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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!

6754 reviews in the archive.

Deering: Sierra

Submitted by banjaboy on 2/14/2013

Where Purchased: Rufus Guitar

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo is great, got rid of an RK-35 to get this. the sound is full and rich with perfect sustain.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Great set up, I suspect Deering set it up at the factory, I just had to tune it. I split the bridge, totally fault and I'm thinking of an upgrade

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It is a thing of beauty, not pimped out with cheesy inlays, just enough nice scrolly inlays on fingerboard and peghead, much better than the round dots on older models. I took the resonator off and man, the rim is finished as good as the visible stuff. You get what you pay for!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware looks great, better than an old RB 4 I used to own years ago.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I sent a query to Deering regarding the nut material[ebony], I got a reply the next day. I also emailed regarding the fact I put the warranty card through the wash, Janet herself emailed me, thanked me for my purchase and was totally happy with me registering online! RK can take a lesson from Deerings book re customer service, from zero to a 10. I'm one happy camper

Customer Service: 10

Components

The finish on the rim REALLY impressed, this banjo was obviously built by hand with care. Good old American pride. Might not beat Asia pricewise but quality? Second to none. If I had $30,000 I would seriously think of getting their top of the line instrument.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

So pleasant to buy a product that exceeds your expectations these days.No wonder Greg and Janet can compete and prosper against the flood of Asian junk out there. This is like night and day compared to my RK.

Overall Rating: 10

Recording King: RK-R35 Madison

Submitted by banjaboy on 2/14/2013

Where Purchased: Online Guitar

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

Its for bluegrass. virtually impossible to set up, even after $200 luthier work.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

What can I say, unplayable when I got it, cost me $200 for a new nut, wood rim sand and set up.

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

Its easy on the eye, unstated beauty but like a lot of Asian junk its lipstick on a pig, hide quality with flash, I fell for it. Once the resonator is removed its almost impossible to put it back on as the studs on the pot are poorly spaced, no excuse for that.

Appearance Rating: 2

Reliability

Hardware looks okay but who knows? Only time will tell and I have sold this thing already after only 3 weeks of ownership.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Warranty? A joke! too long a story to go into here, but in my case, customer service was ZERO, the seller tried to help me and reimbursed me for the cost of a new nut as the one it came with was mis cut. It does have an international warranty but obviously it doesn't apply to us in Canada. Pity 1 is the lowest rating. This particular RK deserves a -10!

Customer Service: 1

Components

Again, components look fine, pity they are assembled by less than top notch people. Serves me right for buying a banjo made in Asia lol!!! rice and cars but banjos? Not yet.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I have been through hell with this sub par instrument. I listened to the hype of the RK Koolaide drinkers on here and I got a Friday model. Maybe they are mostly good, mine was a joke. Thank God I managed to get rid of it to someone who I pointed the flaws out to and was prepared to play with it. I lost my shirt on it.

Overall Rating: 1

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by banjaboy on 12/27/2012

Where Purchased: Mikes website

Overall Comments

Top quality, just like the one I had for my tenor. Mike is a really nice guy and he was very concerned about deliery. I live in Canada and it was one of the best cross border transactions ever.Thanks Mike, my family thanks you too loo!!!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Gibson: RB-4

Submitted by banjaboy on 10/12/2003

Where Purchased: Private sale

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 1900 ($US)

Sound

Sounds like a cannon, just the sound I was looking for. Loud, full and rich

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set it up myself upon delivery so I will not rate that

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Beautiful burled walnut resonator, walnut neck and Flying eagle inlay on fingerboard, everything I always wanted.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Fit and finish look superb, this banjo is over a year old and shows no signs at all of poor finish.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

No comment, never dealt with them.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I'm not too keen on tailpiece, looks a little flimsy. Resonator is awesome, love burled walnut, so rich.Beautiful, fast easy to play neck. All in all it is built like a tank

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Yes, I love it I would cry if it was stolen and would lie to the insurance company and tell them I paid $4500 and buy another. The best sounding banjo I have been around, ever.

Overall Rating: 10

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