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MF MD HG Countdown to NAMM 01-22-15
Top Rated
SKU 
H83007 000000000

Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo  

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Fender’s Rustler open-back banjo produces a nice mellow tone with comfortably lightweight feel. Features include a maple open-back body with a smooth...Read More

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      OVERVIEW

      An easy-to-own, mellow-sounding banjo with maple tonewoods and snowflake inlays.

      Fender’s Rustler open-back banjo produces a nice mellow tone with comfortably lightweight feel. Features include a maple open-back body with a smooth satin finish, 18-piece rolled-brass tone ring, maple rim and neck, and 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with “snowflake” position inlays.

      FEATURES
      • Traditional 5-string format
      • 18-piece rolled brass tone ring
      • Lightweight, open back design
      • Mellow sounding maple body and neck
      • Comfortable rosewood fingerboard

      Trust a brand you know to come up with a nice banjo at the right price. Order today.

      SPECIFICATIONS

      Rustler Open Back Banjo

      • Body
      • Body: Maple
      • Body Shape: Banjo
      • Body Back: Laminated Maple Back
      • Body Sides: Laminated Maple Sides
      • Body Finish: Satin
      • Neck
      • Number of Frets: 22
      • Position Inlays: Stylized Snowflake
      • Fretboard: Rosewood
      • Neck Material: Hard Maple
      • Neck Finish: Satin
      • Nut Width: 1.125" (2.9 cm)
      • Scale Length: 25" (63.5 cm)
      • Hardware
      • Hardware: Chrome
      • Bridge: Maple with Rosewood Tip
      • String Nut: Synthetic Bone
      • Miscellaneous
      • Unique Features: Open back, maple rim, satin finish, Rustler and Fender mother of pearl acryllic logos, Fender headstock shape and 18-piece rolled brass tone ring
      Reviews
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      Review Snapshot®

      by PowerReviews
      FenderRustler Open Back Banjo
       
      4.7

      (based on 3 reviews)

      Ratings Distribution

      • 5 Stars

         

        (2)

      • 4 Stars

         

        (1)

      • 3 Stars

         

        (0)

      • 2 Stars

         

        (0)

      • 1 Stars

         

        (0)

      Pros

      • Good tone (3)

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Reviewed by 3 customers

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          Displaying reviews 1-3

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          5.0

          New to banjos

          By mouse101uk

          from Waco, Tx

          About Me Novice

          Pros

          • Good Tone

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Practicing

            Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

            I am writing this as someone who is new to banjos, but have played stringed instruments fo 40 years. Starting with nylon stringed spanish style guitar, then electric guitar, acoustic-electric, lap steel, several ukuleles and now this banjo I ordered as stupid deal of the day 1/18/15. Out of the packaging there is a feel of quality, set up of the bridge was easy, and I quickly had the banjo tuned and ready to go. I thought that the lack of a resonator might hinder the tone, but it is good, and loud when played. I just need to practice some rolls, learn a few songs and see what sounds I can get out of it....

            Comment on this review

             
            4.0

            Darn nice little frailer!

            By Fiddle&guitarman

            from Mars Hill, NC USA

            About Me Professional Musician

            Ask me a question

            Pros

            • Consistent
            • Good Tone
            • Solid Construction
            • Strong

            Cons

            • Neck Top-heavy
            • Poor finish

            Best Uses

            • Backup
            • Concerts
            • Practicing

            Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

            I ordered this on a whim, since it was a "Stupid Deal" and wondered (for the price) "how bad could it be" for use as a frailing old-time back up banjo. I've always had fairly good luck with Fender on most things, so I thought why not. It arrived three days after ordering in perfect condition (thanks MF) and I must say when I took it out of the box I was impressed. Of course, it needed a complete set-up (set bridge, adjust truss rod, polish frets and oil the VERY dry fingerboard, tighten all hardware and tension the head, etc.) but since I'm an old hand at banjo set-up this was expected. The Fender strings it came with were not much, so I changed them out first thing, and when I got it tuned up I was blown away by the bell-like tone! Great clawhammer banjo, with that sought-after bark, due to the rolled brass tone ring and decent tailpiece.

            I had to file down the nut slots as the factory nut is way too high, causing it to note sharp at the first couple of frets, but again that's not a big deal. What blew me away is this thing has DUAL CO-ORDINATING RODS inside the shell, something that is just not seen in banjos at this price point. This is a feature found on professional bluegrass-style banjos and higher level instruments, and it helps keep the neck stable and therefore helps keep the tuning rock-solid, and improves sustain and tone. The fingerboard is good and flat, with nice acrylic inlays, and the frets have no sharp ends or high spots, again good things that I didn't expect to see at this price point. I also like the tuners, which are "Grover-ish" sealed gear-type, and seem solid and stable. The fifth peg is geared and seems fine too, even though it's tilted a bit too far back for my tastes. The shell (body) is made of laminated maple, with individual bracket "shoes" (cast alloy) and 18 brackets that work fine. All in all, this thing is built very well and should last a long time, if properly taken care of. It should be noted that all the metal parts seem to be steel, except for the bracket shoes and the tone ring, so this is obviously not meant to be a professional-quality instrument with brass parts, just sayin'. However, this banjo sounds like it has brass parts, though, with excellent intonation and good overtones. One of the best little banjos I've seen lately, especially for the money!

            Now for a few negatives - - the neck is rather "chunky", that is, a little fat and heavily-made, compared to the lighter body (pot) assembly. So much so that when you sit & hold it the neck tends to fall toward the floor. Probably not that big a deal if you're playing standing up (with a strap). Old-time banjos generally have thinner necks, are lighter & more balanced, but you may or may not notice this top-heaviness when you play it. Another thing I must comment on is Fender's use of that horrible matte spray-on finish. It is all over the wood, and is just awful. Thick in places, almost like an "orange peel" finish. It makes an otherwise attractively-made instrument look very cheap. I can see it being used on the back of the neck, where it would actually help the hand slide more freely, but all over the headstock it hides the really pretty MOP "Fender" & "Rustler" inlay and makes the instrument appear like it's made of plastic. I took the liberty of rubbing down the whole neck with oil and rottenstone, which resulted in a very nice slick semi-gloss finish overall, and now it looks like a top-notch and classy banjo. How much extra could it cost Fender to just spray gloss on it or at least buff a semi-gloss on it? And the color of the neck and body is really atrocious, being a pinkish-purplish mahogany-like stain that just doesn't sink into the maple very well (it would look much better in a brown-ish stain, or just black), anything but purple. I really think Fender could do better than this - - after making a really decent instrument here, and then to ruin it with such a crummy finish is beyond understanding! One other confusing thing - - in the product description (on all websites) it state that it has an "18-piece rolled brass tone ring". What they are obviously referring to is it has 18 brackets (for the head tensioning) - - the tone ring is a rolled brass hoop-type, fitted under the head onto the body. This may cause some confusion, and it's questionable how such a glaring error could occur in describing Fender's own products. Maybe this model has not been on the market that long as to raise red flags in the product description details, who knows?

            All in all, though, this is a fine little frailing or old-time banjo which when properly set up, will treat the player with a great, warm and vibrant tone. For the money on the Stupid Deal, it was really a no-brainer. I only hope that Fender abandons use of that terrible spray-on matte finish and not ruin any more of their otherwise decent instruments with it.

            Comment on this review

             
            5.0

            Rustler Open Back 5-string review

            By barterinlines

            from Asheville, NC

            About Me Novice

            Pros

            • Good Tone
            • Light
            • Looks good

            Cons

            • Not Sure Yet

            Best Uses

              Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

              This banjo came up in Musician's Friend Deal of the Day but even at such a great deal, you can go wrong. I have been playing for 2 weeks on a Deering Sierra resonator, I knew this would not be that and that I would have some high expectations because of playing on that one. I got it today and I am really pleased. I love the look, the sound and after playing an older model Deering with a heavy resonator and tone ring, I love the weight of this banjo.

              There is a great youtube review of this banjo out there that sealed the deal for me in going ahead with the purchase, I am happy I did, great little banjo.

              Comment on this review

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