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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!

6773 reviews in the archive.

Pisgah: Custom Rambler A Scale

Submitted by Johnww on 12/28/2014

Where Purchased: Maker

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 1400 ($US)

Sound

Very nice sound. 12" spun-over rim on an A Scale provides a rich and mellow sound. Not tinny or overly bright in A or DD tuning.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Action was a bit high, installed a special 9/16' bridge with a raised 5th string to drop the action a bit but keep room above the head for thumb space.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Simple, as I wanted but great workmanship and materials. The SS spun over rim with contrasting raw hardware is a knock-out. Great fretboard material and color on the Walnut neck. Wood finish is very fine.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I assume it will last for life or longer. I don't know what the raw brass will look like in the future, but it is very well made USA hardware.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Great communication and very helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tuners stay put and do not require fussing.
I like the fretboard material. The brass components are very well made. The spun over rim is very well done.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Several months ago I received this custom 12” Pisgah Rambler Walnut A Scale banjo with a Dobson tone ring I ordered from Patrick. This may be the only 12” rambler A scale they have made (at least it was when I bought it). I have waited for a while to post my review of the banjo to be sure I was certain about it. I bought the banjo (to be played in open A or D) to complement my Ome Celtic 12” full scale open back.

The Rambler is, by design, a simple but very attractive instrument. It is exactly the contrast I wanted as a second banjo. The extraordinary thing about the Rambler is that even though it is an A scale banjo, it is still rich and mellow in A or D because of the 12” rim. I did remove the Dobson ring and switched the head to a Fiberskyn because I wanted a slightly softer sound. To be clear the banjo sounded great as received, just personal taste. Now I alternate playing both banjos and enjoying their unique character.

I have never played a Pisgah without the Rambler Spun-over rim, but I can say I am very pleased that I purchased this banjo because it looks, sounds and feels great.

Overall Rating: 10

Armrests: Banjomate Thinline Armrest

Submitted by Johnww on 12/28/2014

Where Purchased: Maker

Overall Comments

Black walnut armrest with raw brass hardware. Well made, easy to install,fits my 12" rim perfectly, matches my walnut neck, feels good. What else could you ask for?

Overall Rating: 10

Ome: Celtic 12" Open Back

Submitted by Johnww on 10/18/2011

Where Purchased: Acoustic Vibes

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

Sound

First I need to tell you up front that this will be another one of those all 10 reviews. But I can't help it, I just love this banjo. I play old time drop thumb frailing and this banjo makes a perfect sound for me. Looked at several different banjos and chose this one. It is all mahagony with a rolled brass hoop. I do not play the scoop but the sound on the head is great. No knot tail piece and woody characteristics combine with the brass hoop to give a great woody sound with a fine ring.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The action was a bit high for what I am used to and had the bridge lowered slightly. However, I think it was perfect for most clawhammer players.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

OK, this is one flat out wonderful banjo with beautiful woods and just fabulous celtic inlays, which are much to my taste. Although it is not fancy, it has just the right amount of ornimentation for me. I am not into lots of frills. No flaws as one would expect from Ome.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Solid great construction, all hand made with Ome custom hardware. A bit heavy for an open back, but looks like it will easily out live me. Very nice tung oil finish.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Talked to Tanya several time during my banjo quest. Always received clear helpful answers to my questions.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything looks to be built "for life or longer" I am, however toying with the idea of purchasing an Ome flush fit snap on resonator to match the banjo finish and detailing perhaps with a celtic inlay. Why? I am very sure that this is a keeper and it would be nice to have the resonator to make the banjo even more desireable.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I consider this to be a fairly expensive banjo (not too expensive when you consider some can cost as over $35,000) Few of us need hand carved exotic woods, complex inlays and engraved gold hardware. There are many very fine banjos in the $800 to $2000 range, some of which may be the equal of this Ome. I just decided that this particular banjo was the right one for me. I also wanted to support american makers of banjos.

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by Johnww on 4/14/2011

Where Purchased: From Mike

Overall Comments

Mute seems to work fine.

Overall Rating: 10

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