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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Bart Reiter: Tubaphone

Submitted by Ottawa on 9/15/2007

Where Purchased: E-Bay

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

Sound

This tubaphone has the expected tubaphone sound- bright with some sustain. With some guidance, I have placed a calfskin head and Classical Nylguts (tuned below standard pitch) on this to give it a rounder warmer feel which still resonates. I really like this experiment.

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

It was very well set-up and I have had absolutely no issues with this banjo. I needed to expand the bridge slots to accept the Nylguts (also placed a 3/4" bridge on it to raise the action), but that was by my own choosing.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Simple and elegant- not overly ornate. Single star inlay on the peghead and at the fifth fret. Dark stained mahogonay neck, ebony fingerboard. No flaws in the workmanship that I have noticed.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

The hardware is solid and I don't foresee needing to switch anything up. This is the banjo that I consistantly go to. It is understated and very reliable.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Haven't had to deal with Bart Reiter.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All the components seem high grade and at this point I don't foresee a need to switch anything out on this banjo.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Bart has a reputation for consistantly putting out quality banjos and I have been lucky to be a recipient of one. I think his banjos are always a safe bet. It is my regular player that I go back to and is fantastic for any style of playing. Bought sight unseen, I bought on Bart's reputation and haven't regretted the purchase. It is definitely a keeper.

Overall Rating: 10

Jeff Menzies: 13" Tackhead

Submitted by Ottawa on 9/15/2007

Where Purchased: Jeff Menzies

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

Sound

Deep, organic, and round. Sounds like a tackhead banjo should be.

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

Just placed the bridge, tuned up the strings and everything was ready for playing once the Minstrel Nylgut strings stretched a bit.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Looks professionally built with the antiquated look of an old-fashioned tackhead banjo. Nice off-white calk-skin head. Getting lots of compliments by people who think its "vintage", which speaks to the deliberate finishing touches of the banjo.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

It has been 3/4 of a year and the banjo sounds great. No issues at all. The strings keep their tune and the skin has been very responsive to humidity changes with no need to change bridge heights. The banjo is incredibly light.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Couldn't ask for better. Jeff is A+. Always prompt in responding and checking in on how things are going with his product. Do they have Consumer Choice awards for banjo makers? Jeff worked with me with great patience and consideration to make sure I got the exact banjo I had asked for.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Everything has held up. The calf skin and the tacking job has been reliable and has stood up to humidity changes. The neck is true and the hard carved bone tailpiece and scallopped nut are nice finishing touches on a classy banjo.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

This banjo definitely met my expectations. It is a tackhead banjo and brings a nice round, warm, organic tone to my playing which I really am enjoying. Jeff really cares about his customer being satisfied.

Overall Rating: 10

Nechville: Custom Moonshine

Submitted by Ottawa on 9/19/2006

Where Purchased: Nechville Musical Products

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

Sound

I use the banjo more for 2-finger picking than clawhammer lately. It is bright and incredibly crisp in clarity- probably moreso than any of my other banjos (openbacks)- especially up the neck. Wow.

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

After playing with many modifications (i.e.skin head, Nylgut strings, etc.) I have returned the setup to its former glory with a Renaissance head and medium strings. Enterprise bridge is suitable and the tailpiece is eased, completely reducing downward pressure on the strings.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

The banjo looks very slick. I got the option of the geomeric pegheag, diamond wing inlay, black binding and dark walnut stain with the Corona frame. The wood is highly figured and the fingerboard is radiused.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

I purchased the banjo due to Tom Nechville's innovations with the banjo and am satisfied with how it has held up so far. Looks as if everything is solid and that this banjo will have endurance! The professed ease of adjustability of the components is a reality which makes it a fun banjo to tinker with.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Both Tom and Al were excellent in my dealings with them, making sure I received everything that I ordered. The banjo has a lifetime warranty in material and craftmanship if owned by the original purchaser.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The radiused fingerboard is the first I had and I must say that it does in fact play smoother and quicker in my hands as compared to my other openbacks. The comfort bevel armrest is a nice little touch as well and compliments the neck nicely. The guitar tuners are a God-send and precise/reliable tuning is very easy to achieve. The Helimount seems durable and sturdy and it comes with an incorporated wood tone ring.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

This is a very lightweight banjo with a modernized look (my choice for the custom). I use it more for picking styles due to its amazing clarity and responsiveness up the neck- but can be used for clawhammer. It definitely brings a different feel of play and sound to my group of banjos.

Overall Rating: 10

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