Rover RB-20P 4-String Open Back Banjo Review

The company who made the Rover 4-string banjo wanted to provide student and mid-level instruments to beginners and amateurs who wanted to experiment with the banjo without spending hundreds and hundreds on an instrument. This is a lightweight banjo that is tuned to standard plectrum chords. It’s perfect for beginners who want to learn to play the banjo, but don’t want to spend a ton for a professional quality instrument.

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Rover Rb-20P Plectrum Open Back 4 String Banjo

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Specifications

  • Vega armrest
  • Grooved tension hoop
  • Standard plectrum CGBD
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Mahogany neck
  • East Indian rosewood fingerboard

First Impressions of the Rover RB-20P Plectrum 4-String Banjo

The Rover is an open back 4-string banjo that is lightweight enough to take it anywhere you want to go. Once you’re good enough to play in front of an audience, you’ll be able to take this banjo on a hike to play around a campfire at your local campground. You could bring it to the beach to play with friends around a bonfire, too. Imagine yourself entertaining your friends with your banjo skills in a few months. It can be done with this inexpensive banjo.

Required Setup of the Rover RB-20P

Whenever you order an instrument or purchase any instrument from a third-party, you’ll need to have it setup. This has to be done with every instrument. It’s unfortunate how many beginners are disappointed with their instrument when they open the box because they haven’t learned that all stringed instruments need to be tuned and tightened before playing.

Before getting upset with the banjo that isn’t tuned or tightened, take the instrument to a music shop and ask the professional to help you. They’ll charge a small fee to setup your instrument but it’s worth the price. If you watch closely, you can see how it’s done for the next time you purchase a banjo or guitar.

Rim, Head and Tension Hoop

The 11” rim of the 4-string banjo is made of a composite material that’s covered in a gray finish. While it’s usually better to have a wood rim to create a warm sound while playing the banjo, the composite shouldn’t have a huge impact on the tone. That’s because there’s no resonator on the back of the banjo. The open back means the tone and sound is soft, which won’t mean much for the composite of the rim.

4-String Plectrum or Tenor

The plectrum banjo is tuned to CGBD while the tenor banjo is tuned to CGDA. The type of strings and gauge you place on the banjo make a difference to the sounds that are produced. A plectrum banjo is one that is used to play classic banjo songs while the tenor is used for jazz or Irish music.

For the modern player who wants to use a plectrum banjo setup, there are ways to play with an orchestra that you can practice if you want to be good enough to play professionally.

Banjo Materials for the Rover RB-20P

Banjos have some great materials. They’re always made of wood, but the wood from different banjos will have an impact on the sound you’ll hear. This particular banjo has a mahogany neck with an East Indian rosewood fingerboard. The rim is made of a resonant composite. The metal in the banjo is a nickel plating and the material of the nuts are white ABS. The nuts are 1 and 3/16 inches.

Resonator or Open Back

The resonator or open back style of the banjo will have a massive influence over the sound. A resonator actually pushes the sound forward, so there’s more twang and loud playing of the banjo. The open-back styles are more laid-back and softer. One type of banjo is not better than the other. It all comes down to personal preference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the banjo weigh?
This banjo is incredibly lightweight at 4.2 pounds. Most banjos average approximately 7-9 pounds. This makes it a great travel banjo that you can take with you anywhere.

What kind of music can I play on the 4-string banjo?
Banjo blues, Jazz, Irish tenor, classics and even some rock is possible with the 4-string banjo. Don’t feel limited by the amount of strings. You can always play with open G tunings, too. The key to playing an instrument is learning the basics then experimenting with your own style.

How long is the fretboard and scale?
The plectrum banjo has a 26 and 3/8 inch scale. The neck is styled for professional play, too.

Conclusion

The 4-string plectrum banjo from Rover is a lightweight banjo that will work well for beginning student of the stringed instrument. It is made with beautiful woods as well as some composite that keep this banjo as an affordable instrument for all levels of players who want to experience the banjo.

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