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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!

7071 reviews in the archive.

Huber: VRB-4 (custom)

Submitted by rwsansom on 8/5/2021

Where Purchased: Direct from Huber Banjos

Year Purchased: 2021
Price Paid: 5,775 ($US)


This one goes to 11.

This instrument has a beautiful, rich and sweet tone, with an amazing resonance. It has a very even attack up and across the fingerboard, and responds amazingly with perfect volume.

Sound Rating: 10


Steve Huber is known for setting up every banjo he builds before it ships, and it arrived just as I expected: Perfect action and intonation, and the tuners stay in tune. A joy to play, the wide speed neck feels amazing.

Setup Rating: 10


Holy cow is it beautiful! The walnut grain on the resonator is damn right sexy, and the mahogany neck next to the walnut with the inlaid marquetry makes for an amazing combination. The brushed, antique nickel hardware is a perfect compliment to the wood.

Appearance Rating: 10


This is going to be my forever banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Steve and the team were great to work with. Super personable on the phone, helpful in collecting my requests, and dedicated to making sure I was getting the banjo of my dreams. They are a small boutique shop, so the turnaround was a (not unexpected) few months (~5 months). But, when I'd check in throughout the build, Steve would share videos and images of the progress, which helped keep my excitement building. Along the way, there was a slight mix up that lead to a delay in the final delivery date, but Steve was super up front and apologetic about the issue, and quick to resolve. To make up for the delay, he's added a custom truss rod cover engraved with my initials and some sway (cap, extra strings, t-shirt, strap) free of charge. (Note, the truss cover and shirt haven't arrived yet - Steve said he's ship that out separately so that it wouldn't delay getting the finished build in my hands - but the other swag was in the case.)

Shipment was sent via UPS on Monday from TN, and it arrived safely in Arlington, MA Wednesday afternoon.

Overall, Steve and the team went the extra mile to build deliver a fantastic instrument. I admit I was nervous ordering an instrument without playing it first - but

Customer Service: 10


- Mahogany wide neck with speed finish
- Double cut headstock, inlaid with a vintage style-3 pattern, customized with an added petal from the Huber "Hearts and petal" pattern
- Rosewood radius fingerboard with the Huber "Hearts and petals" inlay pattern
- Figured walnut resonator with twin concentric rings of stained wood marquetry
- Huber HR-30 Tone Ring and Huber Engineered Rim
- Antiqued black/white binding
- Antique metal finish on the nickel hardware
- Grained ivoroid tuner buttons
- Railroad spikes at frets 7,8, and 9
- Beautiful and solid, "Superior Instruments" hardshell banjo case

Some 20/20 hindsight:

I should've asked Steve if they ever make wood armrests, as I fear the nickel armrest might tarnish quickly from where my skin rests on it. (I already see that I have to wipe it down promptly after playing, which is a good habit I try to adopt with all my instruments anyways). I also really like the look and feel of wood armrests, they add an extra bit of elegance and organic appeal. So, I'll probably swap the nickel armrest out for a wood one (walnut or mahogany).

I wish I had asked about engraving options on the tailpiece too - I had looked at the offered patterns, but they just didn't speak to me, and I didn't inquire if a custom engraving upgrade was possible. Again, I should've asked.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am so happy with this instrument, which I'm calling my "VRB-3/4 Dream" due to its hybrid spec of the VRB-3 and VRB-4. Perfect sound and playability, and damn beautiful to look at.

Photos posted here:

Overall Rating: 10

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