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!
6724 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Online
I have a Dean Backwoods V banjo. It is (or was, since they no longer make them) Dean's top of the line, having very good tuners, ornate inlays on the headstock and fretboard, a very nice ornate back resonator and quality tone ring and metal. The weak link was the clamshell tailpiece - a simple fluted type with a single tension screw and single bolt post to the banjo resonator flange. It never stayed well in alignment with the fretboard and even with periodic tightening would loosen. When I decided to replace it, I went with the top of the line Fults Blue Ridge, largely based on the infinite adjustment capabilities with the XYZ mount and the many favorable reviews of the tone pins. Since the Dean is probably not American made, I had some concerns about fitting the Fults, but after speaking with Mr Fults purchased the tailpiece. It was a perfect fit on the bracket hooks, easily adjusted to a precise degree and lock down using the hex head bolts -- a testament to the precision machining and quality. Tone - AWESOME! It completely improved the banjo tone character for the better, and as it was, the Dean wasn't a bad sounding banjo. With the Fults, it simply reached its full potential. The tone pins do make a very discernible tone change and I can alter from a warm tubby sound to a very bright ringing banjo with tone pin changes. Totally pleased with the tailpiece and a very good improvement to my instrument. They're not inexpensive, but I feel the improvement has been worth the investment. I'll never have to buy another tailpiece again.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Online
Mike's Banjo Mute is a marriage saver! I have a loud Dean BW-5 banjo with a resonator and a clear Remo head. It's loud. It was soon after I purchased the banjo from the screaming coming from the other parts of the house that a mute was necessary in order to allow me to practice riffs and rolls ad nauseum. I bought Mike's Mute and it works! Now, I can practice at a very low level without upsetting the Dept of Corrections Chief in the household. The mute is well constructed and stays in place once attached. I do have one comment though, the mute tends to tilt back toward the tailpiece on my bridge. It doesn't fall off, it just tends to tilt a bit. The mute seems to just, well, MUTE and to my ears it maintains the tone pretty well. It is the only mute I have so I have no other point of comparison. I'd give it a full 10 except for that tilt on the bridge, so a 9.
Overall Rating: 9
'Beat up Deering Basic' 15 min