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!
6838 reviews in the archive.
I recently had some luthier work done by John Boulding, on a 1980's Japanese master-clone banjo.
The list of work he performed was fairly long, which included:
Finishing and installing a new Cox rim, Final fitting of the tone ring, Neck re-set and installation, Complete re-fret, Speed neck, Repair of stripped truss cover screws, Installation of new pip, Nut reshape and adjustment, RR spikes installed, 5 New tuners installed, Reassembled with a new head, new strings and a full set-up.
John was very good about keeping me informed through email, as to when the banjo arrived, his progress during the entire time he had the banjo, and also when it was ready for shipping back to me.
After completing all the work, John kept the banjo for several additional days, letting everything settle in while tweaking and fine tuning the set-up and also trying various bridges etc., to get the banjo sounding the best it could be.
When I originally called John to discuss doing this work, we were on the phone for what seemed an hour, discussing the repairs, the costs, and various options I had, and also answering many of my other questions. John was very pleasant and personable to talk with, and didn't make me feel as if he was in a rush.
I was very pleased with the quality of his work, and felt the costs of his services were very reasonable.
Johns love of the Banjo in general is quite evident, and I feel that he certainly puts some of that love to work on every banjo he touches, just as if it were his own.
I gave an over-all rating of (8) rather than (10) only because I feel there's always room for 'anyone' to improve, so to me a perfect 10 comes across as somewhat fake or unrealistic.
The Bottom Line - If you need any type of luthier work done, don't hesitate to give John a call.
I'm sure you'll come away very satisfied.
Overall Rating: 8
Where Purchased: Mike's Website
Received my Mike's Mute (standard version) a few days ago. It was a very smooth transaction and it shipped extremely fast.
Mike sent an email confirming shipment and saying I'd probably get it in about week. It actually arrived within about 3 days.
I can't really compare it to any other mutes since I've never owned any others, but from what I've seen so far, I think it would be hard to beat.
This mute is made extremely well, easy to put on and take off, and it definitely does a great job of "Muting" the banjo.
I had tried the "clothespin" method etc. but that just didn't do the trick for me.
With Mikes Mute, it's like turning a lion's roar into a kitten's meow !
It's hard to describe the sound, but kinda similar to a "very quiet" acoustic guitar. It's a very sweet and pleasing sound and as I expected, my wife and kids LOVE it ! :-)
I normally use it when I want to practice in the evening etc., but don't feel like going off like a hermit to another part of the house. I can actually stay in the living room with the rest of the family and practice, without disturbing them or driving them crazy.
The only small problem I had was on a Kat Eyz Prowler Spice bridge. It's not a radius bridge, but the ends of the bridge do kinda taper off a little. When I had the mute on that bridge, the 5th string was slightly louder than the other strings. Not extreme, but noticeable. I think it was because due to the slight taper, the mute wasn't making as good of contact on the 5th string side. I put a small piece of tape under it at the 5th string and it took care of the issue.
So far I've tried it on a couple other bridges (Snuffy and a Huber) and it performed flawlessly.
I would recommend this mute to anyone wanting to occasionally 'quiet' their banjo.
Overall Rating: 8
'Reduced Price' 5 min
'Open back 5 string banjo' 32 min
'Good Saturday Morning' 7 hrs
'Art of the luthier' 9 hrs