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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!

6935 reviews in the archive.

Deering Artisan Goodtime Openback Review

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Submitted by vincefewo (see all reviews from this person) on 3/28/2020

Where Purchased: Showroom

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter


I pick 3 finger, bluegrass. Hobby, intermediate. I own a Sierra and a Staghorn. Looking for a lighter and quieter banjo.
At showroom; More old time relaxed sound. Sustain and clarity was limited mostly to 3&4 strings and so was the volume. Up the neck was even less in these areas.
After Deering setup and arrived at my doorstep;
Much improved; the head had been tightened some, the bridge properly set, responsiveness was up and some of the hollow sound was gone.

Sound Rating: 7


The setup after I received it was good. The head was noticeably below a G but ok. No truss rod in this model. Everything was clean and wiped down nicely.
The one big thing I did for setup was tighten the head up to a G. Improved responsiveness greatly, added a little volume and evened out the sustain.

Setup Rating: 7


The Artisan Openback is a basic model, with nicer inlays, dark stain, and RR spikes. It looks good for a $600 banjo without unnecessary, cheap looking components.

Appearance Rating: 9


I think 2 things about this, first I think it's made well and for light playing everything is going to be just fine. The finish on the hardware is thinner than my Sierra but it's ok

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I have worked with CS a couple of time and it's very easy. Good warranty on this and all Deerings.

Customer Service: 10


I mentioned the finish but here I'll say that the tailpiece was a bit basic and the tuners not as smooth as my Sierra but still, it's less expensive and I've no issue with them otherwise.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

What I have done is to replace the tailpiece with a Pisgah Hawktail, a very nice tailpiece indeed.

I tightened the head.

I had a scorpion bridge, wow, nice improvement especially up the neck.

last was I replaced the Deering light strings with my favorite 5-Star lights.

Now it sounds wonderful, 9 of 10.

Overall Rating: 8

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