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.
Where Purchased: Janet Davis
This book is simply a must-have for anyone who likes playing fiddle tunes on the banjo. I have always enjoyed these tunes on the banjo; there is just something about them that is very satisfying to play. After learning a few from my teacher, I stumbled across this gem of a book. Here are more than enough tunes to keep you occupied for a life-time, all written in very clear tabs with interesting facts about each tune. Many of them have more than one version. Also included is a description of how Tony handles the fingering(you'll want to read this and pay attention.).Finally, every one of the tunes is recorded on the two CDs.
i have learned 5 of these tunes so far, and can say without hesitation that, not only are they fun to play, they help your playing immensely. Tony deserves to win an award for the service he has provided to banjo players everywhere for producing this book.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: eBay
Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 400 ($US)
It has a great sound; very bright and with a fair amount of volume. It needs some strings (I bought them , I just haven't put them on yet), and I know that will improve things even further. Compared to this banjo, my Washburn sounds tinny and weak.
It is much lighter than my Washburn.
The neck feels terrific; it is easy to play all the way up the neck and is perfectly in tune all the way up.
It came with spikes, and these work really well. I've been having fun playing in different keys.
Sound Rating: 8
Needed the action lowered a bit and it needed new strings.
Setup Rating: 7
I like the satin finish; very classy and understated.
There are NO side fret markers. Well, ok, there is no binding because it is (like most of the low-end Deerings) a one-piece neck, and most of the time, side markers are put into the binding. But, I think I could live with this if it weren't for...
the fingerboard fret markers WHICH ARE BLACK ON A DARK BROWN FINGERBOARD!! How does that happen? Did anyone play this design and say "Well, the fret markers are invisible, but no one will care"? I can not see these markers, and I practice in a well-lighted area. I will tell you right now, I'd pay an extra $100 for white fret markers; in fact I may pay more than that once I find a luthier that can install them.
Appearance Rating: 3
Reliability Rating: 8
I did not call Deering for anything.
Customer Service: not rated
Components seem ok. I may upgrade the bridge
Components Rating: 8
I understand that Deering is concentrating on the sound in these low-end models, and I appreciate that, because the sound is great, considering the money I paid. Fret markers and side markers do not add to the sound. But, I can't see how a contrasting color fret marker would have made this banjo any more expensive. Although I like this banjo a lot, I'm not completely sure I would recomend this model given the fret marker issue. If you can stand the blonde maple model, go with that; the dark markers on that finish are visible.
ADDENDUM: After adding side markers myself (drilled holes with a 1/16" drill bit, then filled them in with white epoxy) as well as upgrading the bridge (Desert Rose Old Growth maple) I now rate this instrument a 9. Has a great sound, and the new side fret markers REALLY help. Most of all, get one because they are made in the U.S.A. and are quality instruments.
Overall Rating: 7
'roll and chords' 2 hrs
'Just Jan's Blues' 2 hrs
'Probable scam' 3 hrs