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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!

7190 reviews in the archive.

Chris Cioffi

Submitted by hawkaroo on 7/30/2016

Overall Comments

I can't recommend Chris highly enough. He has restored three 2 piece flange Gibson Mastertone banjos that I have owned since the 1980s. The first one he worked on is a 1925 ball bearing with a 1970s Gibson RB800 neck.  It was in sad shape, essentially used up and turned out to be missing a metal hoop that stabilizes the metal skirt on the rim.  This necessitated Chris developing and executing a solution, which he did, and it turned out fabulously. Not long after the banjo was restored I had the occasion to put it in Arthur Hatfield's hands.  He picked a short phrase, did a double take and said, "That is how a ball bearing is supposed to sound!"

Chris subsequently evaluated, repaired and set up my 1927 Granada and my 1928 TB-3.  They both have Frank Neat conversion necks from the '80s. The TB-3 has a Blaylock flathead conversion ring. The Granada remains an archtop. They also turned out way better sounding banjos than they were before.  In fact I've gotten a steady stream of comments on how good they sound from other banjo players.  The Granada sounds as good as any flathead you've heard.  My recommendation is that you take Chris' suggestions about what to do to improve your banjo.  He has a vision about how to realize the potential of a banjo that I have not encountered anywhere else.  And, he has the skills to achieve what he sets out to do.  Read the list of his reviews.  They describe the details of this process over and over.     And dealing with Chris has been a pleasure.  I would say we became friends over the time he worked on my banjos.                             

Overall Rating: 10

Rims: Wyatt Euro Beech Rim

Submitted by hawkaroo on 11/12/2012

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

I have a 1925 ball bearing Gibson banjo with a '70s factory wreath pattern neck. I've had this banjo for 20 years and had it set up by a luthier when I got it. In past years I loved it but when I got it out after a 10 year hiatus it didn't sound so good. Disassembly, cleaning, and careful reassembly helped a little but it also revealed that the rim is way out of round (.130) . After reading BHO reviews I contacted Randall Wyatt and sent him my rim to use to make me a new rim. Making a ball bearing rim is more involved due to the 24 holes for the springs and bearings. The rim turned out great. The banjo sounds much better; it has a clearer, fuller tone and greater volume. Randall was prompt and great to deal with. I found the price to be quite reasonable as well. I am very happy with the result and recommend him highly.

Overall Rating: 10

Rims: Wyatt Euro Beech Rim

Submitted by hawkaroo on 11/12/2012

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

Overall Rating:

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