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!
7004 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Bob Smakula Fretted Instruments
Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 750 ($US)
Very Nice - lacks the sustain and ring of tone-ring banjos, but most old-time players prefer a plunkier sound anyway. I know I do.
Sound Rating: 9
The setup was very good. For some reason, Elderly posts a warning that these are set up higher than most old time banjos, but mine was actually a hair too low. After a few months, with medium gauge strings, the bass buzzed a bit in double c tuning. I popped on a slightly higher bridge and switched to light gauge strings and that resolved the problem.
Setup Rating: 9
Very simple, but nearly perfect. If you want buzzers and whistles, look somewhere else. But as John Balch notes below, the neck and fretboard on this thing are amazing - very solid, very clean. In addition, the lack of a tone ring makes the banjo very light, so if you haul your banjo around at festivals and jams, or if you play standing up on stage for any length of time, this one is perfect.
Appearance Rating: 10
The most dependable banjo I've ever owned. Holds a tune, consistently sounds good under all kinds of conditions.
Reliability Rating: 10
Customer Service: 10
Components Rating: 10
The price keeps going up on these things. Buy one before they get outrageous. Mike Ramsey is currently making a banjo that is nearly identical to this one http://elderly.com/new_instruments/names/chanterelle-dobson-style-banjo--CH1112.htm
that's going for over $1000, although Mike's has a tone ring. On the other hand, you'll wait three years for it. For the time being, you can get the Enoch. And YOU SHOULD!
Overall Rating: 10
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