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!
6979 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: online
This is a late 60's Artist. This banjo is a great bluegrass banjo. It is very loud and is very bright. I changed the bridge to a Nechville Enterprise and put on a 5 Star frosted head and plays great up the neck. I also put on a straighline tailpiece. Every note really "pops."
Sound Rating: 8
Banjo was setup decently on arrival, but I changed the Snuffy Smith bridge and clear head. The action is very low and there is no buzzing. I tried light guage strings, but immediately went back to medium. I really like the thin neck on this banjo.
Setup Rating: 9
I love the Fenders from this period. Very beautiful walnut and unique flange and inlays. It is a heavy banjo though.
Appearance Rating: 9
The hardware is all original. It has Scruggs tuners on the 2nd and 3rd string. The tuners hold tune great. I don't know the history of this instrument, but it's obviously seen a lot of use and still plays great. There was no noticeable difference when I changed out the original tailpiece and I may go back to the original. The finish is still intact, but there is a lot of cracking in it.
Reliability Rating: 8
Fender is not the same company as when they produced this banjo. It was made in Fullerton, CA. Haven't dealt with them.
Customer Service: not rated
The tone ring is great, it is a flathead. All components function well.
Components Rating: 8
I would highly recommend this banjo for bluegrass enthusiasts. I love it's volume and sound. It ranks highly among other American made banjos I've picked in the $3,000 range.
Overall Rating: 8
Where Purchased: LSU Health Sciences Center Audiology Clinic
I realized that I have a small amount of hearing loss (probably due to lots of concerts and hunting). I want to keep my ear as sharp as possible, so I got a pair of musicians earpieces. They are custom molded for my ear and sit almost completely in the ear canal. No loss of sound quality!! Every frequency is decreased 15 dB. They also cut out the crowd chatter in a loud show, which makes the performance stand out even more. You can get fit for them at any audiology clinic, if there is a university in your area they are usually a little cheaper. There is also a cheap one size fits most that you can try before you commit to a custom set (aound $15). Cost of a custom set is around $120-150.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: banjohangout.org
I own a lower end Fender banjer (fb-54). I put a BK 5/8 bridge on and it came alive! The tone and volume both improved significantly. You couldn't ask for a more reasonable policy: order and test, then pay. It says a lot about the quality of the bridge. Not only did it improve the tone and volume, but it's also a work of art. Thumbs up to Dave Jack for his top notch craftsmanship on this bridge.
Overall Rating: 10
'Lace Collar' 41 min
'Jaws2 Fret Press' 2 hrs
'KAY MUSIC NOTE GUITAR' 3 hrs
'Eastman Whyte Laydie' 5 hrs