Solid Bluegrass Banjo
I have been online shopping banjos quite... extensively. Ebay, OnlineShopDealer, 3 dozen+ online shops, reviews from multitude of sources, investigating manufacturer home sites, etc. I did the same for this banjo, and although there is actually very little out there about this particular banjo, I still felt very comfortable with what little I put together information wise. And frankly, at this price, it gets my warmest recommendation for those on a tight budget (sometimes, you just can't afford 400+ dollars for a mainstream name beginner brand). Additionally, mine came very well setup from the seller (aside from the inevitable tuning). And its purty too! I would also deeply recommend Snark SN-2 All Instrument Clip-On Chromatic Tuner ... absolutely the best tuner I have ever used and makes the various banjo-tuning schemes a breeze.
Be aware, in order to avoid possible confusion, Jameson Guitars is actually a sub-brand of Davison Guitars, so if you order and look at your peg-head and it says Davison (like mine does) and not R.W. Jameson, its the same maker (yes, I examined Davison's home site as well as the OnlineShopDealer Seller's).
Very nice instrument
This banjo is beautifully crafted. It plays very well right out of the box without additional set-up, except for a little tuning. If you are looking for a beginning banjo, this one is very nice. With a closed back (resonator) it would usually be used by BlueGrass players, but if you want you can easily take the resonator off and play it clawhammer or frailing style.
This banjo looks and sounds great! Fair price for the value!
I am a novice, but to me this banjo looks and sounds great (once you tune it!)! You might as well go ahead and buy an electronic tuner, if you are a novice like me. Go ahead and buy the 'Banjo for Dummies' book which will tell you how to tune it. And get the finger picks and a strap. You really need all of these to get started learning to play the banjo. At first I just bought the banjo, book and finger picks. Started reading the book and the first couple of chapters told you what you need to get started. Then I had to go get the electronic tuner. Then the strap, etc. The instrument really sounded horrible right out of the box, as compared to the book/cd sample music. I knew the tuning must be way off. Tuned it and it sounds great and just like on the cd! (to my novice ears).
I am very pleased with the purchase.
best banjo and customer service amazing
I am a beginner but I love the banjo. The most amazing thing however is that I had a problem with the the strap peg. I called the seller and they had a instrument technician call me and he walked me through the process of disassembling repairing and reassembling the instrument. Amazing Service!!!!
Awesome awesome banjo!
I bought this banjo as a first banjo without any real knowledge of banjos. For the price i dare you to find a better product. The banjo arrived on time without a scratch on it.With a small amount of tuning i was playing it the minute i took it out of the box.If your looking for a beginning banjo that sounds/looks/plays/feels...Good, Then buy THIS banjo. Thanks:]
Worth Every Penny +
Stays in tune(which is awesome giving the price). It is super beautiful and very solid. I love mine! No rattles.. perfect action... smooth fretting... crisp sound... comes with a key... LOVE IT~
Best value, bar none.
Got mine today and I'm blown away. Understand this is a beginner banjo and I have plenty of experience with beginner/student instruments. I am a music instructor. I know that low cost instrument run the risk of having grave imperfections (rough frets, buzzing, poor tuning or keeping in tune, finish flaws, missing/broken parts, poor set-up) this instrument has none of these. Well dressed frets to a decent set-up the banjo impresses. I've played Fender and Washburn banjos that cost double or triple the cost and although they may have finer appointments I'd be hard up to say that they were double or triple the quality. If you don't mind having an unrecognized name and not-so-ornate inlays, then do yourself a favor and buy this instrument. Can't recommend it enough.
A year with this instrument.
Waited almost a year to write a review. This banjo has been a love for me. Guitar has been a hobby of mine for several years. October of 2013, I purchased this banjo and have been so pleased with it over the past year. An admirer of old time folk music, I usually play clawhammer style with the resonator detached (so easy to convert by just unscrewing four caps). At church, I usually play Scruggs style with the resonator attached.
The most important part of this review:
The tradition of folk music isn't about having the most expensive instrument out there. Folk music is about taking a solid instrument that you didn't spend too much money on and making it sing.
I haven't had any problems with this instrument over the past 10 months. Every component has held up fine since I received the banjo.
BANJO BEGINNER? I highly recommend a YouTube Channel called "Daily Frail". Patrick is a joy to learn from.
Enjoy practicing and playing!
Best Banjo Deal
* High-quality look (beautiful polished wood back and neck)
* Good sound
* Holds tuning well
* Lowest priced, best value real banjo on Internet and in stores
* Shipped by UPS with no damage, arrived in perfect condition from several states away
* 5-stringed (don't get the 4 string, because eventually you'll want the 5 string anyways, and it's easy enough to play it as if it were a 4-string without the high drone 5th string because it's set slightly lower than the plane of the other four)
* Resonator or closed-back design is louder, better than open-backed banjos, very loud, strong sound
* I found it straightforward to learn basic skills with my guitar background(it's string tunings and configuration are different, but techniques are similar)
* Not too heavy (some banjos I've picked up felt like a sack of bricks)
* Comes with chord chart printed on a piece of paper, a tuning guide with a piano for reference (for most common G-tuning or gDGBD), a diagram of the banjo parts, and a little tool
* Neck and string spacing is not to narrow, it's standard
* Some frets may be a slightly off (I tuned it, but fretting the 5th fret produces a noticeably sharp note that my tuner confirms), or perhaps the bridge is misplaced by a millimeter or two on mine, but I'm not experienced enough to precisely place it for accurate notes-playing all the way up the neck. However, this is not a big deal as you only notice if you have a good ear for pitches, and for the price it's to be expected.
* The tuning peg for the highest drone string that's halfway up the neck is really hard to turn, and doesn't turn smoothly like the other 4 tuners on the head.
* Buy it. If you want a low-priced, good-quality banjo to start learning and continue playing for years, this is a good find.
* I'm very happy with my banjo, and I don't foresee any repairs needed, and I don't expect to feel the need to upgrade to a pricier instrument.
* I d also recommend buying a banjo strap, finger picks, a clip-on tuner for guitars/banjos, and possibly a beginner banjo book to get started.
Incredible Bargain for a Great Instrument
I had no experience playing a banjo and was looking for something inexpensive to give it a go, in the hopes that I could eventually play some old-time mountain music with my wife. I had gone to my local music stores and played around with some of the inexpensive banjos ($200 or less) and just wasn't impressed with the sound or the quality of any of them. I found this banjo on OnlineShopDealer, read the reviews, and decided to take a chance. I've had the banjo for a few months now, and I couldn't be happier. (This review will be in the context of a $150 instrument. Obviously if you compare this banjo to a $750 Deering, this banjo might not be quite as impressive. Or maybe it would. It's awesome.)
The banjo arrived undamaged and packed safely. I had to tighten up the arm guard, and also file down a sharp bur on the arm guard before playing, but other than that the instrument was strung up with the bridge placed correctly and completely ready to play after some tuning.
As far as looks go, the banjo is beautiful. It may lack some of the frilly details of pricier banjos, but honestly, who cares? My wife is a professional musician and we own a large array of stringed instruments (guitars, mandolins, violins) ranging from cheapies to professional grade. We were completely impressed with the construction quality of this thing. If you've ever purchased a cheap guitar you know they usually have several annoying qualities; common ones being insanely high action and terrible finish where the frets meet the neck of the instrument. I had noticed those same flaws on the cheap banjos I tried in the stores and expected that this banjo would be no different. I'm happy to report that's not the case.
The action is nice and low, but not so low that the strings buzz when you aren't fretting a string. There is also an adjustable truss-rod that allows you to adjust the action to your liking. The frets themselves are absolutely flush with the neck of the banjo as well, so you don't feel the frets protruding from the edge of the fretboard as you slide your hand up and down the neck. The tuner pegs are geared and have plastic pearlescent knobs. The knobs look somewhat cheap, but you can apparently replace those if you are so inclined (I think they look fine). The geared tuners are attached to the head of the banjo by hardware that has some pretty scrolling on the metal, which looks really nice. The fretboard itself has pearl-inlay dots, which aren't as fancy as more expensive banjos, but again, no big deal.
The head is Remo Weatherking, and not some bush-league brand, so that's cool. The pot of the banjo is made completely of wood, not plastic, and is generally free of superficial defects and looks very pretty. The resonator also looks great, and seems to be a wood veneer over a wood composite, and as a result feels pretty light (perhaps a minus for some). The resonator is also removable and can be taken off and replaced quickly using some thumb screws, or more permanently removed by removing the hardware that the thumb-screws attach to. The rest of the hardware, like the hooks, the strap rings, and the arm guard, are shiny chrome and look great.
Okay, so the banjo looks awesome but how does it sound? It sounds great! It's nice and loud, with a really bright banjo tone. I chose to remove the resonator because I am learning clawhammer/frailing style playing; traditionally played on an open-back banjo. That said, my buddy plays Scruggs/bluegrass style banjo, and he made this thing sing with his finger picks andh the resonator on. So either way, clawhammer or bluegrass style, this banjo sounds great.
So there it is. This banjo is simply great for the price. I'll post some pictures to illustrate some of the points I made in the review.