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!
6809 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: mikes website
Like many others by now I own one of Mike's Mutes. I paid for it on line and it came remarkably promptly to my home in Albany Western Australia.
I was a little worried that as I use a compensated bridge there might be a difficulty, not so the mute copes with it fine. Being a Toolmaker by trade I note when a thing is made well or not., this mute is well produced neat and tidy a credit to its maker.
On using it I found it does what it claims, drops the decibel level to a "family friendly" level. Of course the tone changes a bit but its made for practicing not stage performances.
One thing I have found though is that when I am trying to learn a tune by listening to a DVD and repeatedly playing it back I have to leave the mute off because one's ear is listening intently to the notes on the DVD which you are trying to match with your banjo so as you do not get the correct tone with the mute it makes it very difficult. That is a very minor concern though. One thing I have noticed is that with mikes mute on the banjo when practicing I can hear more of the mistakes I make whereas before the volume of the banjo masked them a little, that's got to be a good thing!. So thumbs up for Mikes Mute.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Fults, on line purchase
I own an Ibanez Artist banjo circa 1974. I spent a fair amount of time trying to brighten it up and gain more volume. After fitting a clear head, setting up neck etc, fiting new strings and using the best advice I could gain from articles etc it improved somewhat then the Ibanez tailpiece broke. I liked the look of the Fults 1934/presto tailpiece sent for one and fitted it. WELL what an instant difference crisp clear volume like I had not had before. I would now suggest after visiting local music stores that the Ibanaz (Japan produced) gold plated artist (a mastertone copy) with the fults and set up properly would hold it own against some of the better American brands. I might add that Fults are great to deal with very patient and helpful.
Overall Rating: 9
'Saint Anne's Reel' 27 min