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!
7003 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Tom Nechville
This banjo has a phenomenal sound. I have used it in a variety of situations ranging from a free jazz trio to a traditional bluegrass group and it holds it's own with most any tone I dial in. I can get a very traditional banjo sound out of it as well as a modern sound. It is very loud and punchy. It is also generally very full and rich unless I tune the head to about a B. One minor issue I found was 2 dead notes no matter how I set it up. But they're the high c# and g#. Hardly an issue.
Sound Rating: 9
The banjo was set up perfectly when I got it, and I have since messed with the setup to no end. I was very happy with how easy it was to modify the neck height and change the head tension on it. Tom's banjos are consistently easy to play.
Setup Rating: 10
The maple in this banjo is beautiful. It is a killer banjo to look at with simplistic inlays and attention to understated detail. The only criticism as it was used was a tiny barely visible scratch on the resonatior.
Appearance Rating: 9
Everything on this will last. I don't have a backup banjo as it serves all my purposes. I've now had this banjo for almost 2 years and never broke a string.
Reliability Rating: 10
Tom Nechville is a wonderful person. He has worked with me on my payment plan and been so patient with any question I have ever had. I can't thank him enough for all he has done with making sure the banjo was at peak condition. He treats everyone like a friend.
Customer Service: 10
The helimount frame is amazing! I would only change the tuners for the ones he uses now as the ones it came with aren't quite as smooth as I would like.
Components Rating: 10
This is a killer banjo. I have compared it to several others and don't see myself switching anytime soon.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Ebay
Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 450 ($US) (bought USED)
I have a very progressive style which has grown over the years and this banjo grew with me. It didn't sound good with a clear head and stock bridge but with a 5 star head and snuffy bridge it was a beast that held its own with many top end banjos. It is very middle heavy with a fair amount of sustain. Above the 14th fret things sounded dead. That and it's volume not cutting through some other banjos is my only complaint.
Sound Rating: 8
I had to do extensive set up work as I got it used and it wasn't set up well at all. The rim did crack at one point due to a knot in the wood but it was usually easy to work on and was a somewhat forgiving with setup.
Setup Rating: 9
The banjo is beautiful, but the gold plating is very thin. The wood is high quality apart from some imperfections like the knot mentioned above.
Appearance Rating: 8
Gold plating doesnt last but despite the abuse this banjo has seen, it still hasn't worn down at all. It's a dependable instrument. The rim's hairline crack was very disappointing.
Reliability Rating: 6
Customer Service: not rated
Everything is high quality. I'd replace the head and bridge. Maybe switch out the rim if one really wants to be adventurous and try something new, but it definitely isn't needed.
Components Rating: 8
While this banjo is an overall 8, it more than held its own with some prewar banjos and many new banjos. It's discontinued but I'd buy one again. It's a great intermediate/advanced level banjo for the average player.
Overall Rating: 8
'Epiphone MB-250' 8 min
'Runaround' 1 hr
'Five Star Tuners' 1 hr
'Keith D Tuners' 1 hr