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!
6936 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Musicians Friend
I've had my DR-07 for almost a year now, and I thought I'd put up a review. Generally I like it very much and can recommend it. By far the two best things about it are sound quality and ease of use. The manual is pretty clear (included on CD in PDF format), and once you go through the menus they make sense. The built-in microphones are excellent. I've never bothered to connect it to my computer via USB cable, because it is easier to just pull the SD card and put it into my reader. For some sound examples, all the tunes here:
were done on the DR-07, most in my large somewhat echo-y living room. I had loaded the files in Audacity and cut off the fumbling noises of turning on-and-off. I probably also ran the "Amplify" effect.
Two things on the minus side. The case is plastic, and not in a good way. I'm sure that it will not react well to being dropped on a hard floor. Also, it does not come with an AC adapter (available separately for about $24), and it runs through AA batteries pretty quickly. I'm giving it a rating of 8 out of 10 because I think that an over-$100 device should come with an AC-adaptor.
Overall Rating: 8
Where Purchased: Music Folk, St Louis
Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 622 ($US)
I play CH & a little 2-finger picking (no picks). It has a loud, fairly bright tone. Mine came with a renaissance head, and I have replaced the original tailpiece with a kircherner, and also have a small piece of masking tape on the back side of the head just under the bridge. These have tamed the sound a little (the 5th and 1st strings were sometimes loud enough to hurt my ears). These changes were not really necessary as it sounded great as it was in the store, but I like it even better now.
It can be played softly, and can be heard just fine with two fiddlers, three guitars, and a mandolin all playing at full volume.
2008 note: I've been holding it a bit differently lately (on the thigh) and I'm getting a warmer bass than before.
Sound Rating: 10
It was set up perfectly. Only changes I've done in the 8 months I've owned it are those mentioned above and replacing the strings. The tailpiece change was effortless.
2008 note: I've had to tighten the Ren head a couple of times.
Setup Rating: 10
I like it. No flaws or problems.
2008 note: no change.
2011 note: no change
Appearance Rating: 9
The finish is quite thick and sturdy feeling. It in general feels very solid.
2008 note: Still in good repair. It is my standard banjo if I'm only bringing one.
2011 note: no change.
Reliability Rating: 9
I have not had any dealings. This banjo is warrantied for workmanship for an unlimited time.
2008 note: Still no repairs needed.
2011 note: still no repairs.
Customer Service: 9
I don't think anything needed to be changed, not even the tail piece which I did.
2008 note: Since then I have replaced the Kirchner with another no-knot. I'm happier with the no-knot, but I had moved the original one to another banjo.
2011 note: for some reason I now use a small pair of socks stuffed in it. Not sure why I changed my mind.
Components Rating: 9
I would recommend this banjo to anyone who likes the white laydie sound. On the day that I bought it I played 10-15 other very fine open back banjos, and in many ways it was the least "old-time" sounding, but in my hands, to my ears, it really is what a banjo should be. I've been playing for 30 years and can honestly say that I haven't played a better (for me) banjo, although there was a 1915 Bacon with an internal resonator that sticks in my memory. If you are looking for a plunky sound, this banjo will not suit you as well.
2008 note: I'm still completely satisfied with this instrument.
2011 note: I'm still completely satisfied with this instrument.
Overall Rating: 10
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