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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!

6855 reviews in the archive.

Tennesee Crafters: Classic Mahogany

Submitted by Greg Earnest on 8/25/2005

Where Purchased: http://www.banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I already had three great banjos and was not planning on getting another one any time soon, but this thing blew me away. It has incredible depth and richness but not at the expense of responsiveness or high end. It responds well to a light touch but if you bear down on it it just gets louder and better. It plays very easily, too. I've never been happier with a banjo. It compares very favorably with the best prewar flatheads I've played.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I had the luxury of tinkering with this banjo a little before I bought it. When I first played it I thought it sounded very good, but the head was a little too loose for my taste. I tightened it a fair amount and thought I probably ended up with it a little too tight, but left it that way thinking it might be about right when it loosened back up a bit. A little while later I was in the shop and hit a lick on it and could not believe how good it sounded! I couldn't get it out of my mind. Since then I have not touched a thing on it except to (reluctantly) change the strings when they started to rust. The head is umarked but appears to be a Remo Weatherking type, currently tuned to Ab. The bridge is a Scorpion .656 with Crowe spacing, and I'm using the GHS "banjo.com" strings which are medium/lights with the J.D. Crowe wrap fourth string.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

This banjo is beautiful. . . gorgeous mahogany in the resonator and meticulous workmanship throughout. The inlays in the ebony fingerboard are perfectly done. The plating on the hardware appears very thick and high-quality.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I would rely on this banjo to the ends of the earth!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Haven't had any customer service needs but I've had a great time chatting with Mark Taylor and Ron Satterfield here on the Hangout. They very promptly answered all my "banjo geek" questions.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Not a weak link anywhere. The Five Star planetary tuners work beautifully.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I've been too busy to play much the last few days, but I have the banjo out on a stand and I always hit a lick or two on it if nothing else, just to convince myself that that amazing sound is not going anywhere. . . and it's not!

Overall Rating: 10

Deering: Maple Blossom

Submitted by Greg Earnest on 3/27/2004

Where Purchased: http://www.banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 2200 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has tremendous depth and punch but still has the edge and clarity of a great maple banjo. It's extremely responsive all the way up and down the neck. I've been playing for nearly 25 years and few banjos have ever turned my head the way this one did.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was excellent right out of the box. I did replace the stock bridge with a Sosebee Submerged Wood 5/8

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The appearance of this banjo is understated but quite beautiful. The finish is a plain dark brown and the inlay pattern is a simple blossom design. The craftsmanship is immaculate. The finish of the frets looks almost surgically precise!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The finish quality is excellent. . . very mirror-like. I do have another banjo (a 1989 Granada) but on gigs since I got the Maple Blossom it's the only one I've taken out.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

No contact with Deering so far except to register the warranty. . . I quickly received my confirmation and then recently got a newsletter.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The only components I might feel the need to upgrade are the tuners. They're serviceable but are not up to the quality of a set of Waverly V2s.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This banjo plays like a dream. . . the neck is wide and low-profile and the action is very easy. The fingerboard is slightly radiused (I understand this was a custom order banjo that was cancelled). I'm very happy with this banjo and the people I play with have had only good things to say about it.

Overall Rating: 10

Gibson: Granada

Submitted by Greg Earnest on 3/27/2004

Where Purchased: Music Mart, Smyrna, GA (out of business)

Year Purchased: 1990
Price Paid: 2580 ($US)

Sound

It has a great Granada sound. . . it's responsive, crisp and warm. I have the head tension relatively tight right now, so has a good bright sound similar to Scruggs in the fifties.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was excellent when I got it. I have experimented with it off and on over the years, and since 2001 it has had a nickel McPeake ring in it.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Beautiful. . . a (mostly) faithful reproduction of the Granada of the thirties with sunburst curly maple resonator, gold plating and engraving, and rosewood fingerboard with flying eagle inlays.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Very reliable. I finally had the first ten frets replaced last year. The finish and gold plating have held up very well. I have not babied this banjo and the gold is just starting to show noticeable wear on the armrest. This has been my main banjo for most of the last 14 years.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had any contact with Gibson.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All the components are first rate.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have heard quite a bit of variation in Granadas over the past 15 years. This is a good one that has served me well for a long time.

Overall Rating: 9

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