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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!

7077 reviews in the archive.

Bart Reiter: Standard

Submitted by ponty on 11/27/2010

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

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

Sound

The sound is good, offering notes without much sustain and quick decay. Unlike the Galax, which was louder and more ringy. With the Ren head, there is plenty of volume and can be quite bassy. There where overtones produced with the No-Knot so I changed this for a Waverley.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo came with two different bridge heights. This is because I was told by Elderly Bart like the action low. The 5/8 ths is fine, and I had a Sosbee bridge so I used that. so I used that.
The fret edges where not well finished, and where sharp. Elderly where more than to fix this
but it wasn't practical to send it back from Bermuda. The local humidity seems to have helped with this issue.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Appearance is plain and simple - loverly! It has a fretboard star at the 5th unlike the Special.
All components were Stew Mac (I believe) wood work and finish excellent. The rim has a walnut rim cap which always looks good.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

There is a one year warranty on this banjo. It should last a life time - at least for me!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

No really had any issues to contact Bart about. Elderly Instruments is my number one music store. Their website is so comprehensive.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Generally speaking I like the No Knot tailpiece. I wish better qualiy one were more easily available.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I like it alot, wish I could play better.

Overall Rating: 9

Bart Reiter: Galax

Submitted by ponty on 9/12/2008

Where Purchased: Buffalo Bros. Ca

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I bought this Galax as a second banjo to my Reiter Special. It has a great sound, differing from the Special in that the notes sound brighter and more ringy (!) It plays very nicely and the WL tone ring gives it a bit of a boost.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was well set up, but I decided pretty much straight away to put a Moon medium bridge on it and medium gauge string by GHS. I dont think I will tamper further- its just fine.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Dark stained mahogany neck and maple rim, rosewood rim cap, and no scoop - made that way for me! All very plain but the Vega look-Great

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

I have Emailed Bart Reiter once before and got prompt replies. Buffalo Bros. are great service excellent and 100% upgrade - well, unbelievable!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components seem very reliable, I assume from Stew Mac. % star tuners work very well.
No upgrades required

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I think this will be my last banjo purchase. Along with my Special which now has Nylgut strings they make an excellent pair. If I had to sell one of them, it would be a near impossible decision. Price wise, I think they are very well priced.

Overall Rating: 10

Bart Reiter: Special

Submitted by ponty on 6/29/2007

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 1065 ($US)

Sound

The sound is very pleasing! It is bright without being too bright. Minimal sustain from its simple brass ring ring. It is not loud or brassy, but nicley balanced. I have had it one week, and is set up as came

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Yes. Set up was good, action perfect. Though I would like to see what
different heads, tails. strings, and bridges would do to the sound,I am very satisfied with stock set up.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Appearence is simple, but enhanced by ebony heel ad headstock plates. The finish is in satin, and the rosewood cap on the pot is very appealing

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Time will tell of course, but all looks very reliable.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have not dealt with Bart, but Elderly has always been first rate.

Customer Service: 10

Components

It has a 5 tar head, and tuners. The tuners work very well and the buttons have a nice feel to them. All the metal work looks good quality, high standard components.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Yes I would certainly recommend the Reiter banjo. The fit and finsh is of a very high standard. The neck is easy to play. I cant see my need for another banjo.......except the Regent, Galax and the White lady!

Overall Rating: 10

Wildwood: Minstrel

Submitted by ponty on 7/23/2006

Where Purchased: buffalo Bros

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

Sound

The sound is great. It is full and loud, and plenty bright. I play CH and simple two finger style which it is very suited to. I have only my GoldTone MM150 to compare it with though.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up was I believe not good. It came with case and when opended, there was no bridge!! The strings were in poor condition and I replaced them from the beginging. I put in a Snuffy Smith 3 5/8 ' bridge and the action was too low. This was improved by increasing the head tention

Setup Rating: 4

Appearance

It is maple through out, with a dark stain. Simple MOP dots adorn the ebony fingerboard. It is the least fancy of the Wildwoods, but still a very attractive banjo.
the heel cap and headsock facia are ebony, the latter having a star and 'Wildwood' inlaid with MOP. This is without flaw. Unlike earlier Minstrels, there is no white binding around the pot.This I believe adds to its look

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

It looks enirely reliable. Time will of course tell.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I did call Mark Platin a few time before and after the purchase and got good help each time.
I called Buffalo Bros and they were suprised that there was no bridge. They said thay would post me one.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The hardware seems good quality, and the tuners are certainly an imprvement over my GoldTone. The 5th string tuner is a Gotoh-not sure about the others! The tailpiece is a waverly, a $13 value from Elderly or Stewmac. The tubaphone tone ring however is made by Wildwood.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I spent hours looking at the web comparing all that I could, reading BH reviews.
I bought this never having played it, or any others for that matter, I am sure that I have got a winner, and I am very pleased with it. It does also show that my GoldTone, which is clearly is not the same quality, does represent a vey good buy!! My next banjo is a.......

Overall Rating: 10

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