Becoming a professional musician is not an easy task by any means. There are so many factors that play into your experience and success. I am not going to get into the willpower and pure determination, that you can find on yet another self-help/how to get better in 10 days blogs. What I want to focus on is the first instrument you get. That, in my opinion, is the number one thing that makes someone successful.
Well… it is the factor that makes you want to play. If you are determined that you want to learn banjo you probably do not want to spend $400 and over for your first one. Nevertheless, you do not want to get a model that pretty much ruins your first experience and makes you lose all interest in banjos. There’s a fine line between affordable, student banjos and just plain cheap banjos. The Rover RB-20T Resonator Tenor Banjo masterly manages to be on the affordable side of things. So without further ado, let’s talk if this banjo is worth your money.
First things first, the RB-20T (tenor) has a standard 11-Inch composite rim perfectly match with a slim, very playable mahogany neck. The East Indian Rosewood fingerboard with M.O.P. dot markers with white binding adds to the overall comfort and makes this model a perfect choice for someone who has never had any previous experience with banjos or any string instruments, for that matter.
The adjustable truss rod will give you better control of the sound and overall comfort. The open-back design allows for this banjo to be lightweight and easy to travel with. Of course, like with most open-back banjos, it does not have the same volume that is pushed forward but if you are looking for a more mellow, sweet sound this is a perfect model.
When it comes to the hardware, Rover equipped the RB-20T with pretty basic but decent quality material. You will see white ABS nut at the end of the neck. ABS is a standard material for the more affordable string instrument. It is pretty durable and while maybe it does not add too much to the overall performance of the instrument, it definitely does not hinder it from achieving the best sound.
I would say that the action is a little too high for my taste (and many others) but it is a fixable problem. Apart from that, you will see a tone ring, adjustable truss rod and Golden Gate guitar-style tuners with ABS buttons. All in all, there is nothing jaw-dropping about the hardware, but that does not mean it is bad. As a beginner, you probably do not need more than what this model offers and if you were to get anything more high-end you would be paying quite a bit more. One thing to mention about this model is that the RB-20T is listed as a “resonator” banjo. So if you are looking for a resonator banjo, this is not a model for you.
Rover Banjo Sound
Due to the nice, simple construction of this banjo, you will be getting a nice, clear sound that is amazing for Bluegrass, Irish Banjo, Jazz, and many other genres. Since this is an open-back banjo you will be getting a more mellow, quiet sound than with a resonator banjo. Personally, I did not enjoy the strings that this model was shipped with. It did not allow for the full volume and ruined the overall tone. That is a pretty small and easily manageable issue.
You will probably find the Rover RB-20T Resonator Tenor Banjo in many “best” lists. Hell, even we think that this banjo is one of the best banjos for students who cannot afford $400-500 models. For what you are giving, you are definitely getting a lot more than you would think. The RB-20T is a lightweight, comfortable model with clear sound and nice construction.
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