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!
7107 reviews in the archive.
So I had a hankering to get a couple clawhammer lessons. I went to one one the best and most well known clawhammer fella I out there, Dan Levenson. He is kind, courteous, well spoken and has an eye for nudging you in the right direction without making you feel like musical misfit. I learned more in one hour with Dan then I have in any other lesson. Or maybe I just had fun. Wow what a concept that a lesson could be fun. No pressure, no brow beating when I did something wrong. Just good natured encouragement and direction to get me back on track.
Then a couple days later i emailed him about clawhammer banjos. He replied right away to "call him". He spent 30 minutes on the phone with me. Walking me through choices and pros and cons while explaining his preferences and why. I was flabbergasted, who does that anymore. Just good natured help. I offered to pay him for his time he declined and said it was all part of teaching banjo!
That same night I was feeling a little frustration about my right hand stroke. I took some pictures and a small video to email expecting Dan to look at it and address it at my next lesson. About 30 minutes later Dan was video calling me with banjo in hand. I was completely unprepared sitting in my chair in my jammies because well I just don't know. Just because I didn't think I would hear back about it so quick. He walked me through the stroke again. Looked at my video and said it looked ok and gave me some suggestions and again encouragement.
Being musically challenged and lacking the skills to play anything more than a kazoo most of my life. Being a banjo collector and not a player. I'm astonished to be making chords and perfecting my right hand technique within a week. Heck I'm even transitioning between chords without looking at the neck. What the hell has happened here?!? Have I've been blessed. Have I been cursed?!? I don't know and I don't care, cause I'm playing me some clawhammer banjo dangit!
Thank you Dan!
Overall Rating: 10
Amazing teacher with amazing talents. Great patience and a superior game plan. He has all of his own materials they are nicely organized on DVDs for you to take home and print out. He has really gone out of his way for me. Before I even took one class with him he placed countless calls to get pricing for banjos for me and answer every question I had. He is top notch, so if you are in the Jupiter Florida area I would give him a shout for a fact. His phone number is 561-309-8616.
His BHO link is http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/home.asp?id=7016
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Sam Ash Music
This tuner is real nice in terms of size and weight. It is small enough it fits easily into my case. It comes in its own plastic case which houses the piezo mics. One for stringed instruments and one for wind. It can tune at any frequency but defaults at 440. It hits (picks up vibration) way faster than the Intellitouch tuner. The caveat is that the tuner gauge is tough to determine if it is perfect or not. Where the Intellitouch leaves no doubt.
Overall Rating: 8
Where Purchased: Janet Davis
Ok these are extremely comfortable. Tone is good, but I do notice some additional string noise from these that I was not aware of with the nickel plated nationals I have. I had them on for 2 hrs straight. No finger tip soreness or tenderness, but yet they never felt like they were slipping because they were lose. The is no burring or sharp edges to them. The finish is great (I would hope it to be for $30+ bucks a set). Overall they are pretty nice and I'll keep them as my main set, but a little pricey.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: BHOM
Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 650 ($US) (bought USED)
The banjo is full and loud. It sounds amazing for the price. The tone ring shines in this model. I'm a noob to the banjo but to me it sounds great.
Sound Rating: 10
The banjo came set-up from the BanjoHangout Member I bought it from. I have had it a week now and I'm going to change the strings. Other than that I can think of nothing.
Setup Rating: 10
I is a pretty Banjo for sure. For a rig under a grand, she looks great. Nice finish, parts seem solid. I spotted a few burs on the tailpiece but it is casted.
Appearance Rating: 9
It is a solid ride. I expect it to last a very long time.
Reliability Rating: 9
Gold Tone was amazing. I noticed one of the resonator screws was missing on arrival. I called Gold Tone they shipped one right out and for free. Then I decided I wanted to get capo spikes. I called Gold Tone again, said if I was to drive to them could they install them while I waited. They said no problem tell them the day I wanted to drive up and they would make sure the fella who does that would be there for me. Phenomenal!
Customer Service: 10
Nothing I can think of or notice at this time.
Components Rating: 10
I love this banjo. It plays sweet and didn't cost me a new mortgage to buy. I would definitely get anther if it was stolen. All I need to do is get a instrumet polish kit so I can keep her shiny!
Overall Rating: 10
'ML-1 banjo neck' 1 hr
'Gold Tone Banjola' 2 hrs
'McKinney 1st Gen Capo' 2 hrs
'glue' 2 hrs