Yesterday was a fun day! Met with Steve Huber of Huber Banjo Co. in Hendersonville, TN, to take delivery of my new Huber Custom Lexington, set up to my specific preferences (I chose to go with antique nickel rather than gold hardware and Steve dialed in the perfect action for my style of picking). Steve is a delight to work with, is a consummate craftsman, a great banjo picker as well as builder, and just an all-around super guy. Thanks, Steve, for meeting me on a Saturday and spending the hours to make sure everything was perfect. Thanks also for listening to me play and giving me some very valuable tips on how to play and maintain a quality banjo like this one. This is one BEAUTIFUL piece of work – in looks, sound, and playability!
I just wanted to thank you and your staff for the wonderful Lexington Banjo. WOW !! is the only thing I can come up with!! The fit and finish and quality speaks for itself.
I have owned several top end banjos over the years, but the sound and quality put in this Banjo is head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever had in my hands.
For anyone looking to purchase a fist class banjo that has an unbelievable sound package, look no further, The smooth separation of notes as well as the ability to bring the house down is effortless! This thing does it all..
I cannot thank Huber Banjo and Staff enough for the outstanding instrument you have provided me.
Customer for Life!
I purchased my Kalamazoo a year and a half ago. It had a great sound right out of the box. It is even and true all the way up the neck. It has surprised a lot of people that it was a new banjo. The workmanship is absolutely flawless. In my opinion, Steve and his team have reached their goal of capturing the old Gibson sound.
I first purchased a Kalamazoo with the Vintage ring and later upgraded to a TruTone rim/ring (actually the rim and ring were prototypes at the time before the TT name was used). I very much liked the tone of the Vintage ring, but when I got the TT rim/ring, I noted a tremendous increase in presence (i.e., there was a lot more sound and it was great). The workmanship is top-notch as well as the sound. This banjo is the gold standard by which I judge other banjos.
I got my Kalamazoo originally with the Vintage ring and wreath-style neck over 10 years ago. I had Steve install the HR-30 tone ring and engineered rim at the point when they were first ready as production versions. I really liked this banjo when I first got it; the tone was crisp and clear and it played well. Installation of the HR-30 ring and engineered rim provided subtle changes to the tone that added a fullness and depth that made it sound even better. I love the speed neck on this banjo; it really enhances playability. I have played a lot of banjos in my lifetime, and I believe that this Kalamazoo banjo can hold its own with any of them. Steve has really gotten as close to the pre-war Gibson sound as anyone, and I highly recommend the Kalamazoo or any of the banjos he builds.
I received my new Kalamazoo last week. (I also own a VRB-3)
This instrument has “presence”, clarity, sustain, unparalleled workmanship… Unrivaled Beauty!
Steve Huber is to the banjo what Stradivarius is to the violin.
To quote the Beachboys: you play a Kalamazoo and “You’re sittin’ on top of the world”.
Not only has he “captured” the Gibson sound… he has improved upon it.
I chose the Kalamazoo not only because I wanted a radiused fret-board and a maple neck, but above all, I feel this instrument is a personal expression of Steve’s love for the banjo with his inlay design, the “feel” of the instrument, and…. THE SOUND.
I have owned my Kalamazoo for about two years. I bought it new from Greg Boyd Music. It is a stock Kalamazoo with the added feature of a speed neck. The banjo is perfect. It has great action and outstanding tone. I own 6 five string banjos including a Gibson Blackjack and Granada. The Kalamazoo is the banjo I go to all the time. It is hard to put down!
Steve built me a custom Roanoke based banjo with Lexington engraving and gold plating. I wanted the wreath inlays, ebony radiused fingerboard, speed neck, and fiddle cut peghead. This banjo is hands down the best sounding and playing banjo I have ever played. Everyone that has played it has said the same thing. Can’t beat a Huber.
To last a lifetime!
I own and play a Huber – Lancaster weekly in front of an audience and I absolutely love it. It is a quality professional instrument that will last my lifetime. The playability and tone are second to none. The humble appearance emphasizes sound as opposed to glitz. I recommend Huber quality to all those who are serious about playing a banjo.
I have a Lancaster SN. 901-4 which is like an old friend now. I upgraded it 8 or 9 years ago with an HR-30 tone ring. Other than initial tightening of the head and one fret job, it has never needed any attention. I just play it with a big grin! I wouldn’t part with this banjo EVER!
I am really enjoying this banjo! Have hardly put it down since I got home with it. I had been looking for a couple of years trying to decide on the banjo that I wanted and when I settled on yours I still had some hesitation, afraid that after I spent that much money I might not be completely satisfied. But that’s not the case, in fact if I had the money today I would be on my way to buy a second one! I especially enjoyed the time you spent talking and playing for Tammy and I!
Thanks for a great banjo!!
I bought my VRB-G at the IBMA Trade show in 2015. It is my third Huber banjo, and though I love the other two, the VRB-G is my favorite. The tone is really close to many of the pre-war banjos that I have played; I don’t think any banjo other than the Huber can get so close to the tone of the pre-war Gibsons. Some of the pre-wars that I have played have inconsistencies across the strings. In other words, some have a “big” sounding fourth string but the other strings are not as good. Still others are awesome on the B string for the Foggy Mountain Breakdown lick, but the other strings are not as powerful. The thing I really like about my VRB-G is that its tone is consistent across the strings as well as up and down the neck. The feel of the neck on this banjo really suits my hands too. The quality of materials and workmanship on my VRB-G is excellent, as would be expected on any top quality banjo. Others may imitate the look, but Huber has the look and pre-war tone that a bluegrass player wants. I give the VRB-G my highest recommendation!
Huber Banjos built me a custom VRB-G about 2 years ago. Steve customized the setup to suit my desires and it is without a doubt the best sounding and easiest playing instrument I have ever had in my hands. This includes many vintage banjoes that are for sale at one of the best known vintage instrument dealers in Nashville.
Huber is a true boutique shop and the attention that Steve gives to each banjo that his firm produces is what distinguishes a “Huber” from all of the rest. If you are wanting a banjo that fits your unique playing style and has that original “Pre-War” sound – Don’t hesitate. Give Huber Banjos a call and have them start your build. You will have no regrets.
I have had my Granada VRB-G TrueTone for three years, I also have a Gibson Earl Scroogs 1996 model. The sound of my Huber VRB_G rings all the way up the neck and allows me to play hard or soft. When the setup is down right there is no other banjo that sounds as good.
If someone asks me what banjo to get – I highly recommend the GRANADA VRB-G! You will enjoy the sound.
I have purchased two VRB-G’s and the tone and craftsmanship is immaculate. When Steve describes the “classic rich sound”, he is understating the tone. The heavy note sound and pre-war decay is very close to many pre-war banjos I have played. As many know, pre-war Gibsons can vary in tone as well, despite the obvious collector’s interest in ownership. With Steve’s passionate interest in pre-war duplication and manufacture of rims, tone rings, necks, resonators and even custom heads, I would say he exceeds many conversion and pre-war originals and gives the amateur or pro the ability to play a banjo that meets and exceeds many collector’s banjos that can exceed six figures. I could have bought any U.S.A. manufacturer and bought Huber.
I’ve been playing my new VRB-G about three months now and the tone is already absolutely amazing. I feel it already has a bit more “settling in” to go yet, but already the sound and tone is as already near to an original pre war Gibson as I would think it’s possible to get from a modern banjo.
It has a fantastic action straight out of the case, and the craftsmanship and finish on it is also second to none, and it’s just beautiful to look at.
Buying the VRB-G I don’t think anyone would be disappointed. One fantastic banjo.
I have never had nor could I ever imagine having a banjo this nice. Its beauty and craftsmanship are unparalleled. I just got off my front porch after serenading the neighborhood with Home Sweet Home from Earl’s book. The clarion beauty of the up-the-neck notes brings shivers and smiles. Love the gumdrop amber tuners for their beauty and function. To everyone at Huber Banjos who made it possible for this banjo to enter Creation: Thank you. You make this world a better place!
James R. D.
As soon as I first heard and got my hands on some Huber banjos I wanted a VRB-G, admittedly partly because it is a representation of Earl Scruggs’ Granada with the promise of the coveted “pre-war” sound, but also because I just love the looks including the rich gold tone. Soundwise I knew I couldn’t go wrong with a Huber, yet every time I pick up the VRB-G it baffles me how clear and consistent it rings from way down to all the way up the neck and also across the strings, and how responsive and easy to play it is. The range of sounds from hard driving bluegrass close to the bridge to mellow at the neck is delightful, as is the separation of notes across strings. The neck deserves praise as well, its shape being the most comfortable I’ve played on any banjo so far. About the craftsmanship: Looking at the instrument, even at little details, it becomes obvious that Huber are as passionate about building their banjos as you will inevitably be about playing them. Thank you from across the pond for a great experience.
Last year at SPBGMA I purchased a VRB-4 from Steve. He spent time making sure the setup was correct and was kind enough to compare and contrast the differences with the banjo I had. I could not have been more pleased.
Players know that a walnut banjo has a sweet open and transparent tone and this banjo had that walnut sound so many enjoy in Style-4 pre-war banjos. The chrome plating was just as in the 1930’s and the craftsmanship and fit and finish was excellent. Huber banjos is easily at the top of US domestic production of banjos meant to honor and replicate pre-war banjos before 1945. His production controls and research are extensive and the quality has been exceptional for years. Own a Huber. You will never be disappointed.
This is a truly superior instrument, and even that is an understatement. It has taken me nearly ten years to make the decision to order a Huber banjo. Considering the fact that I live in California and would be ordering without having played a Huber, I was reluctant to make the investment. However, once I received the banjo and began playing it, I knew that made the right decision. The sound is like nothing I had ever played over a period of about fifty years.. the previous reviews said it all, so I won’t repeat their accurate observations. I have examined the instrument a number of times, with an eye for attention to detail. Perfection.
Thank you Steve and the Huber team!
I have owned my Huber VRB-4 for 2 1/2 years. Sorry it took so long for this review but have been too busy playing it! It was beautiful the moment I first saw it and still is. I estimate about 2500 hours of play time on this banjo with no problems except normal wear. The tone is wonderful. I can’t imagine any better sound. Mine is modified with gold plating which I believe has given the perfect sound I wanted. I am an amateur player for the love of the music and will play this banjo for the rest of my life. I enjoy and still play my previous banjos but this is a true instrument of music! What else is there to say.
I was finally able to upgrade from my “starter” banjo… and wow I’m I pleased!!! I chose this VRB-4 because I wanted not only a pre-war style banjo, but a sound that only walnut construction can produce. This instrument is beyond my expectations. The craftsmanship is second to none. The entire thing is absolute perfection in fit and finish. I chose the “hearts and flowers” inlays and had 5th string spikes installed as well. Photos of this beauty cannot do it justice.
Also, the case it comes with is top notch and the banjo fits like a glove. I might add that it arrived in perfect condition because it was packed carefully with lots of packing material for protection. This banjo will be my “love” for the rest of my life! Do yourself a favor… buy one– you won’t be disappointed!!
A Sonny Osborne video led me to the name Huber. He said it has an amazing sustain. He was absolutely correct. This banjo Resonates… that is the sound.
I wanted that sustain so I could play classical, pop, blues, jazz as well as traditional bluegrass. This banjo does it all Beautifully.
The neck is exceptionally smooth, One could not ask for better action on the fretboard.
This is a professional quality instrument… A banjo can’t get any more “reel” than this instrument.
Thank you Steve Huber!
I wrote the review above and wish to add a grateful THANK YOU to EVERYONE at Huber Banjos. There is a common spirit of excellence and quality that shows in the workmanship of this instrument. So I am actually giving this instrument 10 stars to ALL at Huber Banjos.
A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of getting a Huber banjo. So, I had Steve make one for me. When it arrived at my house a few months later, I instantly fell in love with the VRB-3. After picking just a few notes, I knew this was a keeper. The tone on this banjo is beautiful. Also, the tone is powerful when I need it to be powerful. The tone is unlike any of the other banjos I’ve owned. I actually sold my other banjos and bought a Huber Granada within a year of the VRB-3 purchase, and I don’t regret it at all! Furthermore, the VRB-3 is so versatile. Whether you love the musical stylings of J.D. Crowe or Bela Fleck, you can get the sound you want out of the banjo.
This thing is fantastic. An absolute bluegrass bazooka straight out of the box. Steve includes a note about checking head-tension and bridge placement, etc, but I haven’t been able to stop playing it long enough to do that yet. I’ve been pining for a straight-ahead, bright, strong banjo and played one of these in a music shop in Missoula, MT and immediately fell in love. I spent countless hours on the Huber site listening to the sound clips of all the different models and would then go to youtube and continue to do the same, head over to Banjohangout and read all the reviews and I consistently found myself drawn to the VRB-75. I couldn’t be any happier with my decision. Steve was very helpful in answering any and all of my questions and I’m thinking that this may very well be the last banjo I own. Time to call off the search.
I have a 1927 Gibson #3 banjo and wanted a comparable companion. I selected a customized Ron Block Model – fiddle cut head stock, Granada binding, antique nickle plating, wreath inlay. The workmanship is exceptional, the feel of the neck is great and sound is remarkable. Once it arrived and I brought out for my picking buddies to see and try, their appreciation of the banjo was great. It sparked an interest in Huber banjos and several of them have since acquired one.
Absolutely love my Huber Ron Block model. I’ve had it about five years, now. It’s got a smooth sound when played softly, yet has plenty of bite when I need it. When played near the neck, it’s got that hollow sound makes people smile. The response is even, all over, with a deep, rich tone on the low end and super clean highs. I got the speed neck option and the difference is huge. I play in a lot of jams and always get great comments on this banjo from other players. One guy said “ I have got to go sell some cows and get one of those”.
I purchased a Sammy Shelor model from Huber Banjos a few years ago and it was a terrific banjo. After introduction of the HR-30 tone ring (an integral part of the Truetone feature), I had Steve install one in my Shelor model. Wow! What was already an excellent banjo became a serious pre-war competitor! It has that certain “pre-war” tone plus the warmth of a new, well-made banjo. Pre-war banjos are not being made any more; this is as close as you are going to get to one right off the bench!
I researched for at least two years before buying the Workhorse Curly Maple model. Steve was forthright and honest in my dealings with him and answered my questions in a timely manner. Ultimately, it was my sense of this company’s dedication to the timeless sound of Gibson pre-war banjos and the heart and soul they brought to even their more basic models that convinced me to purchase the Workhorse. On a more practical note: The banjo is crisp and rings out with a really fine tone. It is clear and precise up the neck to the 21st fret. It tunes and keeps tune well. I’m not a professional, but I sound like one now. Not sure I should say this, but Gene Parsons (formerly of The Byrds) played my Workhorse and said, “That is one hell of a banjo.” (Note: You can’t really use that in ads, Steve, I’d need to ask GP first.)
Although I had played a Workhorse banjo in person once at a festival, I bought this Banjo sight unseen. I have come to trust the quality and consistency of Huber banjos and I wasn’t worried at all that it wouldn’t be a great banjo. I bought this banjo for my backup, but I think I will be playing it a lot more than I thought and not wear out my high end Gibson banjo. I love the quality feel of the Huber and the evenness, power clarity and punch. This banjo has everything you need in a great bluegrass banjo.
As a teacher and 37-year music school owner in Gainesville, Fl., I recently purchased and now use the workhorse every day. A student also purchased one, and Steve is helping another to acquire the workhorse, as everyone is amazed at the sheer beauty of tone and appearance. My other banjo teacher has a Gibson Mastertone, and is equally impressed with my Huber.
Steve is a super friendly guy to work with, and I am looking forward to visiting the shop to purchase one of his higher end banjos in the near future, although it is hard to imagine a banjo that will sound and play and look even better than the one I have now.
When I started looking in to buying a banjo I did some research and came across Huber after looking through their website and watching some videos I knew I was gonna be getting a Huber Steve was a great guy to deal with and I’m very proud to own one of his banjos I love my Workhorse the sound quality and craftsmanship is amazing I look forward to many years of playing it.
I was recently in the market for a professional quality banjo but wasn’t really sure which way to go. I spent a lot of time on YouTube, reading and comparing banjo reviews & comments, banjo forums and discussions. One thing I noticed right away was that, at some point, the conversations would often turn to Huber Banjos, and what Steve Huber was doing down in Hendersonville to capture and recreate that classic, pre-war banjo sound from the Golden Age of banjo. I wasn’t sure, however, I could drop 5k+ on a banjo, which is why the Huber Workhorse was a perfect fit.
What an absolute joy it is play! It has a vibrant, crisp ring and full-bodied warmth. The difference between the Workhorse and what I had been playing for years is night and day. The satin finish really brings out the beauty of the curly maple neck and resonator. It’s truly a pleasure to hold and play. This will definitely not be the last Huber I’ll own.