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!
7048 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: From Helix
Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1000 ($US)
I enjoy hearing my own banjo playing now. It is mellow and smooth but loud with a really deep bass that rattles your eardrum, the tuner and sometimes the windows. Nearly all the sound files as of (6/2013) on my bho page were made on this banjo.
Sound Rating: 10
It was setup just fine when I received it; but I changed mine out to use medium weight nylon strings as I wanted to change my playing style. I was able to speak to larry before changing it out and as usual he was helpful and supportive in answering any questions I had on changing the setup. That and a different bridge for the nylon strings are the only setup changes I have had to make in 6months of ownership.
Setup Rating: 10
The banjo is not fancy, but looks more like my personality: simple and straight to the point. The inlays are well done and not gaudy, I appreciate the MOP Dots on the side of the neck. There are some minor "imperfections" in the wood itself and some marks from the woodworking tools but nothing that you can see from more than a foot away, nor any that affect sound or bother me in the least -- in fact they kinda add to the charm/finished product.
This isn't an instrument for hanging at an art gallery but is beautiful in the same manner as a well built and designed machine.
Appearance Rating: 8
I have a toddler; in the 6 months I have owned this rig he has splashed it with bathwater a number of times; he has banged the head with his hands (and head) a few times; he has countless times ran his toy cars up and down the fretboard and head while I was playing; pulled on the stings and bridge and played terrorist with the tuners after sneaking up from behind me while picking. After all of that there are no dings or scratches, imperfections or issues.
Reliability Rating: 10
I have no complaints at all. Every time I have had a question about my banjo Larry has been quick to answer and help. When I ordered it he wanted to give me exactly what I wanted and had many a question; BUT I didn't know exactly what I wanted or what type of music I would end up playing. It probably frustrated him more than me and I ended up making it simple (on my part): I wanted banjo that would sound good, wasn't flashy and would last until someday I was ready to hand it down to my kid -- the rest I would leave up to him to decide.
Customer Service: 10
I absolutely love the neck. It slides effortlessly, it does not "stick" to my hand like other instruments I have played. The rim gets all the talk on BHO about helix; but I'm very happy I decided to go all in and get a helix neck at the same time. It might very well be my favorite part of the instrument.
Components Rating: 10
I waited 6 months after purchase to review. I've played this zephyr nearly every day during those 6 months. The unbiased observers in the household have said that my playing ability has increased exponentially since I replaced my cheap first banjo of 3 years with this machine. That could be because it is such a nice instrument or it could be because it is a joy to play -- perhaps a bit of both. I would recommend to anybody that wants a solid playable banjo.
Overall Rating: 10
'Blues Banjo' 3 hrs
'Watch out for this!' 4 hrs
'Oval 8s?' 6 hrs