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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.

Pisgah 12" Walnut Possum Review

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Submitted by SteveBuvoltz (see all reviews from this person) on 1/4/2017

Where Purchased: Direct from Pisgah

Year Purchased: 2016
Price Paid: 1350 ($US)


My Pisgah Possum arrived setup perfectly for my style of Clawhammer playing. I have not needed to change or adjust anything. It has a rich full bodied sound but very defined when playing higher notes up the neck. It growls when I get on it in Double C tuning. The walnut neck is quite responsive to the touch. I can feel the notes as I play them. This is a sought after feature I've learned to appreciate in some of my vintage guitars. It is easily one of the best sounding banjos I've ever had a chance to play here in West Virginia. I just happen to own it which is a big plus. A scoop after the 17th fret makes drop thumb and "cluck" tones easy to accomplish. The price I payed listed above is including shipping to West Virginia.

Sound Rating: 10


Patrick Heavner and Pisgah did a very good setup on the Possum before it shipped. I have not needed nor wanted to change a thing about it. I can detect no bad overtones at all and that's without stuffing it. No need for that unless I just want to quiet it down. It's surprisingly loud.

Setup Rating: 10


It is a walnut rim with a persimmon tone ring and fretboard. The rim has a cherry cap. It's appearance is a work of art in wood! Beautiful oldtime look to it that reminds me of walking in the mountains here in WV. It has a quilted star inlay on the headstock which I like a lot and early on I had asked Patrick for antiqued brass hardware which he provided by Balsam Banjoworks which sets off the already striking oldtime look. The tuners are Gotoh and work very well. It stays in tune until I change it. It has a renaissance head with the "PBCO" logo down near the No-Knot style tailpiece. The overall appearance is pure oldtime elegance. Especially with the antiqued brass hardware.

Appearance Rating: 10


The hardware by Balsam Banjoworks not only looks great, it's sturdy and strong. All USA made parts. It will last a very long time. The finish on the wood is just enough to show the beautiful wood textures and patterns but not overdone. Pisgah's attention to fitup and detail is very impressive.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I delt directly with Patrick Heavner at Pisgah on the phone and via email. He was very responsive to my every question and still is. It has a limited lifetime warranty to the original purchaser but I probably will never need it since I have no plans of breaking it. I take really good care of my instruments.

Customer Service: 10


It's an oldtime mountain type Clawhammer banjo. It's uncluttered and elegant which I like a lot. Overall, the authentic oldtime construction and detail to tight fit-up combined with the blending of beautiful woods stand out in a crowd. It's not very heavy but feels well built and strong. To sum up, 12" walnut rim with persimmon tone ring and renaissance head, cherry rim cap, 3 piece walnut neck with persimmon fretboard, Aged brass hardware by Balsam Banjoworks, Gotoh tuners, solid construction. It has a heavy brass No-Knot style tailpiece and what looks to be a straight maple bridge with ebony top. I'm happy with the tone just as it is but may try some other bridges I have here just for fun.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have 3 other banjos here. A Gold Tone BG250f that I converted to an open back that has a 20 hole flathead brass tone ring, a 1970 Kay, and a Recording King Madison 025 open back. All are nice and all have been improved by my setups but still not in the same league of banjo as the Pisgah Possum. I'm very happy with this banjo and the Pisgah Banjo Co. to say the least. Would I suggest a Pisgah to others looking for a banjo hand built in the USA? You bet I would! The best you most likely will ever get at this price, or perhaps at even quite a bit more of a price. I know, I gave Pisgah and this banjo all 10's, that's because it's deserved.

Overall Rating: 10

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