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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!

7055 reviews in the archive.

Ramsey: Standard

Submitted by mdthib on 4/25/2014

Where Purchased: From Builder

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play by myself quite a lot, often while singing, but also jam and play with guitarists. This banjo suits these settings wonderfully. The sound is rich and balanced across the spectrum. This banjo has a slightly thicker rim, which seems to contribute in part to a slightly darker tone overall, which I like.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

No setup changes. Arrived in great playing condition.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Absolutely beautiful banjo. The dark finish sets off the chrome and inlays for a strikingly attractive instrument.

The only change I made is to add just a touch of fingerboard oil so that the ebony would appear darker (went from a dark grey appearance to jet black).

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I would put this banjo on a mission to mars without the slightest worry. It feels very ruggedly built, made to last, and I have been able to depend on it for several months of daily play (hours) without the slightest hint of a concern.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Mike was great to deal with. The banjo took longer (three months) to arrive after I ordered than originally promised (several weeks). It was well worth the wait, and I would happily order from Mike again.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Love the walnut neck, the finish, and the overall harmony of color, wood, and componenets. Nothing feels weak, and I can't even conceive of an upgrade that would improve this instrument.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

This banjo, a Ramsey standard 11" with rolled brass tone ring and walnut neck, has been a dream come true for me. I have owned it for four months, during which I have played it every day, often for 2-4 hours. 

My teacher recommended I buy a banjo I could enjoy forever, not one I'd want to upgrade from in six months. This banjo is exactly that. In fact, when I brought it to my teacher, by the end of the lesson he had called Mike and ordered one for himself. He told me, "Yours is a banjo to keep for your whole life. It is truly special."

Taking the banjo out for jams and to play for fun with friends, I always get compliments and questions.

I could not be happier with this purchase.

Overall Rating: 10

Zepp Country Music

Submitted by mdthib on 4/23/2014

Overall Comments

Had a great visit to Zepp's shop and highly recommend the experience. Mr. Zepp encouraged me to play as many banjos as I liked, including a few of his own that are not for sale (some vintage instruments and some Ramsey prototypes). 

I also found that Zepp was happy to spend time talking shop, sharing some of his knowledge and experience. I spent just under three hours there, playing and talking and truly enjoying myself. 

I wish I had the forethought to also take a lesson, as I'm sure I would have gotten some nice pointers.

On the other hand, I'm glad I thought to take a video in his "production studio," as I've spent more time than I care to admit comparing banjos from his YouTube channel. I posted the video to my profile http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/videos.asp?m=d&catID=0&id=21136

Overall Rating: 10

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