SAGA SS-10P Travel Banjo Review

We’re reviewing the SAGA SS-10P Travel Banjo, which the company calls an “Old-Timey” style of banjo that you’d have seen a hundred years ago when people entertained each other in their homes with music. This is a great starter banjo for anyone who needs a smaller banjo than what’s available traditionally with a 5 string. This is also known as a parlor banjo.

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Specifications

  • Short scale with 17 frets
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Mother of Pearl inlays
  • Rolled brass tone ring
  • Geared 5th string peg
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Open back

First Impressions

The SAGA SS-10P is a gorgeous, little banjo that can be used by anyone from the very young to the very old. It’s lightweight, slim, and short, which makes it great for any player who can’t hold a heavy banjo or reach high on the neck. It’s a five-string banjo that has a geared 5th string peg to make tuning easier. It was designed with open C tuning in mind. It’s an open-back banjo, which is one of the reasons the instrument is so light.

Along with being slim and lightweight, there are other features that make this banjo an incredible purchase. It has a beautiful finish over great tone woods as well as fine details that will make you proud to play this travel banjo anywhere. It’s a great banjo to attach to your pack as you hike through the woods to your campsite. Carry the light banjo down to the beach to play for friends around a bonfire. You could jam with other instrument players in the back of their garage, too. The SS-10P is a versatile parlor banjo made for traveling conditions.

Required Setup

Every banjo needs to be set up when it arrives at your home. Some banjos need more help and tightening than others, but they all need to have the strings tightened and tuned. The bridge might have to be reattached. The brackets and rim might need fixing, too. It’s hard to know what will be loose or out of alignment when you receive the banjo until you open the box. A professional musician at the local music shop will be able to get your banjo up and running for you quite quickly. You might be able to get a lesson when paying for the setup, too. In the future, it’ll be easy to tune and fix the banjo yourself if you decide to purchase a new one.

Short Scale and Frets on the SAGA SS-10P Travel Banjo

The feature that makes this a travel or parlor banjo is the fact that it has a short scale and less frets. When a child is reaching for the finger positions, it can be impossible for their little arms to get all the way to the end of the fretboard. In fact, some of the greatest banjo players of all time started as children, like Earl Scruggs, and he could have benefited from a parlor banjo.

The scale length of the banjo is 19.29 inches while the entire length of the banjo is 32 inches. There are 17 frets on this instrument. Your child should be able to hold this banjo quite easily. It’s also small enough to fit into most bags and can be stored in an overhead compartment if you want to take your instrument on your next trip.

Banjo Materials

The banjo is made with a 3/8 inch maple rim surrounding a Remo head. This rim is thicker than most to give the head stability and produce a quality sound from the banjo. The mahogany neck has an East Indian Rosewood fingerboard, and all the wood on this instrument is covered with a rich, reddish brown stain. It’s a beautiful looking banjo that you might be tempted to admire instead of play, which would be a mistake since it has a great sound, too.

Fine Details

While the type of wood and materials for the banjo matter a great deal, the finishing accents and fine details are just as important to how the banjo looks and plays. The Indian Rosewood fingerboard has position inlays made of stunning Mother of Pearl. They’re in the shape of stars and circle moons. The nuts are made of bone, and the bridge is maple/ebony.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this come with a travel bag?
It doesn’t come with its own travel bag, but the maker suggests the C-267T case.

What size is the head of the banjo?
The head is a Remo 11 inch head.

Conclusion

The SAGA SS-10P Travel Banjo is a parlor banjo that you’ll enjoy taking with you everywhere. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, this is a banjo with a sound you’ll love and a look that will make you feel like you’re making music back in the day when the banjo was played in homes and on porches.

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