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Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo  

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With its sharp attack and minimal sustain, the Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo is a great beginning resonator model. The banjo features an inl...Read More

Gold Coverage: (What’s This?)
  • MSRP:
    $667.99
  • Your Savings:
    - $168.00
  • On Sale Today:
    - $84.00
  • Shipping (48 Contiguous U.S. States)
    FREE
  • Sale Price:
    $41599

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      OVERVIEW

      A great beginning resonator model.

      With its sharp attack and minimal sustain, the Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo is a great beginning resonator model. The banjo features an inlaid mother-of-pearl peghead inlay and heart-shaped position markers, plus a rolled brass, hoop tone ring, planetary tuners, and a bound rosewood fretboard. Case sold separately.

      FEATURES
      • Laminated Maple Rim
      • Mahogany Neck
      • Mahogany Veneer Resonator
      • 1-Piece Nickel-Plated Flange
      • 24 Brackets
      • Rolled Brass Tone Ring
      • Single Coordinator Rods
      • Bound Rosewood Fretboard
      • M.O.P. Floral Fretboard Inlay
      • M.O.P. Vine Peghead Inlay
      • Rosewood Peghead Overlay
      • 4-Ply Ivoroid Heel Cap
      • Kershner Tailpiece
      • Nickel-Plated Hardware
      • REMO Fiberskyn Head
      • Notched Hoop
      • Nut Width: 1-3/16"
      • Head Size: 11", 7/16" height
      • Frets: 22
      • Total Length: 39"
      • Weight: 10.45 lb.
      • Case sold separately

      Get a great banjo at a great price — call or click to order now.

      Reviews
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      Review Snapshot®

      by PowerReviews
      Recording KingBluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo
       
      4.8

      (based on 19 reviews)

      Ratings Distribution

      • 5 Stars

         

        (17)

      • 4 Stars

         

        (1)

      • 3 Stars

         

        (1)

      • 2 Stars

         

        (0)

      • 1 Stars

         

        (0)

      100%

      of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

      Pros

      • Good tone (5)
      • Well built / quality (4)

      Cons

        Best Uses

            • Reviewer Profile:
            • Novice (5)

          Most Liked Positive Review

           

          Retried engineer

          I like the whole design of this banjo. I am an engineer by trade and a woodworker, and am impressed with the design and finish of this banjo. The design of the mounts...Read complete review

          I like the whole design of this banjo. I am an engineer by trade and a woodworker, and am impressed with the design and finish of this banjo. The design of the mounts and rings not only look good, but are designed very well. Much better than my other banjo. The stain and finish of the wood is perfect. I can't find a flaw anywhere. There are no flaws in the chrome, and no rough edges.

          I read a complaint about the tuners, but these tuners are good, as far as I can see. They did need the screws tightened, but may be left lose on purpose, for storage purposes. I tightened them, and my banjo stays tuned, as it should.

          I'm not an expert, but I think you would have to spend several thousands of dollars more to get into a banjo to beat the quality of this banjo. I encourage all beginners to begin with this banjo, and ungrade from here, if necessary.

          I do think the manufacturer needs to provide an instruction manual. I think this is a banjo targeted to beginners, and the manufacturer needs to keep in mind the beginner knows nothing about the banjo setup. Many may be trying to self teach, because there are no banjo teachers available, like my situation. If the manufacturer wants to encourage more banjo players and sell more banjos, providing an instruction manual with their beginner banjos is a must. Without a setup manual this banjo can be a frustrating piece of junk to many beginners.
          For an affordable banjo for beginners and most other casual players, this is an excellent choice. No shortcuts have been taken in making this instrument. I have seen many banjos of much a higher price range that are not made as well, look as good, or sound as well.

          I believe it is important for a beginner to have a banjo that sounds good to train his/her ear to how the Banjo should sound. This banjo is exceptional for the beginner. I own another banjo, but the sound doesn't compare to this one. I doubt I will ever want to upgrade to a more expensive banjo in the future.

          Naturally, the banjo needs to be setup. Like the bridge is not set in place and the head needs to be tightened to the right tone. Also, the tuner screws need to be tightened. The manufacturer does not send any instructions. I would suggest the manufacturer send setup instructions, with instructions on setting the bridge position, installing strings, and tightening and tuning the head. After all beginners are buying this banjo, and may not have a local music store familiar with setting up banjos, like is my situation. I had to get on the internet a find the information I needed.

          Either that, or the manufacturer needs to make sure their distributers setup all banjos, before shipping to customers. Some music stores do this, which is good when shipping to a beginner with no local music shop available.
          The workmanship is exceptional. There are absolutely no flaws, on my banjo. For an economical banjo, it looks like an expensive banjo. When a beginner can buy an affordable instrument he/she is proud of, it should be a motivator to encourage them to practice.

          This banjo is one of the best looking banjos I've ever seen.
          After seeing the workmanship and hearing the quality of sound, the price is unbelievable. This is the perfect choice for the beginner. A beginner doesn't want to invest too much into a banjo, until they know whether they like to play or can play the banjo. This is a great beginner banjo. Later, when a person is an experienced player he/she can make an educated choice in upgrading, if he/she ever wants to upgrade from this banjo. I doubt I ever will.

          VS

          Most Liked Negative Review

           

          RK-R20 is a Pretty Wall Hanging

          I just assembled my new Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo Regular. It is a pretty banjo that can't be tuned. The tuning pegs are so cheap you can see them rotate back immediately after...Read complete review

          I just assembled my new Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo Regular. It is a pretty banjo that can't be tuned. The tuning pegs are so cheap you can see them rotate back immediately after release. I expected more based on the reviews found on the Musician's Friends website. Mine can't be the only RK-R20 with this problem. Since I was not really dealing with a store (as I discovered when I called to discuss this problem)the only option is to return a Christmas gift. Well, I guess I could invest another $150 into some Grovers and I'm confident it would be a great sounding banjo. So, until the existing tuners are replaced the Songster is just a pretty wall hanging. Or, I can return the Songster paying additional shipping and handling.

          Reviewed by 19 customers

          Sort by

          Displaying reviews 1-10

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          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          happy happy happy

          By sidewinder

          from alabama

          About Me Novice

          Ask me a question

          Pros

          • Consistent
          • Good Tone
          • Strong

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Practicing

            Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

            great banjo ,stay in tune great sound. the brass tone make it come alive. I try a goodtime 2 banjo it was light but it had no sound. and I try other banjo. this one is A keeper. it is A good looking banjo. just what the Doctor order. Buy one and you will be picking and grening.

            Comment on this review

            (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Perfect Banjo For Beginners and Up!

            By Joshua

            from Adams, TN

            About Me Novice

            Pros

            • Consistent
            • Good Tone
            • Strong

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                I play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, piano, autoharp,and trumpet, so I decided to get a banjo. I did a lot of shopping around before I chose to go with this banjo. I was a bit skeptical when I ordered it, but was VERY happy when I got it.

                The tuners on it were perfectly fine when I got it. They hold very nicely.

                It is a very nice instrument and looks better in your hands than the picture posted here.

                It has VERY good sound and I couldn't be more happy with it. I will not be needing another one for years to come!

                Comment on this review

                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Sweet experience

                By jovi

                from Henderson, NV

                About Me Novice

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Beauty
                • Good Action
                • Good Tone
                • Quality

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                    My "musically inclined" grown son wanted a banjo for Christmas. Being a novice guitar player with a professional guitar player in my family, I knew a "starter" banjo would not be an option; top of the line wasn't happening either. I had to narrow it down to quality and price so research began with youtube...listening to some of the banjos and "commercials". Next was the internet. Looking for pricing, specials, shipping and I had narrowed it down to three. I then told my son to view the three options the same as I had done. He chose the Recording King RK-R20 which was the one I was leaning toward also. I contacted Musicians Friend and placed my order. The customer service representatives were informative, helpful, fun, gracious and made the experience very satisfying. The banjo was out of stock and wasn't expected to be delivered before Christmas but, somehow, it made it earlier. My son LOVES it and is playing it more than his guitar now. The quality, playability and tone are fantastic. Excellent Choice!

                    Comment on this review

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Good starter banjo

                    By PMCPicker

                    from Northern Illinois

                    About Me Novice

                    Ask me a question

                    Pros

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                          Been playing guitar for 40 years and Dobro for a couple and wanted to add the banjo without spending a ton of money. Banjo player from my local music store recomended this one. I would have bought it from them but it was back ordered and they had no idea when they could get one. They don't have the buying power that Musician's Friend has.

                          The banjo is made in China for different companies. Recording King and Morgan Monroe are two that I know of specifically. I looked all over the net and couldn't find one. It was back ordered everywhere. I considered others but simply could not find a banjo of this quality for this price anywhere. I had to wait about five weeks to get it from MF.

                          Appearance is beautiful. Sound is very good. Fit and finish is very good. I had to install the bridge and set the intonation but it wasn't difficult. I will take it into a shop for a professional set up when I get a chance. Meanwhile it plays just fine.

                          There was no problem with the tuners on mine. If you get one with problem tuners and cannot adjust them I wouldn't replace them. I would send the banjo back. True, you have to pay the shipping but that's true of everything at MF. It's the risk you take for the overall savings from buyng online.

                          Having done the research and now having played this banjo, I'm convinced you cannot get a better banjo in this price range

                          Comment on this review

                          (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Recording King - good stuff!

                          By SixString-scPG4

                          from Texas

                          About Me Experienced

                          Ask me a question

                          Pros

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                                I have heard a lot about this Recording King brand lately. My buddy bought a RK-25 banjo that was great! It was a little more money then this rk-25. I still like the RK-25 better, but for the money this RK-25 is outstanding. Loved the set up and the tone!

                                Comment on this review

                                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Very good banjo - just as expected

                                By Banjo Guy

                                from Mid Missouri

                                About Me Novice

                                Pros

                                • Good Tone
                                • No problems with tuners
                                • Quality Construction
                                • Setup easy via internet
                                • Sound Quality very good
                                • Very Good Finish

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                    Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                                    Experienced musician with guitars etc. Decided to pick up Banjo. Had been looking for long time, and found this to be best deal with respect to quality and price.

                                    Banjo arrived very quickly, and was in double boxes with packaging so very well insulated from impact - nicely done

                                    Setup easy by reading on internet. Others complain about lose tuners - but they tighten right up, and don't slip at all.

                                    Very nicely finished, and sound is very good/bright. Glad I purchased this one.

                                    Comment on this review

                                    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    5.0

                                    WHAT A BANJO FOR THE MONEY OR EVEN MORE!

                                    By fwhite

                                    from Annapolis, MD

                                    About Me Professional Musician

                                    Verified Buyer

                                    Pros

                                    • Good Tone
                                    • Strong

                                    Cons

                                      Best Uses

                                      • Playing and looking good

                                      Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                                      I'm a guitar player of fifty plus years, from pro to now collector. I know strings instruments and own many. Never played banjo so I bought this banjo to teach myself how to play. Didn't want to spend a fortune, but can't stand cheap workmanship or looks. This banjo looks and plays unbeatable for it's price. No, it looks and plays like it should be three times the price. And I love the old Monkey Wards "Recording King" name. Instant Retro for a collector!

                                      Comment on this review

                                      (17 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Retried engineer

                                      By Stephen Hage

                                      from Northwest

                                      Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                                      I like the whole design of this banjo. I am an engineer by trade and a woodworker, and am impressed with the design and finish of this banjo. The design of the mounts and rings not only look good, but are designed very well. Much better than my other banjo. The stain and finish of the wood is perfect. I can't find a flaw anywhere. There are no flaws in the chrome, and no rough edges.

                                      I read a complaint about the tuners, but these tuners are good, as far as I can see. They did need the screws tightened, but may be left lose on purpose, for storage purposes. I tightened them, and my banjo stays tuned, as it should.

                                      I'm not an expert, but I think you would have to spend several thousands of dollars more to get into a banjo to beat the quality of this banjo. I encourage all beginners to begin with this banjo, and ungrade from here, if necessary.

                                      I do think the manufacturer needs to provide an instruction manual. I think this is a banjo targeted to beginners, and the manufacturer needs to keep in mind the beginner knows nothing about the banjo setup. Many may be trying to self teach, because there are no banjo teachers available, like my situation. If the manufacturer wants to encourage more banjo players and sell more banjos, providing an instruction manual with their beginner banjos is a must. Without a setup manual this banjo can be a frustrating piece of junk to many beginners.
                                      For an affordable banjo for beginners and most other casual players, this is an excellent choice. No shortcuts have been taken in making this instrument. I have seen many banjos of much a higher price range that are not made as well, look as good, or sound as well.

                                      I believe it is important for a beginner to have a banjo that sounds good to train his/her ear to how the Banjo should sound. This banjo is exceptional for the beginner. I own another banjo, but the sound doesn't compare to this one. I doubt I will ever want to upgrade to a more expensive banjo in the future.

                                      Naturally, the banjo needs to be setup. Like the bridge is not set in place and the head needs to be tightened to the right tone. Also, the tuner screws need to be tightened. The manufacturer does not send any instructions. I would suggest the manufacturer send setup instructions, with instructions on setting the bridge position, installing strings, and tightening and tuning the head. After all beginners are buying this banjo, and may not have a local music store familiar with setting up banjos, like is my situation. I had to get on the internet a find the information I needed.

                                      Either that, or the manufacturer needs to make sure their distributers setup all banjos, before shipping to customers. Some music stores do this, which is good when shipping to a beginner with no local music shop available.
                                      The workmanship is exceptional. There are absolutely no flaws, on my banjo. For an economical banjo, it looks like an expensive banjo. When a beginner can buy an affordable instrument he/she is proud of, it should be a motivator to encourage them to practice.

                                      This banjo is one of the best looking banjos I've ever seen.
                                      After seeing the workmanship and hearing the quality of sound, the price is unbelievable. This is the perfect choice for the beginner. A beginner doesn't want to invest too much into a banjo, until they know whether they like to play or can play the banjo. This is a great beginner banjo. Later, when a person is an experienced player he/she can make an educated choice in upgrading, if he/she ever wants to upgrade from this banjo. I doubt I ever will.

                                      Comment on this review

                                      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Fantastic Product,

                                      By Trevor Cornwell

                                      from Wichita falls, TX

                                      Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                                      Unless you are going into banjo professionally, this is the banjo to buy. I will first say that the color that is shown in the picture is the accual color of the banjo. This product has all of the "bells and whistles" that you could ask for. Even if you are an advanced player this is still a good backup or standard banjo.
                                      This has everything that a banjo should need, no more, no less.
                                      The instant i started checking out this banjo i could feel that it was heavy. Its good to have a banjo that is heavy, especially if the banjo has a resonator. It means the materials used in the making of it aren't cheap or fragile.
                                      There are definately cheaper banjos on the market, of which many i have played on, but this banjo for the price that they are asking is absolutly excellent.

                                      Comment on this review

                                      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      A Great Starter Banjo

                                      By Bearfoot Hillbilly

                                      from Rock Hill, SC

                                      Comments about Recording King Bluegrass Series RK-R20 Songster Banjo:

                                      A Fantastic Starter banjo You would have a hard time finding a better one
                                      About the same as the lesser starter banjos but the rk-r20 Has a rolled brass tone ring for a much better sound. And I love the decorative inlays over the old dots.

                                      A Very good product for the money
                                      The only setup problem I had was the planetary tuners. Thy would not hold the tension on the strings. But when I took it to a music store to have a pro look at it he showed me that all I had to do was tighten the screws on the tuners and it worked great. Now I have a banjo and mud on my face.
                                      You could buy a starter banjo for less but all you would get an pot and tone ring. A brass tone ring sounds a lot better then aluminum. Pot not quite as good as forged brass you find in the high end banjos.

                                      Comment on this review

                                      Displaying reviews 1-10

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