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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!

6942 reviews in the archive.

Hohner: HOB200

Submitted by TENUSEA on 2/7/2005

Where Purchased: Dr.Cluck's online

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 404.00 ($US)

Sound

Drop shipped directly from Hohner since the seller didn't have it in stock. Had to set it up on my own, no problem. For the price paid, excellent sound. Rich, bright, and loud. Decent "old time" banjo for the price.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Had to set it up myself, but once the bridge was installed, the action was perfect right out of the box. Tuning peg tension, tail piece, and brackets all had to be tightened.

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

This is a really pretty banjo. Wonderful inlay on the headstock and fretboard. Finish is excellent, without flaws.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems to be pretty heavy duty for a relatively inexpensive banjo. I have no doubt I could depend on it on a gig without backup.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

The initial purchase, shipping, and price were a great experience. I have only had it for a week, so otherwise, I haven't had to deal with either the seller or Hohner directly.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I really like the fiberskin head, and an actual armrest on an open back banjo!

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

As with my previous review of my Saga SS-10, this is a very nice banjo for the money (sort of quoted on Elderly's website).

Overall Rating: 9

Gold Tone: Dojo

Submitted by TENUSEA on 10/5/2004

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 395 ($US)

Sound

Disappointing................my Saga SS-10 has more projection than this.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

It was set up well, I'm assuming by Elderly, since they make it a practice to go over their instruments thoroughly, so I can't fairly rate the "factory" set up. Action was perfect out of the box from Elderly. The 10 rating is solely for Elderly, since I haven't had any direct experience with Gold Tone.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Conversational value because of the design notwithstanding, this area was the most disappointing aspect of this instrument. Lots of smudges and imperfections in the finish, the lower bought joint near the tail-piece is not even close to being approximated.........I just hope the glue holds out. If it weren't such a hassle to send things back through the mail, I would. This is my first Gold Tone instrument, and judging on the fit and finish, most likely my last/only. My Saga SS-10 entry level is much better assembled and finished than this thing.

Appearance Rating: 1

Reliability

Overall, with the exception of the neck, construction seems shoddy/puny. The finish already had several imperfections when I received it. I'll use it as a conversation piece at jam sessions, but I wouldn't depend on it solely during a gig.

Reliability Rating: 2

Customer Service

In fairness, I'm writing this up to a mistake on my part in purchasing it in the first place. It's playable, although it should have been sold as a second, and I don't feel like going through the hassle and cost of paying shipping to send it back and risk getting another dud. So.....I haven't talked with Gold Tone or Elderly about it, but I'm sure it would be taken care of if I did.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nothing particularly stands out. Fit and finish, tone, etc., are all quite lacking. This instrument should have been in the "blem" , or factory second category.

Components Rating: 2

Overall Comments

If you are a true dyed in the wool banjo picker, DO NOT buy this instrument. If it were stolen, I'd file a claim and replace it with something else. The only question I wish I had asked before buying would have been to myself...............and I can't repeat it here.

Overall Rating: 2

Saga: SS-10

Submitted by TENUSEA on 5/4/2004

Where Purchased: Centsible Sounds online

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 321.00 ($US)

Sound

Sound is rich and bright. Also loud for an open back banjo. For what it is, I give it a 10.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was perfect right out of the box. This was drop shipped direct from Saga. They did an excellent job.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very nice looking banjo. Half moon and star inlay on the peg board, star inlay at the 5th and 19th frets. Nice appearance. Finish is excellent.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems like it will hold up well for my purposes. I just got it this afternoon, and I'll be gigging with it tonight. Will update this review as to whether I would gig with it without a backup after I use it tonight.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Centsible sounds is a fantastic company. They sell mostly beginner/intermediate string, folk, wood and brass wind instruments. They are absolutely responsive to your needs. I've never had to send an instrument back for repair, but I suspect since they do use drop shipments, that you would have to send it back to the factory/importer. Definitely give Centsible sounds a call or an email, their prices and service are outstanding for the lines they carry.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The inlay and finish are great. I love the no knot tailpiece (never had one on a banjo before). The planetary style tuners are a bit weak. I'll probably upgrade them soon. It would be nice if it came stock with a Vega style armrest. Because of the weak (read cheap) tuners and lack of armrest, I'm giving it a 7.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I would absolutely recommend this banjo. I've been playing an Alvarez Denver Belle that I purchased new in 1977, and a recently acquired Iida model 236, and this is my first open back banjo. I wanted a quality open back to travel with and also to experiment with clawhammer/frailing, but didn't want to invest an exhorbitant amount of money. I researched this banjo for a while and decided to purchase one. I'm not sorry. I played a Deering Goodtime and liked it very much, but the cosmetic appointments, and the fact that the Goodtime doesn't have a truss rod or tone ring made me decide on the Saga. If it were stolen, I'd probably buy another one. I'm giving it a 9 out of 10 overall due to the cheap tuners and lack of armrest.

Overall Rating: 9

Iida: N/A

Submitted by TENUSEA on 2/28/2004

Where Purchased: Local music store

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 150 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sounds great. Loud and bright.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set it up myself, so its great for me.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Ugly duckling, nothing fancy. Wood tone, inverted shaped V inlays on the fingerboard. Vine inlay on the headstock.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Excellent. Well constructed. Fit and finish are great.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Can't find any historical info. Can't find any info on current importer.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Bell brass tone ring, Schaller style tuners. Replaced broken Kershner style tailpiece and 5th string tuner.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This is a model 236. I can't find much historical info on it, but i feel it was an excellent purchase. I use it onstage without hesitation. Would highly recommend for the money.

Overall Rating: 10

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