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!
6953 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: String Shoppe
Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 1680 ($US)
Great tubaphone tone! Perfect for frailing, clawhammer styes. This is a REALLY loud openback banjo! With the setup out of the box, I would not hesitate to take it to a bluegrass jam.
Sound Rating: 10
Out of the box, the banjo was setup like a bluegrass banjo - head was tight and the tailpiece was cranked down low. Boy, did it bark with this setup. Would make a formidible bluegrass banjo...Eased up on the head a little and raised the tailpiece some - now it has some nice plunk, but it will still bite if I dig in and frail hard!
Action was acceptable - the nut slots were a little high, had to slot a little lower. Tweaked the truss rod (neck was dead straight) for a little relief in the neck. Fretwork is first rate. Intonates well all the way up the neck with the stock
5/8" bridge slanted a hair.
Setup Rating: 9
This is a beautiful banjo. Neck is highly flamed, stained maple. The engraved pearl inlays (kind of like the old Fairbanks Vega #7 or #9) in the ebony fretboard are flawlessly done. The ebony headplate (with a thin maple purfling line) has an engraved pearl "fern" inlay, also flawlessy done. There is maple marquetry running around and inside
the pot, and continuing up the side of the neck. The heel cap is ebony
with a thin maple purfling line. Pot and neck are bound in Ivoroid.
Mark Platin is very generous!
Appearance Rating: 10
Unknown - I've only had the banjo a few days. But it is a well built instrument - fit and finish are excellent, and I am sure it will be around long after I am gone! The block construction of this pot makes it a very rigid (and heavy) banjo indeed!
Reliability Rating: 10
Unknown. The banjo has a five year warranty.
Customer Service: not rated
Wood selection is top notch! Hardware and plating seem good. Came stock with a Waverly tailpiece. I may change it out to a Kershner, or a No not...came stock with a Remo Fibreskin head. I like these heads for clawhammer...
Components Rating: 10
I would highly recommend this banjo! You are getting a whole lot of banjo for the money. Before ordering the Heirloom, I A/B'd a Wildwood Minstrel, and a Wildwood Soloist against 3 other brands of tubaphone tonering instruments - the Wildwoods won hands down in both appearance, value and tone! One other brand came close, but didn't quite have as sweet a tone (or appearance) as the Wildwood, and was also about US$300.00 more!
Overall Rating: 10
'Stelling Warranty' 38 min