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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Chuck Levy

Submitted by vdiazleroy on 4/27/2013

Overall Comments

I live 2 1/2 hours way from Chuck (ChuckJo), but I make these trips for lessons because he is such an amazing teacher. I take clawhammer lessons with Chuck, but he teaches so much more (minstrel, ekonting, etc). Chuck somehow just gets what I can handle in each lesson and gives me just a bit more to digest. I am learning clawhammer through songs and song history. I appreciate his minimal approach to music, never overpowering the melody, only highlighting it. I am inspired each time I leave a lesson. I would highly recommend Chuck if you are looking for a kind, patient, and knowledgeable teacher.

Overall Rating: 10

Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp

Submitted by vdiazleroy on 6/25/2012

Overall Comments

I've just completed my second year of Kaufman Kamp. Once again Steve and his wife Donna have brought together 25 of the most amazing musicians and teachers in the world. It's amazing to see legends like Bobby Hicks, Roland White, and Alan Munde on the same stage as the 2011 Winfield Flatpicking champ Andy Hatfield.

Kamp includes room and board, a concert each night, open mic opportunities, four hours of instruction in your chosen instrument each day, daily lessons in jamming, a variety of late night jams, and the opportunity to try out other instruments and musical genres throughout the week. The only thing you have to be careful of is not eating too much in the cafeteria!

What can't be listed on is the atmosphere of Kamp. Everyone registered for Kamp and working at Kamp (including the instructors) treat eachother as if they are a family. In class teachers take the time to connect with each of their students and the audiences are encouraging of all student performers. When you leave Kamp you don't say, "Goodbye," you say, "See you next year!"

Overall Rating: 10

Bishline: Custom

Submitted by vdiazleroy on 12/10/2011

Where Purchased: Direct from Bishline

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 4300 ($US)


I'm new to the banjo, but I think she sounds amazing. She's got a clear and crisp sound up and down the neck. The guys at my jam can't get over her sound. And, that should only improve with time.

Sound Rating: 10


I picked up my Bishline and she was ready to go! This banjo is SO easy to play. I have not made any changes and cannot foresee needing any soon.

Setup Rating: 9


If I could rate this banjo at 20 I would. I asked for a lot of specifics and I got exactly what I wanted. Rob even gave me the exact color or turquoise I wanted based on a picture I had taken of the ocean. They found the most amazing inlay artist (Craig Lavin) and built me the banjo of my dreams.

Appearance Rating: 10


I have only had her for about a month, but I sense that this banjo is a workhorse. I imagine I will purchase more banjos over the years, only because of desire, not a need for a backup.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Again, I would rate the team at Bishline a 20 if I could. My calls and emails were always answered quickly. With some businesses I feel as if the idea of customer service has gone out the window. It was refreshing and reassuring to know that the Rob and the guys at Bishline actually seemed to enjoy our conversations and my ideas.

Customer Service: 10


I do not yet know enough about banjos to know what parts will have to be upgraded. I am happy with every piece of this banjo so far.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Gee, what didn't I say already? I would have Rob build me another banjo in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating: 10

Inlays: Craig Lavin

Submitted by vdiazleroy on 11/20/2011

Where Purchased: Artist for my custom Bishline

Overall Comments

I submitted a really rough idea to the team at Bishline Banjos of what I wanted on my fret board. They contacted Craig to do the work and he came up with a design that blew mine out of the water! I had the opportunity to talk with him about the feel I was looking for, colors, etc. His work is more beautiful and precise than I could have imagined. Craig does this all by hand and I am honored to own a piece of his artwork. I am already thinking of having a guitar built just so I have an excuse to have some more inlay work done!

Overall Rating: 10

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