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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!

7088 reviews in the archive.

Strings: Aquilla Red Strings 11b Banjo Strings

Submitted by gabeeg on 3/2/2016

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Overall Comments

  First off, I am a big fan of the Aqilla Nylguts.  The last set that I had were the Nylgut with the red 4th, and they were pretty good with the only frustration being with the floppy feeling 4th string.   I got a pack of the "Reds" last a little over a week ago and boy do they sound good!  I am using them on an old Celebrated Benary with 25.5" scale.   The Reds were easy to put on and and 4th string and tune (though the 4th string does take quite awhile to stabilize so expect a lot of re-tuning for a week or so...especially that 4th).  The tone is clearer and rounder than the normal white Nylguts.  The Reds also have a tiny bit of texture to them that at least for me feels better and more sure when playing than the slick Nylguts.  There are a couple videos available on youtube where you can hear the sound and a comparison with white Nylguts, check them out to hear a bit of the difference before jumping in.  One of the major complaints about the Reds is that they had a tendency to break.  There has since been a reformulation of the Reds to alleviate the breaking issue and I have in this very short period of time experienced no problems and I was not gentle putting them on, knotting them to the no-knot (used bow line knot) or playing them.  

...oh, one other thing I like about the reds is that there is more even tension between the strings, the 4th is not as "floppy" as the normal Nylgut, this was accomplished without increasing diameter and is instead a product of the formulation.

I am impressed and very happy with my new standard string...Aquilla Reds all the way.

Overall Rating: 9

Bridges: Bart Veerman Mystery Wood Bridge

Submitted by gabeeg on 2/23/2014

Where Purchased: Bart Veerman

Overall Comments

This is the second Mystery Wood Bridge I bought, the first was a solid mystery wood bridge and it is fine for my newer brighter banjo but I needed a bridge for an older Celebrated Benary Open back that I have. This banjo has nylgut strings a skin head and is real "Thunky" in tone. It came with a old two foot Grover bridge that someone hand cut to accept the thicker Nylgut strings. I thought of ordering another solid Mystery Wood direct from Bart but decided on the Ebony topped Mystery Wood hoping it might have a more dynamic tone. Bart was very helpful in helping me get the correct slot sizing for my Nylgut with red 4th string. I end up get a bridge with slightly wider than Crowe spacing in 9/16th height to raise the action of the banjo. The end result was perfect. The action is now perfect, the slots were a perfect match for the Nylguts. The tone is just what I wanted, it took the edge off the "Thunkyness" and even gave a bit of enhanced volume. I am very, very happy with Barts Bridge. Highly recommended, especially if you need some customization. Bart was very helpful.

Overall Rating: 9

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