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!
6832 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: mike'sbanjomute.com
Works very well. Easy to take on and off. As an apartment dwelling banjo players with erratic hours, this mute probably saved me the wrath of my neighbors! :P
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Guitar Center
Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 350 ($US)
The Deering Goodtime Openback Really has a beautiful woody tone. The only problem with the openback is that I'm a bluegrass picker and it isn't very loud. But in terms of tone only it's very nice.
Sound Rating: 9
Setup must have been spot on. I was a total beginner when I got it and I never had to adjust anything.
Setup Rating: 10
Looks nice in a well made utilitarian sort of way. Some of the RK's and Flinthills of the world are two bling-ey for my tastes anyway!
Appearance Rating: 9
Like I said, never had to change out anything. This banjo is the definition of reliability.
Reliability Rating: 10
Never had to deal with this, but I've heard that Deering customer service is excellent.
Customer Service: not rated
I once read a post that said 'Nothing beats a deering neck'. Maybe it's just that it's what I'm accustomed to, but I tend to agree.
Hardware seems nice and sturdy. Only one coordinator rod, but it's nice and thick. Don't see any problems on that front.
Components Rating: 10
Whenever you're getting your first instrument, the underlying problem is that you don't know what to look for. I based my decision on price (I'm not rolling in the green paper!) and reputation, and I have to say that it worked out well. I have two fundamental insights for those in a similar situation.
1) If you can afford a Goodtime Special, I've played them and they seem really nice. If you know you're committed and have the budget to do so, grab one of these. Especially if you can find an auction for a used one on ebay or seller here on banjohangout. Had I started with one of these, I probably would not have felt the need to upgrade after a year and a half.
2) The upside of getting a quality instrument like a goodtime openback is that though I recently upgraded, I had the luxury to research and to wait for a deal, seeing as I already had something reasonably nice to play. The second banjo is easier because you know what you're looking at, and you know what you like and don't like.
One final note: Deering Goodtimes have a pretty good resale value. So if you do decide to upgrade you're not out all of the money you spent on your first banjo. So far I've kept mine though. And my second banjo is a Deering too!
Overall Rating: 10
'McAlpine's Fusiliers ' 3 hrs
'Who Were You?' 4 hrs