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!
6872 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: posted to Australia
Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 3000 ($US)
this banjo has a big clear sound, less top end than a standard bluegrass banjo. volume quite loud. the tone is consistent in tone on any fret. I'd say from a technical point of view it has less overtones than most banjos, more of the primary note. the clip- on tuner works better on this banjo than my other banjos. It's not only a beautiful warm tone for clawhammer but also punchy for bluegrass picking. the more i play it the more i appreciate it's tone.
Sound Rating: 10
The banjo was set up well when i got it but it's so easy to adjust anyway. The neck settled a bit after a couple of months so i decreased the amount of relief in the neck. I also replaced the original bridge which sounded nice but i found cateyze bridge gave it even more volume and a bit more brightness. this isn't a critiscism, just my personal taste and i wanted as much volume as possible for some gigs. i can't fault the set up. i've cautiously cranked the head pretty tight too as it loosened a bit from when i bought it. I wish i'd got a scooped neck for playing clawhammer, my mistake. the neck and frets are the nicest i've ever played. great profile, a bit wider, and frets are wider gauge. why doesn't every banjo have these wider frets? tuning pegs slightly smaller i think than standard, work great. i could've got 5th string spikes fitted with purchase but chose to put them in myself.
Setup Rating: 10
heck it's a weird looking banjo! but i like it. i ended getting a copper finish on the metal work because they were having issues with the nickel plating at the time. They''re making them with a matt black finish, i think that's a cheaper option but i didn't like the look of that at all. the neck is really attractive. peg head looks goo., tuning pegs slightly smaller i think than standard, work great.
Appearance Rating: 10
only had about 3 months, so far so good.
Reliability Rating: 10
good communication. Delivery was slower than i expected due to some plating issues, luckily i got it on time for a trip to China. a great travelling banjo as i just took the neck off and took as carry on luggage.
Customer Service: 9
the whole dang thing is a winner. weight is reduced by its unique construction. i love the super adjustability. super easy to tighten head, action, neck relief, tailpiece height. quick to dismantle banjo and reassemble (ideal for plane trips). perhaps they could include a wrench for adjusting the truss rod. Frets are stand out, being wider gauge as well.
Components Rating: 10
You get what you pay for, or maybe more. it's expensive but it's a unique banjo. it has its own sound, but then again it can be adjusted easily sound wise for personal taste. Tom Nechville describes the sound as very musical. i have no idea really what that means. my guess is these banjos have more of the primary note and less overtones and extraneous sounds that you probably don't want. this one is lovely for clawhammer and good for bluegrass but doesn't have the shear volume of a resonator top range bluegrass model. it''s a tubaphone tone ring and an open back so it's better than i expected. it's light enough for me to put on my back and walk considerable distances ( gigs in Shanghai recently). I'm a fan. They take a little while to get used to the look of them and no doubt not to everybody's taste appearance wise.
Overall Rating: 10
'Autumn Winds' 3 hrs
'Fret fell out!' 5 hrs
'How old is it?' 7 hrs
'5+ years of banjo' 8 hrs