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Old 09-03-2018, 02:56 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,180
Default Eastman Whyte Laydie EBJ-WL1 Update

A few days ago, I bought a new Eastman Whyte Laydie No. 2 EBJ-WL1 from Bernunzio Uptown Music, here in Rochester, New York. Mine was listed as a new "B-Stock" instrument and I had a total of three new B-Stock banjos to choose from. There weren't and currently aren't any "A-Stock" instruments in stock. After playing and examining all three, I chose mine because it had the least cosmetic issues in that it only had some finish blotching on the rim cap and the rest of the instrument was really mint. The other two banjos had finish blotching on the Icilio Consalvi-design Mythical Beast peghead carving. Bernunzio included the installation of railroad spikes at the 7th and 9th frets in the purchase price of $950 which includes a decent hardshell bump case. Even with its B-Stock designation, I give my banjo a 9 overall rating.

After playing it for a few days and, so far, comparing its tone to my Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie, and my Pisgah Appalachian 12" Walnut Tubaphone, the Eastman is no slouch and is worth every dime I paid for it. The Eastman is a bit lighter and has a lower yet buzz-free action compared to the other two, which makes it a fun and easy to play banjo. Its volume is on a par with the others, too.

So how does the Eastman Whyte Laydie's tone and craftsmanship compare to the Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie's? The Bart Reiter, with its larger diameter head and thicker rim, has a bit bassier and darker tone but the Eastman's fundamental notes seem to "pop" more. The Bart Reiter's better overall craftsmanship is most evident in its Whyte Laydie tone ring in that Bart's is cleaner at the braze joint and the nickel-plating is clean all the way around whereas the Eastman's braze joint is a bit sloppy and there are a few excessive nickel deposits on parts of the lower sleeve.

Summary, even at its regular selling price of $1359 for a new A-Stock rendition, the Eastman Whyte Laydie No. 2 EBJ-WL1 is a good value banjo but if you can get a new "B-Stock" rendition for several hundred dollars less, it makes buying one of these recreation 1903 A.C. Fairbanks Whyte Laydie No. 2 banjos a no-brainer!

Current banjos in stable:

Eastman EBJ-WL1 Whyte Laydie
Vega 12" Old Tyme Wonder
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah Custom 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
Deering Sierra Flathead Resonantor
ARRIVING MONDAY! OME NorthStar Walnut Rim/Walnut Neck
ON ORDER - Ozark Custom 12" Cherry Rim with Brass Tone Ring/Cherry Neck
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Guild F-212XL STD
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee D-03R Sunburst/Ultra Tonic
Larrivee D-40M Legacy/Dazzo
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 06-15-2019 at 07:01 AM.
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