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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!

6662 reviews in the archive.

Recording King RK-R36 Madison Review

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Submitted by Banjophobic (see all reviews from this person) on 1/1/2013

Where Purchased: Endorsement

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: none historic exchange rates / currency converter


The banjo has the classic mahogany tone and response, which is warm and full but also with a good attack and sustain, when needed.

Sound Rating: 9


The banjo was shipped with a 'factory' set-up but it was understood I would be doing my own set-up anyway, as I am also a luthier/repairman. But the banjo could have been played as it was set-up from the factory.

Setup Rating: 8


I really like the whole look of the Rk-36. The gloss finish really highlights the grain and color of the mahogany. The 'gull wing' inlay motif and 'coke bottle' peg head is a nice combination. Its ornate enough to be classy and tasteful. There are no flaws in the appearance of this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10


This has been my "go-to" banjo for gigging over that past few months I've owned it. The hardware is top notch and is holding up as well as any banjo I've owned.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Greg and company have been great to deal with. All these models have the lifetime warranty. Many of my students and customers in the shop own Rk's and the customer service experiences i hear from them have been very positive.

Customer Service: 10


The Rk pot assembly is one of the best values on the market today. There is nothing 'short' about the quality of them. There will always be an occasional quality control issue to deal with in producing banjos in higher volumes, from a 'factory' setting. Rk has been on top of those issues and I know Greg takes great pride in making sure they continue to improve. There was a small issue with one co-rod being out of alignment, but i reported to them that i was taking care of the repair myself,. Greg assured me that it would be reported to QC. As a repairman, I work on LOTS of banjos, from every maker you can think of, In terms of overall quality, the Rk is great.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

The reason i submitted this review was to give an honest assessment of this banjo. Yes, it was given to me as part of an endorsement deal, but I was a fan of the Rk banjo line long before that transpired. I would not play any banjo that I did not like, regardelss of how I came to own it. Nor would I play gigs with a banjo that did not perform well in those gig situations. This Rk-36 has done everything I needed it to do and beyond. I would not stake my reputation as professional player and teacher endorsing a banjo and or brand name that I had doubts about. Overall, this banjo gets a 10 from me for its tone and quality. If I was looking to buy a banjo in this price point, the 35 series is what i would get.

Overall Rating: 10

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