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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!

6936 reviews in the archive.

Hartel: Henry Stichter

Submitted by schaumannk on 3/27/2009

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 1250 ($US)

Sound

With the large (14") head and nylgut strings and tuned low it has a nice old timey sound. Just what i was looking for.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Just stand the bridge up and tune. I wasn't used to the woden friction pegs so it took me a while to get it tuned.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The construction quality is great. It is an interesting banjo. This is a large banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

To early to tell. I will give a high score and modify as needed.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I emailed Mr. Hartel with a question about availability. He responded quickly about the banjo at Elderly. His email was prompt and courteous.

Customer Service: 10

Components

this is a replica of a mid 1800s banjo it has a wooden tailpiece, wood friction pegs and skin head. Becaust there are very few metal components it is very light.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I like this banjo. It is an armfull and surprisingly light for it's size. If you are looking for a minstrel style banjo I would highly recommend this model. My favorite feature is the size of the head. The closest banjo I have is a flush fret Ome with nylgut strings, the change to completely fretless with very few visual references will take a while to get used to. It really doesn't compare to other banjos that I have because it is so different. I like it.

Overall Rating: 10

Aaron Youngberg

Submitted by schaumannk on 9/20/2007

Overall Comments

The only reason I am not giving Aaron is a 10 is that I have read too many comments complaining about inflated reviews on the banjo hangout. I realize I might possibly meet a better teacher than Aaron but I haven't yet. Aaron is the third banjo instructor that I have worked with (other than camps and clinics) and he is the only one that seems to have gotten me going in the direction that I want to go. He teaches in Fort Collins Colorado but also plays in a band. The only problems so far has been in scheduling lessons as we both have busy schedules. He teaches with tab but supplements it with audio recordings. I do best when he records the tab for me both slow and faster and I memorize the song as soon as possible. His lessons are structured to move your skill set along so that you will be playing progressively more difficult pieces. He really encourages you to listen to what you do. His prices are quite reasonable and lesson length is flexible. I have studied with him for about two and a half years. He has a keen ear for the sound of a banjo and also for how you are playing it. A born teacher.

Overall Rating: 9

John Ramsey

Submitted by schaumannk on 9/20/2007

Overall Comments

John Ramsey is the owner of Tejon Street Music in Colorado Springs Colorado. Right now he builds mostly very high end Ukuleles with his wife Pam but he has built banjos, banjo necks and guitars in the past. He is also a wonderful picker and was third at Winfield in 1980. I take all my banjo work to him and have purchased several instruments from him. It is a long drive for me, almost three hours one way but it is worth it. His work is first rate and his prices are very reasonable. He won’t build necks anymore but he will perform every kind of adjustment Again, I am only giving him a 9 because I don't want to accused of inflating the ratings.

Overall Rating: 9

Huber: Lexington

Submitted by schaumannk on 3/26/2007

Where Purchased: Tejon Street Music

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I have heard and played many Hubers. I was always impressed, all great banjos, but never "in love" until I heard this particular Lexington. The banjo has a very even sound like all the strings have been perfectly balanced. A little more decay, bit more note seperation and a little more punch than my other fine banjos. I was not in the market for another maple banjo but when I picked this one up, I knew if I did not buy it, the next person who picked it up would.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Steve Huber apparantly knows exactly what he is doing. The action is perfect. If the banjo has a flaw it is that the first string is a little close to the edge of the fretboard. This is something that you adjust to as you play it awhile. I intend to make no changes and have ordered Huber strings to make sure the sound says as close as possible to the way it is now.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Probably the prettiest banjo I own. the gold plating seems to be better than what I have seen on other high end banjos. Maybe the triple gold plating really does make a difference. This maple banjo has a matte finish and a speed neck. Inlays are tasteful and perfectly cut. I am glad they are not flying eagle or hearts and flowers. The Lexington deserves to be more than a copy of another famous banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Best gold plating I have seen. I think it will last. I don't do gigs but my instructor would have played it at his a few hours after he first tried it if it had d tuners on it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Don't know yet. I hope there are never any issues. I trust the man I bought it from, John Ramsey. His word is always good enough for me, and I have had perfect deals with him for years now.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No inferior parts on this banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

You know a lot of people claim these banjos are over priced. I might have agreed until I picked up this banjo and realized that for me it was "the one" I guess if this one was stolen, I would have to go sit in Steve's shop and wait for him to turn out another one that sounded like this one does. Considering that I would probably have to quit my job to do it, this might end up being one expensive replacement. I don't want to have to replace it. I have four excellent bluegrass banjos. Right now this one would be the last one sold and it could end up being the last one I buy. I can't see how I could find a better banjo for the money.

Overall Rating: 10

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