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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!

6942 reviews in the archive.

Flinthill: FBH-280

Submitted by Joe Brown on 2/10/2011

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 626.50 ($US)


Banjo has a rich full bright sound. I've only been playing banjo for 6 months. This was bought to replace an Oscar Schmidt OB-5, which has an aluminum pot.

Sound Rating: 10


The nut slots for the 2nd and 3rd strings were cut too low, so the strings were buzzing on the first fret. I filled the slots with super glue and baking soda and then tightened the strings while the mixture hardened. Almost good as new. I emailed Sega and asked for a replacement nut-no response as yet. Other than that, the action was great and the bridge was even in the right spot. I retuned the banjo and it sounds great, all the way up the neck. Low rating only because of the screwed up nut. Keep in mind that these are Recording King seconds.

Setup Rating: 5


The main flaw with these banjos is the finger boards. The inlays leave much to be desired. The cutouts for the mop inlays are oversized, and no filler was used to hide it. Also the wide binding on the left side of the fingerboard appears to be composed of two different strips, the other with the fret marker dots. For the first 10 frets you can see where the glue started separating-there is not a huge gap there, so at first glance it appears to be a dirty line, but, on close inspection, you can see tiny gaps-looks almost like someone ran a tiny sprocket down the middle of the binding-but only on that one side. Again, these are seconds that are being marketed under a different brand name. The balance of the banjo, the neck, the rim, resonator, headstock, the frets are all beautiful. So, are you willing to spend an additional $400-$900 for the same exact banjo with a nicer looking fingerboard? It won't sound any better or play easier. Yesterday I drove 40 miles to see two other Flinthills. A Luthier had an FBH 280 and a FBH-282. He was asking for several hundred dollars more for them, and they both had the same sloppy inlay job, and glue streaked binding on the finger board.

Appearance Rating: 8


I have no doubt this banjo will last several lifetimes if it is properly cared for. I would never dare play without a backup until I replace the string nut.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

It is supposed to be under warranty from Sega for one year. I haven't received a response from them about a replacement nut. Amazon has a 30 day, no questioned asked refund policy.

Customer Service: 5


Other than the string nut being miscut, and the finger board appearance, this banjo weighs a ton, and is built like a tank. If properly handled, I forsee no problems.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

So, do you want to spend $1000-$1500 for a picture perfect banjo, or do you want to make music for $600? From 10 feet away, no one is going to see the poor inlay job on the fingerboard.

Overall Rating: 8

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