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!
7014 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Clodhopper's
Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 478 ($US)
I'm a clawhammer player (novice-intermediate) and I've been playing a Deering Goodtime for about a year and a half and played a CB 100 in a music store and decided it sounded fine and decided to upgrade. The CB 100 has a brass tone ring and is louder than my Deering and at first when I played at home, it seemed too loud and brittle. Now that I've played it for several weeks, I love it! It came with medium gauge strings and I thought at first that I would go to light gauge, but I noticed that the fourth string notes sound better with the medium strings, so they will stay. This banjo has a frailing scoop, so it's easy to play up the neck and create different sounds than you would hear when playing on the head.
Sound Rating: 9
The banjo came beautifully set up and ready to go. As I mentioned, I thought about light gauge strings, but put that aside. The action is low and suits my playing and I haven't made any changes in the instrument yet.
Setup Rating: 9
The CB 100 is a great looking (and feeling) banjo. You can go to the Gold Tone site and see what they say. I can tell you that I'm impressed with the way the banjo looks and it didn't have any flaws when I got it.
Appearance Rating: 9
I've been playing the CB 100 for about 3 weeks now for about an hour a day and see no problems, nor do I expect any. My Deering has held up beautifully and has only a few fingernail scratches on the fretboard and the CB 100 has a rosewood fretboard, so I think it will outlast me!
Reliability Rating: 10
I got the banjo through Clodhopper's and had no problems with them and haven't had to get in touch with them for any reason.
Customer Service: 9
The tuners are quite sensitive compared to the Deering Goodtime - just a slight tweek and you can be out of tune. I suspect that as I go on, they will break in and loosen up.
Components Rating: 8
I got this banjo and a gig bag for $475 and certainly got what I was looking for. This banjo has more volume than my Deering, looks great and sounds great. Again, I've only had the CB 100 for 3 weeks, but I enjoy playing it as much as the Goodtime and it gives me much more bang for the buck!
Overall Rating: 9
Early last year, my wife couldn't stand hearing me try to play clawhammer in the basement so she got me several lessons for Christmas from Larry Edmond in Bethel, Vt. (802-234-5668). When I went up, Larry immediately saw problems with my right hand (and thumb) and gave me exercises to get it right. Larry has been very patient and we practice a new song at each lesson and at the end he tapes the song at slow speed and up to speed so I can listen as I practice. Larry loves the Round Peak style and has put me onto some great music by Tommy Jarrell, Kyle Creed and others that has opened up a new world for me. Larry has a bunch of classic banjos around his house and it has been a pleasure to handle them as I have improved. If you live in Vermont or New Hampshire and want to get into the old time style, I can't say enough about Larry Edmond!
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Amazon
I read about this album in Bill Evan's book Banjo for Dummies and sent away for it. It is a fabulous collection of 12 old time clawhammer tunes that really do set the standard. My teacher simply nodded his head when I showed him what I had and said he was the best. Highly recommended!
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Borders
I heard of these albums when I was driving and listening to the radio and a bit later I read a review in the magazine No Depression. These three albums were recorded in the 1960s and feature Kyle Creed, Wade Ward, Tommy Jarrell, Sidna Myers and other great players in the clawhammer tradition. There is some repitition of tunes by different players but the playing is outstanding. These recordings from County Records set the standard - I listen all the time and wish I could play this well!
Overall Rating: 10
'Redwing' 23 min
'Rick and Mark play Redwing' 25 min
'i need a banjo' 1 hr