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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!

7101 reviews in the archive.

Windrose Banjos: 12" Whyte Laydie Slothead

Submitted by usmc2msu on 4/25/2017

Where Purchased: Seattle, WA

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: 2,100.00 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has a very sweet yet robust tone. The notes come out of the banjo quickly, but they don't hang around too long. I didn't want a banjo with a ton of sustain and this banjo delivers. I DID want boomy base with decent highs and that too was accomplished. The tone is very responsive to the slightest changes in hand position and striking force which I really like.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was good upon receiving the banjo, but I changed the strings and bridge soon after. This was no fault of the builder and I'm sure Tas would have made these changes for me had I asked. The action on the banjo is very nice for my preferred bridge height and the head was tensioned exactly where I would have had it myself.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is BEAUTIFUL! I am extremely picky when it comes to how my banjo looks and I notice tiny imperfections. I can say that I have yet to find an imperfection on this banjo. You can tell that Tas takes his time and really puts a lot of care into the build. Tas has a background in furniture/cabinet making and it shows in so many positive ways! The neck is made of walnut as well as the rim. A lightly streaked ebony makes up the fretboard. I had one of my grandfather's coins inlaid in the scoop. The hardware (even the tonering!) were chemically blued for an aged look. Also the fretwork is done extremely well. The frets are very smooth and uniform.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware is all top of the line. The tuners are Gotoh and are super smooth. I would hope this banjo will last for many many years to come.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Tas was very easy to work with and is open to the customer's wishes/opinions. For example, the heel on my banjo was not really created until we were deep into the process. I did not like the initial workup so I gave some direction on what I hoped to have. Tas did an amazing job of blending two styles that I liked and came up with a very cool and unique heel.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I think slothead banjos are getting more popular and there is certainly a shortage of them on the market. That being said, I've looked at many that have come up for sale and only a handful are done really well in my opinion. One of the spots I always look is on the inside of the actual slots. You will often see where the hole has blowout from the drill. Did I mention I'm picky??? There were no issues like this on my banjo. You can clearly see that a craftsman built the banjo in every detail.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

If you're in the market for a stellar custom banjo, you should give Windrose Banjos a look.  I couldn't be more pleased with this banjo and I think I hear it calling my name at this very moment...gotta go! 

Overall Rating: 10

Seeders Instruments: Dobson Slothead #36

Submitted by usmc2msu on 9/17/2015

Where Purchased: Dorset, Vermont

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo appears to be a Dobson style banjo, which would lend one to believe there is a Dobson tonering being used. But, in fact, the tonering is Hunduran Rosewood. The sound is bright, but not as bright as a Dobson tonering. There is a decent amount of sustain, but not a excessive amount.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Will set the banjo up nicely, but I did change out the bridge. The action is perfect and the banjo plays easily.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is my dream banjo so to me it looks perfect in every way. There are a lot of slot heads out there that miss the mark on proportions to my eye, but this one was done exactly the way I like them. Compact and not too wide. The neck, slot head, and rear vaneer are all of the same streaked ebony. This ebony is super streaky which is what I wanted. The half-spun rim and hardware are aged brass and look awesome! Will was able to give the rim an antique effect that really makes the banjo look really aged in a good way. The nut and 5th string pip are made of black buffalo horn and they too add to the overall appearance of the banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This is a brand new banjo so time will tell if the banjo is reliable. Judging by the quality of craftsmanship I suspect it will last through a few generations!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Will was very easy to work with and was not affraid to add his own suggestions. He is almost always available via email. His resposes were always informative and helpful in nature. I have no doubt that he will help me out if there are any issues with the banjo in the future...as a matter of fact, he asks his customers to contact him directly to report any issues as he wants to lean how his instruments age.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I believe Will uses Rickard hardware when possible which are of a very high quality..maybe the highest quality available in today's market.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Having my banjo commissioned by William Seeders was one of the best banjo-related decisions I have made. He is not overly known by the community and that is surprising. His craftsmanship is evident throughout the banjo and it will not be long before he has a 4-5 year waiting list. I picked my banjo up in person at his shop in Dorset Vermont and it was like a banjo fairytale. His shop is set deep in the woods and the buildings themselves are very interesting and rustic. He himself is also very interesting. You can tell by talking to him that he is completely in love with his craft and is not interested in making banjos at factory speed.  This review is about my banjo, but I feel Will is a big part of the banjo itself and I find it important to support those that hold the old-time traditions near and dear. If you are considering having an open-back banjo commissioned please give Will a call and pick his brain. I guarantee you he can design what you want and the finished product will be on par (or above) any current banjo maker out there.  

Overall Rating: 10

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