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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!

6942 reviews in the archive.

JRushing: Vega F Style Conversion

Submitted by dylanvalvo on 3/5/2014

Where Purchased: From Jeremy Rushing

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

Sound

This banjo has a full, mellow, and warm sound. The 5th string is one of the best sounding I've heard. Really great tone over the 19th fret and the head.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was set up when I received it. The action is a smidgen high but does affect playin at all until way up on the neck. Great clearance for clawhammer.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This banjo is very easy on the eyes. Blank fretboard with just a star inlay on the head stock and the heal. No frailing scoop but a stylish 5th string thumb notch that works great. Maple pin strip up the back of the neck

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The hardware is shiny new and good to go. I have performed with this banjo a least a couple times and month since receiving it and it always plays great even with the thin skin head.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Jeremy is very helpful and knowledgable individual who loves banjos and has spent a great deal studying them as well. He was very helpful and maintained constant communication. Jeremy provides a lifetime warranty for all his instruments.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Everything is good to go. I have had no problems with any components on the banjo.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

All and all a great banjo from a good builder. I hope to see more of his banjos around. Only thing I didn't like was he sticker/business card on the inside of the pot. I always prefer a logo burned or engraved into the dowel. Removal of the sticker was easy.

Overall Rating: 9

Yellowstone Jewelry: Fretless Tenor Conversion

Submitted by dylanvalvo on 1/26/2014

Where Purchased: Yellowstone Jewelry

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

Sound

This banjo has a very warm plunk to it. No tone ring and a Yellowstone head which is made from what I believe is Mylar a flame retardant of the Kevlar family. Could be wrong but did a little research. I can get some nice clucks and gallops out of this guy and sounds great.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

I have this banjo set up with nylgut minstrel strings usually tuning down to E or D but because of the short scale tenor neck I have no problems tuning up to G/Cmaj/double C for jams.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This banjo has a maple body with a rosewood fretboard over the existing neck. It also still has the original Gretsch inlay in the headstock. Mark keeps the original tenor neck on the banjo and extends the width of the fretboard in the most unique of ways. Go to his website for more details. I love the way he does it. I feel it would be a shame to part the neck from the pot considering they've been together since around 1920!

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

This banjo has old maybe even original hardware with rust and patina. I think it looks great! I didn't spend much money so couldn't ask for much more. This banjo has been very reliable and I have performed with it before.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Mark is an amazing guy who does great work and is a top notch clawhammer player as well. Very knowledgeable and has a true appreciate for the banjo. He might be a little slow on responses from time to time but far from terrible. He was easy to work with and share my enthusiasm for this music. Id love to jam with him one day.

Customer Service: 7

Components

Everything's is good to go!

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This banjo is great! Never would have expected a banjo at this cost to play and sound this good. I have owned other fretless banjo at a little more than this cost and they couldn't even compare. This banjo blows mountain frailers out of the water. I don't write reviews on instruments I just received. It gives the player no time to bond with the instrument. I've played this banjo every day for close to 6 months. I loved this banjo right out of the box (which is actually a crate that mark builds and does a great job with too) all the way till now. It is a great travel instrument and my favorite for being on the road. I sold my goldtone travel banjo(mini cc) immediately after I started playing it. The sound can't even compare for half the cost. At under $300 you can not beat it. I'm actually gonna go play it now!

Overall Rating: 9

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