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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Nechville: Phantom

Submitted by DerekWest on 10/18/2011

Where Purchased: Music Outlet in Sevierville, TN

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Absolute best banjo for my tastes. I play mostly in and for church, the mellow or fat tone is perfect to blend in with piano, guitar, bass and vocals.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Being a surprise birthday present, I wasn't consulted for my preferred setup, though the banjo was pretty well setup when I received it. The head was a little loose, and the great thing about Nechville, a few turns of the wrench and ready to go! I was playing it at the party I received the banjo, 15 minutes later!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Most beautiful finger board ever laid is the Nature's Art cocobolo finger board. No inlays to distract, just beautiful grained wood. I love it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The heli-mount frame is, in my opinion, superior to hooks... less parts to distress and eventually fail. Having the banjo for about a month, and putting it through a lot of travel and in and out of the case, I can say that every mount point is solid, the neck hasn't moved

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

My wife has nothing but positive things to say about Tom Nechville. She was shocked she actually talked to Tom and not just staff. He was very accommodating with her few changes as she secretly learned about what I wanted in my banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I've spent a lot of time in music stores playing expensive banjos. The Nechville Heli-Mount is easy to configure, (dis)assemble and as a system make the banjo a joy to own. The neck and resonator are beautifully finished, and the comfort bevel armrest make the banjo so... well comfortable. Even the tailpiece is a hefty chunk of solid steel. I'm very impressed with everything on this banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

What more can I say... play one, be happy - once you buy one.

Overall Rating: 10

Stands: Hercules GS432B Triple Auto-Grab System Stand

Submitted by DerekWest on 10/4/2011

Where Purchased: Amazon.com

Overall Comments

Purchased this stand from amazon.com for $77.39 for use at church holding a 5-String Bass, Electric/Acoustic Guitars and Banjos. The Auto-Grab system is amazing! The stand itself is superbly crafted; the "special formula" foam is permanently attached so it can't wonder off (we've been there with other stands)... With the weight of a heavy bass, 10-lb Banjo and accoustic gutiar on this sucker she's still stable and can take a good shove. It folds really compactly for easy transport. Strong, sturdy, and stable... easy transport what more do you want?!!?

http://www.herculesstands.com/guitars/GS432B.html

Overall Rating: 10

Tuners: Peterson StroboClip - SC-1 Clip-On Strobe Tuner

Submitted by DerekWest on 6/20/2011

Where Purchased: Amazon.com

Overall Comments

Easy to use, view and adjust. Very accurate. I don't get good vibrations in the headstock of my MB-200, so I removed the clip (just a screw and nut) and secured the tuner to the brackets of the pot. Pretty as a nickel plated sissy pistol.

Overall Rating: 10

Epiphone: MB-200

Submitted by DerekWest on 1/25/2011

Where Purchased: Musicians Friend

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 250 ($US)

Sound

I get a lot of comments on how the banjo sounds good for an aluminum banjo. I mic with either a Shure SM57or an Audio-Technica Pro 35 Clip-on condenser Microphone. A good bright, responsive sound.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

I've done a lot of work to get the banjo setup as it only came with strings attached. I've reset the neck angle to get a good action. I've straightened the neck using the truss rod. I replaced the bridge with a grover compensated bridge. I've tightened the head as even as I could get and as tight as I dare. The banjo is really easy to setup, but the only issue is the necks connected only by the one neck bolt, so no matter how tight I get that bolt, there's still more play in the neck stability then I care for.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

The inlays and resonator are very pretty. The painted eagle is a very nice touch.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

It's been almost 2 years, and some frets are starting to wear out. The head is starting to get "mature" marks on it from my fingers (a badge of honor.)

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

A compensated bridge is a must for up the neck playability.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

Very happy with my first banjo!!

Overall Rating: 8

Picks: Acri

Submitted by DerekWest on 1/21/2011

Where Purchased: Janet Davis

Overall Comments

The Acri Stanless Steel finger picks... Awesome. The length of the band makes the picks very stable and comfy on my fingers; no pressure on the cuticles or around my finger nails. Being steel, after hours of use, there wasn't any blue fingers like that of brass and nickel plated picks. Another great thing about the picks being so beefy is they're not easily mis-shapen like regular picks so I don't have to be worried about someone "trying" them. Super satisfied.

Overall Rating: 10

Picks: Blue Chip Thumb Pick

Submitted by DerekWest on 1/21/2011

Where Purchased: Janet Davis

Overall Comments

J.D. Crowe Large. Everything you've read is true, amazing materials, comfortable design. What I'd like to add to the other reviews is the inside of the metal band is textured and very grippy. This thing is solid on my thumb. A great (expensive but worth it!) buy.

Overall Rating: 10

Other: ROLLS PM50s Personal Monitor Amp

Submitted by DerekWest on 1/7/2011

Where Purchased: amazon.com

Overall Comments

Super great product. I use it at church and can finally hear myself playing during congregational songs.
Your mic passes thru this unit to the mixer and also accepts a monitor input from the sound board. It lets you control the volume on both inputs, but doesn't alter the output to the mixer at all. A great product.

Edit: see my photos for some handy modifications!

Overall Rating: 10

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