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!
6935 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: -
Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 699 ($US)
Being a fan of Ralph Stanley and Doug Dillard I've always wanted an archtop and finally found one in my price range at a local music store which is nationally recognized for their vintage instruments . . First thing I noticed was the deep base on this thing , very punchy . Excellent tone up the neck as well , very clean and bright . Better than my Maple Blossom . Excellent sustain . Good characteristic archtop tone while playing close to the bridge . I'm anxious to here someone elso play it for me so I can hear the true sound of this thing . There were 4 workers in the store and none of them knew how to play banjo . I even asked one customer but he was shopping for guitars . It's no Stanleytone but it will do ! I'm no authority on banjos . All banjos sound good to me which is why I give this one a 9 .
Sound Rating: 9
Came set up from the shop . Perfect set up for me right off the stand . Perfect action the whole length of the neck . The only things missing were a couple spikes at the 7th. and 9th. The shop installed them both for an extra $10 for me while I was cashing out .
Setup Rating: 9
Beautiful deep red mahogany color that brings out the maple grains nicely . Heavy gloss . Beautiful sunburst finish on the back of the one piece resonator . One minor crack in the binding at the 5th. fret , a minor 1/16" crack on 2 of the pegs , one minor flaw in the clear coat on the side of the resonator . Nice inlays . Love the Gibson style flange , although thin , unlike the girlish-looking one on my Deering Maple Blossom .
Appearance Rating: 8
Tuners seem tight . Been playing it for a few days now and haven't had any tuning issues . So far an excellent second banjo (actually 5th. banjo counting my cheap ones) . Haven't picked up my Deering Maple Blossom since buying this one .
Reliability Rating: 9
Extremely friendly sales girl who was very knowledgable with the banjo inventory at the store . Quoted me the same price ($699 Including hardshell "Flinthill" case) as advertised online at their website . HOWEVER , the owner of the store was a different story . Nice guy , but , after I got an accurate quote from the nice sales girl , the owner came up while I was testing it out and asked me how I liked the banjo . Told him I loved it and gave me a price $200 more than the girl quoted me . The tag on the banjo had it listed for $2200 retail (no way) , $1100 sale price and he quoted me $900 with a hardshell case . I guess he assumed I didn't look on their website before I came in , or was just looking for a sucker . Overall , a good experience . Brought a buddy along who playes stand-up bass and jammed in the corner for a while . Very fair prices , even on accessories (straps/strings etc.) . Forgot to ask about warranty since I was too excited to get home and play some more . Due to this one minor issue with the owner , I'm leaving the "Where purchased" column blank .
Customer Service: 8
No standout parts as this is a middle-of-the-road banjo . Three-ply maple rim and two piece flange; nickel plated metal parts; bound, pearl inlaid rosewood fingerboard; planetary tuners with geared 5th; figured maple neck and resonator; vintage sunburst high-gloss finish; "No-hole" cast raised-head tone ring. Eventually may replace the tailpiece . Maybe experiment with some different bridges . The flange seems thin , but I like the "Gibby" style . The "Flinthill" hardshell case is beautiful and the banjo fits perfectly snug . Easily a $80 - $100 case . Not exactly sure what it means but the cast tone ring is a "no hole" style .
Components Rating: 8
Finally got my archtop and am very happy . I'm pleasantly surprised of the quality of this $700 banjo . I went to the store expecting a little less , since the website had only a few pictures of this banjo , none of them good close-ups . I knew within 10 minutes of playing it that I would be taking it home . Thought I would be paying extra for another hardshell case but the case came with it !!!! The controversy surrounding these Flinthill banjos intrigued me and may have played a little part in purchasing it .
Overall Rating: 8
'Old 5 string banjo' 1 hr