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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Capos: Kateyz Capo B Capo: V-frame

Submitted by rgire on 2/4/2009

Where Purchased: Direct from Kateyz

Overall Comments

I own two banjos with slightly different neck profiles - a Gold Tone WL-250 and a Deering Sierra. I have been using an Ultimate Capo purchased from Janet Davis. It fit pretty well on the Deering, but on the Gold Tone, the half-moon shaped pressure screw on the bottom of the capo did not match up very well with the neck and the bar part of the capo was not uniformly pressing against the fret board.

I emailed Mike Smith about his B Capo in a V-shape. I asked if he thought it would fit both banjo necks. He sent me a new model, a less expensive bronze model, to try based solely on my word that I would either return it or buy it. It fit both banjo necks perfectly with no torque - the capo bar presses evenly across each string. It is very small and light, but is obviously highly engineered and precision made. The capo bar fits on a notch after crossing the strings. A small loop of brass holds the bar in place. Every part works very smoothly and precisely. I am 110% pleased with this. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a high-quality capo, that's several dollars less than the other hand-made capos available out there. The trust Mike showed in me will definitely make me visit him when next I need a capo, or a bridge, or anything else banjo-related he chooses to develop.

Well done Mike! A great product!!


Overall Rating: 10

First Quality Music Supply

Submitted by rgire on 1/2/2009

Overall Comments

I decided to drive 2 hours down to visit First Quality Music in Louisville today and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The shop is divided into several "rooms". Some with guitars, some with mandolins, etc. I found the banjo room and sat down and began playing the 3 tunes I have learned recently. As I was walking around, one of the owners (believe it was jeff Sullivan) offered to show me around their shop. I saw where they repair and make banjos. That's right. They MAKE their own line of banjos, named after their late father. I got to try a few out and they sound great!

First quality know their way around a banjo. They make necks and tome rings for Gibson at the moment.

A great place with very friendly and helpful people!

try to visit if you can. They know how to help you.

Overall Rating: 10

Patrick Costello: The How and Tao of Old Time Banjo

Submitted by rgire on 12/22/2008

Where Purchased: Direct from Pat at

Overall Comments

Ordered the Frailing Pkg, which on sale Includes the Tao book, plus a CD and 2 DVDs. Pat shipped out immeidtaely and sent me an email stating he thinks he may have put the wrong CD/DVDs in the Pkg. Pkg arrived 2 days later. The wrong CD/DVDs were in the pkg. I emailed Pat and he immediately emailed back that the correct disks were mailing in the morning. Besides that, he also told me to keep the 2 incorrect disks.

You can't ask for better customer service than that.

Overall Rating: 10

Instrument Alley

Submitted by rgire on 12/21/2008

Overall Comments

Received Deering Sierra 2 weeks after ordering. They kept me updated via email when it would ship. Set up was perfect. Played right out of the case with a slight tuning.

I will buy again from Instrument Alley

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by rgire on 12/19/2008

Where Purchased: Direct from Mike

Overall Comments

Ordered on Tuesday, rec'd on Friday in the mail. Comes in a drawstring pouch. Very simple design of two parts: a flat brass bar that sits on top of the strings at the bridge, and an aluminum L-shaped bracket that slips through the holes in the bridge, and with the help of 2 nylon screws and 2 brass finger tightening nuts (I call them ball nuts as they are shaped like a ball to allow tightening with fingers)., holds the brass bar down tight on the strings. Very easy and simple to put on and take off. Takes about 5 seconds, on or off.

The best, and most surprising, aspect is the tone with the mute on. The loudness is dampened by a factor of 10, but the tonal qualities are still there. Songs sound excellent.

Great job Mike! I will buy another should I lose this one. Worth more than the $34 cost. Highly recommend it. Rich

Overall Rating: 10

Instrument Alley

Submitted by rgire on 12/15/2008

Overall Comments

Ordered Deering Sierra on Dec 10. Got FedX tracking on Dec 15 that it shipped. Got email from Ben at Instrument Alley that the set up was complete and my banjo sounded sweet! I used live chat to check on progress twice and got immediate answers on status of my banjo. Excellent service!! What more could I ask for?

Overall Rating: 10

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