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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!

7087 reviews in the archive.

Criswell Classic " Mahogany ": Classic # 1-9-61-21

Submitted by banjermun on 1/24/2020

Where Purchased: Criswell Classic Banjo Shop

Year Purchased: 11-30-2019
Price Paid: $3000.00 ($US)

Sound

This Banjo suits my music style perfect !!!!! (Bluegrass) Scruggs Style
This Banjo came set up very well, head tightened about 87 on the drum dial.
This Banjo came setup with a 5/8" Criswell Classic Bridge. I tighten the head to
about 91 and installed a Curtis McPeake .656 Lightening Bolt Bridge and the Banjo came alive tremendously !!!! The tone is Rich and full with a PreWar crack like no other New modern banjo I've ever played. The further I get up the neck it just gets Bigger and Better !!!! There is nothing to dislike about this Banjo.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The action was set up very well. The Criswell Classic was easy to make changes to the setup to, just tighten the head a little and change out the bridge.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The banjo looks extremely well with Scruggs Heart and Flowers inlay on an Ebony finger board. The neck and resonator is made out of high quality mahogany and is finished in nitrocellulose. The parts are all high quality and
banjo is constructed very very well no flaws that I can detect. The rim is constructed of a maple Block Rim. It has a Criswell Classic 20 hole Nickel Plated Tonering. Over all a very High End High Quality Banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware seems very durable and the finish is good enough to last for many years to come. I believe I can soley depend on this banjo no matter what the situation !!!!!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The owner of Criswell Classic Banjo shop Mr. Richard S. Criswell is a class act and is willing to go above and beyond of whatever he can do to satisfy the customer !!!!!! AAA+ Rating

Customer Service: 10

Components

The neck and pot to finish is extremely spot on !!!!!
The neck and resonator finish looks great high Quality.
The binding looks great no flaws what so ever !!!!
The frets are fantastically smooth, even and are holding up well.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Overall Hands down the best sounding (New) 5-String Banjo I've ever owned or 

played and I've owned and played several over a 40 year span !!!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Rich & Taylor: Sonny Osborne

Submitted by banjermun on 9/30/2007

Where Purchased: BHO Member

Year Purchased: 8/6/2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It suits my Bluegrass music style perfectly!!!! The sound quality is excellent !!!! It has a Rich/Full sound !!!!! Very little to no overtones.
The sound is very evident to the Old Pre-War sound !!!!
I lke this banjo very much, it's awsome and is Definetly a KEEPER !!!!!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was set up fairly well when I recieved it. Upon setting it up to suit my preference, I removed the Snuffy Smith 11/16 bridge and set it up with a McPeake .656 bridge. Then a new set of McPeake strings
guages .10 .11 .13 .20 .10 and tuned the Remo head to a G# !!!!!
The banjo has a original Kulesh 10 hole tonering and was the first batch
Richard Kulesh made it's stamped # 27 !!!! The banjo was easy to set-up and make changes to and so far I have had no problems maintaining the set-up.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

It's very easy on the eyes, it has a Highly Flamed maple neck made by Chris Bozung !!!!! The Resonator is also Highly Flamed Maple !!!!
The hardware is Satin Gold, I was told only 10 of these were made
with Satin Gold plating !!!! It has an engraved arm rest and tenison hoop
and a R&T Engraved Price tail piece !!!!! The hand cut Inlays are a elaborated Flying Eagle pattern designed especially for this model.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware is holding up really good considering this banjo was made in 1994. Some moderate wear on the arm rest and tenison hoop !!!!
It's very dependable, dependable enough on stage without a backup.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've consulted with Mark Taylor via E-mail about R&T banjo's and he is a class act, very friendly and very helpful.As far as warranty, I know Chris Bozung well enough that he can handle any problem that arises
concerning my R&T banjo !!!!!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Close attention to detail, perfectly fit and machined parts !!!!!
The Original Kulesh 10 hole tonering and the Bozung neck
are standout components that really standout !!!!
Basicly everything stands out about this banjo !!!!!

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recomend this banjo to anyone in the Bluegrass playing field.
If this Banjo was stolen I would definetly find and purchase another one.
Definetly love my R&T, my favorite features would be the awesome
Pre-War profile neck and the Pre-War sound of the Kelush 10 hole tonering !!!! Comparing it to other banjo's I've owned and played, it plays as good as my R&T JD Crowe model except it's maple. I've played 3 original RB Pre-Wars including Ole Lefty and 2-style3's Flatheads !!!!
Of course they were better sounding !!!!! My R&T sounds as good as any production banjo's made today, including the ones I've played with various tonerings ect. Blaylock,Tennessee 20 and Burlile tonerings !!!

Overall Rating: 9

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