Posted on January 11, 2010March 2, 2022 by Dale Phillips Kit Review: The Riverboat Banjo from Musicmaker’s Kits Kit Review: The Riverboat Banjo from Musicmaker's Kits Reviewed by John Calkin Originally published in American Lutherie #62, 2000 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Six, 2013 The Riverboat Banjo from Musicmaker’s Kits www.harpkit.com Kit-built instruments have garnered an unfair reputation for poor quality, as though the mere gathering of components into a kit was a guarantee of mediocrity. Bad kits do exist, and the fact that most kits are generally assembled by unskilled hands certainly doesn’t let them put their best face forward. Yet many in the trade got their first taste of lutherie from a kit, myself included. There are many whose level of skill is so untested that beginning lutherie with a kit makes good sense. Others haven’t the tools necessary to begin an instrument project from scratch. And believe it or not, some very talented luthiers are happy to avoid the expense and bother of collecting and housing a bevy of stationary tools, and find that jobbing out some of the rough labor to a kit maker makes good sense without adulterating the satisfaction they find in the finished work. Of course, a kit can be anything from a stack of rough lumber to an instrument in the white that requires nothing more than sanding and finishing. At American Lutherie we’ve decided that kits have enough merit to warrant some investigation, and the only way to do it is to build some instruments. Life could be a lot worse for a journalist. Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.