found the tone dry with some harsh overtones and lacking the character I was looking for. With some work and experimenting with bridges and head tension it sounds good but not great.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

I don't think this banjo was played much. Although it was a few years old when I purchased it, it seemed new. Action was high and head tension was uneven.
Setup changes were easy and typical.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

I love the design of the banjo and the inlay. The wood was nicely figured and the finish and fit was excellent. I'm not a fan of the satin finish and wish the banjo was gloss but the finish was perfect.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Deering hardware seems as good as any of the other top professional brands.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never needed them but I'm confident they would be good based on what I've seen on the hangout.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All great

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Although it's a well built banjo, somehow it felt like I got a banjo that was almost like hartfords banjo. Not quite as good as the ones built earlier. Kind of like that team sweater that says replica on the tag. It certainly didn't have the same timbre. 

Overall Rating: 8

Nechville: Classic Deluxe

Submitted by Bastertone on 11/15/2008

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The system allows for easy adjustment and a range of possible tone form bluegrass, melodic ,clawhammer. It is a very loud banjo with a clear crisp tone when set up for bluegrass.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo is totally adjustable by the owner with a couple of wrenches(supplied). Fun to tinker with setup

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

tiger maple, beautiful finish, great looking banjo

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

solid

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

AMazing, Tom dropped by the house on a trip through my town and he showed me how to set it up for the tone I was looking for.

Customer Service: 10

Components

all good

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Tom did a great job designing this banjo and in a world of gibson copies these are true advances on previous designs. A real professional banjo with great adjustability and durability.

An update. I've been playing this banjo for years now. It's a great banjo and just gets better every year. Frets are all still good, all is still good. This banjo holds up and plays great.

 

Overall Rating: 10

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