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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!

6988 reviews in the archive.

Arthur Hatfield

Submitted by Milli2 on 2/9/2012

Overall Comments

I had a problem with my RK80. After reading a topic in which a problem with a similar banjo was resolved by Arthur I decided to email him and ask if he would be willing to do the same for my banjo. I was - and still consider myself to be - a beginner, and tried to explain what was wrong the best I could.

For a while I didn't hear anything and I assumed it wasn't anything Mr. Hatfield would be interested in, which I totally 100% understood.

But after a few weeks I received a very nice and pleasant email from Mr. Hatfield, explaining why he hadn't replied earlier, and invited me to send my RK80 to him, and he would take care of it. I answered that it already was taken care of satisfactorily.

So I haven't had any 'real' experience but the email he sent me was so nice, I was impressed with his kindness and the fact he had taken the time to respond to me.

If ever the occasion arises I need any help again, he'd be the first person I'd turn to.

Overall Rating: 10

Recording King: RK80

Submitted by Milli2 on 2/9/2012

Where Purchased: Banjo Hut

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 1049 ($US)


It has a great, loud and bright sound. I'm playing it for 2 years and I've been very happy with the sound. I go to amateur jam sessions here in FL in the winter, and I have to make sure I don't vamp too loud because it is (read my lips) L-O-U-D.

Sound Rating: 9


When I got it the head was loose. I didn't have any knowledge of what a banjo should be and I played it like that for a week or so, then I decided to tighten the 4 screws that you can do that with. I posted a question here at the BHO and I was told I did the right thing.

After a few weeks doing MH and listening to her playing I realized the first string didn't have any sustain, or just a little bit. I couldn't do any po's, they sounded like "thud".

After emailing to the BH, I sent it to the BH. When I got it back it was okay.

However, even after adjusting and changing the bridge multiple times, I cannot get it to be true up the neck.
The 4th string is the worst, the others are not that bad, altho they are not 100%. Maybe one day I'll get it right, but I'm not holding my breath anymore.

I feel that this whole issue wouldn't have occurred if it was set up properly as the BH claims it does with every banjo. Getting it changed was not a problem, Paul was very nice to deal with but I ended up having to pay almost $ 100,00 for shipping.

Setup Rating: 5


I love the way it looks, I love the head's and neck's inlay, it is eye catching, very pretty. The back is gorgeous, I think overall it is one of the prettiest banjos I have seen.

So far I have not discovered any flaws. I did notice the armrest is starting to get really dull but that is probably easily solved with some semichrome and I really don't care about it . Besides, my arm is always resting on it so who's going to see it anyways.

Appearance Rating: 10


All the hardware is super, it looks and feels very solid. The finish is beautiful, very shiny, no flaws whatsoever.

I have been playing it and taking it to the jam sessions, and I'm proud to have such a beautiful instrument.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've dealt with Paul at the BH, he is very helpful and pleasant to deal with. Other than the set up problem as described nothing has happened that required any repair so far.

Customer Service: 9


For me the MOP inlay in the neck and in the head stands out.

I cannot see anything that is weak or bad quality. I think that this banjo will last for the rest of my life. Recently I have bought a Stelling Bellflower and I am very happy with it.

The only thing I find strange is that the frets on the first string side feel sharp to my fingers but that's not a real issue.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I am very happy with my RK80. It looks like a 1,000,000 dollar banjo and the sound is a killer.
It's a shame that the set up draws the overall rating down. However, this should not be a reason for anyone considering to buy this banjo to not buy is.

My overall rating could have been a big fat 10, but it is what it is and it is a big fat 9.

Overall Rating: 9

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