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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Mark 'Clawgrass' Johnson

Submitted by banjothrasher on 8/25/2015

Overall Comments

Had a lesson with Mark over Skype.  Amazing musician and a good teacher.  Highly recommended, even at a distance.

Overall Rating: 9

Prucha: Old Tyme Open Back

Submitted by banjothrasher on 9/9/2014

Where Purchased: Guitar Gallery - Melbourne AUS

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Bought for clawhammer. Fits the bill.
A warm woody sound. Came fitted with a non-standard Remo Fibreskyn head which may make a difference.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I bought by phone without seeing or playing first.
The action is high as I expected. May try to lower it a little later.
Couldn't get it to stay in tune when playing up the neck, even by adjusting the bridge.
The strings seemed very thin so I replaced them with new mediums, adjusted the bridge and the tuning was fixed.
The head is quite slippery so the bridge may have moved in transit.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

It looks great.
Very simple inlays which is what I wanted.
I cant fault build quality or finish.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Early days but it looks like it will look great for years.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I emailed Prucha with a query before I bought this but never got a response.

Customer Service: 1

Components

Gotoh tuners, Remo Fibreskyn head, Prucha bridge and components.
The neck looks and feels great.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The staff at Guitar Gallery Melbourne were very helpful and returned calls and emails promptly.

I was disappointed that I bought it by phone on a Monday and it didn't ship till Thursday.  The tracking didn't work with the courier they used.  I received it the following week. I'm amazed that I can buy an instrument from the US and have it ship, clear customs and receive it quicker than I can get one already in stock in Australia.

I hope that if I ever have a warranty problem that Prucha will respond. I was surprised not to get a reply to my pre-purchase query and there doesn't seem to be any way to register my purchase with them either online or by mail which also seems unusual.

I'm very happy with the looks, sound and playability of the instrument and would recommend it.

 

 

Overall Rating: 8

Nechville: Classic Deluxe

Submitted by banjothrasher on 8/25/2014

Where Purchased: Turtle Hill

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds great. A little more sustain than I'd prefer but it is settling down a little with playing and I'm experimenting with some changes.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up well. Action was a little high for my tastes but a couple of minutes only to adjust with the Nechville neck adjustment.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

A great looking banjo. Really well finished.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Too soon to know for sure but seems built like a tank with high quality components and finishes.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Haven't had the need to contact Nechville. Filled out the registration card but have heard nothing back.
Dave at Turtle Hill was a pleasure to buy from .

Customer Service: 9

Components

Head and neck adjusting are quick and easy. A great design. Really happy with the feel of the neck too.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Very happy.

Overall Rating: 9

Tranjo: 8.1

Submitted by banjothrasher on 8/25/2014

Where Purchased: From Sam Farris

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds a lot better than you might think given its size. Exceeded my expectations.
Can sound quite bright once you tension up the head. I usually play with a hand towel wedged under the head to keep it quieter.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Not a lot to adjust. Setup was fine.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I really like the look and feel of the Tranjo.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Had a couple of back plates fail within the first few months. Frustrating as they left it unplayable. Sam said he had a bad batch. No problems since.

Reliability Rating: 5

Customer Service

Sam was great when I had the back plates fail. Promptly replied to my emails and quickly despatched replacements at his cost including overseas shipping. After the second failure he offered to pay to have it repaired locally (in Australia) due to the shipping times involved. Sent me a gift also with the second replacement. Couldn't be happier with his follow up after a problem.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tuners work well but are a little fiddly till you get used to them. Neck is very playable.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

A great idea and a very useful banjo to hit the road with. 

I bought a Lanikai baritone uke case which is a lot more protective than the case that came with it and fits perfectly.  Also has room for all the other crap I take with it.

I think that the true measure of a business is how they treat customers when they have a problem.  Sam was really great until everything was fixed to as new condition.  Couldn't fault his service or follow up.

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Tone Rings: Carbon Fibre

Submitted by banjothrasher on 8/25/2014

Where Purchased: Gary Vann - Australia

Overall Comments

Had a Carbon Fibre tone ring fitted to my Deering Sierra. 

I have to admit being a bit sceptical when I ordered this. I had Gary fit it for me. 

I did it mainly to reduce the weight which it achieved very well.  What I didn't expect was how it improved the sound.  Seemed to open up, especially after a few weeks to sound more punchy and clear than it had with the standard tone ring.

It also seemed to play more consistently up the neck than it had previously.

These aren't cheap but delivered me a better sound and a lighter weight so seemed like a new banjo for a fraction of the cost.  A really amazing innovation.

Overall Rating: 10

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