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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.

Bridges: Kateyz

Submitted by 72chevy on 5/2/2011

Where Purchased: Mike Smith direct

Overall Comments

got a select spice, ebony topped, 2.5g, standard spaced bridge in his original design from Mike. This is a great bridge. Better than all I have tried thus far on the banjo it rests on. HIGHLY recommend.

Overall Rating: 10

Frank Neat: Style 1 (mahogany)

Submitted by 72chevy on 3/8/2009

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is a fun, light banjo because of it's brass hoop like the original RB1. It can be set up a variey of ways and you can get different sounds out of it. It's a bit rich and woody with no harshness.

UPDATE: this banjo sounds much different now that there is a Blaylock Beartracks Tonering installed. Very Dry Crowe Sound from this banjo no doubt.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I bought this used but it was born in 2007 so it was basically as new. It came set up very nice. OFF .656 bridge, cryo lights, Taiwan Remo, presto at 3/16 up from head. I changed the head out to an AMB co pour channel hight crown head and right now I have a Sosebee Submerged 5/8 on it and a Kershner set very low, still have cryo lights.

NEW Setup: Original Neat Bridge, Presto TP, went back to an older USA remo. Still use AMB lights.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Smells like simple old tradition. Fiddle cut head stock with Neat script and inverted bud in MOP. Brazil rosewood fingerboard. Fleur de Lis inlay, Mahog neck and reso, Cox 3 ply maple rim, FQMS nickel HW. Dark Stain like the old RB1's, white binding on neck and reso.

Nothing changed but you can see the tonering now :-)

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

This banjo was made by Frank Neat with top quality parts. Need I say more?

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I've spoken to the Neats and they were very nice and answered all the questions I had on this banjo.

I bought this banjo from another hangout member and he was exteremly accomdating.

Update: I bought the tonering from Arthur Hatfield and sent him the banjo in pieces. He cut the rim and fitted the ring and refit the neck. The Hatfields were great to deal with as well.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Mahogany neck, Cox maple rim with a 1920's brass hoop, no ring. Cox mahogany reso, FQMS nickel HW, AMBco Remo, GS bridge..

Update: This banjo now sports a Blaylock Beartracks tonering. The FQMS flange, tension hoop, hooks leave a bit to be desired. The plating clouded up in spots and is just OK. IMO

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I like this banjo very much, the play and feel are great. I like the fact that it is very versitle and light weight, sounds good frailing (though I can not do that) and sounds good three finger..

Sounds way better to my ears with the beartracks tonering

Overall Rating: 9

Homespun Video: Trischka's Bluegrass Banjo Tunes and Techniques

Submitted by 72chevy on 3/6/2008

Where Purchased: workshop

Overall Comments

This is a great DVD worth every cent. Complete with a dozen songs, lots of technique, and a bonus back up tracks section to play along what you have learned. Tony really gives great instruction IMO. The Best.

Overall Rating: 8

Johnson: JB-110

Submitted by 72chevy on 11/14/2007

Where Purchased: Banjo Hut

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It sounded like a banjo. I'm not saying a good one, and at the time, that was enough for me to like like.

Sound Rating: 3

Setup

It was set up stock as best as it could have been from the store. I replaced the head with a Ren and put a SS bridge on it. It sounded OK from that point.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

Cheesey

Appearance Rating: 3

Reliability

The alum rim will last a loonnng time

Reliability Rating: 3

Customer Service

Paul from Banjo Hut was great to deal with.

Customer Service: 8

Components

All of them

Components Rating: 3

Overall Comments

Stay Clear of this if you plan on playing more than a year.

Overall Rating: 3

Gold Star: GF-100FE

Submitted by 72chevy on 11/14/2007

Where Purchased: here

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It's all in the setup. I've tinkered plenty with this banjo and take alot of notes. All in all I can get a good sound from it. My sound taste changes from time to time so I'll tweek the setup and make notes.

Sound Rating: 6

Setup

Setup was good when I got it. I changed head, and strings, and raised action a tad.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

Nice Vintage Look

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Above average

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

na

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Above average

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I would recommend this highly to any beginner, Intermediate player, and even expert (for a knock around). Being that I bought it used, I feel I'm getting tremedous value from it.

Overall Rating: 7

Acutab: Power Pickin - Down the neck backup

Submitted by 72chevy on 11/14/2007

Where Purchased: Janet Davis

Overall Comments

This has been my favorite instructional material thus far 2 years into learning. The quality is TOP NOTCH, well laid out, and will make me buy more from them FOR SURE.

Overall Rating: 9

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