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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!

6855 reviews in the archive.

Pisgah: 12" Appalachian Fretless

Submitted by erikforgod on 2/8/2013

Where Purchased: Directly from the builder

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1100 ($US)

Sound

I love the sound of this banjo what can I say. I chose the cherry rim 12" so the banjo has a tone that leans towards the "plunky" side but the rolled brass tone ring balances it out. The tone is a rich/full sound with a woody tubby sounding low...a bit weak on the highs but I wanted a tubbier sounding banjo. To set this banjo up I used my Tim Purcell piano maple banjo bridge 5/8s size and the clarity and punch of the banjo improved even more. One other thing....the regular scoop on this banjo is a bit short for me...I might have benefited from having Patrick make an "S" scoop since I have such large hands...but its a minor oversight for me and has little affect if any on playing or comfort.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Patrick had laid the banjo bridge down on the head under the strings with a bit of tension but I have since set the banjo up myself
I am using my 5/8s size bridge and the action is very nice, the scoop is not to deep and the neck and Persimmon fingerboard nice and smooth. It was easy as pie to set up.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This banjo is VERY easy on the eyes! As I said in my video interview, the videos and pictures Patrick and Topher have are great but they pale in comparison with holding the banjo and seeing/feeling it in your hands. The neck is thicker and a tad wider at the nut than some banjo necks and the neck is "v" shaped but I really like it, its very comfortable. I havent found any appearance flaws yet to be honest. The peghead is beautiful and ornate, Pisgah uses local western North Carolina wood selections so if you love natural wood and just a finish that enhances the natural wood and look of the banjo, look no further than a Pisgah!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The hardware no doubt will last. The tension hoop is grooved, nickel plated and so are the shoes and brackets. It has a nice No-Knot tailpiece and end-pin. The Gotoh tuners are very high quality and nice and tight...not even a hint of slipping.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Patrick answered alot of my questions about different kinds of wood and was patient as I needed some time to put the money together as I live in Argentina....they were friendly, hospitable and super easy to do business with

Customer Service: 10

Components

I think the overall craftsmanship...I like the way they use walnut for rim-caps and different woods for the fingerboards like Persimmon and Locust. I didnt care much for the stock bridge that came with the banjo but who cares!! I use custom bridges from Tim Purcell anyways..

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This banjo is a highly crafted banjo built in a true appalachian western North Carolina tradition...perfect for the amateur, professional, collector alike. No doubt we will be hearing and seeing more from Patrick and Topher in the future.

Overall Rating: 9

Bridges: Tim Purcell Banjo Bridge

Submitted by erikforgod on 3/25/2012

Where Purchased: Directly from Tims shop

Overall Comments

For my Goodtime Crow banjo, this is my second Tim Purcell banjo bridge that I have ordered from Tim after having such excellent results with the .656 bridge that he crafted for my Classic Goodtime scooped neck banjo. This banjo bridge is a standard 5/8s size and is also made from the curly maple Tim harvested from an old turn of the cenrtury Milton piano. The bridge like, my other one, is ebony capped and also has the "G" string slightly compensated. The result with regards too response, sustain and clarity and volume is... as expected..."phenomenal!" With my Goodtime Crow...it was like night and day when compared to the Deering stock bridge that came with my banjo. There is no doubt that whatever banjo I have will immediately be fitted with one of Tims finely crafted bridges. In actuality Tim made me three bridges, but the first one was lost in shipment on its way here to Argentina. When I mentioned this to Tim he kindly, without hesitation, tooled up and assmebled me another bridge and promptly mailed it to me...no questions asked!! Customer service just doesnt get any friendlier than that. If you are needing a new bridge for your banjo, I recommend you email or call Mr Purcell in North Carolina...you wont regret it!

http://www.purcell-banjo-bridges.com/

Overall Rating: 10

Bridges: Tim Purcell Banjo Bridge

Submitted by erikforgod on 2/2/2012

Where Purchased: Purcell Banjo Bridges

Overall Comments

This bridge is extremely well made with a nice ebony "cap" with the "g" string compensated. I had an issue with some buzzing on my new Goodtime Classic scooped neck banjo. I exchanged emails with Tim and he quickly and kindly recommended to me a size .656 custom bridge for my banjo. I chose the "piano" maple cut bridge with the ebony cap. My banjo neck now tracks perfectly, no buzzing whatsoever and I have noticed increased sustain in clarity of notes and volume. Tim treated me with good ole "North Carolina" hospitality, and his service was prompt and professional...I personally recommend his fine bridges to anyone!

Overall Rating: 10

Deering: Goodtime Classic Scooped neck open back

Submitted by erikforgod on 1/1/2012

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

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

Sound

This Banjo is excellent for clawhammer banjo. It comes direct from Deering with the neck scooped for over the neck playing for that mellow clawhammer sound. The banjo has a fuller sound and more volume than my Goodtime Crow ( which I also love. I am having a minor set-up issue with the third and fourth strings buzzing that should be resolved with some minor adjustments.
UPDATE: Set-Up issue has been solved...this banjos is near perfect now..I am still very pleased with it!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Other than the buzzing 3rd and 4th strings the banjo was set up well. I tightened the head slightly when I got back to Argentina but I think more attention is needed. The banjo still looks and sounds great!
UPDATE: "In the 5 months or so I have purchased a custom bridge from Tim Purcell and problem solved! It was recommended a new slightly higher bridge for this banjo and I have to say it really did the trick! I have since switched to custom bridges on both of my Goodtime banjos...the difference is like night and day!

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

This banjo is all maple...the standard Deering 3 ply "violin maple" rim, Rock Maple neck with fiddle style peghead...nice planetary tuners that work really well. The brown satin finish is very nice and gives this Goodtime a more traditional look. The tension hoop is thicker on this banjo and has a few ripples in it...so its not perfect but you have to get real close to see it.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The hardware seems to be standard Deering fare...simple, nice and very functional.This banjo could definately be played in a gig and I would recommend this banjo to anyone.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Janet Deering and Carolina have always been attentive to my questions and requests.

Customer Service: 9

Components

These Goodtime Banjos are tinkerable...maybe down the line I will switch out for some Rickard parts but for now its very functional and nice.
UPDATE: "The Deering tailpiece is nice but I have recently purchased a No-Knot tailpiece from Elderly for a more "Old-Time" Look and sound.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

overall a nice simple and functional but elegant Goodtime banjo I recommend it ..I dont know why more folks are not considering this Goodtime model more...I would think with the scoop and more Old-Time sound it would sell more.

Overall Rating: 9

Deering: Goodtime

Submitted by erikforgod on 7/11/2011

Where Purchased: Amazon.com ( Plainfield IN )

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 439 ($US)

Sound

I wanted to learn some clawhammer banjo so after careful research I decided to purchase this banjo. It sounds very bright and with considerable volume without the small towel that I placed in the back behind the coordinator rod...since then it has a much more mellow sound ( my wife and I live in an apartment ) The set up seemed very good right out of the box...it tunes well and I basically tuned it up and got right down to business. I was pleasantly surprised with the sound of the Deering frosted plastic head, I thought I would like the Fiberskyn better but I have grown to like this one!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The set up was great....it was clean and the action seemed adecuate. I noticed since coming to Argentina that maybe the banjo has changed slightly ( it was summer in the states when I bought it and winter here ) but since then it seems now to have adjusted and be about the same.....the humidity is very high here in Argentina. It sounds great and tracks well along the neck.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I really enjoy the natural blonde all blonde maple look of this banjo. Also the rosewood or oak natural hardwood inlays really look nice with all maple neck. I even enjoy the wood-burned "crow" label and Goodtime label in the peghead...it looks great! Very beautiful...simple but elegant and this is one of the things that attracted me to this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware seems of a very nice quality....nickel plated and it cleans well. It says the banjo weighs 4 pounds but I felt it might actually be closer to 5 or 5 1/2 it doesnt feel or look cheap at all but actually rather sturdy and the Sugar Maple that this banjo is made of is of very high quality....not to mention the maple ebony topped bridge. I would use it in small gigs or on stage with a good sound system to amplify the banjo a bit more. Not sure how it would cut through the mix in a group situation, but it is definately great as a "one man minstrel" type banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Carolina is very helpful ( talked to her twice over at Deering before this purchase...very coordial and nice....Janet hjas frequently appeared on the "Banjo hangout" and answered questions. I feel I would have no problem if help was needed.

Customer Service: 9

Components

I think Deering should allow you to choose either a Fiberskyn head or a frosted head. Not too mention...I kinda like the guitar style tuners...but I think they should offer this banjo with planets.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

A great banjo for the money....very satisfied!

Overall Rating: 9

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