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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!

6941 reviews in the archive.

Pisgah 12" Rambler Special with Dobson Tone Ring Review

View all reviews for Pisgah

Submitted by Danny D (see all reviews from this person) on 2/18/2020

Where Purchased: From Patrick Heavner Owner

Year Purchased: 2020
Price Paid: $2K historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play Straight Clawhammer, Drop Thumb, some Overhand and fingerpick (not Scruggs). This banjo Shines in all my chosen styles. Its very responsive for my Appalachian style with a great old time cluck.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

This is a banjo Patrick built for himself to keep. It was set up for his personal playing style which the action was a bit too high for me and I wanted my own personal string choice. All it took was for me to replace the bridge with a Gary Sosebee 5/8ths vintage Maple with a compensated 3rd and my personal string choice which was fast and simple.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is simply Gorgeous. The neck is superior Flamed Maple as is the Dowel and stained a beautiful vintage brown color which shows off the flame very well. It has the vintage headstock shape with his custom star inlay. The fret board is black looks like Ebony but may be Richlite, I didn’t ask, with copper dot inlay which he also used for the side dot markers. All work is flawless and the neck shape has a very pleasant V shape which feels perfect in the hand.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The Hardware is Beautiful. It’s the short scale 12” Dobson Special model Which has a rolled Copper over Maple with aged brass hardware through out including the tuners and his Hawk tail piece. Again, all work here is flawless as well and the aesthetic gives the banjo an 1800 / to early 1900s era banjo only its brand new, very sturdy and extremely dependable. A bit heavier than I expected but its weight is very acceptable. It doesn’t feel flimsy, it feels like Quality.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Patrick is a great guy, very helpful with any questions / answers you might have or needs regarding the build.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The craftsmanship of the banjo as a whole from the feel, wood choice, visual and sound are all great components.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This banjo is not what I expected.  It far exceeded any preconceived notions I had.  This is an outstanding instrument which would please most any level player or playing style.  I’m giving all 10s in this review because it deserves it.  I have no ties with Patrick and was just lucky to catch him at the right moment to purchase his personal build.  To me, the feel, sound, quality and visual image of this banjo are all standout components.  I’m no newbie to builders either.  Over the last decade in learning to play, acquire, buy, sell and trade banjos, I’ve had the privilege of owning just about all the top end banjos out there which are all premier instruments for the most part.  It took a while for me to make a decision to find a Pisgah for myself but what I found was a banjo that rates right up there with the best.  This is a keeper.  Its a special build he can and may use as a template for some future builds.  I highly recommend it.

Overall Rating: 10

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