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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!

7170 reviews in the archive.

Grafton: Clipper 5-String Open-Back

Submitted by UK Mark on 11/14/2007

Where Purchased: Andy Banjo (UK)

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter


The Clipper is the latest addition to Andy's "Grafton" range, banjos he assembles from imported parts. This one is an all maple construction (neck & rim), the rim is 15mm maple (ply), it has 24 brackets, a brass tone ring, no knot tailpiece, rennaisaince head, vintage style tuners and a vega style armrest. I am just a novice but this banjo is heads and shoulders above my first instrument (a Vintage VOB12), it's very loud, quite deep / hollow in it's sound. I bought it to play clawhammer style and I have every confidence it can do the job well. The only changes I can see later down the line are: change the tone ring (poss white ladye), scoop the neck and install some capo spikes but none of this is immediate. I plan on keeping this banjo for a while, at least until I save up enough cash to visit my family out in the states with some spare cash in my pocket for a purchase from Chuck Lee :D

Sound Rating: 8


Andy set it up pretty well although he did miss two things: one of the screws on the truss rod cover was very loose (protuding about 1/8") and a couple of the brackets were a little loose although he did point out that I may wish to tighten the head after a week or so anyway. The banjo has a nice low action over the fretboard (which is why I want the scoop!) with no buzzing evident.

Setup Rating: 7


Its a very unfussy finish. Dark stain, with a matt finish, very minimal inlay. Their are a few flaws in the finish where the stain obviously ran but this is not detracting to the casual eye.

Appearance Rating: 8


It all looks well built, its billed as the best starter / intermediate banjo in the UK (admittidly by Andy himself) but owning the instrument I have no doubt in his claim when compared with other instruments of equal value.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

unused to date, no idea

Customer Service: not rated


All parts seem very solid, the plating is good and should last a while.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Anyone looking at Gold Tones CC100 or Deerings GoodTime should take a look at this before parting with their cash, they may well be tempted!

Overall Rating: 8

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