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Product H83007

Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo

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Fender' Rustler open-back banjo produces a nice mellow tone with comfortably lightweight feel. Features include a maple open-back body with a smooth ...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

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

Fender' 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 œsnowflake 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
  • Delicate snowflake inlays

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

SPECIFICATIONS
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
 
4.8

(based on 37 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (28)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good tone (33)
  • Consistent (16)
  • Well built / quality (12)
  • Long life (4)
  • Lightweight (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (25)
  • Back-up (11)
  • Concerts (9)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (19), Novice (13), Professional musician (4)

Reviewed by 37 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Awesome price! Nice entry-level banjo!

By Emanon

from Oregon

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Good Tone
  • Good Tuning Machines
  • Plenty Of Volume
  • Plenty Of Volume Sound
  • Price
  • Quality Workmanship
  • Satisfactory Volume

Cons

  • Cheap Fret Board Inlays
  • Neck Inlays Cheap-looking

Best Uses

  • Backup
  • Concerts
  • Practicing

Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

First, I am a knowledgeable musician with capability to play many instruments well. I began playing banjo in 1978 and have owned and played both low-quality and high-quality banjos (and some in between) over the years. I bought this banjo because of its price as a Stupid Deal of the Day. After receiving it, I immediately took it to my luthier for proper set-up. In addition to setting the bridge, he did some minor dressing of the fret ends and adjustments to the drum head tension. After just 90 minutes I held in my hands a banjo that is amazing in sound (volume), tone and overall play-ability. The action is amazing. The feel is just right for my medium/large hands. I love the satin finish on the neck; it allows my left hand to glide smoothly up and down the neck with ease. The tuning machines are quite nice for an instrument at this price point; enclosed chrome geared tuners that work nicely in tuning the instrument with ease. The only criticism that I feel justified to make regards the snowflake inlays on the fret board. They are lackluster and look as though they are nothing more than grayish/white plastic that has been poured in to set in the snowflake patterns. But what can one expect at the Stupid Deal of the Day price point? I am more than pleased with my purchase!

(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Darn nice little frailer!

By Fiddle&GuitarMan

from Mars Hill, NC

About Me Professional Musician

See all my reviews

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.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Outstanding!

By Dale

from Orlando, FL

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Attractive Finish
  • Consistent
  • Excellent Setup
  • Good Finish
  • Good intonation
  • Good Tone
  • Sweet Clear Sound

Cons

  • Wish It Had A Case

Best Uses

    Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

    I'm a "serious" hobby guitar player, and enjoy 5-sting banjo on the side. This is my 4th 5-string banjo in about 40 years, first open back. I love this Fender. Finish is low luster which I like. Action was wonderful right out of the box. (You need to set the bridge, so bring your ear or tuner and place bridge using harmonics + frets, right!?!) The tone is even and clear and sweet on all strings and all frets. The strings seem wonderful. Don't know what they are. I like that it is lighter weight than a banjo with a back. Maybe I lucked out with this one, but I am very happy with the quality and playability of this Fender. Since getting this one a few months ago, I continued to shop (don't we all?) and have played other banjos up to 4 times the cost and vastly preferred this one Musicians Friend sent me on a SDotD. Very pleased. Fender exceeded my expectation with this one.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Good Banjo

    By Rich BluesCannon

    from Germany

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Consistent
    • Good Quality For A Fender
    • Good Tone
    • Light In Weight

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Concerts
      • Practicing

      Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

      Decent for the money. I have had lots of problems with Fender. But this banjo is well made....so far.
      But you must set up this najo yourself it is not playable upon receipt. The good news is that you can see the setup and tuning from You Tube

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      So glad I pulled the trigger

      By first_time_banjo_player_for_life

      from Orlando, FL

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Consistent
      • Easy Set Up
      • Excellent Packaging
      • Good Tone
      • Long Life
      • Shipped Fast
      • Strong

      Cons

      • None Found

      Best Uses

      • A' Pickin' N' A' Grinnin'

      Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

      Really impressed with the quality and tone of this instrument. My only regret is that I waited so long to pick one up! For an open back banjo the sound is rich and full... and the playability factor is off the charts. 5 stars all day.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Nice banjo!

      By JP

      from Troy, NY

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Good Tone
      • Plays And Sounds Great

      Cons

      • None

      Best Uses

      • My Go-to Banjo

      Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

      Like several other reviewers, I got this banjo as a Stupid Deal of the Day. This is a great banjo, well built, nicely finished. It sounds very good and is really a pleasure to play. I had to install the bridge, tighten the head, and changed strings to a medium gauge. Couldn't be happier. Okay, the neck inlays are not MOP, but for what I paid I feel like I stole it.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Delightful! Fun!

      By Hokie Joe

      from Southern Illinois

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Pros

      • Good Tone

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

          I have been playing guitar for 35 years, and always thought the banjo sounded awesome. I wanted to get an inexpensive one to try my hand. This is ideal! I got it on stupid deal of the day, and was expecting it to be of much lesser quality. It greatly exceeds my expectations! It plays well and sounds great. There were no instructions included for bridge positioning, but those can be found on the net and I accomplished this quickly, and the intonation is spot on. If you want to try the banjo, this is the way to go.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Great SDOTD and Beginner Banjo

          By Manny Moses

          from Ft Lauderdale, FL

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Consistent
          • Good Tone
          • Stays in tune

          Cons

          • "rustler" On Headstock

          Best Uses

            Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

            I'm a guitar player. I've always wanted to try playing the banjo. Didn't want to buy a cheap cheap banjo and get frustrated. Saw this as SDOTD and at the price I was sold. I'm no banjo expert but I am loving this banjo. It sounds great. The only thing was I had to set up the bridge but I can understand why it came separate. Took two seconds to figure out after watching videos online. Only bad thing is the ridiculous "Rustler" on the headstock. Go get yourself one and get blisters on your fingers.

            (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            On stupid deal of the day

            By Crusher

            from Fla

            About Me Novice

            Pros

            • 130 On Sale
            • Consistent
            • Good Tone
            • Strong

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                Got it on stupid deal of the day. Aside from the goofy rambler on head stock i dig it

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great for Beginner!

                By Mary

                from Mississippi

                See all my reviews

                Ask me a question

                Pros

                • Good value
                • Lightweight

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Practicing

                  Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                  This banjo is ideal for me. I am a guitarist and wanted to learn banjo. I like the open back as it is lightweight. So far, I have found this to be great for a beginner!

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  High quality for price.

                  By Stanko

                  from Chicago il

                  About Me Novice

                  See all my reviews

                  Ask me a question

                  Pros

                  • Consistent
                  • Good Tone
                  • Long Life
                  • Strong

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                      Bought on a STOD. Friend is a banjo player teaching me the forward roll.
                      He says for the money this banjo is of the quality of others at triple the price.

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      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....

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        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.

                           
                          5.0

                          Great starter banjo!

                          By Wesha1

                          from Indiana

                          About Me Experienced

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent
                          • Good Tone

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Practicing

                            Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                            Long time guitar player, I have always wanted a banjo and this was a great fit

                             
                            4.0

                            Good instrument.

                            By Tonecrush

                            from SO FL

                            About Me Experienced

                            See all my reviews

                            Ask me a question

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Well made

                            Cons

                            • No Case

                            Best Uses

                            • Backup
                            • Concerts
                            • Practicing

                            Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                            I am happy with all aspects of this banjo. It's easy to play and it stays in tune. It has the banjo cluck I was looking for. I am a guitarist looking to add another instrument and I find this economical piece the perfect way to get started.

                             
                            5.0

                            Nice for the price

                            By farmerjohn

                            from midwest

                            About Me Novice

                            See all my reviews

                            Ask me a question

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Consistent
                            • Good Tone

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Backup
                              • Practicing

                              Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                              Very nice for the price, holds tuning well, sounds nice to my untrained ear. Seems to be of good quality and very playable after initial set-up.

                               
                              5.0

                              great value

                              By resonatorlover

                              from NY

                              About Me Experienced

                              See all my reviews

                              Ask me a question

                              Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                              I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the components and the workmanship. Banjo compares favorably with my Goldtone CC 100R. Very nice instrument.

                               
                              4.0

                              Great Value

                              By LD

                              from Van Alstyne, TX

                              About Me Experienced

                              See all my reviews

                              Ask me a question

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Good Tone
                              • Strong

                              Cons

                              • None

                              Best Uses

                              • Practicing

                              Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                              It's a great value as one of the "Stupid Deals of the Day" has to be one of the stupidest, cause it was really hugely discounted. The nearest one in price I found was over double what I paid.

                              It took some setup and adjustment, which could cause some more novice players some grief. Once adjusted, it is great. This is the first open-backed banjo I've ever owned, and I like it a lot.

                               
                              5.0

                              Rustler 5-string banjo

                              By guvno

                              from Elgin IL

                              About Me Professional Musician

                              See all my reviews

                              Ask me a question

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Consistent
                              • Good Tone
                              • Long Life
                              • Strong

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Practicing

                                Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                                Pot is a lot smaller than I expected although there is plenty of volume. Bargain for the price.

                                 
                                5.0

                                Great bang for the buck and solid.

                                By Themanfromalabam

                                from Chicago, north.

                                About Me Experienced

                                See all my reviews

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Practicing

                                    Comments about Fender Rustler Open Back Banjo:

                                    This is my first banjo, long time guitar player....I know very little about banjo's but for the stupid deal of the day price I couldn't pass this one up. So far I am having fun with this instrument, it seams solid and quality built.

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