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Product 482348

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...Click To Read More About This Product

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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
 
4.9

(based on 22 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (20)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good tone (8)
  • Well built / quality (5)
  • Consistent (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

No Best Uses
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Novice (6)

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 22 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(18 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Retried engineer

By Stephen Hage

from Northwest

See all my reviews

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.

(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Best deal out there!

By Billy fairhurst

from Atlanta, GA

See all my reviews

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

After doing a lot of research on what to look for in a banjo this one had all of the features that I wanted and in a lower price range! I checked reviews at banjo hangout, on here, and youtube videos, sound clips on other websites and settled on this one and I couldn't possibly be happier! Everything about this banjo is amazing for it's price. It has a tone ring which most banjos in this price range don't have, and from the banjo for dummies book I'm teaching myself out of and every message board and review I've been able to find, this is an important part in a banjo's tone. The banjo is beautiful and I've gotten nothing but compliments about it's looks and sound! The wood grain and the paint on the resonator are gorgeous! The tuners are pearloid and look great, and so do the inlays! It was delivered super fast, even on the free shipping! Right out of the box it looked and felt amazing. The bridge wasn't attached, so I had to look up some banjo set up instructions and once I found a good one, it didn't take me long to get it set up. I got the bridge placed in the right spot for intonation, I tightened the screws on the tuner buttons and this thing never falls out of tune (You need to tighten the screws to keep the tuners from slipping.) It sounds and feels amazing with nice low action! I really couldn't be more pleased with this banjo! As I mentioned I was looking for a banjo in the beginner's price range that had the features and quality that would make it a banjo that would last as I got better at playing, and I found everything I wanted in this banjo!All the features on this banjo seem to be above the others in the price range. It has a tone ring, wood pot, a flange, gorgeous inlay work, great tuners!
I've played guitar for 12 years so I can tell the difference between a good quality instrument and a cheap crappy one. This banjo is amazing. I've only had it for a month but it stays in tune great, it sounds amazing and it definitely seems like an instrument that will last a long time and will be of good enough quality that I won't have to upgrade as I get better at playing the banjo!
As I mentioned it outshines all the other banjos in this price range, therefore it has amazing value!

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

RK20 Songster Sings!!

By RC-E_6FY

from Sacramento, CA

See all my reviews

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

Bought new a year ago with upgraded Canon Bridge and Mastercraft strings. Volume and attack are 25% higher than my friends identical banjo with the standard bridge! After tightening the screws on the knobs of the tuners, it holds its tune for weeks. It sounds, plays, and looks like it cost $400 more than it did. Can't go wrong if you're after that loud, sharp bluegrass sound on a budget.

(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.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

A Great Starter Banjo

By Bearfoot Hillbilly

from Rock Hill, SC

See all my reviews

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.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

great banjo

By enginejoe

from colorado

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

Very nice banjo,I haven't had any problems with this banjo and I've been playing it every day for over a year.I have been playing in bands for 32 years and i'm impressed.It stays in tune,the friction tuners can be tightened.I change strings on every new instrument no matter how much it cost! i bought a martin and it buzzed all over the neck until i changed the strings,then it played nice.every part on this banjo is good quality, why pay more.

(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!

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      happy happy happy

      By sidewinder

      from alabama

      About Me Novice

      See all my reviews

      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.

        (4 of 4 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!

            (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Recording King - good stuff!

            By SixString-scPG4

            from Texas

            About Me Experienced

            See all my reviews

            Ask me a question

            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!

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