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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!

6792 reviews in the archive.

Backyard Music: Long Neck Light

Submitted by wesrichards on 9/20/2018

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: 175.00 ($US)

Sound

Long Neck -- Pete Seeger style. Mellow but bright. Not loud.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was perfect. Low action as promised. No way to set this thing up. It's made of strange parts ... a wooden head. some kind of paper-based pot.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's simple. It's undecorated. No inlay. Brass tack markers on the sides. Looks like Pete Seeger's banjo and my D'Angelico/Paramount from 1928.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware? What hardware? The tuners are inexpensive open gears. and they work fine. The 5th string peg is the same kind of tuner but stuck in sideways. These things will outlast me, for sure. But don't take it out in a rainstorm.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I never asked about a warranty. There's nothing on this banjo that can't be fixed with a little duct tape. The company is friendly and helpful. It (he) is a banjo player of many years and knows what beginners and old arthritics need. Delivery was so fast I thought I was dealing with the music shop around the corner.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The standout components all work together to make a standout product the most important of which are good sound, good action, good price and lighter-than-air. It's lighter than anything else I've ever owned or played.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is not something you'll use un-miced  to fill a football stadium. Most of us don't need that.  It will not break your back, weigh you down or fall apart at a critical moment. 

The maker says his banjos weigh two pounds.  The long neck is a little more, but nothing you'd notice.  

I've been playing since 1953.  Where was this beauty when I was just starting out?  If you're old and frail like me or just starting out, this is the banjo for you. You cannot -- repeat -- cannot beat the combination of weight, action, sound and price.

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Second Life Banjo - Carl Arcand: Buckbee Restoration 1195-4

Submitted by wesrichards on 10/23/2013

Where Purchased: Direct from Carl

Year Purchased: 2103
Price Paid: 1450.00 ($US)

Sound

I play quiet banjo, and this one's perfect. A little loud for playing at night in my apartment, but that's easily cured by stuffing a washcloth between the dowel and the head. I've never heard a calfskin head with a simple brass tone ring with volume that can reach the next county when played with bare fingers.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect setup. The neck feels like it was made for my hands. Action is low enough for easy slides and round peak hammer ons and pull offs. The frets shine like gold. The string spacing is perfect and Carl marked the spot to put the bridge which was shipped flat against the head.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The neck is gorgeous in the style of the old Buckbees. Black walnut, one piece. The inlay is simple dots with a fleur de lis inlay on the peghead.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

Last? The hardware already has lasted more than 100 years... the pot, anyway. If it hasn't gone out of round by now, nothing I can do to it will make it. There are a million hooks, raw brass like the body. I'm no metalurgist but I suspect it will outlive Carl, me, and the first ten guys combined who read this review.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Carl is easy to deal with, responds to emails promptly, answers questions succinctly and clearly, ships promptly, packs as well as he carves, and that's mighty good. Warranty? I have no idea. I'm not going to need one. If something goes wrong, Carl will no doubt tell me how to fix it. But like I said, I'm sure there will never be an issue. This thing is built like Gibraltar.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Are you kidding? Beautiful brass spin-over. Gorgeous walnut neck. Perfect frets. heavy duty tuners. Adjustable trussrod. Even the little thing that holds the neck to the rim is made to defy destruction. The only thing cheap about this thing is the price. And that's not really cheap, it's just inexpensive. This maker could charge double what I paid and his banjos would still sell.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I bought my first banjo in 1953.  I think it's a Buckbee. Pricetag was ten bucks.  I negotiated it down to nine. It was in bad shape then, and it's in terrible shape now.  But I still like it and still play it. I was thinking of trying to restore it or have it restored. Then I stumbled over Carl's ad on banjobuyer.com.  I took one look at that restored raw brass pot with a gazillion hooks and said "that''s what I've been looking for!"  So I wrote to Carl and boy am  glad I did.

It has a loud and full sound, much more than you'd expect from a simple brass tone ring.  But I've said all that in the fill-in spaces above. I have or have had all kinds of banjos: Deerings, Gibsons, a Paramount, a Wildwood, a Chanterelle .  I've played Whyte Laydies, Tubaphones, Mastertones, Silver Bells and on and on.  This is the most playable and to my ears the best sounding I've ever touched.

Shipping: the thing came packed in the postal equivalent of a Sherman Tank.  It took three days from Quebec to Pennsylvania.  Though I live here now, I'm from New York City.  It takes a lot to impress me.  This banjo and this maker impress me.  You get the picture?

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

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