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!
6860 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Angiesbanjo.com
I've noticed several questions on some of the other forums about Wil Huckabay's Building Blocks for Bluegrass Jamming Book. I have the book and have used this method. It has helped me tremendously! I started pickin' at the age of 55 (now 58) and after a year or so, I tried jamming with others in several different jam scenarios. My biggest problem: if I didn't know the song, I was lost. Last year, I started working with Wil's Cut "n" Paste Method and suddenly I could jam (backup and breaks). Basically, I learned all the G,C, and D chord licks described in Wil's book. I then learned how to put the licks together to do a break for a song. I didn't need to know the song as long as I had the chord progression for the song. Although they aren't the melodies to the songs, the breaks sound good! Almost like I know what I'm doing! Wil includes a very good practice CD with the book which really helped me make sense of what the book teaches. This book made the "light bulb go on" for me. I'm positive it can for others, especially those who would like to start jamming but aren't sure how. My confidence level did an "about face" after I learned this method. Wil makes the learning very basic and easy to understand. Summarizing, if you want to learn a basic method for surviving in a jam session, this book can help you do that. It's a great learning tool!
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Private Owner
Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 400 ($US) (bought USED)
I bought this as my beginner banjo and it was a great buy for me. The banjo sounded good when I purchased it but I wanted more "twang" so I changed out the bridge to a very thin (custom thinned) Sosebee, lowered the action and tightened the head. Sounds real good now. The changes did brighten the sound for me.
Sound Rating: 8
I'm the third owner and I was told it was set up professionally but I lowered the action and changed the bridge out.
Setup Rating: 8
This is a beautiful looking banjo. I love the finish on the wood. The looks were part of what sold me on it. Workmanship seems to be good.
Appearance Rating: 9
Hardware and finish seems like it will last. I would have no problem with using this on a gig (if I ever get that good).
Reliability Rating: 9
Haven't dealt with the company. Have owned the banjo for a year exactly and have not had to contact the company about anything.
Customer Service: not rated
Like I said earlier, I changed out the bridge and lowered the action. The tone ring really rings out. I may try changing the tailpiece later to experiment, but I'm pretty happy with the sound (and factory tailpiece) for now.
Components Rating: 8
I would highly recommend this banjo to someone starting out (like me) and on up to an intermediate player. If it was stolen, I would try to find another, even though they aren't being made anymore. Update 7/25/2011 - I've had this banjo 6 years now and I will never sell it. It's my practice banjo, camp banjo, travel banjo, etc. The sound coming from it sounds as good (to me) as some of the high priced banjos out there. Yes, I have a second banjo (Sullivan Greenbriar Archtop) that is my main jammin' banjo, but I'll be keeping my MNB-2.
Overall Rating: 9
'Good Monday Morning' 29 min
'Hangout and pick!' 2 hrs