About once a week, I get a question asking about a “Palmer” banjo that someone has seen on eBay, at a pawn shop or at a music store. Usually these instruments have listings such as:
“Fine Palmer Banjo -- Excellent Condition” or
“Great Palmer Banjo -- With Case”
And I usually get an e-mail or two asking about my connection to these banjos or what kind of quality a purchaser can expect when buying one. Here are the facts.
I have absolutely no connection whatsoever to the “Palmer” banjo company. These instruments are made in Asia, probably Korea, although some may have been made in Japan. Some have aluminum rims, others have wood rims. None of them are very good. They are probably made by Samick, although they could be made by some other company. I have no idea who imports them. I just wish they did not have the Palmer name on them, because I will never be able to sell a line of banjos with that name on the headpiece, since it is already trademarked.
Should you buy one? I wouldn't, not even as a joke. I certainly wouldn't buy a used one, because it would have no warranty. The only possible reason I would purchase one would be if I could get it for a very low price and I really needed a banjo. Save your money and get a good, new instrument. You will be glad you did.
Regarding other instruments in the "Palmer" line -- there is no reason to expect the "Palmer" mandolins to be any better than the Palmer Banjos.
There is only one set of instruments that bears the Palmer name that has anything at all to do with my family. Those are the Palmer model accordions from Titano. These were done by agreement with my father.
Requests for Catalogs
I also occasionally get requests for catalogs. I don't have a catalog. I don't sell anything that is related to banjos, unless I have some used equipment that I am trying to dispose of. I say this because once in a while I get a request for a catalog, and I simply don't have one to offer. So please don't request a catalog.
A few months ago, I got a series of requests from a very persistent fellow in Eastern Europe who wanted a catalog of Bill Palmer Banjos. Each time he requested a catalog, I sent him a reply stating that I didn't have one. He kept sending the requests. I suggested that he have someone translate the e-mail for him. That didn't work. Finally, I went to one of those handy translation web sites and had the e-mail translated into his language. That seemed to work. Considering that these translation web sites are only about 85% accurate, I'm somewhat surprised!
©2006 Bill Palmer. All rights reserved. For permission to republish contact Bill Palmer. The opinions expressed on this page are strictly Bill Palmer's. Mastertone, Stelling and the other brand and model names are the property of the manufacturers and other people who own them.