Looking for some opinions on Companion Banjos. Anybody out there own one?
I have “Custom 37” maple neck and resonator with a maple block rim with an intrergrated woodie tone ring. It is well made, good fit and finish. A loud strong banjo. Chris is very responsive and has great response, he loves the banjos he creates.
I currently own one and have another in the works. And before that owned another, I only sold it to raise funds to have another companion banjo built. So I’ve owned three over all and I can tell you they are amazing. The one I currently have is basically built like an rb75 and every where I go people are amazed by the tone and playability and of course the look. The guy local to me who has played bluegrass banjo his entire life and is a professional luthier couldn’t believe how amazing it sounds. He owns a jd Crowe rich and Taylor and has always liked it but he said my companion is a step above. Now of course I could be bias but I have owned several high end banjos and now only own companions so that says a lot. Now enough about the banjos and a little about the company. They are super nice and helpful. Responsive as all get out. I have never had to wait for a reply longer than maybe 12 hours or so but Chris is usually gets back to me within an hour or so most of the time sooner. I can be a little neurotic and Chris takes time to answer my questions and not get annoyed at lest I think he’s not annoyed but either way ?? I’ve never had an issue with my banjos but I feel 100% confident that the warranty that comes with these banjos would be stood behind if I needed it. Plus they are a family business and always growing and really trying new things I feel that if they keep heading the way they are we might all be buying parts from them one day sort of like the next Cox. Again I could be bias but hope this helps.
Purchased a Companion a little over a year ago and I was very, very satisfied with the results. My specifications were a little off the usual path, to include 1.29 inches at the nut, JD Crowe spacing, and a wood tone rim instead of the usual brass ring (at age 65, banjo weight is an overarching issue). The result was a very playable banjo that exhibits superb workmanship and plenty of volume and tone, if that's an issue. As already mentioned, Chris is extremely responsive and approachable. I would not hesitate ordering another banjo from Chris; in fact, I probably will order another one from him within the next 6-12 months.
I visited with Chris in February. His shop is amazing. He is one of the nicest guys around. He had a past customer drop of her banjo so I could see one completed. He didn’t have one on hand at the time. I also saw one of his conversions, a ball bearing Gibson. I ultimately decided on a Bishline Cimarron which I’m very happy with but I have no doubt Chris’ banjo would have been as good or better.
I've had a Companion Banjo for almost 4 years now and I love it. It was made with a wooden tone ring so it's a nice lightweight 8 pounds compared to my Deering Baucom banjo that is 11 pounds. It has a really nice sound for bluegrass too. I had Chris make my banjo in a greyburst with some dog inspired inlays. I also had him make my neck contoured along the lines of my Deering, which he did. I'd also add that Chris is very easy to communicate with and is very good about updating you on the process and also will send you a video of your banjo when it's finished.
Thank you everyone for your Comments. I've contacted Chris & he is making me a banjo to replicate a 1941 Gibson RB75 with leaves & bowes inlay on an ebony fret board. Curly maple neck & resonator with a highly polished sunburst finish to replicate the wild west banjo he made.
'DTs' 2 hrs
'Roanoke - Butch Robins' 5 hrs