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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!

7014 reviews in the archive.

Cedar Mountain: L1

Submitted by Ozark Clawhammer on 3/20/2016

Where Purchased: Cedar Mountain Banjos

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Just how a 12" southern Appalachian banjo should sound. Big, rich with a tone on the mellow side. Has a nice plunk and doesn't seem to suffer from excessive overtones many larger banjos have. Works great with a fiddle, loud enough to be heard but not competing or too brash. Just gorgeous tone all the way around the fingerboard. It rings in a way all the musicans near me would refer to as "round peak" with a little twinkle in their eye.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I added the usual slight stuffing in the back. The banjo came from Tim properly set up. Action is perhaps higher than some other banjos, but in a way that is very accommodating to my approach to banjo playing. It appears to be very adjustable to suit any player

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Pretty damned gorgeous. Some of the best figured maple in a neck I've seen. Rim is block rosewood with nice marquetry strip. Ebony board is jet black with a nice moon and 7 stars inlaid. Hardware has a nice polish and the wood finish is very handsome. It's a beautiful piece of work.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

It's new but is built very well. All materials look top notch. The finish may be thinner than some other banjos but appropriate for what this banjo is and not lacking in quality. It's a mountain banjo for a mountain player. Doesn't need a thick gloss on it

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Top notch. Tim answered all my questions promptly and the build time was only 6 months. I'll deal with him again.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Like I said, it's a real solid banjo. I don't plan on upgrading a thing, and I'm usually one to tinker with things. It's just right.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I'm glad I own this. I hadn't owned a 12 inch banjo and this definitely satisfied that need. I can't really see it getting any better than this.

Overall Rating: 10

Recording King: RK-R20 Songster Banjo

Submitted by Ozark Clawhammer on 2/27/2012

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

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

Sound

Really great. Tom at Janet Davis sets up all their banjos and he can get the best out of any banjo. It is loud for having a rolled brass tonering, and NOT at all tubby. It sounds clear as a bell up the neck also. I play clawhammer and 3 finger both and I think this banjo does a nice job with either style.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up was awesome and still is. Like I said, Tom does the setup and the action was great, no buzzing frets. Head was nice and tight.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Great. It was setting right next to a Huber Lancaster and looked just about like it. The finish has no flaws and the hardware is top notch for a banjo in this price point.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware is solid and I think it will last a lifetime, but RK is known for good hardware. The finish isn't like that of a Deering or Gibson, but then again this banjo didn't cost that much. For what it is, it is fantastic.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

JDM is always great. I get a new instrument there about every 3 months and I just keep coming back.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The tuners are a real gem compared to my Morgan Monroe banjo. The coordinator rod is a little thin but that is really the only downside.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Great banjo, no better banjo in this price bracket.

Overall Rating: 9

Morgan Monroe: OB 50 Dalton

Submitted by Ozark Clawhammer on 1/4/2012

Where Purchased: The Banjo Hut.com

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

Sound

Great sound in this price range. In fact, I believe it wayyyy outshines the Gold Tone CC-OT and others like it. It came with a fiberskyn head. I am not a fan of fiberskyn heads, but I actually don't mind it on this banjo at all. It is loud with just the right amount of sustain and plunk.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The guys at Banjo Hut did a great setup on it. Action is great with no buzzing frets or issues of any kind. I am considering swapping the bridge out but other than that I think it is great.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Very nice appearance. The binding looks great and is a nice bonus for a banjo this inexpensive. The rim also has a great cap of rosewood on the bottom. It cleans the banjo up real nice and makes it look like a higher end banjo. The star inlays aren't too fancy but look good. No finish flaws or hardware problems.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

This banjo is heavy for an openback and is build very solid. I have other banjos costing much more but this one still seems as solid as they do.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Banjo Hut.com was great. I ordered the banjo on Thursday and had it in my hands on Saturday. No complaints.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components look good. Sure, they aren't as nice as custom components but they work and I don't anticipate changing them out for new ones.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This is a great banjo. I own a lot of banjos and figured I would gamble on this one as a backup banjo. I have been pleasantly surprised though. I love it.

Overall Rating: 9

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