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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Fender Robert Schmidt Banjo

Twangmeister

Philly/NL, CT

Retired
Jun 9th, 2019 09:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

I needed a decent affordable plectrum banjo for mummer work and came across the Fender Robert Schmidt Signature Banjo. Apparently these were introduced in 2013 and were slow sellers. Mine was made in China in 2014. It is fitted with a Fishman banjo pickup.

This thing is heavy--nearly 13 lbs. Mostly this is due to the heavy brass Tubaphone-style tone ring. In addition the parts comprising the pot are overbuilt. I repurposed a wide neoprene bass strap for the weightless. It is well made.

Tonewise, it is plunky rather than twangy, with a balanced tone--a good feature when volume is controlled by how hard you hammer the strings. It can get satisfyingly loud for an acoustic instrument.

The original list price was $1199, suggesting a street price of about $800. That will also buy a Deering Goodtime II, not as fancy but US made and a few pounds lighter. These are being cleared out and I got mine new-in-box for $399--a steal.

My final take is this is a great stage banjo that can be run into an amp if so desired. It is a bit heavy for parades especially when wearing 15-20 lbs of mummer costume. I may pull the Tubaphone-style for a White Laydie-style tone ring and drop 4 to 5 lbs.

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Fender Robert Schmidt Banjo




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