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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!

7079 reviews in the archive.

Barry Sholder: 5 string mini travel banjo

Submitted by wsharp on 3/30/2021

Where Purchased: online from Barry

Year Purchased: 2021
Price Paid: I think about $400 ($US)

Sound

I love this little thing. Small, lightweight but tunes to G or A. I use it for travel and plan to take it backpacking and on bicycle tours. Mostly I play clawhammer but also some 2FTL. Gourdy sound, quiet but not muddled. Mostly, I bought it because it is so small and light but I am really liking the sound now.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up pretty perfect although the base string is sitting tad high.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Beautiful. I love the way it looks. Not fancy though the peghead is kinda special.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Friction violin tuners which I don't mind too much but they are a bit harder to use than geared tuners if you change tunings often-which I do. Time will tell but I think I am getting used to them.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Barry is great. Easy, easy to work with. Helpful and always gets right back to you.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I prefer geared tuners but understand why this banjo doesn't have them. Other than that, I have absolutely no complaints.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Love this thing.  Thanks so much to Barry for beautiful gourd banjos.  Even though it is a gourd, and as such is fragile, I think it will be perfect for what I am wanting it for-I'll just have to treat it with care.  It really is a joy to play.

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: Cling Pro Clawhammer Pick

Submitted by wsharp on 11/15/2018

Where Purchased: online

Overall Comments

I"ve tried all kinds of picks for clawhammer since I have thin, crummy nails, with varying degrees of success.  These weird-looking picks are the best.  Playability is excellent and comfort is huge,  They fasten onto your finger wth a wire that wraps around the underside of your finger.  Hardly know you have it on and it stays put.  Customer service was AWESOME!!!!!!  Shipping from Canada is pricey but really, these are the best --the shipping seems like a pretty small price to pay for something that really works and is wearable for hours on end.

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Bart Veerman Bridges

Submitted by wsharp on 10/12/2015

Where Purchased: online from Bart Veerman

Overall Comments

I ordered two bridges from Bart-for two different banjos.  He was extremely helpful in helping me figure out what would work best given my banjos and playing style.  They were both for my nylon-strung/skin-head banjos and I went with the mystery wood, no cap bridges.  I wasn't sure about height and when they came I realized that I should have gone higher.  Bart was again extremely helpful and I exchanged them for two that were the same as the first set but both higher.  I love these bridges!!!  As soon as I put them on I could hear a difference in tone and volume.  Bart was so easy to work with and the bridges add so much to the sound of my banjos.  Highly recommend Bart's bridges. 

Overall Rating: 10

White Mountain: Custom A-scale Tubaphone

Submitted by wsharp on 12/5/2012

Where Purchased: White Mountain Banjo

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Perfect. I wanted a deep, full sound and Ron got it perfectly.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Played great right out of the box although it has a skin head so is still going thru the initial stretching period.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This is one beautiful banjo. Every part of this banjo was done well; the inlay, the finish-it all shows very fine workmanship.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo will last longer than I do. Solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I can't say enough good things about White Mountain Banjo and Ron Grimsley. He was so helpful, friendly, patient and was in contact throughout the whole building process. He even sent photos of progress along the way. This was such a good experience. I can't imagine a better relationship between builder and customer.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I wouldn't change anything.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am in love with this new banjo. It fits me, it sounds just like I wanted it to and it is beautiful. I feel like I got exactly what I wanted and I enjoyed the whole process. I also think that for the $, you get a lot of banjo from White Mountain. Couldn't be happier.

Overall Rating: 10

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