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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!

6988 reviews in the archive.

Zepp Country Music

Submitted by Spitfire-Smith on 4/4/2012

Overall Comments

I bought a new Recording King R35 Maple from Marc at Zepp. He was a pure pleasure to deal with and performed an excellent setup on my new banjo prior to shipping. It showed up without a scratch on it and it plays like a dream! I am recommending both Marc & Zepp to anyone I know that needs a new acoustic instrument and will definitely be buying my next banjo from him as well!

Overall Rating: 10

Recording King: RK-R35 Madison

Submitted by Spitfire-Smith on 4/4/2012

Where Purchased: Zepp Country Music

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 719.99 ($US)

Sound

I love the sound. I moved into this from an Epiphone MB-200 "bottlecap" banjo and the tone of this one blows the Epiphone out of the water. The maple wood gives it a brighter sound, but the lower notes are very rich.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The setup was excellent, the action was a little high for my liking, but that's easily fixed. Intonation was set perfectly. Marc at Zepp did an excellent job.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

A lot of people say that it is not a very well decorated banjo and complain about the satin finish (saying that they prefer the glossy look). In my opinion, this banjo is gorgeous. I love the seagull inlay and I really love the finish on it. It's sort of an understated beauty.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The hardware on this banjo puts my old one to shame. The bracket hooks have to be twice the thickness of the ones on my Epiphone. Recording King has a great reputation for their reliability, so i can't see having too many problems.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I never dealt with Recording King directly, but Zepp Country Music was a pleasure to deal with. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty for the original purchaser.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The 3 ply maple rim is beautiful, and the tone ring looks really good as well. The only part I might replace is the bridge. It's very plain, and I might want a taller one as well.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I'm in love. This is going to be a banjo I have for the rest of my life.

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Banjo mute

Submitted by Spitfire-Smith on 10/25/2011

Where Purchased: Amazon.com

Overall Comments

Very impressed with this mute. It probably cuts the volume of my banjo down about 40-50%. My wife loves it as my banjo doesn't ring out all over our house. It definitely works better than the old towel in the resonator trick. It does give the banjo a very long sustain though.

Overall Rating: 8

Steve Martin: Rare Bird Alert

Submitted by Spitfire-Smith on 9/16/2011

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

This is an excellent bluegrass album in my humble opinion. Especially the track called The Great Remember. Just a fantastic piece of clawhammer playing.

Overall Rating: 9

Epiphone: MB-200

Submitted by Spitfire-Smith on 9/16/2011

Where Purchased: Long & McQuade, Wall St., Winnipeg, MB

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: $300.00 (CAN) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I am just starting off leaning the banjo, but when I heard this one in the store, I heard that old Scruggs style bluegrass sound. It was the sound I wanted. I know I don't have much experience at all with different types of banjos, but I do like this one.
- After playing it for 6 months, I can tell it has it's issues. It has developed a buzz on the second and third strings that I am trying to diagnose.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

The banjo was set up okay from what I can tell. I think I may need to have the bridge moved a bit and get a slightly different one to lower the strings just a bit.
-After playing for about 6 months now, I know that this banjo was not setup correctly. It had the strings run completely wrong and the neck wasn't even fully tight. Although this is easy to correct, it is a little annoying.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

This is an extremely beautiful banjo for the price that I paid. It has a great eagle image on the resonator, some nice inlay work, and a great look to the wood. Looks like banjos that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more (well, to me at least).
- I am still impressed with the looks, even after 6 months.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I do think it will last. It's an Epiphone (made by Gibson) after all.
- After having it 6 months I can say it will last with the proper TLC. You have to be really careful tightening the head on it, as the hooks do not fall into notches, they just rest along the edge of the rim.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

At Long & McQuade they were very good. I had a salesman named Ian and he was very helpful. Although the store did not have anyone in who specialized in the banjo, he did a very good job in helping me reach a decision and did not rush me at all.

Customer Service: 8

Components

I do think the bridge will need upgraded, and maybe I will add a tone ring down the road. However, the head is very nice. It is a Remo and I have seen their heads on much more expensive banjos.
- For the most part, it is a cheap banjo made from cheaper parts. But if it is setup well and taken care of, I think it will be a fine one.

Components Rating: 4

Overall Comments

I am very happy with this banjo and think it would be a fine starting point for others like me who are just starting out and don't want to break the bank. After all, it doesn't matter how much you spend as long as you like the sound. And hey, we're all gonna upgrade eventually anyway, right?
- I do still like this aluminum rimmed banjo, but I am thinking about upgrading.

Overall Rating: 6

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