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Recording King RK-R35-BR

5-String banjo

  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Padauk
  • Seagull fretboard inlay
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 670 mm
  • Mastertone style bell brass cast tone ring
  • Mastertone style one-piece banjo flange
  • Maple resonator
  • 3-Ply maple rim
  • 24 Hook brass tension hoop
  • Remo frosted head, 11" high crown
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • Presto-style tailpiece
  • Maple / ebony 5/8" bridge
  • Colour: Hand rubbed brown satin

Further Information

Number Of Strings 5
Body Maple
Neck Maple
Frets 22
incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
Pickup No

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28 Customer Ratings
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4.8 /5
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  • quality
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Great Instrument
Davy T, 15.06.2020
Excellent intermediate+ banjo,

Quality:
everything is very high quality apart from the tuning pegs which seem like relatively cheap plastic knobs.
Has a lovely satin finish on neck and resonator, but there are a couple blemishes on the back of the neck, possibly from packaging/shipping.

Sound:
Very nice & loud sound, I would recommend changing the stock strings.
Perfect for bluegrass scruggs/three finger style playing.

Features:
The action is nice and low out of the box sitting at about 3/32" at the 22nd fret with a 5/8" bridge.
I haven't found the need for a compensated bridge yet as intonation plays well with the stock bridge (probably because of the presto style tail piece) although a more expensive bridge might provide a brighter tone.
The head was not as tight as a bluegrass banjo player might like, it was tightened to around an F (86ish on a drum dial) whereas most like it around G# (which would be closer to 90 on a drum dial). Both a drum tuning key for the head and an allen key for the truss rod comes with the banjo.
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No regrets.
23.01.2015
Let me start off by saying I purchased this instrument about 2 years ago, so I've played it often enough to say I've gotten a good impression about it. I ordered it is part of a bundle with a budget case and a brown minotaur leather strap (case and strap are great, too, very aesthetic, no issues). The order arrived in a tight sealed box and the instrument arrived without a scratch.
About the instrument:
The build quality is really solid, it's pretty heavy on account of the type of wood it's made of. I had never played a banjo before - I am a multi-instrumentalist and I decided that I would learn - so I had no comparison, but I got used to the heaviness, besides chances are you'll mostly play it sitting down anyway and the heaviness really amounts to a feeling you've got a solid, quality instrument in your hands that won't break if you drop it, though I don't suggest you should.
In the time span of these 2 years, I've never taken off the resonator once, so I can't comment on the sound without it. I've never had the need to. At first, with brand new strings on, the banjo sounded pretty loud in comparison to a guitar, even a sharp sound, I might say, but as the strings weathered and I stopped plucking like an amateur it stopped being an issue.
I've used it to record folk, country, americana/swamp folk and indie folk music and the instrument delivers in every genre, however, this has really a lot to do with the way you play it - if you want to muffle the strings and have an atmospheric sound, or want to pick loud in-your-face rags and jigs in the style of bluegrass.
I wouldn't say it has a specific tone, in the sense that it could be used only in certain genres of music - that, again, is a matter of how you play it. I mention this because some of you might have a specific genre in mind and are wondering whether or not this instrument has the adequate tone - it doesn't. I think it could be used in any genre if done proper. The loudness, if anything, makes it a stage instrument, however, I have not had the chance to play it live apart from jams and parties or get-togethers with other musicians. I've played it being accompanied by a guitarist and I definitely produced a louder sound. This is great when I play a melody or a jig, and the guitar provides background chords - it stands out and sounds great.
It's very comfortable to play, the wood feels soft and sturdy. I have not had any issues with a screw or peg coming loose, or with the membrane. The membrane seems very durable. When I play I often scratch or hit the body as a means of added percussion and that has only resulted in it getting a bit dirty over the years, but it doesn't amount to anything more than general signs of usage.
To top the aforementioned off, it is very pleasing to the eye. It just looks like an expensive, quality instrument.
Definitely worth the price if you plan on using it for recording or playing live. If you're looking to learn the banjo, then you might want to look at something a bit less expensive, but if you can afford it - go for it. I started learning on this specific model and it was a joyful experience.
4 stars in the Sound department because it is a personal preference thing. I'd rather own a more old-timey sounding banjo and I might purchase one some day. This one sounds very modern, very new and fresh. However, having said that, the quest for a perfect tone is always subjective.
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fr Original review (Show translation)
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Etonnant !
D.R., 14.06.2011
Après avoir parcouru de nombreux forums, j'ai porté mon choix sur ce modèle, qui recueillait les suffrages de nombreux utilisateurs. Et je dois dire que je ne suis pas déçu ! Qualité de finition exemplaire, choix de matériaux de qualité, et quel son ! Tout ça à un prix incroyable au regard de ses qualités.
Son design est plus sobre que celui du modèle supérieur, mais ce n'est pas pour me déplaire, ses incrustations sont très élégantes sans être tape-à-l'oeil.
Les premières cases sont très étroites, le manche s'élargit seulement à partir de la 5ème case, au niveau de la chanterelle, contrairement à d'autres banjos où le manche s'élargit progressivement. Cela peut être gênant dans un premier temps, mais on s'y accoutume bien au final. Le manche procure un confort de jeu optimal. Les possibilités de réglages sont infinies (24 crochets de serrage, tige de réglage bidirectionnelle,...).
Je ne suis pas un banjoiste confirmé, mais cet instrument donne envie de jouer, et possède sans aucun doute le meilleur rapport qualité-prix du marché. Indéniablement !
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Bestmögliches Einsteigerbanjo
Michael842, 09.01.2012
Es ist sehr schwierig eine vernünftige Auskunft über Banjos zu bekommen - zumindest in Deutschland bzw. auf deutschen Webseiten. Englischsprachige Webseiten bieten schon mehr Auskunft. Das nur als Hinweis auf meinen Leidensweg.

Warum ich dieses Banjo als bestmögliches Einsteigerinstrument bezeichne: Es ist gut bis sehr gut verarbeitet, es hat einen sehr guten Klang und es hat sowohl Resonator als auch einen Tonring.

Ich bin selbst kein fachkundiger Bluegrass-Banjo-Spieler, sondern lediglich interessiert an diesem Instrument. Allerdings bin ich Gitarrist und hab somit etwas Ahnung worauf es bei Saiteninstrumenten ankommt bzw. wie ein gutes Instrument klingt.

Ich hatte in der engeren Auswahl das Deering Goodtime Openback (ohne Resonator, ohne (Metall-)Tonring und ohne Halsstab - dafür aber angeblich exzellente Hardware und super amerikanische Verarbeitung) - was leider nicht lieferbar war.
Außerdem habe ich zunächst das einzig verfügbare Banjo in der 400 Euro Region bestellt: Das Fender FB-55, was eine große Enttäuschung war. Vielleicht wär es okay gewesen, aber das Binding war aufgebrochen (Material/Fabrikationsfehler) an der Oberseite, die Mechaniken waren so schlecht, dass sie unter dem Saitenzug sofort wieder nachgegeben haben und dann ist sogar noch eine Saite beim Stimmen gerissen (was eigentlich nur schlechtes Timing war, das kann ja immer mal passieren).

Ich wusste nur, dass ein billiges Instrument rausgeworfenes Geld ist (bei den Gitarren schon oft gemacht und meistens bereut). Durch Glück war nach der Retoure vom Fender FB-55 das Recording King auf Lager verfügbar - für 400 Euro. Allein der Dollar Preis macht klar: Fender FB 55 = 450 Dollar, RK 35 = 699 Dollar (siehe Internet). Also einfach auf gut Glück bestellt und ich bin im Nachhinein sehr glücklich über diese Entscheidung.
Wie gesagt, kleinere Verarbeitungsschwächen (nichts wirklich Auffälliges), die Tuner/Mechaniken sind auch nicht vom Feinsten (allerdings deutlich besser als die vom Fender FB 55), aber ansonsten kann man hier nichts verkehrt machen. Der Klang ist eine wahre Freude - wie gesagt, ich zupfe bisher eher im Gitarrenstil und weiß nicht, wie das "perfekte Banjo" klingen sollte, aber dieses Banjo ist laut, wohlklingend und lässt sich super bespielen. Außerdem hat es einen Tonring (offenbar einen sehr guten), einen Halsstab sowie einen Resonator - der auch entfernt werden kann und dann hat man einen schönen pappigen Open-Back-Sound. Und außerdem find ich das Instrument auch wunderschön im matten Holz-Look. Die Mechaniken kann man ja irgendwann nochmal nachrüsten, der Rest ist super. Als letzter Anreiz: Der Hersteller gibt eine lebenslange Garantie auf das Instrument - wie oder ob das in Deutschland auch gilt, weiß ich nicht, aber es zeugt davon, dass der Hersteller auf Langlebigkeit und Beständigkeit wertlegt.
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£799
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