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!
7071 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: banjohut.com
Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: about $250 ($US)
Has the kind of plunky sound I was looking for in playing old time music. Not quite as crisp as the more expensive models I have tried at music stores like the open back good times but for the price I have been very pleased. Banjo Hut has a short video clip of the hobo being played for anyone interested in hearing it, you can compare that with the sound of the good time which costs about two hundred more.
Sound Rating: 7
Other than retuning, it was set up to play right out of the box. I would like to get a slightly lower bridge at some point but thats just to try it out. This banjo has taken all the beginner style beatings for just under a year and I have had no problems at all. The planetary tuners hold very well and are easy to tune when its required.
Setup Rating: 8
Simply put, it is a sharp looking banjo. The dark cherry tones contrasted with the tans of the nemo head really fit my image of an old time banjo. It may seem silly but I really did not want a sterile hospital white head and generic looking wood so again for the price I think this best looking banjo in the under $300 range.
Appearance Rating: 9
Have been very pleased with the reliability thus far. I've had no hardware problems and other than a few nicks and bruises from me bumping into door frames etc. the finish has been very strong.
Reliability Rating: 8
Banjo hut was great, the banjo arrived in a very timely fashion (important for someone waiting on pins and needles for the arrival of an instrument). I got it as part of beginner package including a tuner, strap, book, and gig bag. They accidently sent a scruggs style beginner book instead of Wayne Erbsen's Clawhammer for the complete ignoramus. I informed them via email and they promptly shipped the clawhammer book to correct it. I would definitely order through them again.
Customer Service: 9
After doing a significant amount of internet research, I concluded that the bean blossom hobo had the best components of any banjo in the under $300 range. A good nemo head, brass tone ring and planetary tuners seem to make this one of the best deals in beginner banjos. The head brackets are pretty lightweight composite metal and the banjo overall is relatively light, of course this impacts its sound but given the price it still strikes me as the best deal out there.
Components Rating: 7
I have no complaints and not a single regret about purchasing this as my first banjo. It looks good and gets compliments everywhere I take it. Plus I have the satisfaction of knowing I searched around and feel good about having what I consider to be the best banjo in the price range. I love the sound, the feel, the components, everything. Of course I would love to make the jump up to something in the $500-700 range but until I hit the lottery or something I am more than happy and content bangin away on this little gem. If someone can find anything better under $300 I would love to know about it. There is simply no other banjo I would suggest for a beginner on a budget.
Overall Rating: 10
'Johannes Bonefaas 12"' 6 hrs