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!
7124 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Banjo Studio
I play plectrum style and predominantly trad jazz from the 1920's and 30's. I am surprised that although the sound is being advertised as "new", it has a very vintage sound to my ear. It reminds me of a Vega in terms of it's tone, which I guess shouldn't be a surprise. I believe the "Twenty-Ten" tone ring is a simple brass hoop with skirt design, same as the old Vega Little Wonder banjos.
Update: See Setup.
Sound Rating: 8
The setup was perfect right out of the box. Couldn't ask for better action/string height with a 5/8" bridge which is the most desirable height for tone. I may experiment with some higher end bridges (my normal MO) such as Farquhar or Snuffy Smith just to see if there is any room for improvement.
After closer examination, the bridge has an angle to it like the old Snuffy Smith bridges have. I wonder.
Update: I swapped out the original strings with a set of GHS 190 Plectrum riding on a Farquhar 5/8" bridge with taqua nuts. This was a huge improvement. This went from a nice sounding banjo to a great sounding banjo.
Setup Rating: 9
It is absolutely stunning in terms of fit, finish and appearance. You can see the attractive vintage banjo influences in the design. The red mahogany stain on the maple is reminiscent of the coloring in some pre-war Mastertones I've seen, while the inlays in the peghead and fingerboard have a Victorian motif much like the old Vegas built during the early 20th century. I cannot find a single flaw in the finish. It is absolutely beautiful.
Appearance Rating: 9
I do not expect that there will be any issues with the hardware or finish as it is all top notch. Backup? What's a backup? PS the lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship helped my buying decision immensely.
Update. I've played the banjo perhaps 6-7 times since I've received it. The arm rest is tarnishing to the point where I can already see that it will brass through prematurely. This is despite my efforts to keep it clean after each use.
Reliability Rating: 9
I have had no direct dealing with Deering, however I am fully aware that Janet has a presence here on BHO. That is nice to know. Also, David Bandrowski of the Banjo Studio still works for Deering as their Marketing Director. My experience in working with him was par excellence. Super nice guy too.
Customer Service: 9
It feels like a very solid and substantial banjo, definitely a professional grade instrument. I have never seen cleaner inlay work on ANY banjo. I special ordered the neck to have a Richlite fingerboard in place of the ebony. I know that is a bit of a controversial point in certain circles, but time will tell. Nothing cheap feeling or looking to my eye.
Components Rating: 8
I have been collecting and playing vintage plectrum banjos for over 35 years, including many examples of my first love, the B&D Silver Bell. I had always had this dream of having a new banjo made just for myself and the Eagle II is what I chose, as I was also doing this on a budget. I am very happy with it. If you're in the market for a new banjo to call your own, you won't regret going with the Eagle II.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Elderly
This disc is a home run. Not a bad track on the entire disc, but the standouts for me are Louisiana Fairytale, Tootie Ma, Shake It and Break It, Freight Train, Old Rugged Cross, Nobody Knows You and Rockin' Chair with Louie Armstrong. This is a must listen for any fan of NOLA Jazz or the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For the tenor banjo fan, Carl LeBlanc's work on this effort is nothing short of fabulous. Nothing overdone. Every chord strummed and note picked seemed the perfect choice at the moment. This disc immediately became my favorite PHJB cd the instant I loaded into the car stereo. Try it.....you won't be disappointed.
Overall Rating: 10
'Enoch Tradesman' 14 min
'Ome Tupelo Slothead' 4 hrs
'1932 Gibson TB-1 #3-18' 6 hrs