Gold Tone Reviews

Gold Tone BG-150F
submitted 4/27/2014

Submitter

Nev52 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

strings

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

535 ($US)

Sound


Good sound very bright. Great for bluegrass

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Banjo came set up . I did change the bridge to a compensated golden gate

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Banjo very nice looking.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Hardware seems good. I have had it for almost 3 years still looks new.After playing it everyday.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have had no reason to contact Gold Tone.Banjo has a life time warranty

Customer Service

10

Components


Components look very good.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I think this is a great Banjo to start out with. As a beginner I looked at a lot of banjos and the Gold Tone for sound and price was the one for me. Life time warranty what else can you ask for. My instructor also said what a nice banjo to start out with he was very impressed with the sound and looks for the price. I am very happy with my gold tone.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 3/8/2014

Submitter

AldoMarino (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BanjpTeacher

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

400 ($US)

Sound


Bell like, chimney, not to twangy. Very pretty sound, very sensitive to attack. The sound is the high point of this instrument.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


It came wonderfully set up.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This is a matter of personal preference, however, in my own eyes, the appearance of this instrument has not aged well. Maybe I just don't think banjos should be blone or butterscotch. The finish is very well done, but I simply don't care for the color scheme.

Appearance Rating

2

Reliability


Appears to be well made. Haven't had any problems with it.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Haven't had use this.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


What bothers me the most about this instrument is the neck. I find myself prefering short radius necks. The neck on this instrument is like playing an Ibanez Wizard guitar. Very wide radius...again, this is a matter of personal preferences. I'm sure some people would love this neck, but not me.

In fairness, in general, the banjo is well made, IMO.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Good sound.† I actually wish I liked this banjo better than I do, but the neck and the color scheme together makes me tend to reach for other instruments.

Overall Rating

6


Gold Tone BC350+
submitted 3/7/2014

Submitter

Randypresley (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2014

Price Paid

1299 ($US)

Sound


The sound is exactly what I was looking for in a clawhammer banjo. The 12"pot really gives a good tone and rich sound without so much of the metallic sounds.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo was set up and ready to play with very minor tuning.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The BC350+ has the fancy inlay and gold plated hardware. It's a beautiful instrument and will have to wait some time to see how the hardware ages. I hope that it gets a burnished patina.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Fit and finishis excellent. Joints are tight and looks like is built like a tank but it is not so heavy that it's uncomfortable to hold and play.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Bought from Ross at banjoteacher.com over the phone. The best to deal with.

Customer Service

10

Components


I will reserve judgement on the hot dog style armrest to see how it feels in the hot summer with sleveless shirts but with sleves it is OK.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I purchased a $99 starter banjo off craigslist used and happy that I did. I went to the John C Campbell Folk School for a beginner clawhammer class and after talking to folks and doing research I chose the BC350+. Totally happy with it and the deal I got from Ross at banjoteacher.com. †

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 2/12/2014

Submitter

Mitch1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2014

Price Paid

1990 ($US)

Sound


Excellent

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Excelllent

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Excellent

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Excellent

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Excellent

Customer Service

10

Components


Exceptional Quality

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I recently received my new banjo (a Gold Tone OB 250+)†from Ross Nickerson at BanjoTeacher.com.†††After months of†shopping around, I knew what banjo I wanted, and who I wanted†to buy it from.† Ross's level of service was exceptional with quick response and excellent advice which made the process and decision very easy for me.† Also I should mention he had the best price.† I love my new banjo and I could not be happier.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BG-150F
submitted 1/21/2014

Submitter

pickincat (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Sam Ash

Year Purchased

2014

Price Paid

618.00 ($US)

Sound


It has a rolled brass tone-ring. It has ring and more than normal sustain. It really adds to any style.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Besides some asshole tuning the jos like guitars, this thing really rang after I tuned it correctly. I think GT delivered it pretty much set up because no one at Sam Ash knows squat about jos.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Its nice chrome and dark wood with some nice aesthetics. It's prettier than most.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Appears to be very well built. I'd give it a 10 but it takes a year to make sure wood was cured properly. It has a good finish. I definitely can't wait to to use it at a gig.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I'm new to Gold Tone and I've had no reason to contsact them.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I think the rolled brass tone-ring is what makes this model so good. To get this kind of sound and tone ring quality in other brands, they charge anywhere from $1k to $10k for the option.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Very well balanced. †Best sounding resonator I have and it doesn't weigh as much as a bowling ball. †If you can get one of these for your first banjo, you may never find another the sounds good enough to replace it without some $$$.†

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek Banjitar (CC-Banjitar)
submitted 9/19/2013

Submitter

GrahamHawker (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Eagle Music Shop

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

375 (British Pounds) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I pluck and pick and drone and even hammer and I've found that banjo guitars suit my style even more than guitars. This has a full mellow sound that is more dark than bright and suits me down to the ground. I always play open back and I'm not convinced the resonator improves the sound in any way. I particularly like the sound of the CC-100 banjo, perhaps more than more expensive Goldtone banjos, and this is comparable.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It came perfectly setup with an excellent action, perfect intonation and I've made no changes.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It has the dark maple appearance of the Cripple Creek range and looks very nice.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I've read that the Goldtone straightline tailpiece can warp but this 6 string version looks very solid to me. No obvious weaknesses. It stays in tune really well.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Eagle Music Shop have a good reputation and my dealings with them have been good. The setup confirms that they know what they are doing. I haven't tested returns yet so I'm not going to provide a score here.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


This is the cheap Goldtone banjo guitar and seems to be a CC-100 pot with it's dual co-ordinator rods (or is it a a CC-50 with an extra co-ordinator rod, as the CC-100 is light maple in colour, or perhaps a CC-OT pot which matches colour and co-ordinator rods but with a different head) with a guitar neck. The description does state that the rim is 1/2 inch but it's actually 7/16ths. I guess considering the price the components are cheaper than the more expensive Goldtone Banjitars but it's a big step up from cheap banjo guitars and the components are very decent.

The Goldtone banjo guitar string set is what might be described as top heavy so the bass strings are thicker than is usually found on banjo guitars and sound much better. With other banjo guitars I've replaced the A string with a much thinner string for droning but I've not been tempted to do this here. The A and E drone quite nicely.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I'm going to be very happy with this banjo guitar for a long time. I can't see any reason to go for a more expensive banjo guitar.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250AT
submitted 9/12/2013

Submitter

thejd123 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com warehouse

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$1000 ($US)

Sound


Very bright but balanced sound with good 4th string growl when you use the right strings. The tone is terrible if I use any strings but Elixir medium strings, but those strings bring out a bright but not ear-piercing or overpowering tone. It's a pretty loud banjo, which I find to be a good thing.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The setup was perfect. Barry from Banjo.com set it up, but I'm pretty sure he no longer works there. The action was very low (how I like it) and there was no buzzing to be found. The head was tuned by Banjo.com, and it's still holding uniformly without any changes. As much as some people say they hate the tailpiece and the bridge that come on it, I like them. The tailpiece is pretty darn good, and the bridge must be about right, too, becasue I've got an almost perfect tone out of it.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The '07 models are orange to black sunburst, and it looks spectacular except the big split ing the grain consistancy on the resonator. It sems to have a 1 piece resonator, but a 2 piece veneer.. The nickel plated hardware was perfectly shiny when it was brand new, but within a year or two, it got all pitted and slightly oxidised, especially the 5th string tuner hardware. I havent actually stripped it down and soaked the parts in some sort of solution or something, but that might be a good thing to do.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Like I said above, the nickel plating is getting fairly pitted and dull. The dull can be rubbed out with some polish, but some of the hardware is still greenish and pitted. As for functionality of the hardware over time, I'd give it a very high score, but it don't look particularly pretty after a while.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I haven't even contacted them ever, so I'll be optomistic and give them a 10

Customer Service

10

Components


The tailpiece is good, the bridge is about standard. Elixir medium strings are the way to go, though. Any other strings just don't bring out the tone.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I picked out the banjo by looks online, but, when I went in to play it, it had the best tone of any banjo I'd played (which actually wasn't many at the time), but I still really love it. For the price, it's a good buy.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100R Plus
submitted 9/5/2013

Submitter

lost_virginian (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gold Tone Factory

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I am surprised that it sounds so good, I am a Deering fan, and while this won't replace my Calico, it does sound good to me. It has that nice Woody Guthrie folky tone.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


They set everything up, good action and intonation, new strings etc.. they do a very good job

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It's a good looking banjo

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Time will tell

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


I bought this when I was in Cocoa Beach visiting family, I took a chance and went to the store without an appointment as recommended. I was very happy with the way I was able to get what I wanted (CC 100+) with no resonator for clawhammer.

Customer Service

10

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


Overall it's a great instrument and a great price. -1 for the Made in China sticker, it looks a little out of place they should stamp the wood or something to keep with a quality look.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 8/24/2013

Submitter

chelseaoz (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

www.Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

900 ($US)

Sound


This banjo is made for clawhammer! A perfect mellow sound with a bright higher end - gives great definition to melodies played in the higher range. There is no big twang here - which is why I bought this model over the White Laydie (although I'll probably purchase this one at a later date). We all have different tastes I guess!

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


Banjo was set up already. No complaints.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


My 9 year old daughter touched it with clean but sweaty hands, and her finger prints have melted into the nickle plating, and I can't seem to wipe them off! This might not be an issue if you get the BC-350+ which is triple gold plated.

Other than that, it looks good. I preferred this model to the BC-350+, only because I'm not into the gold look. I wanted a mellow banjo with a humble, light appearance. That's what the BC-350 gave me, with its light maple, nickle plating and simple star fingerboard inlay.

To view complete specs:
https://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/46/BC-350

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


One of the tuning pegs cracked after only a few weeks. I think this was just bad luck - nothing to do with the seller. Gives me an excuse to learn how to change pegs...

Time will tell if it lasts, but so far so good!

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I haven't dealt with Gold Tone directly.

I live in Australia and bought off Ross Nickerson at www.Banjoteacher.com

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Ross. Great personalised service, advice etc. He made the shipping experience really straight forward and gave generous discounts. Also just a really nice guy who knows a LOT about banjos. Buying from overseas is always a bit risky - I would have no hesitation in buying from Ross again.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


This banjo has a No Knot tailpiece, which looks a bit strange!

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I'm really happy with this, my first banjo. It has quite a wide neck, which makes the left hand work with chord transitions, but the pay-off is extra room between the strings, which makes learning clawhammer a bit easier I think!

The scooped neck is designed for serious frailers - I'm yet to reach the point where I can take advantage of it - but I look forward to the day :-)

There is nothing really bad to say about this banjo. I would recommend it if frailing is your focus.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom Archtop OB-250ATG
submitted 5/15/2013

Submitter

roy sisco (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ross Nickerson

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I love it the sound was better than I expected. My instructor said that it has
Got the brightest and best sound that he has heard come from a banjo and he's
Been teaching 40 years. I considered buying a 7 or 8 thousand $ banjo. I'm so
Happy with ob 250 arch top. Thanks go to Mr Ross!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set up was perfect. I just did some fine tuning and was playing it in a
Few minutes.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Fine wood mother of pearl inlay just a perfect instrument

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


It's one more heavy duty banjo I know it'll last the rest of my life
And be passed on to my son. It will become a family keepsake

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Lifetime warranty to me and 5 years to the person I sell it to, but it's not for sale

Customer Service

10

Components


No! Not any

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Try a arch top banjo and I think gold tone has the best for the
Money. And do check out mr Ross Nickerson he has the best banjo lessons!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 5/13/2013

Submitter

Rbodle (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BanjoTeacher.com

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

870 ($US)

Sound


Great, bright traditional sound. Plenty of volume.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup done perfectly by Ross Nickerson, including 5th string capo spikes.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It's gorgeous!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Feels rugged, well-made.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Really a nice transaction. Quick answers to questions, and quick processing and shipping.

Customer Service

10

Components


Love the neck and tuners.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


My first open-back. Don't think I could have made a better choice.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 5/12/2013

Submitter

shane_lxi (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

420 ($US)

Sound


This is my first banjo and I actually like it alot. Since purchasing it I've played a few other banjos including a Sagmoen, an Enoch Tradesman and a Vega. Does it sound as nice as a high dollar banjo? Actually, it sounds pretty damn good! Seems like what GT was going for was a kind of neutral/generic old-time sound. The Enoch is very "earthy", the Sagmoen with a Dobson ring was very bright, and the CC-OT is somewhere in between. And I think that's the point, really. It's an inexpensive, mass produced, generic (but very good quality) old-time instrument designed for learning frailing and old time music, while being neither extremely bright nor extremely earthy. The neutral sound gives a newbie like me a starting point to decide what sounds I like and don't like for my next upgrade. Or if you are happy with a neutral sound, that's fine too! The only thing I've changed is the strings to a set of brass wound GHS's. I'm very happy with it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was setup pretty well. Even though the assembly of the instrument is in China, the final setup is done at the Gold Tone facility in Florida, and they did a decent job. No buzzing which is nice. Action seems a bit high, but I kind of like it that way for frailing. One of my rim hooks was cross threaded and I had to remove the shoe from the rim so I could break it loose. I had to run a thread chaser on it to get it to thread properly, but it wasn't too bad. I was a bit dissapointed because this was right out of the box. Intonation was way off, but that's easy.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


It's not a bad looking banjo! The veneer on the rim is nice, but the seem is a bit ugly and poorly executed. The neck is stained dark with black paint faded in from the headstock and heel and a nice matte finish that I like. My only major complaint is that the "Gold Tone" lettering and the star on the head stock are decals, not inlaid. It's obvious and very cheap looking. The star isn't even symmetric. Other than that, I really like it aesthetically. I tend to be partial to a dark finish though :).

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Ive played it every single day since I bought it, and it hasn't let me down yet. I bought mine with guitar tuners, and I would definately recommend upgrading to planets. Also the tension hooks kind of suck, both aesthetically and in quality. Like I said earlier, one of mine was even cross threaded. I have one that looks like its starting to give that I need to contact GT about soon. I've heard that people have problems running them at higher tension, but I haven't tried, so I can't attest. Finish is a nice matte texture and seems a fair quality.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I have never dealt with Gold Tone about this instrument, but will soon about the crummy tension hooks!

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I would upgrade the tension hooks to some better quality, stronger hooks. Also, I would upgrade to planets, but the guitar tuners work fine. The bridge is interesting, it has a recession on the 3rd string, supposedly to assist intonation when frailing on the neck scoop. I don't know if it really helps, but it's there, lol. I wish the scoop was a bit bigger, but I understand why some players would want those higher frets, so don't blame Gold Tone for making it so small on a mass produced instrument.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I think the CC-OT is great! Just don't expect a $1000 instrument for $400 and you'll be happy too. It serves it's purpose as a generic-oldtime-sounding instrument well and gives new players a great starting point without being extremely one way or the other as far as sound is concerned. It's a decent quality instrument that doesn't break the bank, and even looks great! It's got some negatives, sure, but waay waay more positives. I would recommend one to anybody just starting out and not wanting to spend too much money.

Here's a mp3 I made on my CC-OT so you can hear how it sounds! (keep in mind I'm just learning, lol)
http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/music.asp?id=87251#

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone CCRMH
submitted 4/25/2013

Submitter

DrBillM (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Bernunzio's

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


It is a beginner banjo but according to those who are not beginners, it sounds great. It has tremendous sustain and a lot more pop than you'd expect from a lightweight. I suspect I got a particularly good one as I have played others elsewhere and not been as impressed. Sometimes you just get lucky!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Bernunzio's set it up wonderfully. I didn't know what I wanted but they did and other than changing the strings to medium lights from mediums I haven't changed a thing.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I am not particularly excited about the blonde finish as I prefer the darker stains but it is starting to grow on me. It could not be more basic. The finish has no flaws that I can see.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Can't say because it just got it about six months ago but I've already worn the frosting off the head. I am a "sweater" and nothing has gotten cruddy yet.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I haven't had a need.

Customer Service

10

Components


For the money, I can't think of anything.I twist it out of tune for fun and tune it again about once a week just for practice. My chromatic tuner says it's dead on every time before I start though.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I love it. I'm going to keep it. I will probably upgrade at some point but I keep hearing from those who would know to save my money for a major step up as anything less than three or four times the price won't be worth it. OK!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Maple Mountain mm-150ln
submitted 3/30/2013

Submitter

spencesrye (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

The Music Center

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Purchased to be able to do more sing along/folkie type stuff. It suits that very well. Nice sound, fairly loud, and very bright. Only drawback is that longneck. And not through any fault of the manufacturer. Playing a longneck simply requires more extension of the shoulder and causes a bit of shoulder pain subsequently for me.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup fine, action a little lower than I prefer. I think Goldtone would do a lot better to make their frailing scoop a bit more pronounced as well. Everything just seems real cramped at the frailing scoop on Goldtones.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Absolutely a geat looking banjo. All maple, fine lustrous finish.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Very dependable instrument. Would absolutely use it on gig without a backup, would just have to capo up for the majority of the vocal tunes I gig with.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Called once about purchasing a regular scale neck for the banjo. Goldtone was very helpful in helping me to understand that it was cost prohibitive to go through with the neck change-out.

Customer Service

7

Components


White lady/Electric tonering. Rings like you wouldn't believe.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Overall very good banjo.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 3/30/2013

Submitter

spencesrye (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

The Music Center

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Suits my style fine. Kinda tinny sound, but that sometimes fits my sound well. Everything stock. Bridge height shaved gradually lower in the low register to higher in the upper register.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup fair upon purchase. Action was a bit low for my preferences, but I typically like the action a bit high.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Fairly plain-jane. Get comments from passersby about the "old" banjo.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Hardware is functional, it is mass production at its finest. Have used the banjo on several gigs. Every time I am gigging with it and I really get on the drone string it snaps at the bridge, but I believe this to be resultant of the bridge mod that I had done.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Very friendly/helpful. Never needed to get it repaired. Not sure about warranty.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Very friendly/helpful on the only occasion that I dealt with them.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Overall a good back-up gigging or practice around-the-house banjo.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 2/23/2013

Submitter

Yozhik (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Family Loaner

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


When set up right, this is a nice plunky open-back banjo perfect for playing wherever and whenever you feel like it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I originally borrowed this instrument from my brother to learn on. It had a good mellow sound to it at first, but it was noticeably quieter than other banjos, among other faults. Over time I realized that this was due to a warped original tailpiece. Based on the recommendations on here, I replaced that with a Kershner tailpiece from StewMac. As to the difference that made, to quote the incomparable Keanu Reeves, "Whoa!"

Suddenly it had tone with great body, it was loud (well, for an open-back w/o a tone ring), and it could even now sustain notes for all those fun slides, hammer-ons, etc. The instrument is now a real pleasure to play with. I'm sure that the original tailpiece is fine by itself, but after awhile if you really want to make this banjo shine I'd strongly recommend picking up a Kershner and giving it a try.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


For a cheap banjo, the wood construction is quite nice. The deep polish looks nice. The fretboard is simple good looking layout. It could have fancier plastics and nicer chrome finishes, but it's good enough for the price.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I think if there's a fault with this banjo (keeping in mind that it's very affordable and mine is an older used model), it's that the metal parts aren't exactly designed to last forever and ever. The good thing though is that I feel the wood construction and such are built nice enough that it's worth doing if after a few years some metal fatigue takes out the tailpiece or whatnot.

Also, while I'm sure one could go buy a more expensive beginner banjo with better-quality metal bits, I think this is the better option if you're going to want to buy bridges and tailpieces to tinker with anyhow (which by the way, is something I highly recommend giving a try - it's a lot of fun to bring out different sounds in an instrument just by swapping parts).

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Great wood construction for the price. The straightline tailpiece is probably something worth replacing with at some point, but I'm sure the original is good for any initial purchaser.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Even though my instrument isn't fresh off the rack, for little more than $35 I was really able to make it sing again. I certainly have no hesitation recommending this instrument as a great beginner banjo, especially given its affordability. Moreover, I think it's great for keeping around the house even after you may buy another banjo. It's light and easy to carry anywhere, loud enough but not too loud (perfect for that 2am solo jam session when your neighbors are asleep), and you can take it places you wouldn't dare take your more expensive instruments.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 2/23/2013

Submitter

Corkhill Cobbler (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Music City, Vestal, NY

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

289 ($US)

Sound


Great sound and Feel for the price. Using it for learning frailing/clawhammer. It Came with light strings that had a good feel for learning but I put on a set of mediums and this now has a better feel for me now. Banjo seems to respond great to learning the basic chords not sure how good it is beyond that. This was purchased just a few miles from my house and I read alot of great reviews on Gold tone.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up nice and stays in tune. Its a nice looking beginner banjo for the money paid. No defects and I'm still amazed at what you get for under $300 Made in China sticker on it, but look at some of the prices for others.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


A very nice looking instrument with dark tone wood . I plan on keeping this even if I upgrade someday as it will always be a great back up or for taking on trips or just lugging it anywhere without much worry.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I have been Bum Ditty ing for only 3 weeks and it has held up I great.
IT feels to have good enough parts to last for a while. I'm very happy with the purchase.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Too early to rate.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Came with a nice bag and some tools.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Very good for what I can do as a beginner. I can sit anywhere with it and practice. Its the First one I ever purchased so I dont really know how good an entry level banjo can get. Considered a Deering goodtime but this was in the right spot at the right time.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 2/18/2013

Submitter

irishtenor (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Long & McQuade

Year Purchased

2013

Price Paid

Rental historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


This model is still around and going strong! Forget the Fender, Epiphone and other brands of the same price range, the Gold Tone blows them all out of the water with its maple rim and brass tone ring. Nice sound with light or medium-gauge strings. Not very powerful but very nice with crisp highs and good lower notes.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


It was fine when I got it, I just spent a little time tweaking the bridge height, but that's just me. I did not want to mess with the adjustments rods.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


All maple, as other have commented, she is blonde! Looks very nice with the nickel-plated hardware.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Don't look too closely at the hardware, you will find little details like rough edges, but hey, what you get for a sub-$500 instrument is still amazing. The finish looks good and the quality and thickness of the varnish should be fine.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The maple rim is a winner point compared to the metal pots of other instruments. The tailpiece is fine but could be improved. The basic guitar-style tuners are fine. The fretboard can benefit from a little lemon oil once in a while, like any instrument I guess.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


All in all a stunning banjo for that price range. Much better than any other Chinese-made instrument of the same or higher price range and/or brand names. Best instrument to learn to play 5-string banjo for that price. Go get one!

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 12/16/2012

Submitter

BrennanU (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Smakula Fretted Instruments

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

399.99 +40 for ship ($US)

Sound


I have had this banjo for a little over a week now and thus far I am entirely impressed. The sound has a rich softness to it that rings out when the banjo is unstuffed and easily holds its own in a jam circle, but also can be very mellow and sweet when played over the scoop. After placing the bridge in its correct location all the way up and down the neck the intonation is perfect.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Having purchased this from Bob Smakula at smakula.com, I couldn't have been more impressed. He not only sets his banjos up according to how he would want it to play as a well advanced and knowledgeable claw hammer player, but also replaces the five stock tuners with Gotoh planetary tuners and a 5th string gear Gotoh tuner included in his 399.99 price. Additionally free of charge he was willing to add railroad spikes in all my requested locations for free. Most places will charge you outrageous amounts for even that small procedure. Beyond that, I am a fan of tiger striped rose wood and like to have as lovely a fret board as can be made available. Bob specifically picked one out of his stock with care that had the tiger striping and coloration that I desired. Now that is service!

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


For my preference I find the antique stain to be rich and reminiscent of many old time banjos. Although the dot markers appear to just be a cheap white plastic or something, the 5th fret star actually looks to be MOP or a really good imitation of it. The grain of the maple wood on the neck was gorgeous as in the rim. However, this 1/2 Maple multi-ply rim appears to have a maple veneer cap. I hear plenty of people complain about the so called "cheesy" peg head but truthfully I didn't find it that offensive.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


This is a solid banjo. You pick it up and you will go "Wow, now this is an instrument!" Even at weighing just five pounds, it still has that solid feel and presence that lets you know you have a reliable instrument in your hands. I have no experience with the stock tuners because once again Bob Smakula sets his CC-OTs up with Gotoh Tuners and they are the boss. The brackets and tailpiece all seemed in good condition, nothing bent or dented. However, they are not the high level hardware Gold Tone has on their higher level banjos, so no doubt adjustments on this banjo won't be as forgiving as with one of Gold Tones higher level banjos. My friend is a life long wood worker and finish connoisseur and even he, the skeptics of skeptics wasn't "unimpressed" with this banjos finish.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I bought it from smakula.com, and therefore haven't dealt with Gold Tone directly. I am fairly certain this comes with a 5 year transferable warranty though.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Gotoh tuners through Bob stand out. Brackets should be handled and regarded with due caution/

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I love this banjo, the included strap and case may not be the hot set up, but the DVD is fairly nice for getting back to the basics or starting and Gold Tone is overall just a kick butt company and banjo maker. Happy picking!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 12/1/2012

Submitter

lutakloon (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Amazon

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

980 ($US)

Sound


Nice clear sound. A bit 'tangy' or 'metallic'

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Was set up quite well having come from Amazon.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


It looks nice from a distance, but upon inspection, the flaws in workmanship stick out. The inlay isn't well done. There are large gaps and several of the pieces are set deeper than the fretboard. Some of the gaps were never even filled and some of them are so wide that it looks like someone used a jigsaw to cut out the inlay. The alignment isn't right on some of the inlay either. Two frets have metal burs on them which will need to be filed off as they catch the strings. How that got through the setup at Goldtone, I don't understand. The case was also poorly constructed and it came out of the box already delaminating.

Appearance Rating

3

Reliability


The carelessness with which the fretboard was done has me a little worried, but everything seems pretty solid.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I contacted Goldtone about the issues with the neck and all they e:mailed back was "The inlays we are always trying to get more perfect..."

Well thanks.

Customer Service

2

Components


Tuners are really sticky and hard to get turning. Maybe they'll loosen up. The case that it came in is delaminating along one corner. A brand new case shouldn't be delaminating out of the factory.

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


Good bang for your buck. I wouldn't buy one from Amazon like I did, though. It would be wise to inspect before buying.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 10/13/2012

Submitter

Slick Salmon (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

850 ($US)

Sound


Not sufficiently different from either a WL-250 or OT-800 to justify the design. Plunkier than I expected without a robust bottom end.

Sound Rating

5

Setup


The setup was excellent.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Quality construction and finish; no complaints.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Seems solid, but the tuners have to go.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


No direct dealings with the company

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Sticky tuners.

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


Bad design. The extra-wide neck appears to offer no advantage, and it's so heavy that it throws the banjo out of balance. It's difficult to hold the instrument on your lap without the neck sagging. I don't understand what they were shooting for when they designed this banjo.

Overall Rating

3


Gold Tone Dojo Deluxe
submitted 9/10/2012

Submitter

MarkRB (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Beard Guitars

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

704.00 ($US)

Sound


I think it sounds great. Has a bell like quality. Not as loud as my banjo but louder them my tenor. Have not yet used an amp with it (the deluxe has a pickup) so can not speake to that.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


It was set up by Paul Beard himslef. All is well.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The Dojo is shinny and pretty, so far all who have seen it remark on its good looks. Does have one very tiney discoloration along the edge but so small it is hard to see when looking for it.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Only had it four days now but seems substatial, time will tell. i give it a 6 only because I don't know. But I have had no issues with my Gold Tone BC 350, hope it will be the same.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


Purchased a BC 350 from Gold Tone some years ago. When I got the banjo and adjusted the arm rest, a bracket broke, but Gold Tone replaced it right away. Gold Tone seems very responsive. I asked questions about the Dojo before purchasing it and they answered quickly.

Customer Service

10

Components


Can't say about the inside of the resonator, but it all seems well made. Everything seems up to speed in its price range.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Can't say anything bad about the Dojo yet (maybe time will change my mind but I don't think so). It looks so much better in person then it does on any website I have looked at it. It sounds very much like the video posted on the Gold Tone site. Best of all I got a different sound but can play it like my banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 8/26/2012

Submitter

nuncanunca (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

ebay

Year Purchased

2/2012

Price Paid

290 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Sounds excellent for an entry level banjo. Plenty of volume and clarity. I haven't experienced any echoes or overtones. My rating is for a banjo in the $400 price range with a brass tone ring. I have other inexpensive banjos and this one blows them all away.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was set up very well when I received it. Mine was used, but likely plucked only a few times and put away. Or maybe it was an unwanted gift, because it looked untouched. Setup likely hadn't changed from original. Action is perfect height for clawhammer.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Dark wood finish. Unassuming, nothing fancy. There were a few very minor finish flaws on the inside of the pot, but I suspect this was originally sold as a "blemish" because of them. Simple dot inlays with a star at the 5th fret.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I have played the heck out of it almost daily for the last 6 months, and have never had a single problem. Mine came with inexpensive planetary tuners - not great, but they get the job done.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I have spoke to gold tone reps on the phone on several occasions because they are the distributor for my area. They are always friendly and helpful, and willing to go the extra mile. I have a cc-50 as well and I asked them about putting a CC-OTA neck on it. They were open to the idea and quoted me a price range that was very reasonable. Everyone I have spoken to that has dealt with Gold Tone has the same high opinion of their customer service - it is top knotch.

Customer Service

10

Components


There isn't anything I can complain about at the price point. I would prefer nickel plating to chrome, but I wouldn't be willing to spend the extra $$ to pay for it. This banjo feels very solid and after six months of daily use and knocking around, it plays the same as when I first got it. No indication that any parts are wearing out.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


For a beginner/entry level banjo, I can't say enough positive about the CC-OT and Gold Tone.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone TB250
submitted 6/25/2012

Submitter

mikewood7 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Eagle music UK

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

575 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


It has a loud bright sound,very pleased with it.
Just had to tighten the head to make it sound like I like it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The action was fine I just tigtened the head to make it a little crisper.
Changes were made easily.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Very pretty litttle Banjo with gold plated finish though in places the gold is very thin,not sure it will last to well
It has a dark wood stain (not sure what)and looks very attractive,the laquer finish on the pot could be better,not a patch on my new Fender FB59.
The resonator finish was flawless.
Dirt trapped under the laquer on the neck.
It has very nice MOP inlays

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The depth and quality of the gold plating is quite poor and doesnt look like it would last very long.
I would use it as a gig back up despite being a travel banjo.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


12 month warranty.
Eagle music of Huddersfield in UK are simply brilliant.

Customer Service

10

Components


The general finish could be improved on. I found a hair under the laquer on the pot and there was still machineing marks on the tension hoop.
The tail piece also looks cheap and nasty,with cast marks apparent round the edge.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


A nice little travel banjo let down with lack of attention to detail during the manufacturing process.
I also have a Fender FB59 which cost much the same but beats this banjo hands down for build quality
The sound how ever is very good when tuned to the key of G.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Ot-800 long neck
submitted 5/30/2012

Submitter

greenepickins (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gold Tone Factory

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The sound of this banjo is what I have been looking for! It is very loud, full, and has that classic Tubaphone sound through and through. Playing all the way up the neck sounds great. When capoed at the third for a regular G tuning it sounds like the regular OT800.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The setup could not have been any better. I called while on my way to the factory and they did the setup as soon as I got off the phone.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The appearance is stunning. Gorgeous inlays, beautiful maple and a nice headstock. There is not a single thing wrong with the appearance. The heavy gloss makes it shine and brings out all the details.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I would depend on it even if World War 3 hit!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


They instantly greet you with respect as a musician the second you walk into the factory. Everyone helps you out and is very nice about letting you walk around and see EVEYTHING. Wayne Rogers is a VERY nice guy and always seems happy to help. Last time I bought a non-longneck OT-800 he even jammed with me! A great honor that was.

Customer Service

10

Components


The hardware for the most part seems great. I might upgrade the stock bridge to a Sampson or a good old time one. But it does still sound good. The bracket band is solid, nice Tubaphone tone ring, the tuners work very good and seem to hold tune for eternity. No complaints here.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Overall this is my favorite banjo that I have EVER owned! I would recommend this to anyone looking for a longneck or even a regular scale banjo. Just capo up 3 frets! It just has THAT sound I have been wanting. Before I bought it I couldn't sing and play and almost instantly I changed that when playing it. Never will I ever sell this banjo. My grandkids will play it someday!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-175
submitted 5/30/2012

Submitter

bullseye1130 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Real Guitars, Fort Myers FL

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

1200 ($US)

Sound


Great, fat sound. Gold Tone made the OB-175, now the 275, with a bronze bell ring versus their brass rings in order to make these instruments sound more like a prewar flathead. For an instrument that at MSRP calls for about $1450, the sound is awesome with everything you could ask for. It has a richness to it, and plenty of brightness too with good bells up the neck. The banjo also has plenty of volume and sustain.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup is excellent. The OB-175 and now 275 are made in South Korea and then setup/final assembly is done at the Gold Tone shop here in Titusville, FL. After playing it for a few months, I went ahead and put a Huber 11/16" bridge on it (easier to play for me because of the change) along with a Huber Head. I tuned the head higher to about A-A# so I could get a more cutting sound out of it. I also have noticed a boost in volume (possibly due to the higher action, I don't know). I would recommend that if someone were to use a 11/16" bridge or higher on their banjo (basically anything other than 5/8"), seriously think about it and if you really want to go for a higher or lower bridge, consider a neck set. In my haste, I neglected to consider this and may have created an action that's TOO HIGH... I like higher actions but it does seem to get out of tune slightly as a result. Coordinator rod adjustments could fix this but may have an adverse affect on tone.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I love the simple appearance that the banjo has. It has a maple neck with a mahogany resonator, natural finish with a high gloss and a quasi sunburst on the neck and resonator. It features an ebony fingerboard with the simple yet elegant 1941 Style 75 inlays. No appearance flaws what so ever!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This banjo is built to last. Some of the nickel plating has already lightly oxidized/pitted thanks to the Florida humidity, but I'd trust this banjo to stand the test of time. I've played it at parties as well, and I've had incidents where I thought I had scratched the finish but nothing happened. It's a tough banjo.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Wayne Rogers is a great guy to work with. I picked his brain for about two weeks about his products. He was always quick to e-mail me back. The warranty is "limited lifetime" to the original owner for this model. Second owners can still get a 5 year warranty from Gold Tone.

Customer Service

10

Components


The only component I don't care for is the armrest... it has a two legged armrest instead of the old style one leg that you would see on an old Mastertone style banjo. Other than that, no complaints. Every part is compatable/upgradable with most aftermarket parts so that's nice to know.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


If you have the opportunity to buy a used OB-175 or new OB-275, do so! Especially if you are looking for a quality, professional grade instrument WITH A REAL BRONZE BELL TONE RING without really breaking the bank. It's amazing how much a professional grade instrument really does enhance your playing over an entry level banjo. I'm not bashing beginner products as we all start there and have our experiances with our first banjos. My first banjo was a Mastercraft burled maple model and I loved it. But I didn't realize what I was missing until I picked up that OB-175. It has a great, fat sound thanks to the bronze ring, plenty of sustain and alot of power to back it up.
*The new 275's are the same as the old 175's, just with a new model number.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 5/19/2012

Submitter

thisoldman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

390 ($US)

Sound


This is my first banjo, so I don't have anything to compare it to. I do hear that the sound gets "fuller" and louder as you move from the bridge towards the neck and is at its best (in my inexperienced ears) in the scoop. Will be using this for two finger style and clawhammer/frailing.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Tuned up quickly (every string was about a tone down). Action was correct (1/8 inch at the 12th fret). Intonation is good. Haven't had it long enough to decide if I need to make any changes.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This is a pretty "plain Jane" instrument. A couple of small finish flaws; not real noticeable. Couple of pin sized imperfections on the fretboard; nothing to impact playablility. Frets dressed nicely. Binding on neck/fretboard done well - have to really look to see that it is there. Mine has a flat black headstock and heel which blends nicely into the brown on the neck. Can overlook the star and name on the headstock. Quality of plating on hooks could be better. Rim is to be 1/2 inch, but it really measures 3/8 inch. A couple of the J hooks were very slightly misaligned, as was the tailpiece, but this is a very minor issue and easily fixed. I am rating this a "6" because I have seen pictures of high end banjos and this is not up to that level of quality

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


Seems like it will hold up for me. I will just be playing it around the house. Finish on wood is satin, which gives it an understated look (along with the black headstock and heel of the neck).

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Have not had to deal with Gold Tone

Customer Service

5

Components


Compensated bridge seems to do its job. Really like the scoop, which is one reason why I chose this banjo - and I have found that the neck seems to provide a natural stopping/anchor point for my thumb. No-knot tailpiece works for me. J hooks may be the weakest component. Guitar-type tuners do the job - tunes up easily and banjo stays in tune. Has a capo spike, which is a nice touch and will be useful as I grow as a player.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


This is a first impression, as I am new to the banjo. May update the review after I have had the OT for awhile I know this is a beginner's banjo and not a high end instrument, but it appears that this instrument will meet my needs. Upper end ($-wise) beginner banjos seem rather "pricey" compared to other beginner instruments. This is my first, and probably only, banjo and I think I made a good choice. Padding on gig bag is very thin -- more of a dust cover than a bag to use for traveling. Had a good experience working with Banjo.com on this purchase. And they threw in a $15 tuner for free in the deal. And good job, Gold Tone.

9-10-12 update: Still happy with my CC-OT. Only change I have made is to put in a spillway dam bridge, which made an improvement on both the high (less shrill) and low (not as muddy) ends - the overall sound is more "mellow" now.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Maple Mountain MM-150
submitted 5/6/2012

Submitter

Burghauser (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Super clear and gentle

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The head needed some tighteningóbeyond that, very good.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Simple design. A humble little instrument.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Looks pretty durable.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tuners sort of stink. Everything else is solid.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I recognize that real banjo nerds might giggle dismissively at this instrument. Nevertheless, itís a whole lot of fun to play. Itís got great snap and clarity. I find myself frequently passing over my much more expensive Tubaphone to screw around with the MM-150.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Ot-800 long neck
submitted 5/6/2012

Submitter

Burghauser (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The sound is solid and powerful.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I get some annoying buzz on the fifth string. I think this has to do with the fact that although itís tuned lower than a standard, the distance between the fifth string peg and the tailpiece is the same as on a G-scale. The string is a little slack, therefore, and bounces around. I tried a heavier string gauge. Sure enough, the buzz went away; however, it made it tougher to retune in other keys. Also, the 5th string peg falls out every time I replace the strings.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


The inlay is nice. When it arrived, however, the neck and body binding were a little smudged and chipped. The fingerboard had some tiny circular scratches, as if a slightly-too-heavy sandpaper was applied just prior to shipping. The whole thing looked gently used, actually. Iíll concede that my aesthetic standards might be a little high, so take my commentary accordingly.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


It's too early to tell.

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tuners are very nice.

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I find the long neck essential for vocal accompanimentóthis one certainly does the job. It sounds pretty good, and will have to suffice until I can afford a Vega.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 3/21/2012

Submitter

jfrebel (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Denver Folklore Center

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

1000 ($US)

Sound


The banjo has great tonal range, deep bass, and bell like treble, not harsh or sharp. You can pick it bluegrass style near the bridge and it pops and rings like any bluegrass banjo should. You can strum it like a guitar near the neck and it will sound rich and not too harsh or metallic. The sounds that come out of this thing are just straight up amazing. I can't get over how awesome this banjo's sound is!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjos set up was fine and the Denver Folklore Center double checked everything for me too. Any good store can make sure the set up is good before you take it home.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I love it! It's beautiful and no flaws that I can see. I like the color of the wood, and the nice looking inlays on the fingerboard and the nice shiny metal.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The banjo feels solid in my hands. I would take it anywhere. I think it will last me a life time.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I emailed and called Goldtone to get info on their banjos before buying, and after buying it, I asked some set up questions. They are very quick to respond, and answered all my questions.

Customer Service

10

Components


Their brass tone rings have a nice sound that isn't too sharp, but yet still rings like a bell and it has good bass response. Their tuners are easy to use even for minor adjustments, and theres no harsh overtones. Their bridge now comes compensated so the intonation is solid.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Goldtone's make a great banjo at an affordable price. The OB-250 can hold its own against even 2 and 3 thousand dollar banjos but only costs a thousand. if you want a professional quality banjo but aren't rich, you can't go wrong with an OB-250!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250LW
submitted 3/18/2012

Submitter

five_string (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Goldtone

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

1,200 ($US)

Sound


The sound is excellent which is somewhat of a surprise. I purchased the banjo, which has a maple rim extended in the shape of a tone ring (similar to the Deering Hartford except all Maple). I chose this banjo in order to reduce weight due to issues with my back. I really expected to sacrifice tone and volume. I can't really notice much difference from the OB 275 or even Gibson and Deering banjos I have owned. The banjo is about 4 lbs lighter than a standard Bluegrass banjo and that makes a lot of difference. I really love the tone and the volume is good.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Perfect setup from the factory. I changed to JD Crow light gage strings because that is my preference. The banjo required no adjustments.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The workmanship (fit and finish) is very good for a banjo made in China. In a couple of places the MOP was not top grade but it is not very noticeable at all. A very nice looking banjo.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Good sturdy hardware. The tuners keep the banjo in tune very well. Finish is deep and free of flaws.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The company is the best. I bought an OB 275 from Ross Nickerson (Banjoteacher.com, great to deal with). I found that the weight of the banjo was going to be a problem so I called Wayne Rogers at Goldtone to see what could be done. Wayne told me about the OB 250 LW and offered to allow me to trade the OB 275 for it. The banjos are priced about the same. Wayne is great to deal with ahd will help you in any way he can.

Customer Service

10

Components


All parts are solid. The wood rim with integrated tone ring shape is the standout part due to the lighter weight wiithout sacrifice of tone and volume.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Just a great experience and I am really enjoying the banjo. I have read where someone was complaining about Goldtone necks being "fat". Not so with this banjo. The neck is very slim and fast and easy to play.

I would recommend this banjo to all those who are like me (just passed 66 years of age) and would like to be able to stand and play for longer periods of time. It is also easier to carry when walking.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 3/17/2012

Submitter

lafrohman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Melodee Music, Leesburg VA

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

220.00 ($US)

Sound


I was a total beginner when I purchased the banjo. I'm learning Scruggs style from Janet Davis' "You Can Teach Yourself the Banjo" book while also teaching myself how to play 2 finger thumb lead with the help of tab posted on on http://2ftlbanjer.wordpress.com/. I thought I'd be teaching myself to play clawhammer, thus the reason why I chose an openback rather than a resonator style. However, I find the styles I'm learning easier to teach myself to play. I think the banjo sounds fantastic for what I'm doing. Since I didn't know anything about banjos I considered getting a cheaper model from Guitar Center. I'm glad I didn't. I recently went by Guitar Center to fool around on an Epiphone to see what the difference would be. It didn't seem to be as sturdy as the Gold Tone and I didn't like the neck. I think the Gold Tone has a much better sound. I'm rating the sound pretty high because I think if you're looking for an entry level banjo this is a solid choice and worth the extra $50 or $75 to pay to avoid getting a much lesser instrument.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The fellow who set up my banjo didn't know how to tune it or how to tighten the head. No worries. I bought a Snark tuner and tuned it correct. I read up on BHO how to tighten the head and did so without breaking anything. The action is a little high up the neck which is probably ideal for old time playing which is what most openback players go for. As for staying in tune I have had no problems. I live in DC so the weather fluctuates a fair bit in terms of the humidity. I notice that with swings in the temperature I'll need to adjust the tuning a bit. However, it stays in tune throughout playing. The guitar tuners do a fine job. The geared 5th string tuner is great. I didn't want to fool with a friction peg.

Setup Rating

4

Appearance


The banjo came with no appearance flaws. I think it's a handsome instrument. Nothing fancy. I haven't gotten any calls to play the Kennedy Center yet. I guess if I do I'll worry about silly things like how photogenic my axe is.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The instrument seems quit study to me. I've had it now for six months and have had no issues with anything that could be attributed to manufacturing defects or low quality materials.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I haven't had a reason to deal with Gold Tone directly. The banjo comes with a warranty. I'm voting 10 only because I can't choose n/a.

Customer Service

10

Components


I've ordered a new bridge (one from Bart Veerman, http://banjobridge.com/ who seems to be highly rated by BHO members) and I'm looking forward to hearing how it changes the sound. I don't think my banjo sounds bad but I think the bridge seems to be a bit weak. I think it sags a bit in the middle. I noticed that the third string sounded a bit dead to me and then noticed that the bridge seemed to dip a bit in the middle. No worries. From what I've read on BHO, the bridges that come with banjos are not usually high quality anyway. Other than that, I've got no complaints. The instrument itself seems to be well made.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I'm totally in love with my Gold Tone. Six months after purchase and playing it nearly daily for that period I'm convinced I made a solid choice in an entry level banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100R Plus
submitted 3/11/2012

Submitter

bonnetteanthony (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Bbay

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

400 ($US)

Sound


This is my first banjo, and not having played any others, im not sure how much help I'm gonna be. That being said, I think it sounds pretty good for the scruggs style I'm trying to learn.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Having no one around to set it up, I am having to work off the forum posts on the Hangout, with mixed results. However the action on the banjo was good and low when I got it.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Nothing special, just like I wanted, but it does look nice. Rich dark stain looks good, and I like the engraved armrest.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The tuners are smooth. The finish appears deep and glossy. The hardware looks fairly heavy-duty.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Nothing yet. Hopefully won't need to find out.

Customer Service

5

Components


I was gonna upgrade the tailpiece to a Kirschner I had laying around, but the factory tp looks and feels heavy enough.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


If I ever get it set up just right I think this banjo will be great to learn on.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Banjola
submitted 3/9/2012

Submitter

kmangelos (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

eBay

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

444 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


It sounds like a muted banjo to my ears

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Action was good, a little too low on the 1st and 5th strings in the higher registers. This is probably a fret leveling issue that I'll fix when I get a chance. Neck is straight with the appropriate truss rod tension

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Pretty basic construction, but overall for the price it has excellent workmanship.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Tuners are inexpensive type, I may swap them out for Schallers or 5-Star when I get a chance. The 1-4 string tuners seem a bit rough when turning.
Finish is good

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Never had to deal with Gold Tone, but I own a couple of other instruments (reso's) that they manufacture and they are very good, nicely made for the price.

Customer Service

9

Components


Nothing that I can think of

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Excellent instrument for the price, if you're looking for something that is lighter than a banjo and that has that ringy, muted banjo sound this is the instrument for you

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone CC 100+
submitted 2/23/2012

Submitter

dajand8 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo hangout classifieds

Year Purchased

2012

Price Paid

350 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Very nice... Bright yet full sounding, can be played loud. Switched 5/8th bridge marked MH? to a Huber 11/16. Made tone even fuller.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Very nicely set up, but a bit low for my taste so I switched to an 11/16th Huber bridge and it unexpectedly made a huge difference. Much easier for me to play and play hard and loud if desired, without much worry over string buzzes.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Beautiful banjo... Not too fancy, and not too simple. Though it is made of high grade maple, wood is stained a semi-gloss walnut type finish. Snowflake inlays in fretboard. Veneered rim and headstock. Tuners are excellent planetaries, tension hoop and hooks seem acceptable for now.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Would definately use for a gig without a backup. It is well built and set up.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


No knowledge of the warranty, but the owner of Gold Tone is a hell of a guy that personally answers your questions. He is the perfect guy to own a banjo company. I hear him or his wife play every banjo they sell.

Customer Service

10

Components


Tuners are great. Frets are great. Neck is great. I may upgrade the tension hoop and hooks. I don't think it will ever be necessary, but they could be upgraded to your typical grooved or notched type tension hoop, and regular stew mac or elderly hooks.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


This banjo had already been upgraded with a professionally scooped fretboard and a Renaissance head. I got an amazing deal at 350 including shipping and a Canadian made hardshell case. I truly believe the best banjos out there for someone without a grand to spend are used Gold Tones. This model in particular. It uses good components, High quality maple, 3 ply rim, etc. Great for clawhammer if set up properly.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 2/2/2012

Submitter

Bobby Langdon (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

little music store in washington state

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I really like this banjo, I bought it on a whim as something to knock around. I wasnt expecting much sound wise, but have been really surprised with the sound i can squeeze from it. It has a really nice "pop" sound to it, but can be really sweet and delecate too.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup when purchased was ok. bought from a little guitar store, so I really wasnt expecting any magic. I adjusted the action, as it was a little to high for my taste. Added some medium guage strings, and replaced the no knot tailpiece with an old presto copy I had lying around (still on the fence about which one i like better). Most importantly, I tightend the head as tight as the hardware would allow (which isn't super tight). this banjo is my clawhammer banjo, so I dont require blugrass tightness anyway, just enough to get the "plunk" out of the banjo.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


The banjo looks like a cool old time banjo, and even better the Maple in the neck actually has figure. About a quarter of the neck, between the third fret and the seventh is tiger stripe (WOW, go figure). I really like the color, and the satin finish, BUT, i really could have done without hokey painted on star "inlay" , and "Gold Tone" on the peg head (nothing a black magic marker didnt fix).

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I really like this banjo, But the hardware is really cheap. The brackets are TERRIBLE!!! They bend out of shape while trying to tighten the head (on the bright side Dont ever have to worry about busting It). The tuners are cheap chinese guitar tuners that do the job, but wont last. The finish has a few spots that aren't perfect, but really, who cares, its a cheap import banjo.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


Have not dealt with them

Customer Service

not rated

Components


please see above

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


Overall, this banjo for the price is a great buy. I actually think the American made banjo that looks like a toy, would probably be a better investment, but for people like me, that need a fingerboard, and stain. I feel that you cant go wrong with one of these banjos, sound and playability wise.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone White Ladye Plus WL-250+
submitted 1/2/2012

Submitter

gharrison (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjobuyer.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

840.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


I'm thrilled with the sound. I play Scruggs style with fingerpicks, and I was looking for an open back banjo that combined the sweetness of open backs with some of the cut and volume of a resonator banjo. This one is right down the middle between those two. It sounds great on my softer/mellower stuff, and sounds like a bluegrass banjo should sound when soloing on Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms. It's a very versatile banjo!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The setup is phenomenal. I've never had a banjo come out of the box that was as ready to play as this one. The action is low and greasy, but (to my amazement) there aren't any buzzes. The neck has the appropriate amount of backwards bow to it, and the 3rd string is just a hair above 1/8th of an inch over the 12th fret. The bone nut slots are cut perfectly for the strings to sit. One thing I should mention is that I had Gold Tone ship the banjo with a standard Remo Frosted Banjo Head, instead of the Remo Renaissance Banjo Head that usually comes with the White Ladye 250+. I've never been a fan of the Renaissance/Fiberskyn-type heads. I believe that they take away too much of the "sparkle" in a banjo's sound.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The White Ladye 250+ is a spectacularly beautiful instrument. Gold Tone has designed a Tree of Life inlay pattern that is elegant, not gaudy. The headstock continues the Tree of Life theme and, again, it's beautiful. The fingerboard is jet-black ebony with frets that go all the way down the neck - this model doesn't have a scooped fingerboard for frailing. The frets are medium-sized (which I like) and they are set perfectly into their slots. The frets are smooth and buffed at the edges, and go over the binding as they should.

The neck is very nice to play. It's maple, and is stained in a light walnut color with a smooth gloss laquer over it. The neck feels good in my hands. It's not "clubby" like so many open back necks are. It feels more like a Gibson neck.

The pot is very well-made. The 1/2 inch maple rim is bound on the open back bottom with cream-colored binding; a very nice cosmetic touch. The neck is tight against the pot, and the dual coordinator rods are solid.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware definitely looks first-rate, and the finish is going to stand up to a lot of years of my grimy, sweaty hands!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Fantastic customer service; knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy folks work at Gold Tone.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Gold Tone gets it right when it comes to components. The tuning pegs are professional quality, the tone ring is the same one you would get in a Bart Reiter or Ome White Ladye banjo, and the no-knot tailpiece, bracket hooks, coordinator rods and armrest are all shiny and solid.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I've received many banjos over the years through the mail, and I've never been as happy with a banjo right out of the box as I am with this one.

I've moved away from playing resonator banjos because of their weight, and their strident tone. This banjo would be a great choice for anyone who like to play Scruggs Style with picks, and is looking for a sweeter tone and reduced weight.

For the money, I just don't think you could do any better for yourself than this Gold Tone White Ladye 250+.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-275
submitted 12/26/2011

Submitter

five_string (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

1,024 ($US)

Sound


Great tone up and down the neck.
The tone ring is made in the US to pre-war metallurgy and manufacture. The result is fantastic.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was perfect. The strings were loosened for shipping. Tuned them up and everything was perfect.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Mahogany resonator, maple neck.
Nice inlay. Not too little, not too much.
No flaws. Nice glossy finish.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Very good hardware, especialy for the price of the banjo.
Chrome plating

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The banjo was shipped direct from Gold Tone.
Ross Nickerson is great to work with. I believe his price deals meet and usually exceed any other seller.
Lots of free stuff with each sale.

Customer Service

10

Components


All the banjo parts are top quality. The case could be better although it seems sturdy. It looks a little cheaper than some.
Considering the price I think it is fine.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Great deal, great banjo.
Try this one before you spend $2,000 to $4,000 for a banjo.
It is made in Korea but under strict specifications and control of Gold Tone. The Koreans are making some of the best automobiles available in the US for the price. Now, thanks to Wayne Rogers and Goldtone, I believe they are making some of the best banjos as far as tone, playability and value.
I can't say enough about this banjo and I have owned some very nice ones.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 12/1/2011

Submitter

MOUNTAIN GOAT (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Store in Alaska

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

404.00 ($US)

Sound


Scruggs style beginner. This was sitting in a store for a year, so I had to set everything up. I also made a new nut to optimizes string spacing and height. Installed new strings. Installed upgraded tuners. I can't imagine any banjo sounding any better. I guess some do, but this sound is incredible.

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


The weather is dry in Alaska and this banjo had set in a store for a year. It needed a complete set up since it had sat from new for a year. Not a problem though. Reset the neck for lower action. Tightened the head and resonator mounts, and tail piece. Everything was loose from relaxing. Wayne at Gold Tone told me everything I needed to do to set it up and that all worked out great.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


This banjo looks perfect. Not a flaw on it. Nice looking plain maple with a little figure in it. Fit and finish is perfect.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


The hardware looks great. Original tuners didn't work good, so I got upgraded ones from Gold Tone.

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


These people are great.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The stock tuners weren't any good. The ring is not laminated, but one solid piece of maple.

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


This a top quality banjo for twice the money. I am waiting to hear a banjo that sounds better. I know they must, but I am waiting to hear it. I am wondering what their top of the line sounds like, and possibly with the carbon fiber neck.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone "Pat Cloud" Banjola
submitted 11/22/2011

Submitter

robroy103 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Muscians Heaven

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

GB () historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Poor Volume

Sound Rating

1

Setup


Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


After reading all available reviews of the new Pat Cloud Banjola I decided to order one. This was my first Gold Tone purchase as I have only ever played Deering banjos.
I was very disappointed with the instrument I received. The first thing I noticed was a label on the headstock stating ĎMade in Chinaí this was a surprise as I had imagined the instrument would be made in the US by the Gold Tone factory.
I expected a solid top as advertised but I got a laminated top. OK it is Solid Sitka Spruce but made pointless by a second skin of plywood glued to its underside making a finished top thickness of approaching 1/4 inch. this is poor construction and does nothing for the resonance of the instrument. The general finish (apart from the Ďone and a half inchí long nut and bolts extending into the resonator to hold the pick-up on) and woods seemed fine and as I would have hoped but again somewhat spoilt by a super thick, all over layer of lacquer, common to the lower end of the market. Playing the Banjola was a challenge, unless amplified it is so quiet as to be almost useless for anything other than private playing. All in all I was so unimpressed that I returned the instrument to the supplier. Emailing Gold Tone brought a deafening silence as my email was totally ignored, thereís a lesson in that.
I am sorry this seems such a scathing review but I have to say that I have never played such a poorly conceived instrument, for me it just didnít work and was an expensive mistake.

Overall Rating

2


Gold Tone Banjola Deluxe
submitted 11/5/2011

Submitter

Tinfoot (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

eBay

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

400 ($US)

Sound


The 5th string tone is rather easily lost, but the sustain, especially on the 4th, is fantastic. Very mellow and soft indeed. When you simply don't want the high pitched twang or even the down, dirty plunk - this is the sweet answer.

Somewhat wish I had the Pat Cloud Banjola, however. The built in pickup would be nice to pump out more volume.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I bought it new directly from an eBay seller, so it didn't come to me from the Gold Tone factory. However the seller had only opened up the outside box to photo it, so the setup was untouched. And I have had zero issues. In fact, after two months of constant playing, I still have the original strings on it without an issue.

A side note about fretting, it seems particularly picky - no real "lee way". Need to finger right on spot next to the fret, or the tone/buzzing will be obviously off. However, I just took this aspect as a inducement to work on otherwise 'not so precise' fingering.

However, a strap peg-stud on the neck heel would really have been superb (there is a peg-stud on the tail) as I really never liked the headstock strap option. And as mentioned in another review, some sort of finger-post guard would have been an excellent addition (fortunately, I play in a clawhammer style primarily, but if I wanted to play 3 finger, I would switch to something different as I get uncomfortable with the thought of my fingers posted directly on the wood).

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Mine has very minor cosmetic blemishes (thus the price tag), but it polishes up beautifully with a micro-weave cloth, and the gold highlights of the planetary tuners / tailpiece is very pleasing. The inlay is flower-style, which is also very complementary to the design.

Additionally, since the wood body is a "mandola" style (tho far thicker), it doesn't quite cause as much comment from others when playing in a "subdued" group accompaniment setting.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Over 3 months of constant playing. Not one issue. Nada. Doesn't feel fragile at all to me, and it has already taken a couple falls from nearby kids playing and bumping it.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I did register the warranty with Gold Tone (5 years for wood-body instruments), but in a previous dealing with Wanye and the folks up there on another banjo issue, I am absolutely confident of any possible covered service.

Customer Service

10

Components


One thing to be aware of is that the body is 2 3/4" thick. I really wanted to put an armrest on it so my sweaty arm wouldn't be laying across the wood edge... and it took me some "investigative work" to put one on. In the end, Cumberland Mills made me a "mandolin-style" twin arm screw armrest with longer arms (2 1/2" arms or thereabouts) that fit the curvature nicely.

This is a 8 or 9 since Gold Tone would have made a home-run if there were custom pick-guard and/or armrest available from them.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Absolutely love it. :)

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC100
submitted 10/15/2011

Submitter

mbuk06 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Andy Perkins

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

305 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I thought I'd write a review for my CC100 as it's coming up five years since i bought it as my starter banjo.

Nice bright tone for picking bluegrass with the resonator on helped by a heavier Price SL5 straightline tailpiece to replace the Gold Tone copy and a Snuffy Smith 2 bridge. Now, five years on, I play clawhammer and with a few tweeks I was able to get a nice bassier old-time tone too. Same banjo; different sound.

Sound Rating

6

Setup


Now set-up open-back without the resonator with a no-knot tailpiece and D'Addario J55 phosphor bronze strings. Head tension slackened slightly too. I'm thinking of swapping to a renaissance head at the next string change.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


The CC100 is pretty but basic with a simple, plain headstock and fretboard. The light maple rim and neck are nice and the finish is excellent with no flaws. When I was choosing a first banjo it was either the CC100 or the Deering Goodtime. It was no contest; call me shallow but the Goodtime is no looker.

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Solid and reliable. I play everyday and after five years I haven't had a single problem with the hardware. The nickel plating is still bright and all the wood parts as good as new.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


I've made all the set-up tweeks myself but Andy Perkins is always available for advice and is first-rate at sending any Gold Tone parts I need.

Customer Service

7

Components


I purchased the planetary tuners as an optional extra from new. I haven't had any problems with these. There are no really stand-out components as this is a starter/imtermediate banjo. But that's really not the point...the outstanding feature is the quality and playability for the price. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a CC100 to anyone starting out and looking for their first instrument.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


The CC100 is an obvious first choice for an economical dependable and nice-sounding starter banjo. In that category it can't be faulted. For that reason I have to give it a 10. I still enjoy picking my CC100 up and playing it as much as the first day I got it out of the box.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 10/10/2011

Submitter

Tinfoot (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2011/09

Price Paid

337 ($US)

Sound


Warm, note clarity with a little plunk with the Fyberskin head/brass tone ring. And all it takes is to angle the pot out a tad from the chest to drown out a guitar sitting next to me. Hammer-ons good, and pull-offs full volume. Scoop sound full and rich.

For me personally, the sound fits the bill exactly what I was looking for.
----
A month has passed - a pronounced twang has developed in the sound, especially over the head and on the 1st/2nd strings, as the head/strings have settled in.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The setup was done by Banjo.com - the bridge used is fantastic. Keep meaning to send them an email to find out what they used - its a straight bridge with a small compensated circle cut-out for the 3rd. It came with everything up and intact, just tweaks (naturally) on the guitar tuners. Head was/is on tight - when I finally tapped it (after about a month), was D#.

One issue was that the included vega-style armrest was kinda sloppily put on. Two hooks of a slightly different flat-style were used to affix the armrest, and looked like someone used a machine drill to tighten them - denting the armrest underneath the hooks, and slightly bending back, creasing the hooks themselves.

2nd issue is the flat hooks themselves won't allow dovetail armrests (e.g. Thinline Armrests) to be fitted on. The flatten flange part along with the style of shoe brackets simply will not allow the dovetail pinions to fit on. Makes me sad I can't put on my beautiful 80 dollar armrest on it - but all other styles of armrests are perfectly fine (I ended up with a Wire Rest).

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I love dark wood cosmetics, so the dark, MATTE (I emphasize matte ... no shiny save the metal bits) wood look of the CC OT is perfect in every way - except, yes, the peg-head is just a tad cheesy looking with the matte black, white Gold Tone name and star in the center. Honestly, if they had used something other than that name/single star design on the peg-head, it would look better.

If I look closely, I can find a minor finish issues. Light lines around the frets (possibly they put the frets in first then stained the fingerboard), but that is looking intently - from a normal distance, don't see it at all.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Aside from the two j-hooks, I haven't done a thing to the hardware. Have had it for 6 weeks now, daily use, absolutely no issue - I have been using it to practice on as well as travel/play for hymnal singing... very easily drowning out the guitar if I am not careful.

With my first banjo, I have swapped and tinkered with nearly every aspect of banjo set up... with the CC OT, only thing I want to do is change the armrest. Everything else is rock solid.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Concerning the two bent j-hooks, I sent an email on a Thurs. evening to Gold Tone with the situation... Friday, had an email from Wayne himself, saying he forwarded my email to Brenda and just needed my shipping address, and on Monday, Brenda sent an email saying the two hooks were in the mail. Now that is service!

Customer Service

10

Components


I really like the "compensated" bridge used (not sure if it was banjo.com supplied or Gold Tone), and the scoop was (along with the dark wood cosmetic) the reason why I chose the CC OT.

As mentioned, the two j-hooks used on the armrest were in fact different than the factory defaults (confirmed when Gold Tone sent me two new ones) - making me suspect the armrest was likely put on at banjo.com. So I don't hold that against the factory installed components.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


All in all, great open back banjo that satisfied everything I was looking for... dark wood matte, scoop, sound (with brass tone ring). Peg-head design is meh - but if it wasn't for the flat head hook/shoe bracket shape issue with my Thinline Armrest, be a solid 10... yes, I have a good-looking wire rest on it now, but man, I really really wanted my dark brown, deerskin leather armrest on it. The two torqued j-hooks on the original armrest doesn't impact my over all impression since it was so easily fixed by Gold Tone.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Tranjo
submitted 10/3/2011

Submitter

RonS (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Received as a gift from my wife

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I play a modified Scruggs style (using three finger picks). The Tranjo has a very unique sound. It is certainly not the hard driving blue grass sound of a traditional bell tone ring banjo, but it is not at all unpleasant. It is more of a soft, woody sound. The tone can be modified easily by tightening and loosening the head. It is perfect for playing in a hotel room or crowded camp ground where it is not your intent to entertain the entire place. It is perfect around a camp fire. A profesional picker friend of mine described it as "sort of a resonator sound".

Sound Rating

10

Setup


As for setup, about the only thing I can comment on is the bridge. It is a plain jane hardwood bridge. Nothing fancy, but works fine. Hight is just about perfect for me. Adjusting the setup is simple, which is a good thing since it is nearly impossible to break down the Tranjo for transport without the bridge falling. Mark the head and your set to go. Intonation is very good all the way up the neck.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


My Tranjo was disounted because it had a blemish. I actually pollished that out and it looks great!. My instructor remarked that it looks kind of Gothic. It has a very nice, very simple oiled wood finish. I oiled it today and it looks fantastic. I love the look of this thing!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Hardware is outstanding. Some of the best tuners I have ever used. Very fine adjustments are easy. The hardware that is unique to the Tranjo (head adjustments, loop string pins, breakdown hardware) seem plenty sturdy. Build of the expected use (travel).

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


After the initial day of playing my Tranjo I broke a string. I looked over the Tranjo and noticed one of the loop string pegs was missing (it came with ball end strings but can use either). I'm not sure if it was missing when I opened the instrument package or if it fell out while I was playing. I sent an email to Farris Travel Banjo Company on a Sunday afternoon explaining I needed a new pin and that I had broken a string. Sam responded to my email that very evening! He asked for my address, saying he would send me a new pin (he sent two) and send me teflon washers to put between the string rollers to help them roll more easily. That would prevent string breakage. A few days later my new pins and washers with instructions for installation arrived. Included was a note saying if I had questions about installation to give Sam a call. The instructions were clear and the whole upgrade took me about half an hour. 10 is not high enough for this kind of service. Ferris is easy and fun to deal with!

Customer Service

10

Components


The outstanding component of the Tranjo is undoubtedly the wood work. This instrument would work as a wall hanging; it looks that good. I can find nothing cheap or in need of updrade.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


As I'm sure you can see from my ratings above, I love this banjo! I have owned it for over a month now and I play it almost as often as my other banjo. It is fun to play and is soft enough that I can play in another room while my family watches TV. I think I would want one of these even if I was not traveling. Get one; you'll be glad you did.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone PS-250 Plectrum
submitted 9/18/2011

Submitter

Aerrtvaa (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjostore.net

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

658 (EUR) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Great sound for trad jazz. I play in a big band (10 brass horns) and the banjo will cut through most of the time.

Having only played cheap (aluminum rim etc) banjos before this one, I was very happy with the sound of a real (mastertone style) banjo and it always brings a smile to my face when i play it. Obviously it's not a top of the line model, but I don't think there's any plectrum banjo in that price range that comes close sound-wise.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup was good. I always do some tinkering with a new instrument, but there wasn't really anything that needed changing. It has all the normal setup options and everything is easily adjusted to any specific tastes.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I think it looks perfect. Clean hearts and flowers inlays, beautiful wood and solid-looking metal parts. Nothing ostentatious, just pure class. It looks like an instrument that wants to be played.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All the hardware feels solid. Finish also good, I have owned it for a year and a half and so far finish still looks like new (after some polishing). I have great faith in its reliability and trust it completely

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have not had any direct dealings with Gold Tone. The warranty does not apply to banjos owned by non-US residents.

Banjostore.net was great to deal with, and I would recommend anyone in Europe interested in buying a banjo to check them out. I received answers to all my emails within 15 minutes!

Customer Service

5

Components


The original plastic parts on the tuners were weak, two of them cracked and needed to be replaced. Other than that, no problems at all. It has the most solid-looking tailpiece I have ever seen on a banjo.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


All in all, it's a great banjo at a very attractive price. It's the only quality plectrum banjo in production in that price range that I've been able to find. If it was stolen I would probably buy the same model again.

Also, if you're a jazz player, plectrum is so much cooler than tenor :)

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Dojo
submitted 9/1/2011

Submitter

Gonzoso (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

300 ($US)

Sound


It sounds like a guitar sort of. It has a lot of resonance and fast bluegrass gets muddy and doesn't sound right to me, but others tell me it sounds good. It plays blues, jazz, and rock very well. I enjoy this instrument as another machine to make sounds pleasing to me, although not really bluegrass.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo was set up well. Mine was a scratch and dent model sold on ebay, it was a scratch and dent at a music store, then the store went out of business and the seller obtained this banjo. I got it out of the box, tuned it and she played perfectly.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The dojo I got is very pretty. The wood seems to be a nice mahogany with a pleasant but not too glossy finish. The only defects it has are a few small scratches in the finish at the bottom of the instrument on the side where you're arm rests. They're not even visible really.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Solid for the price.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


na

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Sounds awesome, tuners are solid no problems yet.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


It's a neat instrument an has its own sound. I stopped at a guitar shop and this metal looking guy with tats and a shaved head and beastly beard picked it up and played it for a few minutes and got really into it and said it was one of the neatest things he's played. Everyone that's heard it has liked it. I like it because I can't play a guitar to save my life but I can tear up a banjo really well for some reason, so I can transfer my banjo skills into something that almost sounds like a guitar. It's a nice instrument and fun to play with. I don't think I would spend 600-700 dollars on it. 300-400 is about what its worth to me. They can be found used for that price if you're savvy.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 8/24/2011

Submitter

AlpacaLips (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

$750 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I'm a new player so I don't have a lot of preconceived notions about what a "good" sound is, but it does sound better to me than a Deering Goodtime and a Gold Tone CC-100R with the resonator off. It has great intonation all the way up the neck.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


No changes have been needed. Everything seems to be where it ought to be. Bridge is set right, action is good, head seems to have appropriate tension.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I love the design of this banjo. It is maple with a dark finish and ebony fretboard with abalone inlays. The banjo had several blemishes: rough spots and grime on the neck binding, a chip in the neck where it meets the ring, multiple pits and rough sanding on the inlays, and bubbles in the chrome. It looks good from a distance.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Other than the chrome bubbles which may flake off over time, everything seems to be solid, and probably long-lasting.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I've worked with both banjoteacher.com and Gold Tone directly to get the blemish issues addressed.

Ross Nickerson at banjoteacher.com has been great: he was genuinely concerned that the banjo had problems and that I wasn't satisfied with it, and he went to bat for me with Gold Tone to get me some satisfaction (I agreed to some freebies rather than asking for a new banjo).

Gold Tone on the other hand has been pretty much a joke. The banjo took almost 3 weeks to be drop shipped from Gold Tone (no excuse for that length of time, even across country by ground). Wayne didn't express much concern about the blemishes in the banjo, or that I wasn't satisfied. He did agree to send a replacement part since I specifically asked for it, but when it arrived (once again almost 3 weeks later), it was the wrong part--one NOT EVEN FOUND ON MY BANJO. After I complained about both the wrong part and the length of time it took to get here, Gold Tone sent 3 shoes by priority mail.

Gold Tone buyers should also beware that the Gold Tone warranty requires the customer (you know--the one who DIDN'T manufacture a screwed up banjo) to pay for shipping BOTH WAYS to get warranty service, even if the problem was in fact Gold Tone's fault. If you live on the west coast, that bill could top $100 depending on how well you pack it, so if the issues are cosmetic it isn't really worth it to have Gold Tone fix their own errors unless you have a $1000+ banjo. But if/when I upgrade to a banjo in that price range, I'll have too much riding on the transaction to trust it with Gold Tone. I'd suggest considering only Gold Tone's sub-$500 banjos if you want an entry level instrument, and even then only if you don't mind cosmetic blemishes.

So in case I haven't been clear, I'm not too impressed with Gold Tone.

My customer service rating is of GOLD TONE ONLY, and does not reflect on banjoteacher.com in any way (except that he sells mainly Gold Tones).

Customer Service

4

Components


A few of the Chinese parts obviously came through with problems, and if Gold Tone does a better quality control job for you than they did for me, you'll probably be OK.

I'm not used to the planetary tuners. The gear ratio is being touted as a big advantage, but fine tuning is difficult. I'm sure it's faster to change strings, but I do that infrequently, and I use alternate tunings every single day. I may not go with planetaries on my next banjo.

UPDATE: I now have a second banjo that I keep tuned to open-G and the WL-250 is normally Double-C tuned, so the retuning issue has largely been dealt with. Also, I've noticed that the planetary tunes stay in tune better than the guitar tuners on my Goodtime.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


The banjo plays and sounds great.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 7/27/2011

Submitter

bobbytraylor (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

975 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


I am amazed at how much sound Gold Tone offers for the money. This is a 2005 Gold Tone OB250 plus which is basically new. It came with 10-13-16-24w-10 strings on it. According to the factory in Titusville, FL Korea delivers it this way so it will play better longer on the shelf of the music store. I put 10-11-12-20-10s on and it sounds great. Action is low, slop and pop is super, true up the frets, feels like a more expensive banjo. I actually like it more than my Gold Star gf-100 hf which I always thought was a little harsh or something. Has the same thin pre-war type neck as my Huber Truetone (a $5000. banjo) and I'd probably take happily take this to a gig to make sure the Huber didn't get stolen.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set up with low action, heavy strings. Changed the strings and action got slightly lower but still no buzzing and true up the neck. Lows and highs great. Again, I'm amazed at how much banjo they pack into this thing for the money. Very satisfying playing experience. Can play this for hours with great satisfaction.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


First class inlays, wood, finish. No flaws at all.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Hardware seems like it will last. I've called the factory twice asking about string gauges and they've been very responsive. I get they really care about this product.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Banjo is out of warranty. I believe it's five years? Factory where instruments are set up very helpful.

Customer Service

10

Components


Components seem first rate to me. No cheap banjo goings on with this unit.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I can't believe the quality sound that comes out of this thing along with super low action and overall feel of a more expensive unit. I immediately bonded with the sound of this. That great pre-war type sloppy poppy fifth string and raspy lows with full highs all the way up the neck. And true up the neck. I use this as a backup to my Huber Truetone and happily play it in any professional situation. My ratings are "for the money" of course. I wasn't aware this level of satisfaction in playing was available on this type of budget.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 6/24/2011

Submitter

pjxndvm (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

742 ($US)

Sound


I bought this to start to learn clawhammer banjo. It sounds good, and so far I like everything about it. I bought it based on reviews here, and am not dissappointed. I will use it until I get a Chuck Lee at sometime in the future.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Set up is fine, I had a moon bridge put on. Medium. Heavy was out of stock.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


For a chinese banjo, it is finished very nice. I typically don't care to buy foreign goods, but I really couldn't justify spending the high dollar on a Chuck Lee to start with to see if clawhammer stuck with me like bluegrass banjo did.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I just got it last month, but it seems as though it is sturdy enough to last. Only time will tell.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Have not had to deal with the company.

Customer Service

10

Components


Components seem quality. Time will tell.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


For me, this is a nice starter banjo for clawhammer that is a lot nicer than the $350 model. So, it won't have to upgrade as much to a nicer banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone TS-250 Custom
submitted 6/11/2011

Submitter

geezr (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

EBay

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

300 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


It has a loud, rich and full sound, and it is great for the type of playing I do which is basicly old tin pan alley stuff.
The pot is a Whyte Laydie pot which is a full 3" deep and it has a nice full bass response

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I believe I am the third owner and it had been taken apart, some pieces were lost, and the reassembly wasn't very good.

I am not going to rate the setup, but for $300 including a like new hard case plus $25 for shipping and another $25 or so for parts it was a steal

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Really nice looking. Antique Brown gloss brown finish. Maple neck, sunburst 13" very curly maple resonator, Really well done hearts and flowers inlay.

It was made in February 2001, and there are just a few minor dings and scratches and some small spots of corrosion on the tone ring skirt-at first glance it looks like new.
At some point the resonator blocks were badly reglued by one of the previous owners. I was able to clean up the mess and now it is fine. 1 point off for that

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Really good hardware, the tuners are very good-no slippage and they are very smooth. The finish is excellent. Since it is over 10 years old and it has been messed around with I would say that it is extremely reliable.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I ordered the missing parts from Goldtone, and their response was vey fast and helpful.

Customer Service

10

Components


All of the parts are very good. The plating is very nice except on the tonering skirt where it seems a bit thin. The parts fit is excellent.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


This is a great banjo, even at the going street price of around $800.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BC-120
submitted 5/26/2011

Submitter

Barnet in SoCal (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO Classifieds

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This banjo has an excellent tonal range up and down, from low to high ends. Its volume is excellent, and it has that rolled brass hoop funky sound that, to me, is so great for clawhammer.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


This was already setup by the previous owner. I'll probably raise the action, since that's my preference. I'll probably try a Fyberskin head sometime down the road if I get so inspired.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


This banjo definitely exceeds expectations given its price point. In terrific condition, with very attractive stain on the wood and a classic look.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The hardware seems OK enough, and while there is better hardware around I think it was an appropriate choice for this instrument.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


N / A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I have to say that this banjo gets an overall rating of '10'. I don't really think there is anything at this price point that gets you so much banjo for the admission fee! After studying things I figured this was the best starter banjo for clawhammer given the price, and having it my hands I'd say that's so.

Fantastic job by Gold Tone!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 4/19/2011

Submitter

JimThorn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Amazon.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

367 ($US)

Sound


The sound of this banjo is great for clawhammer, that is after you replace the cheapie bridge. This banjo has the potential to be plunky and mellow. Also, It sounds awesome picked bluegrass style. When picked, the plunk seems to translate into a nice twang that is not too bright.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup was surprisingly good. They advertise that setup is done in Florida, and I have to say they do a good job. Action is well set for clawhammer.

Note that you'll definitely have to replace the bridge on this banjo. Like most imports it comes with a super cheap bridge that produces an echo sound. It really does the banjo a disservice. I put on a Donald New Spillway bridge, and the echo disappeared.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This is a no frills banjo, but its simplicity is attractive to me. There were no finish flaws on my CC-OT.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The hardware is basic, no frills, like the finish. Plating on the hardware seems durable.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Never dealt with Gold Tone

Customer Service

not rated

Components


There are no standout components, but then there are no really cheap components either. The guitar-style tuners are surprisingly good, and the fifth string tuning peg seems to be quality too.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would certainly buy this banjo again. I think Gold Tone is doing us a great service by offering this instrument to those of us who can't afford to shell out large sums, but still want a quality instrument.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone OT-10
submitted 4/2/2011

Submitter

10-stringer (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BanjoTeacher.com

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

1100 ($US)

Sound


The OT-10 was the first banjo to really strike my fancy, my main instrument is the 12-string guitar, and though I like the banjo it never really grabbed me. This instrument has a lovely full sound, richer (IMHO) than a 5-string and well suited to solo singer/songwriter and small group playing (it can be a bit muddy in busy mix). It's very loud and has surprising sustain. Not only does is have a great "banjo" sound but stick on a mute (I have a Gold Tone) and you have a very rich instrument somewhere between a guitar and a banjo with nice sustain.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo arrived as a drop ship direct from Gold Tone (mid week sadly...I was sorely tempted to take a couple of days off work that week...) and the setup was great out of the case. The intonation/bridge placement was good. The only issue was the tension nuts on the tail piece were a tad loose. The frets were well leveled and no prickly ends.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


To me this instrument is very attractive, I like the dark walnut-like finish on the neck and body and I like the inlay, there is a depth to the inlay work that I find very pleasing. There is some finish bleed on the headstock layers but otherwise the finish is fine. The fingerboard is slightly rough around the ninth/tenth string nut but it does not appear to present any structural issues and you have to look to see it.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


This is one solidly built instrument. The finish is smooth and would likely turn a bullet, the hardware is solid, I have had no issues with any parts on the banjo. The tuning machines are smooth and this thing holds it's tuning *really* well. I have to say I am very impressed with this aspect of the instrument. I have a Rickenbacker 12 string that needs more tuning than an old MG, by comparison the OT-10 is rock solid. Which is good because the ninth string does tend to stick in the tunnel and take a bit of tugging to get into tune. On my model anyway. I would gig without a back up and have no worries (not that I could afford a backup anyway...)

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I ordered the banjo from Ross at BanjoTeacher.com in late February 2010, fresh from watching the demo videos and full of excitement. Then began the wait...Both Ross and everyone at Gold Tone were great to deal with, my only complaint was the initial lack of information about when the banjo would be shipping. I was not made aware that at the time I ordered it they were still working out some production changes to the instrument. The banjo arrived in September of 2010 and despite my frustrations with the regular delays the good folks at Gold Tone were pleasant and helpful. I have not had any further dealings with the company as the instrument has been solid since it arrived.

Customer Service

6

Components


The instrument is solid and I have not had any problems with parts at all. The bone nut is clean and well set up, the tuners are smooth and I've not had any problems with any components. One thing to be aware of, the OT-10 is *heavy*, you could crack wallnuts (or heads) with this thing (and still finish the gig). I've affectionately named it the "wrecking ball" (now all I need is a black head for it). It is, I believe, the weightiest instrument I have played, more so even than the aforementioned Ric and a National Resolectric a friend of mine has.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Overall I love this instrument. It's my first banjo and I am still learning banjo style playing, so far I've been adapting my guitar-centric hybrid picking to it with good results but I'm trying to get some clawhammer down. It's great for blues and folk and well...anything I've thrown at it, including some rock (I'm soon going to get a pickup for it). It's an instrument that I expect to have for the rest of my life, I enjoy the feel and sound of it and would truly hate to part with it. It was well worth the wait (and the weight).

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Banjolele
submitted 3/30/2011

Submitter

lindydanny (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

329 ($US)

Sound


A very old-time sound. It sounds different to me than to someone listening. To the player, it sounds very much like the sound a vocalist gets singing through a mute. To the listener, however, it has a wonderful tone with a good balance of low and high ends.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Action is good as setup. It required some adjustment to the head (included a wrench for this). The bridge looks like it is not spaced correctly, but that is only a minor issue.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


The instrument looks great. No flaws that I can tell. It is fairly plane finishing and wood grains. However, it is still a beauty to look at.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Everything is good quality on this. The strings will need replacing within a few months, I'm sure, but that is to be expected. Overall, there isn't anything that worries me or is/feels flimsy.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I didn't deal with Goldtone directly. Elderly (seller) was great and sent it quick.

Customer Service

9

Components


Maple neck, resonator, and ring and a rosewood fingerboard. Great quality to the tuners (no slip like other reviews have mentioned). The nut is bone which is nice. The bridge is maple with an ebony top. Again, good quality.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


For the reasonable price you get a hard case along with it. It is a great outfit for such a low price. My ratings are keeping in mind that it is not a pro level instrument. I would buy again knowing what I know now.

I would recommend this to other players. Especially guitar or banjo players since the tuning is DGBE. Ukulele players may want to go to one of the smaller sizes where reentrant gCEA tuning will work.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone BG-150F
submitted 3/7/2011

Submitter

drefoss (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

554.00 ($US)

Sound


Sounds great, loud and bright bell sound

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Just had to tune it a bit and it was good to go, I'm fairly new but it sounds great.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very nice high gloss finish, quite a pretty little Banjo

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Yes the hard ware seems very sturdy, I actually really like the tuners, the banjo is only 9 lbs, but it all seems very sturdy, for what I paid for it very satisfied, it should do well anywhere quite loud.

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Lifetime warranty from Gold Tone, no issues so haven't had to contact them.Bought it through Ross , AND HE IS EXCELLENT TO DEAL WITH.

Customer Service

10

Components


Very pleased with everything overall, much nicer than I expected Also upgraded to a TKL hard case, very nice case for the 69$ upgrade, fits very good and very sturdy

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Better than I hoped, I think it will do me for a few years no problem before I want to upgrade, if I do will it will be through Ross again at The Banjo Teacher.com. If you can afford it don't go with the cheapest, used would be fine but not cheap in quality

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BG-150F
submitted 2/20/2011

Submitter

banjopug (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay. New from Music Store

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

540 ($US)

Sound


AMAZING. Light and well made. Cannot be matched by any other mid grade banjo for construction and sound. I had a cripple creek and could never get the ripping tone I wanted out of it. NOT SO HERE!!! This thing is perfect. And I started on a crap banjo, then a Harmony, then the Cripple Creek Gold Tone...I'm not buying another one now. I found it. Go on Youtube and look up the demo on this puppy. It's awesome.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


I tuned it out of the box and put a new bridge on it...but that's it. The neck is nice and slim and the headstock looks like an old Gibson design...sort of. Well made.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Beautiful hearts and flowers inlay. The mother of pearl on the headstock is beautiful too. I liked my lighter maple banjo for the color... But when a banjo sounds this good...It could be smurf blue and I would have still bought it.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


WELL MADE TUNERS!!!!!!!!!!! Unlike the craptacular tuners that I experienced on the Recording King 20. What a hunk of crap that thing was. Cheaply made, cheap wood, poor, poor, poor. AND IT WOULDN'T hold a tune. This thing holds a tune for months.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


These guys are great. Chinese made banjo but i'll play this next to a Deering Goodtime 2 and blow it out of the water every time. No contest. Gold tone has the stuff.

Customer Service

9

Components


No. Absolutely not. The flange is beautiful. The armrest is STRIKING! And I love Gold Tone's tail pieces. In this price range...Try to beat a Gold Tone. I couldn't.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I am a poor guy. Had to sell the cripple creek for 3 something to get into this one at 5 something. No comparison. I don't play open back so the detachable resonator on the cripple creek was cool, but useless for me. I want that sharp Scruggs sound. If you do to. You will NOT BEAT THE SOUND IN THIS PRICE RANGE!!! I guarantee it. Go on Youtube and listen. You'll see!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye Plus WL-250+
submitted 2/8/2011

Submitter

IthacaBlackCat (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

1,500 ($US)

Sound


Great sound but make sure you get it fully set up to bring out it's full potential, sort of a low crisp sound.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Not bad, but needs some fixing up, needed the head tension fixed and the back bow taken out of the neck. Took an hour to fix up not bad at all.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


The nicest looking banjo I have ever seen for the price, I put a black head on it and WOW it looks breath taking.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Good parts for a good banjo, nothing more to say.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Very helpful, kept me intouch and made sure they were looking out for me and my new banjo.

Customer Service

9

Components


An upgrade never hurt but not needed.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I love it and I have a feeling this will last me a life time.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250LW
submitted 1/16/2011

Submitter

Norm Gosch (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo Teacher

Year Purchased

2011

Price Paid

959 ($US)

Sound


Very full and very pleasant mellow sound.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was set up well on arrival and no changes needed.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The OB-250lw is a very attractive banjo. The stain is a medium brown with a high gloss finish. The inlays are well done and there are no appearance flaws.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware appears of good quality but I have only had the banjo for a week. I have owned another Gold Tone Banjo for two years with no signs of wear.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have not had to deal with the company.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The entire instrument appears to be a high quality product. I have no recommendations for upgrades.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


The price of the banjo included shipping, a hard shell case and other extras as can be seen on BanjoTeacher.com

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 12/31/2010

Submitter

brudford (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ederly Music

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

350 ($US)

Sound


I expected a little more brighter tone with the simple brass tone ring . Really borders on a old time plunk sound . Action is very low as a result not very loud . Will raise the action with a 11/16 bridge to increase the volume . Intonation at 12 th fret is decent .

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Bridge was flat for shipping . The action was very low , even with the standard 5/8 " bridge . All the shoes and screws were tight , however all hex nuts were fairly loose . Coordinator rod was also a little loose .

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Neck is advertised as dark stained , however there appears to be a sprayed on flat black paint to the head stock which ran over to the neck . The neck almost has a green hue to a very light almost blond/brown color . Wood rim finish is consistent . Also there are marks and scraps and indents from where the guitar style tuners were removed so planet tuners good be installed .

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Planetary tuners are functional at best . Hex nuts and shoes are ok quality . The brackets hooks are just junk . The Vega style armrest was bent in two places , I removed it and pounded it flat with a plastic mallet . Armrest is junk also . No -Knot tail piece is also junk . Will the banjo as a whole hold up ? Time will tell .

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Yes, spoke with someone who is involved in all aspects of the company about my concerns . Very good people with great service . They are currently in the process of updating their photos to match what is in the catalogs .

Customer Service

10

Components


Neck , fretboard and neck binding all very good and well matted together . Remo head is good also . Frets are also well dressed . Will upgrade the following , banjo bracket hooks ,armrest , No-Knot tailpiece, plastic nut to be replaced with a bone nut . Replace bridge with a 11/16 " Moon bridge .

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Bob Smakula of Smakula Fretted Instruments in WV is selling the Gold Tone CC-OT for 340.00$ and putting Gototh planets on. I think Ederly is just using Gold Tones basic planet . At this
price point of 350.00 $ buy it without a doubt . The CC-OT
is 3-4 steps above the Saga's and the Fenders . I also own a Deering Good Time , sorry the Gold Tone beats it hands down . I would just upgrade the following . Bone nut , armrest , No-Knot tailpiece Moon bridge for better intonation and bracket hooks . I was really impressed with the quality of the neck and the action was to low for my style . Not a single fret buzz anywhere on the entire fretboard .Almost as good as my Enoch Tradesman neck . I also just realized that the headstock in Ederly's photo has a brown stained back ,mine came with the black finish on the back of the headstock as well as the front . Also the neck heel on mine is also stained black ,not like the photo with the brown stained heel . I also just realized that the hex nuts are very close to the top edge of the rim and they seem to cut into your leg . They will also need to be change out for shorter ones . I also like Wayne Roger's business model , owner of GoldTone . Yes all the parts are made in China , however he also has a shop in Florida where he then builds the instruments and sets them -up . Most of the companys selling imports just simply drop ship the instrument to your door . I would give a rating of 8 out of 10 . To upgade the above componets by the factory would just destroy their great price point . Buy the CC-OT and upgrade yourself or not .

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone EBM
submitted 12/15/2010

Submitter

manomusic (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

ebay store

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


sounds good enough but really would only play through my amp as it does sound a bit tinny unplugged. No distortion through the amp and after playing around with it is quite versatile. I bought this as an aside to my main players for when I get serious and form a band hopefully next year and play with other electric instruments.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up well. Will change to GHS strings when necessary and will add a scorpion bridge.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


There are a couple of finish flaws on the paintjob and the gold is already tarnishing but for the money paid I am happy with the quality overall. Design wise it does have a striking appearance hence for the money paid it's a 9

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Tuners will probably not last forever but I will upgrade them when the time comes. So far no issues.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I have dealt with Goldtone before when I owned a BGF-250.
They were superb to deal with , prompt and polite and sorted my issue immediately to my satisfaction. Would give 12 if possible. Hey I just did!
26/01/12 The nut fell off the jack back in October last year and my son was using this instrument in the school concert for Christmass in which he had a solo part. I could not find a nut locally so contacted Wayne Rogers at Gold Tone explaining the situation and offering to pay for a replacement. Concert is long gone, my son played my Reiter with a pickup which was too quiet and still no answer to my email.

12

Customer Service

1

Components


Charge a little more Goldtone and upgrade the tuners. Other than that happy.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


This is a nice banjo and If it were my first I would probably be giving it a 10 but I do own a couple of more upmarket instruments hence am spoilt. For the price Goldtone have provided a lot of bang for buck. My son is joining his schooll band next year and I have no issue him playing impressively with this banjo and will get a fair bit of attention as it is a real head turner. It is an electric banjo and as such is a lot of fun to play. For price paid is a 9.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 11/22/2010

Submitter

tmoneygetpaid (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


I've come to love the sound of this banjo. I thought at first it was a bit too aggressive-- I was initially more fond of the more mellow Vega Senator/ Little Wonder sound, and I still would love to own one of those some day, but the sound occupies a fantastic middleground between that type of sound and the Mastertone copies that are meant to cut through the mix and project a ton of sound. This banjo is still quite loud picked or frailed.

I initially played only clawhammer, for which this is intended, but I've been playing 3-finger on the Whyte Ladye, and I recently got a comment from my instructor (who owns a Huber and a Gibson) that it has a nice bluegrass sound. For a bluegrass instrument, I'd want something that has the full 22 frets, a resonator, and possibly a flange, but as is, I can play enough bluegrass and frail everything with a sound that's great, and I can comfortably carry it in a gig bag on my back on a bike to lessons.

There is a little pop to the sound that I don't find desirable, but some people might love it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


There are two small points about the setup on mine: there's a ton of buzz on the 12th fret on the third string (only that string and that fret), and the 5th string nut is high enough that it prevents easily fretting the 5th string at the 6th fret. Most players, especially frailers, are unlikely to even need to fret the 5th string at the 6th fret, but it bothers me that I can't. The buzz is the obnoxious point. I have minimized it with a higher bridge, but that also puts the action high enough that playing bar chords within my practice routine leaves me with sore left hand knuckle joints after playing.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Beautiful. I love the inlays, love the flame on the headstock on Gold Tones. The finish and binding are to my liking as well.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The tuners are great. So much so that I am bummed out by any banjo I play that has different tuners. I have a banjo that has the stew mac four star (five star?) ones, and I prefer these.

The finish is great, too. It's stood up to some hundreds or thousands of hours of practice so far.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Never dealt with them, but you get a lifetime warranty as the original purchaser.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tuners, as I noted above are great. It will need a refret immediately after I get a suitable backup, but that's inevitable. Dual coordinator rods are great, and really effective to dial in an action that suits you, as suggested in the setup instructions.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I love this banjo-- it's come to be THE banjo sound I love and want. I recently bought a Recording King RK-R35, which has been heralded for its sound and quality at the price point. I returned it because it was just too different. In time, maybe I could've come to love that sound, as I did this one, but why should I when I can just pick up an axe with a sound I know I'll love?

I am thinking of getting another banjo, and I'm absolutely going to check out the Gold Tone BG and OB lines-- they seem nearer to the sound I'm used to while adding a bit of bite, volume, and a midrange presence that bluegrass instruments usually have.

After a bit of work, and the installation of some railroad spikes or a sliding 5th string capo, it'll be a 10, but right now with the insane fret buzz and the 5th string nut needing a bit of a file, it's a 9.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 11/22/2010

Submitter

PluckyPlicker (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Trade

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

Traded (Peewee Gibson) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Bright
If I ever get this thing in tune, I will love it.

Sound Rating

3

Setup


Not at all.
I'm going to need to replace everything on this little thing. But I think it will be worth it.
Nut, Head, tuners have to go

Setup Rating

2

Appearance


Great looking little thing. Will look better with a nice skin replacement head.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The Tuners on this thing make me think that it was designed to hang on the wall...not to play... or to give to my kid to try and destroy. It's tough...probably designed so children can pretend to play.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Can'g get it in tune.. Tried C tuning. I'm thinking I will go with heavier guaged strings and try to tune in G. Maybe I'm too picky but or too unfamiliar with banjos, but if it can't stay in tune for 5 minutes it can be very irritating.

Components Rating

3

Overall Comments


I can't wait to have a professional set this thing up. First thing that has to go is the tuning knobs.

Overall Rating

5


Gold Tone BC 350+
submitted 11/20/2010

Submitter

nyartist (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Tony Hatton

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

850 ($US)

Sound


I was very surprised at the volume even with the obligatory foam placed in the pot to muffle the overtones. I love the sound and can compare it favorably to banjos costing 2 x as much - banjos that I have owned. I really prefer this slightly wider fretboard. I find it so much easier to play than the narrower one.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set up was just as I like it. I did finally remove the armrest as I found it more comfortable to just rest my arm on the rim.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Looks beautiful... I sold a custom built banjo and bought this one and haven't regretted it at all.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The tuners are GT planets but I always like to fiddle around and upgrade components so I bought Waverly tuners to replace them. Did I need to? Not really. I just like messing around and experimenting.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I've dealt with Wayne and Gold Tone for years and find them to be responsive, available and helpful. They fit a great niche in the world's banjo marketplace.

Customer Service

10

Components


I mentioned the tuners. I do NOT find that they're slipping - they're doing well. It's just that I love tinkering wherever and whenever I can. It's part of my fun. I might add a wire arm rest but as of now I'm comfortable just playing the banjo with no armrest at all.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Since the banjo came I've not wanted to put it down. My practices are longer and more fun than ever before. This banjo just works for me. I've owned Reiter, Chanterelle and Ome openback banjos and the custom built one but this one just seems perfectly suited to me. Kind of like lucking out with an on-line dating service!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone MM 150
submitted 11/14/2010

Submitter

kevinl (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

$600 ($US)

Sound


I play clawhammer style banjo and this banjo is perfectly suited for it... Great tone and Sustain.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Just had to tighten the head and tune.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Love the light maple finish and wood grain. Modest inlay work (which is fine for me.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Hardware seemed good. Finish looks great. Seems to be very well made. Probably wouldn't need a backup.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Great Ebay Store .............Guitarlogy_

Customer Service

10

Components


Nice Planetary tuners. Renaissance head is a plus.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I'm very happy with this banjo Would highly recommend this banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 11/3/2010

Submitter

ebenami (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

gift

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Everything depends on setup. Out of the box, it was awful. I put some foam under the head and put on a heavy weight moon bridge with medium strings, and now it's tone is reasonable if a bit tinny.

Sound Rating

4

Setup


It needed a major setup. I replaced the 5th string friction peg with a geared peg (1/2 hour easy change) just to make the instrument tunable.
I put on a 1/2" heavy moon bridge to bring down the action and emphasize lower tones. This also reduces sharping when you fret hard. Bridge placement is critical. I measured and then used a good tuner to fine adjust the bridge position for a clean 12th fret intonation.
I've muffled the head a bit with AC foam, but I will probably go to something fancier. I haven't made my my final string choice, but Martin Vega medium-weights (.010 for 1st & 5th) seem okay.
I may eventually take down the fret height a bit, but that seems like major work. I also think the nut is a bit cheesy.

Setup Rating

1

Appearance


It's a bit silly looking and frankly crude. Ramblin' Jack Elliot signed the head "Travel Hard, Play Easy." and that means the world to me.

Appearance Rating

3

Reliability


This is a great banjo to toss in your car or on your back, and take to the park or the beach. I wouldn't subject any quality banjo to the conditions this one endures.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


5th string friction peg should be replaced by a geared peg. Bridge must be replaced with better.

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


This should not be your first banjo or your main banjo. It serves a particular purpose well. It's cheap, it's light, it's small, and you can take it anywhere. It fits in my duffel or suitcase and tolerates airline travel and all the banging around I can hand out.

The sound isn't great, but improves much with easy mods (5th string tuner, bridge) and setup (bridge placement, strings). I frequently put on a mute for the sake of those in the next room or asleep.

Buy this banjo if you want an instrument you can use/abuse by practicing/playing almost anywhere. You may not like it, but you'll love it.

Warning: do not play this instrument while driving or operating heavy machinery.

A year after writing my initial review, I still own and use the banjo frequently. It keeps me from screaming in terror while a passenger in my wife's car. I have also heard a friend who is a top-level two-finger / three-finger old-time player play it in the car. He made it sing. I was in awe. I guess it's not the banjo that makes the music.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 10/20/2010

Submitter

yumagah (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Amazon.com

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

525 ($US)

Sound


Nice loud and clear sound for bluegrass. Not as mellow as some other banjos I have played. It has punch and snap to it, a very solid sound. Strong on the low end without sounding dull or boomy.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup very nicely. New strings, low action but no buzz. I tightened the head very slightly and added spikes at frets 7, 9 and 10. Very playable as it arrived. I may experiment with head tension in the future.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Beautifully decorated banjo. Hearts and flowers inlay, real ebony fingerboard. The natural maple binding in a unique and striking touch. At the price I paid I wondered if it was some kind of factory second, but I see no flaws. There is a 1/4 inch dark section on the maple binding on the resonator, but that is a natural color variation. Not as elaborate decor as some more expensive banjos.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Built like a tank. Very "beefy" solid hardware. Weight is about 13 pounds, like a real Mastertone. Glossy finish seems strong and durable, but I've only had it for 3 weeks now. I would feel confident using this for a gig.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Lifetime warranty is even transferable to second owner. I emailed the company about registration and they replied quickly.

Customer Service

9

Components


The rim and tone ring are very heavy, solid. The bridge is advertised as a Grover, but does not have the name on it as other Grovers I have seen. Looks like a solid enough instrument to upgrade with a US made tone ring or block rim. No immediate plans for that though.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Three of us BHO users got in on a rare Amazon sale of banjos at reduced prices. I got this for just over half the usual retail price which feels like a steal. Wondering what was going on at Amazon, but I'm sure not complaining! This may be my lifetime banjo.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 10/11/2010

Submitter

Miguel MC Dowell (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sound Rating

7

Setup


Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

10

Components


Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 9/24/2010

Submitter

Hawgfiddle65 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Andy Perkins traditional Instruments (Andybanjo)

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

695 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Rich full warm sound .Plenty of volume ,middle and bass tones,
Wide fingerboard is great and easy to get around
Smooth and easy to play no effort at all

Sound Rating

9

Setup


well written set up instructions came with the instrument.Tape with crosses to mark bridge postion . Position was spot on. Great action .Have made no changes

Free capo spike installation

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Vey simple and tasteful, this was one of the reasons I bought this model,just reflects my taste.

A couple of very minor finish flaws , casting flash, glue marks, but you REALLY have to search for them!

I would change tuner buttons to ebony or matt black to match the lovely ebony fingerboard. But not in a great hurry!

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Early days, looks pretty robust. Will let you know!

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Andy banjo 's servce was exemplary. Lots of pre-purchase questions answered prompmtly online. I live a long way from his work shop (600miles or so!). He even played a range of banjos to me over the speaker phone!

delivery was by FedEx who were to be frank ,very poor .They could not deliver the item in the time they promised .They should not offer their customers a service they cannot guarantee .Not a difficult thing todo .Arrived safely .

Update: A crack appeared on one of my tuner buttons and eventually prpagated and I needed to replace the button.Andy Perkins sent me a full set of buttons free of charge! Thanks Andy.

Andy Banjo 10 Fedex 2

Customer Service

10

Components


For the price I am very happy . The only thing I'd change is to matt black buttons . But that is a matter of taste

Update: Apparently the tuners have an unusual shaft size and alternatives are not available . Will have to be happy with what I have .I have no intentions of swapping tuners as they work to my satisfaction.

Update 2 Replacement black ebonite type buttons for the BC 350 now available from Elderly music. Another of the white pearl buttons was beginning to crack so I ordered up a set. I think it looks much more elegant

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


A good choice for that more ancient old timey sound. Not too punchy.This is my first decent banjo and hope we'll travel many miles together before one of use has to retire!

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 9/17/2010

Submitter

Mr100BoJangles (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Zepp Music

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

869 ($US)

Sound


I've just started learning to play clawhammer. I don't have a lot of experience with describing tone, but I will say that I really like the sound of it.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


It came perfectly setup as far as I can tell. The action is low enough to be easy for an absolute beginner to play. I haven't made any changes to it. Zepp Music was nice enough to put in a couple of RR spikes on the fifth string for me. It came with the neck already scooped, as well.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


There are some cloud MoP inlays on the fingerboard and more inlay on the headstock. It is made of maple with a dark brown stain, and an ebony fingerboard. There is celluloid binding on the neck and body. All the materials were in good condition with no flaws that I have found. I find it very attractive, but that was a big part of why I chose this banjo.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It all seems very nice to me, but as I said, I'm new at this. In the three weeks I've been playing it, it has stayed in tune really well, and it feels solid in my hands.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The only dealing I had with the company was ordering it, but they were very friendly to talk to and the ordering process was painless and quick. They got my banjo out to me in a week with no dings or breaks.

Customer Service

10

Components


I haven't seen anything on the banjo that seems weak or cheap. Everything feels really solid and nicely finished.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This was a starter package from Zepp Music, so the price included a hard case, a chromatic tuner, a strap, and Ken Perlman's "Clawhammer Style Banjo" book. Very good price for everything that I got.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 9/2/2010

Submitter

pickinchik (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly

Year Purchased

10/09

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Almost a year later I still love my banjo. See my other review right after I bought it.

The sound is nice and plunky (due to the skin head). It doesn't sound like my friends $1200 Recording King banjo with the Whyte Ladie tone ring in it, but it shouldn't.

I feel comfortable playing the banjo and the sound is fine for an under $400 banjo. I am still very happy with it. My rating is based on other banjos in this price range that I have heard and or played.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup was fine.

I've changed over to a Gary Sosebee bridge, changed out the tuners to planetary ones and added ebony tune keys. I've also taken the armrest off and added a wooden one that I love.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Nice looking banjo!

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Everything is great on this banjo and it is worth the money asked for it. I would recommend it to anyone in this price range.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


fine

Customer Service

9

Components


Well actually the planetary tuners that Elderly added (paid $40 more for them to add) are cheap crap. They are a pain and I will be changing them soon. They come loose and need tightening a bit, so I would recommend if you get it from them to get it with the geared tuners that come with it instead. They are probably better than the crappy planetary ones they give you. I just wanted them for looks anyway.

Other than that all components are fine and have withstood all I can dish out. I have a toddler and it's been banged around and had stuff piled all over it on car trips and it's got dents and dings in it and is still a great banjo. I take it outside and play all the time in different weather and it stands up to it.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Great beginner banjo that has good sound. I think the rolled brass tone ring is a great component for it. I would recommend this banjo to anyone in this price range. I've played a Deering Good Time and while everyone raves about them I personally did not like the sound of it compared to this one. The Good Time is also more expensive.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 8/28/2010

Submitter

SedatedGodzilla (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Mandolin Brothers

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

200 ($US)

Sound


This is my first banjo. It has a clean, bright sound, and is not too loud.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


Simple and clean-looking.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island gave me an outstanding deal. I highly recommend them!

Customer Service

10

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


The Gold Tone CC-50 was the best beginner banjo I was able to find. It is inexpensive and really sturdy. I am totally satisfied with it.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BC-120
submitted 8/19/2010

Submitter

the blood (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Hangout classifieds

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

350 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Its a 12" with a brass rim. It has a very nice thunky bass. Exactly what I wanted.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The setup was quite playable with no buzzes or rattles. All factory settings can use tweaking though, and I tightened the truss rod and did minor filiing of the nut slots.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I wanted a spartan appearance and this has it. On inspection, though, this banjo is well constructed for its price. Fit and finish are very good.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Yes the hardware is good. I like the little guitar tuners although they don't look like what you find on an expensive banjo. The gearing is higher and its actually easier to make small adjustments.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


The owner answers the phone, from what I've read on the forum

Customer Service

9

Components


Its a bare bones model, but the standard components are solid

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I wanted an inexpensive open-back banjo that has a scooped fingerboard and didn't look like a toy (goodtime?). This came up on the classifieds at the right moment and I jumped on it having had a good experience with my ob250+. I'm very impressed with the quality, playability, and sound for the price of this BC120.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BG-150F
submitted 7/31/2010

Submitter

Bizdoc (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

523 ($US)

Sound


Good sound, loud and bright. surprising quality sound from a non tone ring banjo. Only change I made after receiving banjo was to change the strings.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Banjo was set up well, good action, I changed the strings, I didn't like what came on the unit, minor item.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Very good looking banjo. I like the mahogany color, and the neck has a nice color change effect at the heel where it fades to black. The finish is gloss. The Neck and rim are Maple, and the resonator is mahogany. has hearts and flowers inlays on the Rosewood fingerboard, nice looking. The head has a very nice pearloid inlay for both the Gold Tone words and a nice design, bindings are nice. Nice Color on the wood stain.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Hardware appears to be good, the arm rest is the normal Gold Tone Chrome designed arm rest, decorative and comfortable. Appears to be a very reliable unit.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tone hoop does a very good job. I was surprised at the volume provided by this unit. The tone hoop does a very good job.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I purchased this as an upgrade to my prior Gold Tone CC100R +

Also purchased it due to the lower weight than my Gibson. I was not disappointed. While I liked my CC100R, this unit is better looking and has a better sound, the weight at 9 lbs is less than my gibson and doesn't hurt my shoulder to hold it. I'm very pleased with this banjo, good looks, good sound, a mid weight unit with punch.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Gold Tone OT-800
submitted 7/15/2010

Submitter

Svan (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Wayne R. @ Goldtone

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

900-1200 ($US)

Sound


The OT 800LN has Good sound, crisp, clear, and projection was superb. The tone ring is Tubaphone, and compared very well with my Deering Vega LN. The pot on the OT 800 is a bit deeper and the sound by comparison resonates very well, with clear distinct projection. This is comparable with the Vega in every way but two, it's about a half pound heavier and the neck is slightly thicker than the vega. But that's a matter of individual feel and taste, and not a criticism.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Very good set up. I replaced the bridge and adjusted the position slightly, and it was ready to go. I had a "straightline" tail piece swapped in for the no knot, and it was well done. The starightline is a "Price" style tailpiece and the design complements this OT style banjo. The straightline improves tone as well as appearance over the little no knot.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Great finish, smooth and uniform, without any visible flaws. Inlays were well done, although some were obviosly pieced rather than single cuts, but still very good work

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Chrome was smooth and with out any bubbling or flaws. Fittings were tight, and everything was clean. The head tension was excellent. I use it in performance with three different bands I play with.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Very friendly. Wayne talked with me personally, and the delivery was timely and insured. Wayne was busy with a show he had to attend, but this banjo was assembled (from oriental parts I believe) and shipped a week before he promised delivery. I suspect his wife is entitled to the credit for that, and for the excellent set up. Goldtone is a good company with a great marketing strategy. Custom assembled banjos can be ordered directly from the company.

Customer Service

10

Components


The peghead was a surprise. I ordered this banjo custom built, with a WL 250 LN neck and an OT 800 pot assembly. The peghead wasn't what I expected. I was looking for the WL 250 peghead, with more of a violin shape. Instead this banjo arrived with a smaller profile peghead per the OT 800 style, BUT with a peghead inlay like the WL 250 which was very nice indeed. How Wayne did that on such short notice is a mystery. The effect is stunning, and yet I also have the cloud inlays on the fretboard. I decided I liked it enough to brag about it. The case was not very good, and did not fit the banjo. Shipping was also high at $44 for basic land delivery, but that included insurance. The poor case was my one real issue. Otherwise...

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Top quality banjo. A band member who plays a Deering Vega LN was surprised at the quality of the Gold Tone components and sound; and another member who plays a Flatiron Elk Horn w/resonator whistled when he heard this GT. Both were impressed and believe the custom OT 800 to be a fine instrument. It was a good experience all around.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 7/4/2010

Submitter

snapjackson (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Artichoke Music (Portland Or.)

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$750 ($US)

Sound


I LOVE this banjo! It has a beautiful clucky tone and surprisingly great volume for an openback. I play it mostly in the clawhammer style but on many occasions I have played it Scruggs style and in both styles there is great note separation

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I use a Gary Sosebee bridge and Dean Markley medium gauge strings. I have a spike installed at the 7th fret.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


It is a gorgeous banjo. Simple and pretty. Nice color with a dark deep brown ebony fret board. I really like the scoop.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Zero problems and zero complaints.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Very helpful.

Customer Service

9

Components


No complaints here.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Great sound. Great look. Great price. I don't see me ever getting rid of this one.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 6/27/2010

Submitter

kamensm (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

1500.00 ($US)

Sound


Compared to several other Banjos I tried, this OB-250+ sounds amazing in this price range. I have no complaints.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The guys at Banjo.com really backup their promise on personnally setting every banjo up. I received the banjo in perfect shape, everything was tight, bridge was the right height and positioned perfectly. I haven't done anything to the setup.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It is maple with beautiful inlays that were perfectly finished. I examined this banjo from top to bottom and it was perfect in everyway. The finish was amazing.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The banjo's hardware looks and feels solid. I would be shocked if the finish wore off but I wipe down and polish frequently. I would definitely use it on a gig and even several people who played it were impressed. Playing any instrument for a living without a backup doesn't sound like a good idea.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Well 1st I emailed Good Time and asked several questions which were answered within a few hours by the owner. Anyone I've ever dealt with that responds that quickly tends to backup their products. Banjo.com is where I bought it and this was my second purchase. They are the best - provided me with honest expert advice. The setup on both banjos I bought was perfect - they ship fast. What really impressed me was that everyone who answers the phone plays and knows what they are talking about.

Customer Service

10

Components


To me everything stood out as the best but I'm not that experienced to want any upgrades.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This is one beautiful banjo. I played 30 years ago and decided I wanted to pick it up again. I like nice instruments and feel that this was a wise choice based on quality and price. If I had to replace it, I would definitely buy it again.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100R Plus
submitted 6/18/2010

Submitter

oettingm (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Barnhouse's Crazy Music Store, Columbia MO

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

440 ($US)

Sound


Beginner Bluegrass picker. Excellent to learn on. Great sound, clear, loud enough

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Absolutely. OTher than changing strings a couple of times and putting on railroad spikes it has been perfect.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Looks great. No flaws

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Tone ring is great, tuners are great. Tailpiece is great.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Great starter!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 6/2/2010

Submitter

foggers (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay private seller

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

400 (UK Sterling) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I know it sounds risky to buy a banjo via Ebay, but the seller had good ratings and I had tried this model of banjo and wanted one, but could not afford the price for a new one. I have grasped clawhammer enough to know that this baby sounds good. It is mellow, with great response and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of sustain it gives too.

My favourite favourite feature is the frailing scoop, which now is a standard feature of this model. It has enabled a quantum leap in the versatility of my playing as I love the mellow response I get when playing up the neck.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It was originally purchased from Andy Perkins, one of THE best banjo retailers in UK whose is a Gold Tone authorised agent and is highly regarded for the set up of his banjos. The set up had not been adjusted by the previous owner and it was perfect - great action, perfect tone and no need to do any tweaking or adjusting.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The pot and neck are dark stained maple, with ebony fingerboard that has cloud shaped inlays as position markers.- These are nicely done but it is a quirky shape that may not be to everyone's taste. The dark wood enhances that sense of age, but the cloud inlays give it a modern feel.

There are no flaws other than an old sticky label mark on the head, but this came off with a little diluted detergent on a soft cloth.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The finish is excellent. The chrome work is flawless and evenly layered. The build quality is robust and feels like this axe could last longer than me!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


As I bought from a private ebay seller I can't really comment on him. However, Andy Perkins, the original source for this banjo, was superbly helpful when I contacted him to source the proper arm rest for this model. I would certainly recommend Andy's Banjos for excellent and speedy service.

Customer Service

10

Components


Planetary tuners have good smooth action though one of the buttons appears to have a teeny hairline crack. Tone ring seems perfectly seated. There really is not anything I would change - I just added a Gold Tone armrest as there wasn't one when it came.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


If there was a house fire, this would be the one banjo I would grab of the 5 we have (as long as the people I love were safe already!) If I could only ever play one banjo for the rest of my life I would be happy with my Gold Tone WL250

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-175
submitted 4/22/2010

Submitter

drleaman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

West Chester Music Store, West Chester PA

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Bought this a week ago and can't put it down. If your looking for a quality banjo in the $1000 retail price range, THIS IS THE ONE! The GTR Bronze tone ring sounds fantastic for a banjo in this price range. I played other banjo's in this price range but none compared to this one. It is bright, loud and warm all at once. I'll keep repeating myself, but in this price range, you can't beat it.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set up was perfect. When they arrive from Korea, I think they are set up by Gold Tone in Florida before they are sent to the music store for purchase.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Quality of the workmanship from this small Korean shop was flawless. I looked for flaws but couldn't find any. Again, in this price range............stunning!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Looks like it will last me a long time.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Sent an email to the CEO about how happy I was with my purchase and he replied the same day.

Customer Service

10

Components


I will probably experiment with different bridges. Might install Keith tuner's in the future but that's about all. It's a beautiful banjo and you won't be disappointed if you get one.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


The GTR Bronze tone ring sounds very vintage for a banjo in this price range.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250AT
submitted 3/29/2010

Submitter

Beanblossom (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

traded-private individual

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

(trade) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Very bright and loud. Full sound and getting better as I tweak it. Wide difference between x and y positions. I want a little deeper base and I think a new bridge will do it. Love the sound and was amazed at how good it was.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Better setup was needed. I tightened the head, put on new strings and have ordered a new bridge. Significant open 4th string buzz when I got it, but remedied by head tightening and strings.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


Very nice looking. Love it.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Everything but tuners is excellent. Tuners will be changed soon.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Haven't dealt with Goldtone, but I will give them an 8 because I really like the banjo

Customer Service

8

Components


As mentioned before, the tuners are poor. Everything else seems heavy-duty and high quality.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I have had several Goldtone's and have enjoyed them. I had heard an AT a few years ago and liked the sound. This one is miles better. This is the best banjo I have owned and am extremely happy with it. If you like an arch top sound, this is a good one to consider without breaking the bank.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye Plus WL-250+
submitted 3/18/2010

Submitter

Firehose20 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angies Banjo

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

Good Price ($US)

Sound


The Sound is clear with nearly the crack of a bluegrass style banjo when played with picks, but a smooth, sweet, woody sound when played clawhammer style. It has a real big sound for a banjo under $1000.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I did a direct pickup from Gold Tone. I was standing right there while they were doing the work. There attention to detail was quite impressive, from the adjustments made to the instrument to the cleaning of the banjo when all the work was completed. They adjusted the action on the spot to suit the type of playing that I do. The WL250+ played like a banjo much more expensive then what I paid for it. You can judge a book by its cover at Gold Tone. The shop and the office area was neat as a pin. I was very impressed.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The Gold Tone WL250+ speaks for itself. It's absolutly beautiful.
The abalone and mother of pearl inlay is flawless. The binding on the rim is so rich looking. It makes such a great contrast to the dark finish on the neck and the rim itself. When combined with the gleaming, chrome hardware it appeals to the eye like a piece of fine furniture..

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


So far so good.....

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I've been a musician for over 30 years. I've owned just about every type and major brand of instrument there is from extremely low price to ridiculously high dollar. Gold Tone has impressed me. They are courteous, precise and seem to genuinely concerned about the customer. I truly believe it will carry over if God forbid, I have any problems in the future. Tommy Sivert and the whole crew at Gold Tone are top notch.

Customer Service

10

Components


Everything seems to be of very good quality. It's built and assemble quite well

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Give a Gold Tone instruments a try, I did. The dollar value is unbeatable. When you combine it with good old fashioned American fit and finish, customer satisfaction and service, well you've one heck of a dollar value.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone BC 350+
submitted 3/13/2010

Submitter

robmac07 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Import from US to Australia

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

1049 ($US)

Sound


Love the big warm deep sound of the 12" pot with just enough 'ring' and volume to cut through in a stringband. Just great for clawhammer.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Excellent. Perfect action and easy to play. Just tightened the Renaissance head a little

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Fancy model with tasteful detailed pearl inlays like a prewar WW1 Orpheum. Gold plated. I like plainer banjos but all my other banjos except for one bluegrass model are very plain. The 'bling' of the 350 plus adds a vintage 'golden era' feel.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Well made and holds tune beautifully. Play it anywhere.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Haven't dealt with Gold Tone but the service when shipped was excellent. Bought through Banjocrazy.com web store. Paul Roberts was great

Customer Service

10

Components


All parts seem good quality. Solid maple rim and neck, fully bound ebony fingerboard, frailing scoop, rolled brass tone ring hoop. The inlay work is excellent. Gold plating looks well done. Amazing for a Chinese made instrument designed in the US.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Brilliant 12" pot compliment to my locally (Aussie) built 11" open backs and fancy too. I just love the tone, volume and variety of sounds I can produce on it. A Canadian TKL deluxe case was included in the price! Recommended for Old Timey players who want a fancier model.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC100
submitted 3/5/2010

Submitter

appfrailer11 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Harry and Jeanie West Fine Musical Instruments

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

300 ($US)

Sound


The sound is good. It's plenty loud enough to stand up in a jam.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The only problem with it was that the head needed to be tightened but other than that it was in great shape.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I'm not a huge fan of the finish. I think the dark fret board clashes with the lighter colored pot. However I expected as much from a starter banjo.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Even though I've only had this banjo for a year, it is still looking pretty good. Nothing has broken on it yet even after a few accidental bumps here and there.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Never dealt with customer service but from what I hear Gold Tone is very reliable and helpful.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Personally I wish it came with planetary tuners instead of guitar tuners as well as a smaller tail piece. Other than that though it's a sturdy instrument.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Over all this is a great starter banjo. I hope to keep this one, even after I upgrade, to use a take anywhere banjo or use it for teaching other up and coming players. I really believe this is well worth the money.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone CB-100
submitted 2/16/2010

Submitter

jetongue (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Fiddler's Green - Austin, TX

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


The sound has the plunky goodness of authentic old-time banjos, but is also full and crisp. I switched the head from fiberskyn to a renaissance head, and now it really sings rich and loud.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


mine was NOT set up at all. i had to make quite a few adjustments. I lowered the action lots. The stock fiberskyn head needed serious tightening, but got it sounding good. it came with light gauge strings that caused lots of fretbuzz, but through experience i find medium to work alot better, and sound richer. brought it to life though.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


i purchased it on a whim because it was so damn beautiful. I have found most of the CB 100s to be maple, but mine is strangely made from a more walnut colored wood that i have yet to place. i love the simple star and dot inlays, and the shooting star @ 5th fret is quite classy. The finish brings out the grain of the wood nicely.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware isn't bad...not as good as my Tradesman, but gets the job done. This is a banjo made for learning and smaller jams/gigs or a decent backup banjo. PERFECT for the campfire circle.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


haven't needed any customer service, only had it for a year. BUT i hear Gold Tone is great about helping people with their warranty/repair issues.

Customer Service

10

Components


the tuning pegs are on the sensitive side, but hold like the great wall of china. The hardshell case that came with it though is fantastic. i could hurl it off a building and it wouldn't get a scratch. again, i didn't like the sound of the stock fiberskyn head...not just on this banjo, but any banjo...just sound muddy to me. put on a renaissance head and it came alive.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


aside from the poor setup (i seem to have found the only one that wasn't ready to go right out of the factory), the GT cb-100 makes a great student or backup banjo. It feels smooth as butter under the fingers, and sounds like a dream once you get a feel for her.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 2/15/2010

Submitter

candkath (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

goldtone

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Scruggs style. I have a 50 some model raised head Mastertone and was looking for a flat head and wanted to try the graphite neck. Had to do a lot of adjusting but it sounds good to me and get a lot of compliments about the tone.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Banjo was shipped from Gold Tone by Fed EX. The neck was loose, the bridge not right and the tail piece loose. Not being a banjo mechanic and no one here in Tucson Az that knew anything about banjos I had to learn how to fix and set up my banjo. After lots of trial and error, changing the tail piece to a Fults and after a lot of different bridges I finallly settled on the one that came with the banjo. Figured out how to tighten and adjust the neck from all the helpful websites that can be found. The head needs to be tightened periodically because it tends to loosen up. Will replace it with a good Remo head shortly. Put on a pair of Schaller DTuners that work very well.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


Finish is ok No faults

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Overall the banjo seems like it will last. Good solid instrument.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Havent delt with Gold Tone. Whats the use they are in Florida Im in Arizona.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Didnt like the tail piece and the head seems weak.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Good banjo for the price. I wanted to try the graphite neck after reading lots of good commets about it. The neck is about 2/16 of an inch wider at the nut and the playing surface is flat. The back of the neck is smooth with no finish so it makes moving up and down the neck very smooth and easy. I really like the graphite neck and would recommend it to anyone.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250AT
submitted 2/5/2010

Submitter

twalk (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Home Office

Year Purchased

2010

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


The setup was very easy just had one of the guys in the shop bring the action down a little tighten the head and install the spikes all at the same time.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


The appearance of this banjo very nice, I cant really seem to find any flaws in the finish or how it is made.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


The staff was very friendly and also patient and helpful, all i have is very nice things to say about my experience with all the folks at goldtone. The owner even came up to the showroom just to say hello.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I am only a couple of years into playing banjo and this is my third. I have had a cheap ebay banjo then a fender FB58 and now this Gold Tone . And man what a difference. I would advise anyone who is not looking to spend a fortune for a great banjo to at least look at one of these.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100R Plus
submitted 2/1/2010

Submitter

Cajun_Hillbilly (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

$560 ($US)

Sound


I am very pleased with the sound quality. It certainly doesn't compare to some high end model, but it has a clean and warm sound that seems ideas for beginners and those trying different styles.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


This is my first banjo and I have had no experience prior, so I can't really knock it or rave about it. It plays. Nothing rattles or moves around. I did have to tune it up when I got. I am sure something could have been done better for shear probability so I will give it a 9.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I was very concerned about the finish. I had seen so many different pictures where the finished seemed so dark it is almost black, to brighter and almost cherry in appearance. I spoke to Ross Nickerson from Banjoteacher.com about it who didn't really confirm or deny my concerns but reiterated how nice it looked and I would be pleased. I also wrote to Gold Tone to inquire twice. On the second email, a young lady went and took photos of the instrument an I felt sure of what to expect, although I didn't think I would be impressed. I sure was wrong. It was darker than most other beginner to intermediate banjos, with a matte appearance but it really is quite nice. It seems to have some character to it.

The features on this model for the price really make it a worthwhile investment.

The one disappointment I did have was a few minor defects in the fretboard and the tension hoop. The fretboard had a couple of spots on it that were like indentations as if something had knocked against it or been pressed up against it. The tension hoop had two small rust/corrosion spots. Both of these problems were fairly minor, however I had seen Gold Tone banjos being sold on e-bay as B-stock with similar minor flaws. Considering it was being shipped directly from Gold Tone, it makes me wonder if they were pushing their B-stock out from/for dealers with the lowest prices.

It wasn't so significant that I wanted to go through the trouble of calling to complain or send it back. Though I feel in the back of my mind like I may have either been taken or the unfortunate end user on a day when quality control was having a bad day.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The parts overall seem like they would stand up to regular play or heavy learning. I expect it to last the rest of my life.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Banjoteacher.com had the best deal for this banjo. I got the impression from seeing and talking to Ross Nickerson that he loves the banjo and wants others to feel the same, and try's to show that through his sales and service.

This was given to me as a Christmas gift from my wife. She had ordered it with a hard case (which is why the price I stated above was more than the $479 shown on the website.) When I opened it on Christmas, it was in a regular gig bag. The gig bag was horrible. No banjo, no matter how beginner, should be put in such a bag. I contacted Ross over the week following about it. He said he was on the road but would have it taken care of and I should get the case the week after New Year's. A couple of weeks passed and I hadn't received anything. I got in touch with Ross again and he got it cleared up and I had the case within a week. I waited till the whole order was fulfilled before writing my review.

Customer Service

7

Components


I liked the scrolling on the armrest and the planetary tuners. I especially like the easily removable resonator.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Anyone just starting out, especially those uncertain about which style they want to play, should get this model. It's versatile, sounds great and seems like a solid product.

I gave Banjoteacher.com a 7 here based upon this, my first experience. However, I think his prices, service and the items offered on the site make him worthy of repeat business and I plan to make future purchases from him.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50RP
submitted 1/1/2010

Submitter

banjoboy65 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Route 60 Music

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

319.00 ($US)

Sound


This banjo is not a Gibson Master tone, but this banjo has an awesome sound to it, its perfect for the beginning banjo player or intermediate player, heck even a pro could appreciate it. I've played some varying styles on it and it does quite well, rock ,bluegrass , blues, jazzy stuff, you name it it plays great. I don't run any effects or run through an amp although I've been thinking about getting a pickup for it and running it into my guitar amp. As for its sound, it has a nice bright full sound, like I said it's not a Gibson Master tone, but it's not real far behind. I love it. Amazing for a Chinese made banjo lol.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Gold Tone set it up great, I never had to change a thing not even the strings when I bought this banjo, the only thing I use is a capo and a homemade 5th string capo lol.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The CC50RP is not a fancy banjo with all the flash and frills, but it is a nice looking banjo.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I think its very reliable, it all seems to be good quality hardware. the wood I know is excellent and the finish is in great shape. If I where a pro player in a band I would have no problem with using this banjo as my main absolutely. very dependable banjo for sure.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


an excellent warranty indeed, 5 yrs which is more than a lot of products today have, I know that.

Customer Service

10

Components


Hey for the price of this banjo, I really don't see any really weak point to it, sure some parts are cheaper than higher end models, but for medium grade. the parts are good. I have no problems with any of it. I'm sure time will tell all, but really I don't anticipate any real future problems with any of it.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I absolutely love this banjo.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Maple Classic MC-150R
submitted 12/16/2009

Submitter

Jeff 1965 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

ZEPP Country Music, Inc.

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

525 ($US)

Sound


Without any modifications it has a pretty good sound. It's not a bright sound, but it's not a mellow sound - kInd of in between. I installed a Snuffy Smith bridge and it made a very significant difference in sound. It is now very bright and it sounds excellent up and down the neck. I enjoy listening to this banjo.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Banjo was setup by Zepp Music. It was setup perfectly. It has a nice low action.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The banjo looks beautiful. However there are some minor manufacturing flaws on my banjo. There are some minor blemishes on the fingerboard at the 1st fret and also near the 3rd fret dot on the side of the neck. The blemishes don't bother me.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Overall it appears to be reasonably reliable.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I called Gold Tone once to ask a question and they were very helpful.

Customer Service

10

Components


The guitar tuners work surprisingly well - easy to tune and stay in tune. The neck is nice but it's a little too bulky for me near the higher frets. The tailpiece isn't very good - mine is bent. I installed a real Price tailpiece. The stock bridge subdues the sound too much. I installed a Snuffy Smith bridge. I don't know if I had the option but I wish I asked for a brass tone ring. I have the steel alloy ring. The brass ring would probably give it an even better sound.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


The MC-150R has it's flaws, but it's a very good banjo for the money.

Update Dec 2009: After getting a new tuner for Christmas '09, I now check the tuning more frequently. It stays in tune very well. Only slight adjustments are needed every so often. Is it because I installed a high quality tailpiece? I don't know. I also still like the guitar tuners.

Update: July 2012: I still like this banjo. It crosses my mind every once in a while to get another banjo but there is no reason to.

Update: Oct 2013: Still works fine. Play it (mostly) every day.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 11/29/2009

Submitter

SPLogDog (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Old Town School of Folk

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

270 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Great sound, I like the sound better then the Deering of similar price. A little plunky, brighter when you wail on it. It's pretty loud for a banjo without a tone ring. I have low action, 1/2" bridge, Remo top frosted head. The head is tightened down quite a bit, and the tailpiece is as low as it can go. This can be heard on the music section of my homepage.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


The banjo was set up very well, I have made very little changes. I fiddled around with the head tension, bridge position, and strings. It has a stock bridge, guitar style tuners, Remo top frosted head, and D Addario medium light tension strings.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


There is a dark brown finish, which leaves the grain visible. The peghead is simple, as is the inlay. Overall, a very nice, spartan banjo.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The whole thing seems very sturdy, this would make an excellent camping banjo. I've done a bit of camping with it and can't see any damage or wear. I've had this banjo for 11 months, and I've played quite a bit on it. During the summer I played a minimum of 2 or 3 hours a night for 2 or 3 months, so its had some good rigorous testing.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Old Town was very nice to work with, they didn't try and pressure me into more then I wanted to spend. They worked with me to find an option that would work with me, and were willing to throw in a few extras. They also didn't hover over me like some salesmen tend to do.

Customer Service

9

Components


The strings that came with it were store brand cheapo's, the tuners are guitar style. The tuners are very reliable, they tune easily and quickly. Some might want to upgrade to planetary, but the guitar style used work great. The Remo head is a pretty standard head, I've worn through the frosting. This doesn't require replacement, but others might like to keep it looking sparkly new. There hasn't been any damage to the other components.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


A great sounding banjo for the price, sturdy, reliable, and fun to play. This is a great banjo for a beginner, and is made well enough to last.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 11/18/2009

Submitter

thomass (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

739 ($US)

Sound


Really sounds great. I'm a beginner, this should last me a long time

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Had some over tones. I took it to the local music store and they fixed it up....no problem.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Very nice...better than I expected. Looks more expensive than it was.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Looks very sturdy and has a real "expensive" appearance

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Great warranty...very nice people.

Customer Service

9

Components


No complaints.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I'm very satisfied.....a real value for the money. A lot better than the guy playing it !! :-))

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Ot-800 long neck
submitted 11/11/2009

Submitter

john bange (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

The Folk Shop

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

900 ($US)

Sound


suits a poor old folksinger as perfect as possible...set up just right, very rich and loud...lotta sustain...longer I have this banjo the more I like it...sound is loud and full...1 year later...changed the Renasance head out for a white frosted...much brighter!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


set up fine as recieved...all the tools you need to get into trouble come with...I made some changes that I needed to do myself...dealer was very helpful and the banjo is very, very easy to set up to any playing style...adjusted coordinator rods to raise the string height and went to a 11/16th bridge...action was really low...I finally made my own bridge by adding a thin ebony strip to the base of a Snuffy Smith 11/16th bridge...I would add that the truss rod adjustment requires VERY SMALL adjustment to get the action/neck to move...1/8 turn at a time

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


very pretty with a high gloss finish...I don't know!(panda wood?)...the inlays were really done nice...THE INLAYS WERE REALLY DONE NICE!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


seems like it is well made...never had any problems with Gold Tone products though having read some of the other reviews, I will keep an eye on the tuners and knobs...very good so far. will I use it at a gig without back up? I had 2 Vegas so I bought 2 of these...I like back up....SOLD 2nd one...these are rock solid/YEAR LATER...see components!...replaced the tuners with Grover guitar pegs(livin' in the past)

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


read my review of The Folk Shop...Easily one of the best sales experiences I have had...just great people
Gold Tones warranty reputation is excellent although I have not need ed it yet

Customer Service

10

Components


I didn't see any weak parts. I would point out the excellent tailpiece...you know the case is not an American Vintage but it is fine for now....GOT RID OF THE CASE ...GOT A TKL...the reason the tailpiece was excellent is that it is not stock...my 2nd banjo had a no knot on it and the sound was not near as full...put some downward pressure on the strings with an optional t/p ...rating goes to 10 with Kirschner t/p...banjo gets a 10...case gets a 4...HAD BANJO FOR A YEAR NOW! I replaced the cheap brackets and nuts. Anyone who has one of these will need to do this. The thread on the nuts is so sloppy when screwed on the brackets that you are tightening the head all the time.TRUST ME! get some nice closed end nuts and brackets from Elderly or Stew-Mac. I junked the cheap Vega style arm rest for a 5 star bolt on...much better. I still love this banjo but the components I have changed were not too hot.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


for folk music, vocal back up and playing around the campfire, I do not see how you could beat these banjos...if your looking for a tub-a-phone, you gotta try the OT-800...month later/make that year later, my opinion is the same...It is the best long neck I have ever played...(that I could afford)...rating goes to 12...200 gigs later rating at 14...supplied case really sucks(see review on new Gold Tone cases) so i bought an American Vintage. Even with the case and the components I have changed out, I still believe that this is a great value considering what a Deering or Wildwood would cost. I installed (very carefully) a stainless eyebolt on the neck at the 13th fret for a strap...I would have liked that to be a about the 15th or 16th fret but I guess body size will determine this

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Banjolele
submitted 10/27/2009

Submitter

Rwh56 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Great sound. I have the open back version, so it makes a big difference how you angle the instrument to let out the sound. I put some Martin fluorocarbon strings and they sounded much better than the original strings.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up was largely OK. The tuners slipped and the strings were knotted on the "No Knot" tailpiece. Using knots to anchor the string on the no knot tailpiece led to strings pulling out or cut loose by the sharp edge of the slot. Once you properly install the string, it is reliably anchored to the tailpiece. I am new to banjos, so it took me awhile to see what was wrong. Otherwise the banjo was quite playable.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Very pretty.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Everything but the tuners look very sturdy. The tuners unfortunately were very cheap. The tuners would slip and tightening led to broken plastic washers. I replaced them with Grover Champion tuners which work great. Finish looks very durable. Maybe a little on the thick side.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I have not asked for help as yet. I will assume the best.

Customer Service

10

Components


Everthing is great except for the tuners. The contrast between the cheap tuners and the rest of the banjolele is striking.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


This is a great banjo ukulele. There are not too many new banjo ukes available. This one is a very good value.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone CC-OT
submitted 10/13/2009

Submitter

pickinchik (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly (comes w/planetary tuners)

Year Purchased

10/2009

Price Paid

340.00 ($US)

Sound


I am learning clawhammer and this banjo fits the bill nicely. The sound is wonderful for an inexpensive banjo and I really am enjoying it. The brass tone ring sounds wonderful.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was setup fine, I had to install the bridge (of course) because they don't install it for shipment reasons. I installed the bridge and tuned her up and was off and running.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This banjo is very nice looking and really mimics much costlier banjos in my opinion. I looked at a bunch of banjos in my price range and I really love the dark color of this one. I'm just not fond of those light maple banjos out there. The head is very attractive also and adds to the old time look

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All hardware seems fine. I will be replacing the nut because it is plastic, but that was expected and it operates fine. Very nice banjo!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Haven't had to contact elderly for anything ever and this is not my first purchase from them.

THE BANJO CAME WITH FREE SHIPPING!! very nice touch from Elderly.

Customer Service

10

Components


To me the standout component is the fretboard. I've played rosewood fretboards and ebony fretboards on other instruments before but this compressed rosewood is wonderful!! I love it. It mimicks the smoothness and soft feel of ebony in my opinion. I opted for the planetary tuners.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this as a starter banjo to anyone. It is attractive and does not feel cheap in any way, the sound is wonderful, the components are solid, and it makes beautiful (or not so beautiful) music! Great banjo for a great price!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100R Plus
submitted 10/3/2009

Submitter

Bizdoc (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ross Nickerson

Year Purchased

20096

Price Paid

479.00 ($US)

Sound


Good Full Banjo Sound, should keep up with much higher priced banjos. Not the mellow sound of my Gibson, but then it didn't cost what a Gibson does. Still a nice Banjo Sound

Sound Rating

8

Setup


I had rail road spikes put in and chose the Plus model because I wanted the planetary tuners. Action is very good, this banjo plays like a dream. The neck is so smooth your hand easily slides up and down without any sticking.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Nice looking, for my taste the tobacco brown is a bit too dark, but it is still very nice, and it has an understated look, which I like very much.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Appears to be very reliable, the arm rest appears to be of chrome and does not appear that it would tarnish like others I have, everything seems to be of good quality.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


BanjoTeacher was good to deal with, answered all questions and shipped timely.

Customer Service

9

Components


all components are of good quality, should be a lifetime banjo.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I bought this banjo because I needed something lighter for everyday use. I love to play it. It is light, has good tone and is loud as you want it to be. parts are fine. The action is great and the neck is excellent. I would recommend this banjo to anyone either starting out or experienced. for the beginner it's one you'll keep. For the experienced, it's a light banjo that won't hurt your shoulder, and is a delight to play.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Maple Mountain mm-150ln
submitted 8/23/2009

Submitter

mrpedersen9 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I like to play old timey tunes and be able to sing with them comfortably. So the long neck was a perfect choice for the price. It has a very loud and very rich bass right out of the box. With a little love it makes that perfect cluckin' noise ;)

Sound Rating

10

Setup


When I bought it I needed to raise the action for comfort but everything else was perfect. I bought a new adjustable tail piece to replace the no-knot and a med wght, Moon bridge to even out the tone "the bridge has really made the most difference". I also had a couple spikes installed for easy tuning and traded the Vega armrest in for a more comfortable engraved Gold Tone one.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Simple and beautiful. The wood grain is gorgeous and the simple snowflake inlays get the job done.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


This banjo will stand the test of time. the finish on the neck will take decades to wear off and all the hardware looks like it's going to be there for a long time. I use mine for every show with out any others.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Elderly Instruments gets you your stuff early!!! It's awesome!

Customer Service

10

Components


Get and new bridge for it, that I would say is almost mandatory, the stock is nice, but if you want it to have a personality buy a good bridge.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


The best quality long neck banjo on the market in a reasonable price range. I would buy another one right away.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Banjolele
submitted 8/13/2009

Submitter

Erin Vanzant (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

350.00 ($US)

Sound


It has a very 'vintage' sound, as if it's coming out of an old phonograph. It has good volume and tone. I've played it along with a traditional four-piece bluegrass band, and it held it's own.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Tom, from Janet Davis Music, went through all the banjolele's they had in stock and found the one that he thought had the best sound and playability. I was very happy with what he sent me! All I had to do was take it out of the box, tune it, and I was ready to play. I decided to put Aquila Nylagut strings on it which really enhanced it's tone.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It's beautiful!

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I've had a few issues with the tuners slipping, but that's all that comes to mind.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Janet Davis is an awesome company to work with...I recommend them to everyone.

Customer Service

10

Components


Just the tuners, other than that it is a very sturdy, well-put together instrument.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I do love to play it! I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little different to play around with. It has the ease of a ukulele with the old-timey sound of a banjo, which gives it a sound all it's own.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100R Plus
submitted 7/18/2009

Submitter

Bizdoc (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BanjoTeacher

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I purchased this for a light banjo for everyday use so I could take the resonator off wthout having a full flange to worry about. I got the Plus model because I wanted the planetary tuners instead of the guitar tuners. I like the weight, the neck is very smooth for excellent playability. The looks are nice in this price range as it has nice fret markers, instead of dots it has snowflakes. The banjo has a decent tone for the price range, not a cannon or exceptionally clear, but then it's $500.00.. I am disspointed in the color. I thought it would be a medium brown, but it is so dark it is almost black, if sending it back were not so much a hassle, i would have done so to get a lighter color, but again the finish is excellent for playability.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Banjo was setup fine as it came directly from Gold Tone in Fl. I needed to retune it, which is no issue.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The head is nice, planetary tuners are good, the chrome plating is good, and the arm rest is decorated with scrolling and the words "Gold Tone" which is very nice. I do not like the dark, dark color. I was expecting a dark brown that would still show the wood grain, but it is so dark that it is almost black.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


Seems reliable, I will use this for my everyday use and will also use it for travel.
the Banjo appears to be reliable. I will use it for my everyday use and for travel. I don't see anything that would cause issues.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


No issues, called Ross Nickerson and we discussed what I was looking for and he recommended the CC100R Plus for my needs, which it fits nicely.

Customer Service

9

Components


Componets all seem fine for the price. I see no issues.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo, it has what I was looking for, a light everyday banjo, the sound is acceptable, and the looks are fine. I really like the playability in the neck, it is very smooth. and the weight is what allows me to play it daily for as long as I want without shoulder strain. This would make a good banjo for a starter or intermediate/advanced who wants a light daily use/practice banjo.

This was more expensive than most advertisements due to the purchase of a few additional items: I had railroad spikes put on, which were done nicely, and I got the deluxe heavy padded carrying case.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 7/14/2009

Submitter

jefe (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

950 ($US)

Sound


What a bright crisp banjo this is, a ton of drive, pushes sound like banjos $3000 dollars it's superior. I'm using light gauge strings and a snuffy smith bridge. This banjo has plenty of sustain. It sounds great, really sings.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was set up well when it arrived, no real complaints. I added lighter strings and a snuffy smith bridge and had it professionally set up, but right out of the box it was very playable. I'm giving it a 8 out of the box and a 10 after some adjustments.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Looks great. One flaw is on the top of the neck by the fifth string tuner, looks like the wood was burnt in a sanding/buffing process. When Goldtone was contacted they said that it was a hard place to work and that they would not consider it a blemish. It is a blemish. I was not impressed with Goldtone.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Hardware seems tight, little play in the tuners, not too bad though. The thing weighs a ton. Brand new for right now, we'll see how it stands the test of time.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Read Appearance. Other than that, no other contact with Goldtone.

Customer Service

5

Components


Components seem decent, the tail piece seems a little light weight.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I love the feel of the banjo, plays great and feels like quality when played. It was a toss-up between this and a RK R-80, and I think I made the right choice. The banjo feels great. If you closed your eyes and played, it would feel and sound like a banjo three times a expensive. If stolen, I'd buy another.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Gold Tone OT-800
submitted 7/8/2009

Submitter

robertmeyerson (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Thin Man Music

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

1050 ($US)

Sound


I am not a banjo pro. I am a folk leftover from the 50's and 60's. I've been playing (and will Keep) a Vega (Boston Made pre Martin) Long Neck (not the great Seeger Model) since about 1961. That model had no tone ring. I did a reasonably good job of crafting one from copper plumbing tubing. It still sounds good. When I saw that Gold Tone had a new long neck, I decided to take a chance. Friends have other Gold Tones, and I'm impressed with their value and quality. I am absolutely amazed at what Gold Tone has accomplished with this new model. Again, I'm not a real musician, and my evaluation needs to be viewed thru this prism. But honestly, this banjo has achieved the plunky sound I would've expected in a much higher priced piece. I had to wait over a month to get delivery, but it's here, and I'm glad I waited. I'll keep my Vega, which seems to be appreciating in value every year....but it's now relegated as a 'backup' banjo. Again, I'm amazed!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Set up was perfect. Only modifications I made was to put on a shubb 5th string capo, and a screw eye about at the 13th fret....I find attaching the strap there helps me balance the long neck better when I play. Gold Tone also includes a sheet on maintenance, and all the tools any owner could want. (maybe some the average owner like me shouldn't be allowed to have!)

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It is a beautiful piece. An obvious cosmetic ripoff of the original Vega Pete Seeger long neck. I like the ebony fingerboard. The inlays are well done, and not perceptible to finger examination.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I can't tell. The brackets are all contained in a steel ring that goes around the circumfrence of the banjo. They do not appear to be thru the rim, and I can't evaluate their durability. The finish is beautiful. I certainly would use it on one of my amateur gigs without a backup. But the Vega IS in the back seat of my car. I'll give it a 5, but no one should take that seriously. Quite honestly, I just don't know.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


I was impatient to get it, and actually emailed GoldTone several times to find out when they'd be able to ship it to the dealer. Surprisingly to me, Wayne Rogers responded to my annoying emails in a very friendly and supportive way.

Customer Service

10

Components


The tone ring, which is a copy of the famous 'tubaphone." I'm a little suspect about the brackets not being integrated thru the rim, but not willing to criticize. If they're stable it's a great idea. The tail piece is a lot simpler than on my Vega...I'm not sure if that's a strength or a weakness. It sure will be easier to change strings! Other than that, this seems to be a very well constucted instrument. Again, my rating is not based on long lasting info.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


For someone looking for a long neck to accompany singing. For someone wanting that 'good ol 'plumky' sound, I can't imagine a better banjo anywhere NEAR this price range.
If it was stolen, I'd replace it. Not yet in love. But a great friendship is growing! Need to get over the 'newness' factor before declaring. Well... I wish I'd asked about delay in delivery. But I must admit it was worth waiting for. I'm still so used to my Vega....just don't know if or when I want the GoldTone to be a total replacement. (at least emotionally!)

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone BC-120
submitted 7/3/2009

Submitter

Booger McGee (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Dusty Strings--Seattle, WA

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

535 ($US)

Sound


Quick disclaimer: I don't own this banjo, but I had the chance to play it today at a local music store.

With a 12" pot, the BC-120 had a noticeably louder volume and depth than the CC-OT. The BC-120 has a brass tone ring, so the higher notes are bright. Overall, it's a lovely sounding banjo!

I also played a BC-350. Although the BC-120 is supposed to be a stripped down version of the 350, the 350 sounded mellower and fuller--i.e. the 350 is a better sounding banjo.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The set up seems pretty solid. The action along with the scoop makes this a great clawhammer banjo.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This is meant to be an economical version of the BC-350.

When I spoke with dealers earlier this summer (who contacted Gold Tone on my behalf for additional information), I was told that this banjo would have a (faux) dowel stick and planetary tuners. It has neither. Instead, the BC-120 uses the same cheap guitar tuners that are on the CC-OT. There are dual coordinating rods instead of a dowel stick. The hooks and nuts are the same low quality, cheapo hooks & nuts that are on the CC-OT. Essentially, this banjo is an exact copy of the CC-OT, with only a 12" pot, a better arm rest, and an extra coordinating rod separating the two.

Like the CC-OT, there are side dots and inlaid fret markers, with an inlaid star on the fifth fret. The star on the headstock is painted on, much like the CC-OT's

Running my hand down the sides of the neck, I could feel a few spots where the fret wire had not been fully sanded down. Not dangerously sharp--but definitely noticeable.

On a positive note, the dark brown stain is attractive. The satin finish feels much better than the high gloss finish of the BC-350. And the arm-rest is much more solid than the CC-OT's. It comes with a nice sounding Renaissance head.

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


See above. This would make a good secondary banjo (office, road trips, etc.). If I played regularly or for a living, I wouldn't choose this as a main banjo. The cheap hardware probably wouldn't hold up.

Reliability Rating

3

Customer Service


I've e-mailed Gold Tone several times about my CC-OT and with questions about the BC-120. Each time, I've received a prompt reply, usually from Wayne himself.

I have not had to deal with Gold Tone for repairs / replacements. I've heard excellent things about their customer service though.

Customer Service

9

Components


I don't know if it would be worth it to upgrade the tuners, the hooks, the tension hoop, and the nuts. By the time you paid for the banjo and replaced all of these parts, you would have spent as much as you would for a nicer banjo (i.e. an Enoch Tradesman).

Components Rating

3

Overall Comments


I want to start by saying that I really wanted to like this banjo. At this price range, I knew some compromise had to be made. However, the final product differs sharply from Gold Tone's initial description.

So, if you are desperate to get your hands on a 12" pot clawhammer banjo, but your budget is limited, then the BC-120 might be a good option.

If you can save a little more, I would advise looking at other models.

Again, I really wanted to like this banjo, but feel that Gold Tone made too many compromises in "stripping down" its BC-350.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Dojo Deluxe
submitted 6/17/2009

Submitter

banjodad1 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Instrumentalley.com

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

579 ($US)

Sound


The Gold Tone dojo deluxe suits my style (anything goes) just fine. The instrument has a rich, full sound. It is quieter than a banjo, maybe a guitar too but it's great for sitting on the porch and exploring new musical avenues. I've only plugged it into an amp once to check the pickups so I can't really comment on that.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


This instrument was flawless when I received it.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Again, perfect appearance.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware is pretty good. This is no family heirloom but considering the price I feel I got my money's worth.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


I only sent them an email of appreciation about the dojo deluxe. I guess I expected a "Gee, thanks!" in return but never received a reply.

Customer Service

5

Components


Again, this instrument is not top of the line quality. The cover plate, the bridge, the tuning keys are all what one would expect in that price range. However, the workmanship and overall appearance is flawless. It looks and (in my opinion) sounds great.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


From what I've read, the Gold Tone dojo had some quality problems in the past which may still affect it's acceptance today. I can honestly say my dojo arrived in top condition and I've been loving it ever since. It all depends what you want to use it for- I can't say how it would perform onstage, but around the house it's a barrel of fun. I've hardly touched my regular banjo since I got it. A short description- pure magic!

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 6/15/2009

Submitter

nyartist (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo Hangout Classified

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I play clawhammer and already had two wonderful banjos: Bart Reiter Round Peak and an Ome Jubilee - both with 12" pots. I wasn't expecting lots from this banjo but I have fallen in love! The sound surprised me. I play it outdoors in a setting surrounded by water yet there is more volume than I expected. Sounds great to me.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The set up was right on. The seller suggested using a Moon Bridge which I did and couldn't be happier with the results.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It looks great to me. It also smells great and feels great.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I like the hardware = the tone ring seems seated perfectly well, the tuners are fine. It definitely is a durable instrument and if I lost my Reiter and Ome I would be content to play only this.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I've dealt with Wayne before at Gold Tone and have nothing but positive experiences.

Customer Service

10

Components


Others have mentioned the tuners. I found that after one week of leaving the banjo at this place I described that's surrounded by water the banjo was still in tune. I thought I would change them to 5 Star tuners but right now see no reason.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would absolutely recommend it. I owned one of these WL 250's about 2 years ago but couldn't appreciate at that time its qualities. Now that I'm a better player I can be a better judge of good quality.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 6/10/2009

Submitter

joeblueg (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BanjoTeacher.com

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I bought it for Claw-Hammer and it seems to shin on the sound. Love it.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Shipped right from the factory set up well, in tune for the most, just a little tweaking.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


All I can say on the looks FANTASTIC ! ! !

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All looks good and seems like it will be very dependable.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Have not used

Customer Service

not rated

Components


No upgrades needed as far as I can see.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


You must noticed I used 10's through out my review. This banjo seems to be very well built, sounds great, and looks great. I use 10's cause in my opinion a 10 it is...

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 6/1/2009

Submitter

youdye (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Craigslist

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

225 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


It has nice low tones and crisp upper register with the perfect amount of sustain.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It has a VERY good factory set up on it that I have been trying to maintain as closely as possible.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It is Maple, has a "blonde" look to it with nice snowflake inlays. Simple, but tastefull and very easy on the eyes.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The hardware is standard nickel plated and has been holding up very well. The finish seems to be thick enough to hold up and I would use it on a gig.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Wayne Rogers at Gold Tone is a very nice man. I emailed him to say I bought this banjo and really liked it. Was told even though it was used that I could still get it set up from them and they would back it 100%. Their service is outstanding!

Customer Service

10

Components


One of the components I really like is the straightline tailpiece. It is easy to change the strings, and adjust to where you need it. It has a nice sound.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would HIGHLY recommend this banjo for the price. If you are just getting started to intermediate this would be a nice banjo to add to your collection. I love this banjo. Thank you Gold Tone for making such a wonderful banjo at a great price.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone OB250+ kit
submitted 5/13/2009

Submitter

kenw3579 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

www.banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

$900 ($US)

Sound


With the parts that came with this kit, the instrument was only so-so on sound quality. It had an annoying brightness (I ordered it with the same Sosebee bridge that comes with the ready-made OB250+; that bridge is thin and does not contribute to a Gibson Mastertone" sound). After replacing a number of parts, the sound quality was exceptional. See the "components" section of this review for the parts I swapped out.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The neck was cut such that when mounted to the pot assembly, there could be no string clearance. In addition, the bottom of the fretboard was putting force directly on the tension hoop, which is contrary to accepted practice. I reshaped the neck joint by hand, and added a .032" brass shim at the bottom of the neck joint, which gave me proper string clearance, and also relieved the pressure of the neck from the tension hoop.
Note: I tuned the Remo Weatherking head to a drum dial tension of 89. This gives the best brightness versus resonance. I had tried the Goldtone skin head and the Steward Macdonald Elite, but found the Remo to be superior in tone when the Fults tailpiece was used.
The tone ring did not mate properly with the head of the rim, resulting in a .007" gap one-third of the way around the top of the rim. This was overcome by a thin brass shim (with brass locally obtained from a hardware store.)

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


The maple wood is nice. I finished it with alcohol-based stain obtained locally, with the finish being Tru-Oil Gunstock finish from Walmart. This was recommended by Kimerer on his excellent Goldtone assembly website, www.thekimerers.com; (Google search will possibly find it easier.)

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The fifth-string tuner that came with the kit has too much free play in it, and annoys me every time I tune the instrument. I will replace it with a Schaller tuner, as I already did on a custom Whyte Ladie kit that Goldtone provided as a special order for me.
The Strightline tailpiece that came with the kit is average in quality compared to other low-cost tailpieces, but I replaced it with a Fults BlueRidge Parallel tailpiece, which gave vastly better sound quality. These are available at www.banjotailpiece.com
The Tru-Oil Gunstock finish I used is great stuff. It can give a moderately shiny finish, is easy to touch up, costs almost nothing... I would not recommend the use of laquer finish, which is costly, gives overspray, and is a hassle.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


Goldtone said the gap in the seating of the tone ring on the head would make no difference in the final sound. This is contrary to Steve Huber's policy of tone ring mating to the rim at all points around the top of the rim. (I shimmed the head to give proper mating surface to the tone ring.)
As to the mis-cut heel on the banjo neck, Goldtone offered to re-cut it, but didn't offer to pay for the shipping to do so. I did the work myself, by hand.

Customer Service

5

Components


To obtain really great sound, I went to the following parts:
Genuine bone nuts from www.janetdavismusic.com (the kit came with plastic nuts; then Goldtone sent me a bone nut, but it looked like porous bone.)
Fults BlueRidge Parallel tailpiece. This is the latest creation from Bob Fults, and it made a tremendous difference in sound quality. A Fults tailpiece is a "must buy" item.
Kat Eyz Pegged Top bridge, medium width, ebony top (available from www.kateyz.bb.com). This made a very significant increase in tone quality. Another "must buy" item.
Tone Mate tone enhance (brass piece that attaches inside the resonator; it really does enhance the sound... available from www.janetdavismusic.com))
Gibson Earl Scruggs light gauge strings. These really made a tone quality difference too.

Components Rating

4

Overall Comments


The Goldtone Deluxe case I ordered with this instrument is a great case, except that I had to make a rod to hold the top open! The top of the case will not stay open on its own.
This OB250+ banjo kit was not a bad deal... and the banjo has good sound... but if I had it to do over again, I think I would buy a pot assembly (high quality tone ring, precision mated to a Tony Pass rim) from Janet Davis Music, buy an OB250 Goldtone neck, and assemble this myself. That would give me the "guaranteed best" tone, for only a few hundred dollars more.
One advantage of building this kit is that it taught me how to be a banjo luthier. I would not have that skill today if it were not for my building a kit banjo. However, I do not recommend a banjo kit for anyone who is not mechanically minded. This thing does not just bolt together; the frets have to be installed by hand; the holes in the neck for the lag bolts have to be drilled with precision.
I spent 40 hours in construction, and another number of hours and expense in replacing parts, as I searched for that ideal sound.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 4/29/2009

Submitter

10gauge (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

250 ($US)

Sound


The sound is warm and pleasant when all is well. I bought it to take on banjo adventures, but use it to practice while sitting in my (parked) car since the neck doesn't hit the windshield. I often have to re-tune and it never sounds quite perfectly in tune like my full size banjo and a compensated bridge from a full size banjo doesn't compensate correctly for the scale size of this banjo. I like the sound well enough to play it often, but sometimes it can get just a bit frustrating. If this banjo were for a kid it would be a struggle for them.

Sound Rating

6

Setup


The action was set up fine. It has a nice low action. The bridge was in the wrong place and I was very out of tune, probably from shipping? Other than moving the bridge for correct intonation, I haven't made any modifications to it at all.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I saw pictures of the banjo before I bought it and so wasn't surprised by the way it looked. The head has a bar on it that routes the strings down so that the head stock can be flat intstead of angled, the flat head stock gives it a sort of goofy look and the bar looks out of place too. Also, since it's so small you look a little goofy playing it. It's all wood which I like and there is some figuring on the fret board from a knot that I like. The finish has some stress cracks near the hardware from the tail piece and also where the ply comes together on the inside of the rim.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


This thing is a tank. I have not been very nice to it and it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. It comes with a tool that has a phillips and a wrench for the head.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I got it from Janet Davis and originally they wanted to charge me a shipping fee for a whole banjo, but when I asked them to reduce that due to size and weight they worked with me. I haven't asked them to do anything with anything else about this 'jo.

Customer Service

8

Components


This banjo is good at being what it is a travel banjo for practicing when you can't or don't want to lug around your big banjo. The friction fifth could be upgraded I suppose, but wouldn't really expect it to be nor would I expect Gold Tone to change anything else on this banjo. My biggest complaint on my banjo is that the 16th fret is a little bigger than the 15th so I get the same note on the 15th and 16th frets and have to work around it by finding the note somewhere else on the fret board.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


I have gotten a lot of hours and fun out of this banjo and it's good enough to keep me playing it. I love singing in the key of C which is what this banjo is tuned to. I didn't even notice it when I took it backpacking and it's a little easier on the wifes ears since it's quieter, so if I just have to play when she's home I'll sometimes play the plucky to give her a little relief. I'll also take this one along if I ever go on a business trip. I'll be able to play it in a hotel quietly without pissing everyone off, though it's loud enough for me to hear and enjoy. If I was to buy this banjo again I probably would since it's such a good fit for me. As for a recommendation I can't give a strong go ahead because of some of the negatives, but if you read my whole review I don't think you'll be surprised by anything concerning this banjo.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone White Ladye Plus WL-250+
submitted 4/28/2009

Submitter

JUL (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Local Store

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

775.00 ($US)

Sound


Sounds great.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Loose bracket shoes needed to be tightened.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I ordered a Gold Tone White Laydie Plus, based in part on reviews here and elsewhere. It arrived at the local store I ordered it through and all seemed well for a few hours until I noticed 5 cracks in between the bracket shoes on the rim. The store agreed to let me keep the old one until a new one could arrive to replace it. This took almost three weeks, although admittedly over the holidays. The next one arrived with a very damaged 5th string pip, a crack in the fingerboard extending from the pip, a deep flaw (1/8" or so) where some binding on the side had either been glued together poorly or damaged and simply finished over, a very poorly fitted armrest (I don't care for the way in which Gold Tone bends and crams the Vega style armrests on, in fact, I ordered and paid for a new one, unbent as well as shorter hooks to fit it on properly.) In addition, the inlay on the second piece was very poor in comparison to the first, with lots of very visible filler. The first banjo had really well done inlay.

Needless to say, I passed on the second banjo. I e-mailed Wayne and a third hand-inspected banjo was to be sent. He also mentioned having some troubles with a batch of paint causing the cracking in the finish. The third banjo arrived and was indeed, in comparison, the best banjo, but it did in fact, still have a crack in the finish on the rim, under the heel and extending to the edge, right where the binding doesn't quite meet. With some small resignation, I simply used the appropriate cryanoacrylate glue and sealed it.

I also noticed after a few days that the hooks seemed misaligned, some pointing lefter and some pointing righter- the tailpiece was shifted noticably to one side to position the strings correctly... i.e. the bolt holding the tailpiece angled to one side. I loosened the hooks and moved the tension hoop to try and center things, but this inevitably put other hooks out of perpendicular. In fact, no matter where I put it, some of the hooks would lean to one side and some of the hooks would lean to the other. Either the holes for the brackets or the notches for the hoop are out of alignment. The second banjo, with a repaired pip back at the store, displays the exact same degree of misalignment. I bought a grooved tension hoop and everything aligns quite nicely now, leading me to believe that the tension hoop notches are more to blame than any mis-drilled bracket holes.

The shoes on all three banjos had extremely poor plating quality. I had first thought the castings porous and thus the plating spotty, but since I replaced the notched hoop and the round brackets, I figured I might as well go ahead and also replace the shoes with Stewmac parts. I filed some of the original parts down to see what was the cause. The castings seem solid, but the plating is bubbly and some of the bubbles can even be pushed or popped. I'm a jeweler by trade, so I know there's no real need for this to be. It's not that hard to plate well.

Now mind you I still do like the banjo. It sounds great. I heard a bunch of nice, respectable banjos at a recent Ken Perlman workshop and to my ears, mine sounded second only to Ken's. I like the inlay and the general appearance of the banjo, but today I decided to post this veritable essay after noticing the cracks in the tuner buttons. This seems to be a recurrent issue for Gold Tone banjos, having searched the forums. I called about getting some new buttons and they wanted pictures, ostensibly to determine the proper buttons, but it felt like they didn't believe me or something. After. All. This.

So. I just ordered some 5-Star tuners, having heard about slippage issues and assuming future Gold Tone buttons will eventually crack anyway...

Once again, I do still like the banjo. But next time I'll save up some more and buy something handmade by an actual craftsman, that's for sure. At this point it wouldn't have taken much more of an initial investment to obtain such an instrument.

As far as ratings go, the first banjo gets a 5 for deep cracks in the finish. The second gets a 4 for all the issues mentioned and the final banjo gets a 7. I'd even call it a 9 after replacing all the hardware. I'll average the difference for a 6.25.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


The original hooks and nuts were fine. The original bracket shoes were terrible; every piece had plenty of bubbles in the plating. The original notched hoop, while sturdy and cleanly plated, seemed to be out of alignment as far as the notch placement goes. The tuner buttons have cracked.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


Customer service seemed decent enough, but I sure did need a lot of it.

Customer Service

8

Components


Please see the above. ;)

Components Rating

4

Overall Comments


I bought the instrument for $775 plus $50 for The Taxman. I added $285 in parts as well as $140 for a decent case. That's $1250 for a banjo with a case that sounds really good, looks pretty good and has sturdy parts. Not bad, but not great either. I won't be ordering sight unseen ever again, and if this banjo was stolen, I'd save up for something made with a bit more attention to detail.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 4/1/2009

Submitter

BobbyC. (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

719.00 ($US)

Sound


Very nice crisp "mastertoneish" sound I was looking for. Really suprised.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was not as good as hoped but all in all, the factory did a nice job as compared to most local shops. Still fiddling around with the setup to get just the sound I'm looking for but I got a good starting point right out of the box.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


This is not a fancy banjo but I knew that when I bought it. I actually love the looks of it.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This is a professional quality banjo, period.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Ross handled this sale nicely and in a professional way. Delivery was as promised and the transaction was A+

Customer Service

10

Components


A small manufacturing defect around the pearl inlay on the 19th fret. Doesn't affect the playability but I'm not extremely happy with it.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


After 30 years of playing, I could not be happier with this fantastic banjo. I would have no problem going on any stage or jam and jumping right in with this banjo, I just wish I had it when I was in the music biz.

Yes, I could have bought a used banjo a little further up the chain but I did not find any that were worth buying a used vs a new as far as sound quality. Maybe if I wanted to wait and luck upon that kind of deal, but I didn't want to and now see I didn't need to. For a real pro banjo, I don't think you can beat this one.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 3/27/2009

Submitter

DrAce (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Archamboult

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

CAD (699) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sounds wonderful. It's a great clawhammer banjo

Sound Rating

9

Setup


It was - although needed new strings.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Very nice to look at. It's beautiful, with the cloud inlays in the neck. No dents, nicks, or scratches.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Seems like it's built to last.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I believe it comes with a year of warranty, although it'd be covered under Quebec's consumer rights laws (it has to do what its supposed to for a reasonable lifetime).

Customer Service

9

Components


Apart from the strings, which were a little corroded, nothing wrong with it.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I'd recommend this banjo. It's worth a fraction more than I paid too. I feel like it should have come with a tool for tightning the membrane... but otherwise very happy.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 3/27/2009

Submitter

Banjolution (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

New Hope Guitar Traders

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

625.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Very fine sound for my clawhammer style playing.It has a Fiberskyn head,and is brighter than I imagined. Im curious to play one with a Renaisance head(what they come with stock) to hear how that sounds. I love this banjos low end sound,really growls! The tone overall is very clear,and loud. The different notes are very distinct,not at all a "muddy" sounding banjo

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Welp... I actually had to loosen ALL the brackets,and tighten the shoes which where pulling away from the rim. Not a good thing.I know that the person I got this instrument from changed the head,so maybe they loosened up some then? So I dont want to point the finger directly at Gold Tone ;-) Besides this all was well.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


This is a very beautiful banjo.The flamed Maple peghead veneer is real purty. It does have some flaws due to poor craftsmanship.Slight flaw in a small part of finish on bottom edge of rim. Minor tool chatter marks in neck scoop(ebony,and binding). Chatter marks on "scooped" out part of tension hoop. All pretty minor to me,and I guess to be expected in an Asian factory banjo. Still a shame when you dish out what these cost new! So from a distance its a 9,right up on it,a 6 or 7. So 8 I guess...

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The shoes that hold the bracket hooks actually look worse than the ones on my Epiphone MB-100 starter banjo! The chrome is bubbly,and looks like they will end up peeling and lookin pretty bad in the future. Overall the finish on the rim,and neck is good,besides the small flaw I mentioned earlier on bottom of the rim. I would say that structurally this banjo is well fitted,and solid.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Limited Lifetime warranty. Have not dealt with GT before.

Customer Service

10

Components


For cosmetic reasons you may want to upgrade the shoes. Ive heard alot of negative reviews of the planetary tuners on some GT banjos. I also heard at some point they remedied the problems/started using different tuners. I have had no problems with mine,and have been cranking them all over the place for the last several days here. They are smooth,and hold well/no slipping.All other components are fine. Interesting bridge on mine. Is it stock? Looks like Sosbee shape but without the logo? Its really thick,and has a kind of countersink on the face of the third string slot,making the distance of that string from nut to bridge slightley longer than the other strings(intonation correction?). I really like the look and feel of the Fiberskyn3 head.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Seeing as I got a great deal and got the banjo,a HSC,and an extra Ren head for $625.00 I cant complain.If I had to pay $800.00 or so for it new I may just get a US handcrafted banjo without a tone ring instead.
For me personally and where Im at financially,and level of playing experience(15 mos.) this is an awesome banjo,I love it!! If someone stole it...well I would have to let it go I suppose,and maybe put my nose to the grindstone to get the Rickard Tubaphone of my dreams!! ;-)

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250LW
submitted 3/3/2009

Submitter

spoonpuller (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

08

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sound Rating

4

Setup


Head was lose. 1 nut was stripped. Gap between neck and pot

Setup Rating

1

Appearance


Blemish on neck Dent on the head stock

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


Customer Service

8

Components


Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


I do not recomend this banjo

Overall Rating

4


Gold Tone BG250F-LE
submitted 2/25/2009

Submitter

manomusic (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Folk Of The Wood

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

900 ($US)

Sound


Great beginner/intermediate instrument for Bluegrass. Nice and bright for Scruggs style. I've since played a few banjos in this price range and rated this one accordingly. Played using a pick-up and sounded sweet through my acoustic amp.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Folk of the wood set this instrument up well. Only played around with strings and bridges. Grover bridge with inserts really brightened it up and prefered GHS Light strings.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Overall appearance was A1. Great tiger stripe maple on neck. Tree of Life inlay up the neck flawless. Only slight flaw was finish on arm rest where chrome was a little thin.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Hardware overall very good for money paid. Stayed in tune very well. Only fault was a couple of the tuner buttons cracked with use.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Sent email regarding tuner buttons. A complete set were posted off to me at no charge to myself. Thankyou Goldtone.

Customer Service

10

Components


Apart from the buttons I was happy with all components. Tailpiece was easily adjusted .

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


For the price I paid as a beginner I would buy this banjo again.and would have been devastated had it been stolen. Compared to my Gibson which was over 4 x the price I'd play the Gibson every time and for clawhammer I'd definitely choose my Reiter but I,ve had an enormous ammount of fun with the Goldtone over the last 2 years and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking in this price range.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone OT-6
submitted 2/25/2009

Submitter

tubaphone (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Wow. With a 14" pot, this behemoth really puts out the low frequencies generated by that low G string! Even so, the rest of the sound spectrum is there; the Renaissance head does indeed assure that the higher strings are well-represented. Overall, the OT-6 is a sonic home run.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Hats off to GT for a well-made nut, proper neck-set and low action. Maybe a little too low; I re-topped a 3/4" Moon bridge to raise the action a bit and carved a new 5th string nut. Perfection.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Bearing in mind its Chinese origin, this banjo is very well appointed, with tasteful early 20th century-style inlays, an attractive peghead shape and a good (albeit shiny) finish on the wooden components.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The OT-6 seems very robustly built. I feel it will last for centuries.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Wayne and his crew are really committed to putting out a quality instrument with authentic vintage vibe coupled with modern materials and dependable performance. What questions I had were courteously answered and I found it a pleasure to talk with them.

Customer Service

10

Components


Everything on this banjo speaks of quality for the dollar. A full complement of Gotoh machine heads handles tuning, the tailpiece handles loop end or ball end strings and the nut is real bone.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I love this thing! That bottom string ROCKS. The neck is comfy and I got used to extra width in five minutes. It's a great value.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BG-Mini
submitted 2/25/2009

Submitter

wtbryant (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

548 ($US)

Sound


For the size, it's outstanding. It is a REAL banjo -- just child size.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup was fine.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Plain, but, attractive.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I was surprised. The hardware seems top notch.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Banjoteacher.com was great. Their personal service was wonderful.

Customer Service

10

Components


I think this will perfectly fit any youth wanting to learn banjo, but, too small to play a full size.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would absolutely recommend this for the price. The price I quoted above included a Gold Tone hardshell case. There is no other real banjo made in a youth size that I know of. And, this one is great.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone EBM
submitted 2/7/2009

Submitter

iplaybanjer@yahoo.com (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

fqms

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

749 ($US)

Sound


I have owned this thing for a year now, and it is a good electric banjo. It does work good below the 12 fret with distortion, which can be a problem for solos, and it is totally super sayan (in other words, awesome) clean. I use this in my rock band as my axe. It has a very jazzy sound on one extreme, and a countryish sound on the other extreme, and in between, you can get a good banjo sound out of it, The only complaint i have is the tone knob, which messes up the volume of the first 2 strings, this is very annoying sometimes.

the versatility on this is much easier to get to both extremes to than the crossfire, but the sound you get isnt quite as good through a totally dry amp, that can be fixed thouhg as you mess with the volume settings on the amp. i prefer to turn the treble almsot completely down, but leave the bass and middle cranked.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was set up very well when i got it, i havent had the need to change out anything major on it so far, except, of course, strings, to keep it sounding nice. The only problem ive had is the screw for one of the strap things became stripped, but it was easy to fix, and havent had a problem since. good action too.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This banjo is beautiful. thats all i can say.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


yes, the hardware looks like it is built to last on this, i dont think ill have to replace anything on here. only problem is the case aint bad... althouhg ive stood on it once or twice without hurting it.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


i emailed goldtone with a couple questions, and i got answered within a day or two. very good there, and the people at fqms are very freindly, and helped me with everything i asked for. they even

Customer Service

10

Components


very good.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


i would recommend this banjo for the price. It is a really good deal for 750 bucks. If you have the 3500 dollars to spare thouhg, dont bother with the deering crossfire, id go for a nechville meteor without a second thought.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC100
submitted 1/26/2009

Submitter

snoopy (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Player's Bench

Year Purchased

2009

Price Paid

387 ($US)

Sound


Sound is great. Crisp and light

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Banjo was set up and ready to go.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


White Maple is a great looking wood for banjo

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Hardware seems just fine

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Haven't had to deal with company

Customer Service

8

Components


The parts seem to be well made and don't need any immediate upgrade.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo for people who are interested in a great frailling banjo for a reasonable price.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50RP
submitted 1/25/2009

Submitter

RaYhOLio (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Eureka Springs

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

400.00 ($US)

Sound


Sounds ok out of the box.. I've messed around with good times in the store, and thought that this CC50RP was inferior, However I've redone the Setup, and put on cryo strings, and this is a pretty good sounding banjo..

This banjo is Quiet. With a mute on it, it's dang near inaudible. For me, this is a giant plus. I spend a lot of time playing (more like learning) in the house with my wife not far away.. This banjo doesn't drive her crazy like my other banjo. I can even practice after she goes to bed.. lightly without the mute, and pretty much normal with the mute.. the loudest part is the picking noise.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


When I bought this banjo, I was very happy with the set up.. being an uber-beginner and all. I quickly became disgusted with it, and had to redo it.. made a huge difference.

The action was good right outta the box.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


I REALLY like the way this banjo looks.

I'm a simple man, and don't care for the gold plated, super glossy finish of most banjos.

This one is semi-gloss.. and it has a very natural wood tone, I actually like it better than my big-and-glossy banjo, it doesn't smudge, or get fingerprints..

DEFINATELY no frills apearance.. i could have gone for a more ornate fret-board.. otherwise, it's perfect for me.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I've been using it for one year as my primary learner.. Tuners seem to stay in tune.. Nothing is peeling off, chiping etc.. It's light weight design makes it tougher for bumps, and small drops.. It's semi-gloss finish hides skuffs and nicks very well.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I contacted Gold Tone about this banjo.. I felt that I had paid too much for it.. They were very nice, however they didn't really care... That's ok of course.. it was my fault for buying on a whem..

Customer Service

7

Components


I don't like the price knockoff tailpeice. However I'm still using it. It sounds ok, and it's the exact peice which you'll find on GTs higher end banjos.. my problem with it is that it bows under pressure pretty bad, and it's hard to get the angle your looking for long term as a result.

The tuners seem good for the price.. The rim and hooks are o.k. But really pretty cheap.. it there's a weak point in the design this is it.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


I love this banjo. When I baught it for strait retail (WAY above market price) I felt pretty bad about it. and I had a hard time feeling good about this CC50RP.

But here we are a year later.. I've had a full sized tone ring banjo now for about 9 months, and I've consistantly played this one more often.

I LOVE that it is very lightweight.. I can pick it up, swing it around.. play without a strap.. Carry it with me.. The fact that it's a cheap banjo helps too.. This is my official camping banjo.. It's a go anywhere, do anything banjo.. The mild sound that comes from it is perfect for learning, and practicing around others..

I recommend a GOOD setup.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 12/24/2008

Submitter

tmanthebanjoist (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

South Austin Music

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

279 ($US)

Sound


The Gold Tone CC-50 Banjo has a very rich/full sound overall. It soars past the Epiphone banjo I was renting earlier (the epiphone had a resonator) in sound quality. It has a wide variety of sounds along with its already rich/full sound quality. I loved this banjo because it was light and small, portable and full of sound. It is a little hard tuning it, but maybe because I'm new at tuning. But I have nothing against this banjo!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The clerk at South Austin Music tuned the banjo and sold me a tuner. I have tuned it before I start playing. Again, It is a little hard tuning it, but maybe because I'm new at tuning.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It is a wonderful sight. A fine maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard, chrome plating, a straight-line tailpiece. I had no customizing done to it. I haven't seen any appearance flaws, but I've only had this for a couple of weeks.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


It seems very reliable because it seems sturdy and well-made. I probably won't use it but a year or two, but I am assured it will last well past the time I stop using it a lot (I will keep the banjo, but I will upgrade).

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have not dealt with the company, and I don't think I will ever when I am using it a lot.

Customer Service

10

Components


Picks are good along with the tuner and strap. All of these are in great shape. The tuner is a Barcus-Berry and it is a great tuner for about $35-$40.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo. It was a great bang for my buck. I would probably get this banjo again if it was stolen not unless I felt like I wanted to upgrade. I LOVE THIS BANJO! I love the sound and (it doesn't really matter but what the heck) there is an engraving at the arm rest. I have no regrets in buying this banjo! This banjo definitely outshines the Epiphone banjo I was renting.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100 OB
submitted 12/15/2008

Submitter

Big Dan (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angies Banjo

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

$1,300 (NZ) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The important thing to note with this banjo is that it's a beginner's instrument. And, for a beginner banjo, it's got a pretty good sound. I've added a thicker hoop and played around with different heads and it sounds okay.

What a beginner needs is here: good neck, decent quality and playability.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


The action is set nice and low and on the whole, the set up is okay. There's nothing that really needs an expert eye to make it playable, it's good to go.

That said, it's not perfect. The coordinator rods are not perfectly parallel and someone screwed the tuning pegs in with a drill, thereby twisting the heads off a few of the screws. A bit shabby.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


If youíre buying a banjo purely for looks, youíre in the wrong price bracket. Nonetheless, it still looks attractive. The flame on the peg head is a nice touch. The rosewood fingerboard is a lovely piece of wood, nice and dark with a very close grain- much nicer than I've seen on some Asian assembled instruments.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Once again, bear in mind this is a beginners instrument. The quality of hardware is fair for the price. I replaced the tuners after a few years, because one of them seized up. The screw holding the armrest on and the little bit of metal it screws into had to be replaced and Gold Tone sent me new bits, no hassle.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


Service from the Gold Tone company has been good and theyíve answered most of my questions.

Customer Service

7

Components


The neck is probably this banjo's best feature. I've played a lot of instruments and this neck is excellent- a real pleasure to play. The varnish on the neck can be a bit tacky, but it doesn't impede playing.

Of all the beginner banjos out there, this one gives you more features and it benefits from being built by a company that makes professional level instruments.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


From what I've seen from other banjos in this price bracket, this is a good buy.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Orange Blossom Archtop OB-250ATG
submitted 12/9/2008

Submitter

slickpicker (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

1080 ($US)

Sound


Sounds real nice...bright rich Archtop sound. But not exaclty like a Stanley Tone. Bright treble and good bass too on htis banjo.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Excellent

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very nice wood pattern on rasonator. Nice snowflake Inlay.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


This banjo is a real work horse.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Hadnt dealt with glod tone directly but Banjo.com is really good.

Customer Service

10

Components


Nice hardware and interesting tailpiece.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would recommend to anybody who wanted a good solid archtop banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Banjolele
submitted 10/13/2008

Submitter

Gus Bloch (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Good banjo uke sound. I have installed an Aquilla banjo uke string set and lowered bridge height slightly. The third string nut slot is cut for standard strings, so it is too wide for wound third string in this set, but the tone is still clean at all frets.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup adequate.
Action OK.
See "reliability"

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Nice finish, no complaints

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Tuners were low grade. I installed Grover 75W's with the new strings. Tuning is now more stable and user friendly. This instrument deserves better tuners as standard equipment.
I've learned to detension the head and check tightning on all the lug screws before retensioning on new banjos. (I wouldn't expect a dealer to take the time to do this for an instrument at this price point.) Many of these were loose and a couple were crossthreaded. Easy to chase the threads.

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


Both Gold tone and Banjo.com are first rate to deal with.

Customer Service

9

Components


Neck and pot nice. Brass tone ring a nice touch, but sloppy brazing at seam.
Tuners, see above.
How about using genuine "no-knot" tailpieces?

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


I like it for sure. I have an '20's era Slingerland banjolele which has a good sound, but its intonation and tuning stability have never been up to modern standards even after a lot of work.
This banjo is stable and has a clean tone and should last a long while.
A good uke is tons of four string fun and a banjo uke is a loud uke with a banjo tone and is not a substitute for a banjo. I prefer a standard uke when performing alone. Its tone is sweeter and it is a much more comfortable instrument to hold and sing with. The banjo uke can cut it and not get lost when there are other instruments in the mix.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 10/5/2008

Submitter

Dubz (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sound is fantastic! This IS THE BEST sounding banjo in its price category. My banjo teacher, who has been playing for many years, was stunned with the sound for the price of this banjo, and I was too. Great!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


My banjo came straight from the gold tone factory to my house in Australia, and the set up was good.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I choose the natural finish with my OB250+ just to go with something a little different from the somewhat standard dark colour and I like it a lot, its great on the eyes. The only thing I can complain about with regards to appearance is there is a small chip in front of one of the frets on the fretboard, but this does not affect playability so I am not really fussed cos you have to look close to see it. Another thing (a petty thing really) is that it seems to me that the nickel might be lower quality than some other banjo's, but in this price range thats kinda acceptable.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I've only had mine about 2 months but there have not been any issues. Think this one will last a LONG time.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Have not had to deal with them so no comment here.

Customer Service

9

Components


Only thing I don't like here are the tuners, they seem a bit stiff, I adjusted them and now they are fine. The tailpiece is a bit cheap so i replaced it with a Fults 1934.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I love this banjo and would never sell it. Becoming quite a common thing to say but if it was stolen i would buy another one. I'm a huge fan of gold tone and would love to buy the OB-500. I recommend this banjo to anyone. Overall it gets a 10 in my books cos you wont beat it for the price.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone OT-6
submitted 9/8/2008

Submitter

George Flink (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I play clawhammer and mostly 6 string(low bass. I have some other 6 strings. The sound is loud, deep and bright with the particular resonance that you only get from a six.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The set up was fine. I changed the bridge and strings but neither change was really necessary. I also removed the arm rest. The tailpiece was damaged in transit due to poor packing(unusual for Elderly). I had another 6 string tailpiece from Gold Tone so I replaced it.
Feel of the neck and fit to the pot was excellent. They really got this one right.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Finish is good. The peghead and fingerboard are bound as is the heel and the pot on the inside and outside. It has a nice curved scoop and some tastefully engraved inlays. I would have rather had a dowel stick than the coordinator rods. It comes with a nice HSC

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Looks to be reliable. I would use it on a gig.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Unknown as of now.

Customer Service

8

Components


Parts all look first rate. Pegs seem surprisingly good and smooth. Shape and fit of the neck is perfect for me. The tail piece works well and looks handsome considering its size.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


If you like or think you would like to play a 6 string, this is the only game in town other than ordering custom which I have done in the past. The banjo is huge(14 in pot)but comfortable to play. the sound is great and it looks good as well.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 9/3/2008

Submitter

Scanbran (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Frailers (UK)

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

659 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I was upgrading from a very poor grade starter banjo, and from my favoured style of play, I was recommended a 'frailing banjo'.
This Gold Tone BC-350 did not disappoint. A very loud sound for an open back banjo, but also slightly plunky for that old time tone.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was selected by the shop tech as the best set up and most playable of the models available. It arrived with a very nice, playable action (not too low).
I'm none to experienced with banjos so far, but it played like a dream right out of the box for me.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I love the look of this banjo - attractive blonde maple rim and neck, and beautiful striped ebony fretboard and headstock faceplate. The fretboard is not overelaborate with too much inlay work - instead it has simple MoP dot inlay fret markers, with a star inlay at the 5th fret, and a star motif on the headstock.
I like the fact this banjo does not have the makers name emblazoned on the headstock - it's very understated and classy.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It seems very solid and well put together.

I've only had it a month, so it's hard to judge, but the top quality materials used suggest it will last just fine.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Frailers in Runcorn, UK were good to deal with. Helpful over the phone in making a selection, and very quick with delivery too. The banjo arrived in good order as described, with a hand written note from Dave asking me to call him if there was a problem. There was even a complimentary pack of strings in the case, in the event that any strings were broken in transit.
I think the warranty is the standard Gold Tone Limited Lifetime, but I'm not sure.

Customer Service

8

Components


The fretboard is beautiful and the neck is easy to play being a little wider than normal.
The flesh hoop was bent slightly, but makes no difference at all.

Good quality components as far as I can make out.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would certainly recommend this banjo for those looking for a frailing banjo with an old time sound, but not too soft and great volume levels if required.
I paid a little too much, but the price included a decent quality Gold Tone branded TKL hard case, specifically designed for a 12" pot and overnight shipping.
So, looking at it that way, the banjo may only have cost me about £550.
I love this banjo, and would definitely get another if it needed to be replaced.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Banjola
submitted 7/15/2008

Submitter

brundecarli (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BANJOSTORE.NET

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

533 (EURO) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The sound is very sweet and rich. The banjo sound is very different.
The sound is ok for Celtic.I play Scruggs and the banjola is nice.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


No changes setup. Ok for play immediately.
Gold Tone OK for setup

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The originally appearance and the sound is that you pay.
The chineese wood is ok and looks great.
Finish wonderful and the inlays are nice.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It's light and the shape is dubble a mandolin.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Banjostore is ok and Gold Tone setup is Ok for all.

Customer Service

8

Components


I think that banjola is a little bit expensive.
Typical banjo tuners.Takes regular banjo strings.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Banjola is ok for a second instrument, for originally sound. It's not like a banjo.
I suggest the model with pickup, because the sound is not loud.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone BG-Mini
submitted 6/1/2008

Submitter

Tooleo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Hangout classified

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


This one was a bit overpowering on the 1st and 2nd string, so I switched to a medium 5/8 Moon bridge and it has a very sweet, balanced tone now. This really improved the intonation as well, especially up the neck. I like to play this in B tuning rather than Gold Tone's suggested C.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


As I mentioned, I wasn't impressed with the tone from the stock bridge, plus the string spacing on it is quite narrow. Head was a bit loose for my taste and the strings were kind of hefty. I put on some D'Addario J69 lights and I feel it's plays easier and sounds better now.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


I think it looks great. Nicely flamed maple on the resonator and a tobacco sunburst finish. From the outside everything is fine, but if you are one who likes to strip your banjos down and tinker around, you may find it dissapointing inside. There is some definate funkyness to the rim machining and the lag bolts in mine are pretty far off center, but nothing is bad enough to detract from the sound imo.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It seems rugged enough. It's pretty tiny and doesn't weigh much, so I would think that even a pretty rowdy child would have some trouble damaging it

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


Tuners are a bit rough but adequate. The bridge is ok for a child picker, but adults may have trouble with the small spacing. the bracket hooks are flat and so close to the rim that I can't get a strap mounted to them. Mine has the hardshell case and it is nice . Banjo fits nice and snug

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Cool little banjo. My 7 year old son can pick it whereas my full size is just too heavy for him. The tiny size makes it a nice travel banjo for me too, and the short scale makes some of those tricky chords with long stretches much easier to grab. 1st to 5th fret....no prob

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 5/27/2008

Submitter

BarnyardMonkey (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Online

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

375 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Banjo had a decent sound,but a bit tinny and some overtones way up the neck.

But had a pretty good bluegrass tone to it.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


I got it used,and the setup was horrible.I took it to the shop and they did a complete setup.I added a Sosebee Cottonmill bridge,and replaced the GT tailpiece with a presto.

Played well after that.
but the neck seemed a bit clunky.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Very nice looking banjo,with a dark brown finish.

No finish flaws that i could see at all,very solid.
the headstock was my only dislike.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Solid banjo,other than the factory Tailpiece.
the armrest seemed to tarnish very easily though.

Other than that,it seems reliable. (and heavy)

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


All parts seemed to be just fine,other than the tailpiece.
which seemed like it could bend easy,and was light.

everything else was good to go.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I feel this is a decent Intermediate/beginner banjo.i've played it with a small group on a jam and it did ok.

I prefer the sound and playability of the Goodtime2 or CC-100,but the BG-250F is louder,and more solid built. (then the Goodtime 2)

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250
submitted 5/24/2008

Submitter

coastal.lugger (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Long & McQuade, Surrey British Columbia

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

750 (Canadian dollar) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Excellent sound, very loud, with enough mellow tone to satisfy and still sound like a bluegrass instrument

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Great, Bryan Faber, the salesman at Long & McQuade, took the time to set up the banjo correctly and invited me to observe and explained to me how to make future tune-ups myself. Other than replacing the stock strings with Dean Markley Medium Lite, the banjo is stock as per delivered by manufacturer. Iíll consider making additional changes as I gain proficiency on the instrument.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Absolutely flawless throughout, comparable with banjos selling for three times the price. Attractive dark maple finish; hand rest is relatively plain compared to more expensive model, but very attractive without being gaudy.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Too early to say, however the banjo appears to be built with quality in mind throughout.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Too new to know. I believe the warranty is five years, but not absolutely sure, it might be longer, need to read it again.

Customer Service

9

Components


No problems that I can see, but I'm a guitarist, and still learning banjo. I'll edit and update this area in time.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Iíd definitely recommend this instrument at the price. If it was stolen Iíd order another and hope the crook rotted in jail! I love it, great sound, best ďbang for the buck ď in its price and compares with banjos costing much more, Fantastic sound, fast action.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC100
submitted 5/5/2008

Submitter

KHuber (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo Teacher

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

324.00 ($US)

Sound


Sound is great for an open back. I have no need for a resonator at this time.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The setup was nice, low action. I have put on a set of light strings.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


I don't care for the finish at all. The rim and neck are two different colors. Probably the worst part about the banjo.

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Hardware seems solid, the hooks look cheap but strong. The banjo came with two L-shoes that looked like they were bad castings. I changed the tuners to Waverly 2-band style and put on a Grover bridge.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Haven't needed to contact them but I've read they have good service

Customer Service

2

Components


All in all it is what I was expecting for a beginner banjo. It is a solid instrument that I'm sure will last for many years.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I balanced this one against the Deering Goodtime and after reading everyones reviews on both I decided on the Gold Tone. I bought it to use on the deck and up camping. It's light and an easy banjo to hold and play. I wish it came in a darker finish.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 4/30/2008

Submitter

f#dead (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

other player

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I bought this White Ladye WL-250 from GW. From his review, it just wasn't his sound. I couldn't be happier. Thnx Peter, it has a good home here. It goes daboink when plucked and kachang when strummed. The sound is full and loud. I play alone but suspect this banjo could hold it's own in a group. Bang for the buck is exceptional. I do plug it in to an amp at times (it has the factory pick-up installed) and get my rock on. Having the scoop adds that sound to the variations and can be haunting and rich. Firm plucking creates a growling pop in the higher strings and the bass is smooth but could be a little deeper.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I have not made any changes to the banjo since I bought it. When it arrived, I tuned the strings and it was ready to play.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I like the medium level of adornment. This banjo is my "dark horse" in the herd. The finish is thick and without flaws. The chrome is bright and holds up to skin contact well.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Overall I would say this banjo is well made, sturdy and a pleasure to hold and play. It is heavier than many open-back banjos and lighter than a few. I have not compared other Whyie Ladyes. I don't gig ( yet ) and I consider this banjo dependable.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


update, request for parts: Recently one of the tuning knobs on my WL split. I emailed Gold Tone. I needed a new knob pronto for an outing. Wayne replied he was ready to send along a free replacement. Turns out I borrowed one from my other Gold Tone Hoab for that wknd. Bottom line, free replacement. No problems. Good service on this one.

Customer Service

9

Components


If this banjo lacks any boutique parts it makes up for w/ solid workman grade components in a factory built hand assembled attractively finished product at a bang up price.
update: I have had several tuning knobs split/break but as mentioned quick replacement by Wayne and GT

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


For the price I paid, I am throughly happy and I intend to hang on to this for a good long time. I think the new retail price is reasonable and I would consider replacement if needed. I previously had a cheap aluminum pot resonator banjo and a masterclone. Sold em. My interest now is open-back styles and this banjo is very servicable for that. I haven't played any other Whyte Laydes cause this is the WL for me now. As for me this was a good 2nd stage upgrade after I determined what style of playing I like. I am lusting for some other types of open-back banjo but not to replace my WL. I have given this a solid 8+ in all categories.
update: I did sell my WL-250 but only because I found a WL w/ more of a vintage vibe. I still think the GT WL-250 is a great instrument.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250AT
submitted 4/25/2008

Submitter

mybote (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Weatherford, Tx.

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

650 ($US)

Sound


Bluegrass. Full Bright Loud. Set up at the store. Great, smooth neck. Rings like a bell.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


I would make no changes

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Stands out in the crowd. classy.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


reliable hardware. dependable. I use this banjo as a backup.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


excellent customer service. Very responsive.

Customer Service

10

Components


For the price , I wouldn't change anything. It is a great banjo just stock.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


For a banjo in the 1000 dollar range. This beats them all. Parts and accessories are available by many companies. If it were stolen, I would get another.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 4/3/2008

Submitter

txpick65 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gold Tone

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


very bright if picked that way but can be mellow if picked softly. This banjo is suited for clawhammer and old time style. Nice weight and playablility.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It came out of the box set up perfect. I changed to a Moon heavy bridge only because that seems to be preferred with many CH players. I am not certain there is any major difference than the stock but needs time to settle in.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


beautiful banjo, maple dark stained mahogony color with cloud inlays not overbearing but classy. As far as flaws a couple of shoe brackets had minor finish flaws but nothing to really complain about.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I believe all the hardware is of quality and will last many years longer than I will. Some have mentioned tuners but I find nothing wrong with the tuners. The fret work was perfect. This banjo will stand up with banjos costing much more.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Gold Tone really shines in this department. This is my second GT banjo and you simply can not beat the service and personal attention Wayne Rogers gives you.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I think Gold Tones warranty speaks for this particular review. Lifetime to original owner and five years to second. It tells me Gold Tone is more than confident of the quality. You don't make money doing free warranty repair.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo to anyone wanting to play Clawhammer banjo without investing a lot of money and still have a banjo to be proud of. I love it and would buy another if stolen.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 3/9/2008

Submitter

jkber2002 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO Classifieds

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


I like 3 finger style and this banjo suits that style well.
I have light strings on it now but it does better with med
I like Ernie Ball Earthwood strings on it Also I have a Snuffy Smith bridge that sees to do pretty good w/it also it had the straightline tailpiece replaced with a Presto
It has a good full sound so far and I probably don't have it set up as good as I could yet Plays nice, bright and clean all the way up the neck and has great volume
It is plenty loud

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Banjo was setup well when I took it out of the case
It has low action too
I had an extra set of light strings laying around and put those on it but have got a little string buzz and need to go back to a little heavier strings
Other than that it is a very solid banjo and set up well

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


It is sort of basic looking but very solid and good appearance for the money
Not much custom or fancy on this banjo but very good overall on the fit and finish for this price range I would think

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Tuners are good, all other components seem very solid
the finish does have a crack near where the nut is on the neck on the side. It does not seem to affect the playability I think it might have been from shipping
This banjo has a very solid dependable feel to it - sort of like a workhorse you know will always be around

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have not dealt with gold tone personally but the 2nd owner warranty is 5 years
that seems pretty fair

Customer Service

10

Components


Tone ring is very good for this price range and the tensions hoop is very solid too Also the wood rim or pot if that is right is very nicely done
For the price I think everything is right on
this is a very heavy banjo - about 13 pounds

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo for the price range especially when purchased used for something to play every day
I would replace this model if stolen
No buyers remorse, everything is just what it should be on this banjo
I have played more expensive banjos in music store but for th $$ this one is a great choice and will last as long as I will

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone BG-Mini
submitted 3/1/2008

Submitter

APPLEJACK (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Picker's Supply - Fredericksburg, VA

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

427 ($US)

Sound


The sound is what I expected for an 8" pot. It is loud enough for practice and accompaning another instrument, but would probably be drowned out at a large jam. The rolled brass tone ring and resonator gives it a solid Bluegrass sound.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The head needed to be tightened. Picker's Supply was happy to adjust it.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The banjo appeared to be well made with flawless wood finishes on the neck, peghead and resonator. The hardware was nickle-plated and bright in appearance. The inlay work on the finger board was well done.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The tuners were a little sensitive, as other have commented on. But after getting familiar with them, and setting them with a clip on tuner, they seem to stay put.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I haven't dealt with Gold Tone directly, but my music store, Picker's Supply stands behind everything they sell. Their experienced staff were helpful in making adjustments to my banjo.

Customer Service

10

Components


This is a well made banjo for the price. The components are manufactured in China and I believe they are assembled by Gold Tone in the US. This little banjo has a rolled brass tone ring and resonator and gives it a solid Bluegrass sound. I wanted a similar sound to my full size instrument.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I bought this banjo for practice and travelling due to it's small size. We camp alot, so I like to entertain myself around the campfire. When I bought it, I asked my music store if they could restring it to G instead of C, since most of my training CDs, DVDs and instructor lessons are recorded in G. Picker's Supply happily restrung it with D'Addario strings as follows:

1. D (LEO14 Plain Steel)
2. B (LEO16 Plain Steel)
3. G (LEO18 Plain Steel or LEO20W Nickel Round Wound)
4. D (LEO24W Nickel Round Wound)
5. G (LEO13 Plain Steel)

If you a looking for a smaller scale banjo that weighs in at only 5 pounds for ease of travel, camping, practice, etc. and still want a solid sound, check this one out. Even though it comes strung in C, it can be changed to G, if desired. The $427 cost included the gig bag, but I'd also recommend the hardshell case for long term storage.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 2/28/2008

Submitter

Geno7 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

659 ($US)

Sound


Rich, full, clear sound

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup by Gold Tone, Everything set well

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


This is the Chinese build. Glossy finish, but the appearance is great.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Only thing I don't like are the tuners. They are a little fussy. I had to tighten the screws up to get enough friction to hold them to hold in tune. Everything else is built very well.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Good warranty, lifetime warranty against defects.

Customer Service

8

Components


Only thing I don't like are the tuners. They are a little fussy. I had to tighten the screws up to get enough friction to hold them to hold in tune. Everything else is built very well.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would highly recommend this banjo. Can't believe the quality for the price. It plays very well. It requires little effort to get a whole lot of sound. One thing I've noticed is the fact I can relax my hand a little more because its so easy to get volume. Relaxed hand is one of the keys to clawhammer.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CB-100
submitted 2/22/2008

Submitter

freddfish (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

online at www.clodhoppersmusic.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

500 ($US)

Sound


I play old-time frailing/clawhammer, and I find the sound most agreeable. I broke in on an old Rover with a bakelite rim, and this has proven to be an immeasureable improvement. It rings bright and well, and I stopped muffling it with a rag just because I liked hearing the whole sound.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was fine right from the shop. Action was right where I wanted it, the strings were right on, the harmonics were on target with respect to bridge placement. No complaints.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very attractive instrument, although I spec'd that I wanted the dark wood finish, rather than the pale wood color pictured on the site. No problem. No evident flaws or scratches.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


No problems, with the posible exception of a tuner peg handle going loose, probably from playing vibration. I tightened it up and rolled on, no biggie.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


They were great on the purchase and I have had no issues, so I will give them a 10 on the benefit of the doubt.

Customer Service

10

Components


I don't like the pegs...they don't give a good enough degree of sensitivity when tuning. I might upgarde at some point in the future. I like the FiberSkyn head, and everything else though.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Absolutely recomend it, for 500.00 it even came with a hard case thrown in (they no longer offer that tho...).

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CB-100
submitted 2/16/2008

Submitter

teacher (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Clodhopper's

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

478 ($US)

Sound


I'm a clawhammer player (novice-intermediate) and I've been playing a Deering Goodtime for about a year and a half and played a CB 100 in a music store and decided it sounded fine and decided to upgrade. The CB 100 has a brass tone ring and is louder than my Deering and at first when I played at home, it seemed too loud and brittle. Now that I've played it for several weeks, I love it! It came with medium gauge strings and I thought at first that I would go to light gauge, but I noticed that the fourth string notes sound better with the medium strings, so they will stay. This banjo has a frailing scoop, so it's easy to play up the neck and create different sounds than you would hear when playing on the head.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo came beautifully set up and ready to go. As I mentioned, I thought about light gauge strings, but put that aside. The action is low and suits my playing and I haven't made any changes in the instrument yet.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The CB 100 is a great looking (and feeling) banjo. You can go to the Gold Tone site and see what they say. I can tell you that I'm impressed with the way the banjo looks and it didn't have any flaws when I got it.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I've been playing the CB 100 for about 3 weeks now for about an hour a day and see no problems, nor do I expect any. My Deering has held up beautifully and has only a few fingernail scratches on the fretboard and the CB 100 has a rosewood fretboard, so I think it will outlast me!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I got the banjo through Clodhopper's and had no problems with them and haven't had to get in touch with them for any reason.

Customer Service

9

Components


The tuners are quite sensitive compared to the Deering Goodtime - just a slight tweek and you can be out of tune. I suspect that as I go on, they will break in and loosen up.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I got this banjo and a gig bag for $475 and certainly got what I was looking for. This banjo has more volume than my Deering, looks great and sounds great. Again, I've only had the CB 100 for 3 weeks, but I enjoy playing it as much as the Goodtime and it gives me much more bang for the buck!

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250AT
submitted 2/11/2008

Submitter

timothybiernacki (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

1011.75 ($US)

Sound


This banjo has a bright, clear, sparkling timbre. As soon as I picked my first song, I knew it had the exact sound I had been searching for. The note separation is distinctive; it's easy to bring out a melody with this instrument. Also, the OB250AT is a very loud banjo and has the capability of carrying a powerful voice in a jam session. Its power is not harsh but finely balanced and crisp. I had anticipated the bass to be subdued on an arch top, but that is not the case with this banjo. It barks when you dig in!

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The tailpiece was mounted a bit too low but that was easy to adjust. I replaced the adequate Grover with a Snuffy Smith bridge. The head was spot on. The action was just the way I like it. Janet Davis did a fine job on set-up; they put in two spikes as requested.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The banjo arrived via UPS safely; it was packaged very carefully at Janet Davis for shipment to New York. But this banjo was not without certain quality control issues which I shall describe: 1) The nut securing the tailpiece was making contact with the inside of the resonator. The wood was gouged in that area and the flat black finish scraped off. 2) There was a rough edge along the binding between the first fret wire and the nut. It resembled the edge of a serrated knife; very uncomfortable on the index finger when playing! 3) This defect was the most serious and most obvious to me: the first thing I saw when I looked at the banjo for the first time was a blemish on the binding near the 5th string tuning machine. The binding looked cracked and there was a spot that exposed the darker wood of the fingerboard. This specific area of the binding looked sloppy despite the fact that this poor craftsmanship was covered in glossy lacquer. Every time I pick up the banjo, this spot is right there for me to see. It's ironic that the binding on the rest of the banjo is applied flawlessly. The finish on the rest of the instrument is outstanding too, and the resonator is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen on a banjo. All the wood on this banjo has striking grain patterns that never fail to impress. But that neck has an ugly spot and a rough edge!

Appearance Rating

2

Reliability


All hardware seems adequate; the banjo is solidly assembled and the plating is very satisfactory. I will, however, replace the tailpiece in the future. Tuners work smoothly.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I e-mailed Gold Tone about the neck issue and they asked for pictures of the alleged flaw. In their response, they said that all OB series banjos have a split in the binding because the wood cannot be bent in that area of the 5th string peg. That is understandable, but it is not the split (although that looks sloppy on my banjo, too) but the spot where the dark wood shows through the binding that is unsatisfactory. They terminated communication with me at that point and I have heard nothing from them since.

Customer Service

1

Components


The neck is sub-standard on this instrument. I'm amazed that they even assembled this neck onto a pot. The rest of the banjo is outstanding.

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


From a musician's prespective, this banjo has absolutely fantastic sound, and ultimately, that's what an instrument is for. But as a consumer, I am disappointed with the final assembly quality of this OB250AT(specifically the binding) and the way in which Gold Tone handled my concerns. There are other banjo companies. Added 4 years later in 2012: Despite some issues when I first bought it, this banjo has evolved into the best sounding banjo I have ever played. I also have two top-level American-made banjos. The Gold Tone is the banjo I most often reach for. It sounds beautiful, clear, and crisp. It feels "of a whole", like all of its parts have melded into perfect unity. It is my favorite banjo. Added 12/8/12 I have added a Bart Veerman "Archie" bridge and a Fults 1934 tailpiece. This banjo just keeps getting better and better! It is an atomic cannon! Loud and crystal-clear! Sparkling clarity. Awesome banjo!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Banjola Deluxe
submitted 2/5/2008

Submitter

TONUP (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo Teacher. Com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

679.00 ($US)

Sound


I play 3 finger (Scruggs Style) and it really adds a new dimension to the tunes I already know.

It has gentle neandering tone, which may not be to everyones taste, that allows it to be played unmuted without upsetting anyone. It's a quiet instrument that would be fine if accompanied by a solo guitar played softly. Definetely no good in a multi instrument session though.

The 'guitar like' sutain is quite different from a banjo and notes can blur into one if you overcook the tempo.

For the price they could of put in a pre amp like the Pat Cloud model. The proper banjo style peg head drew me to this model.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The action is a bit higher than my OB250, but not restrictive.

You can't change much else on it, except perhaps the bridge. It's a bit like a guitar in that respect. The tailpiece is a bit tinny!

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Looks quite unique and there doesn't seem to be that many around.

All the rest of the components, except the tailpiece, are fine. All the finishes on wooden components are pretty much up to standard as well.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The hardware will probably last quite a while, but this is not a robust instrument. In fact it is very light and seems quite fragile.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Ross Nickerson was the epitomy of good service, when answering questions, discussing shipping and organising the order etc.

I imagine Gold Tone would support their product fully.

Customer Service

10

Components


Tailpiece, Tailpiece, Tailpiece!!!

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


There are cheaper versions from Gold Tone and other manafacturers out there, but I like a branded product and my other Gold Tones have been perfectly satisfactory so far.

It's unique..ish sound make it something different to play whilst being the same.

This is no replacement to a resonator or open back banjo, but it does have it's place within the legitimate world of instruments (including some novelty value). It's also great for improvising stuff and working out your own breaks for some reason, possibly because it has a forgiving type of tone.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 2/2/2008

Submitter

pinenut (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

janetdavismusic.com

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


undecided

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


working on it

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


ok

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


working on it

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Gold Tone

Customer Service

7

Components


moved 5th string tuner to the head(existing friction tuner removed and plugged) used guitar style from a goodtime. big improvement

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


ONE POUND FOUR OUNCES This is the best option I've seen for a trail-worthy instrument. Some improvements and changes need to be made for reliable playability. So far so good. I give it a thumb-up.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 1/23/2008

Submitter

gkuchan (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Different Strummer

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

750 ($US)

Sound


Rich warm sound with a hell of a lot of bass, which I love...Rumbles well, with out buzz. Very nice Clawhammer Banjo.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Set up beautifully, haven't had to change anything yet.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


No flaws, but I am a sucker for darker wood

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Good and sturdy, tuners a little less responsive than I might like but overall very nice

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Haven't delt with them yet, but it does have a lifetime waranty

Customer Service

9

Components


The wider neck and 12inch pot are wonderful. The mandolin frets are going to take some getting used to.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Went into the store to test out a WL-250, and I wish I could put this a little less emotionally, but when I picked up the BC-350 it just felt right, very easy to play. Beautiful warm sound and a quality instument. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to upgrade from their student/starter Banjo, but only on the condition that you get a chance to hold it before purchasing.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 1/23/2008

Submitter

gkuchan (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Different Strummer

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


A little flat, and muddy. not a lot to it

Sound Rating

5

Setup


Set up perfectly, but just not a lot you can do with it

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Not a bad looking banjo, but fairly generic

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


This was a rental and had seen a good amount of action and it seems to have held up rather well

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


n/a

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Not a lot to it

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


Great rental Banjo to get you started, but save your money and go a step or two up to get yourself something you won't outgrow so quickly.

Overall Rating

5


Gold Tone Deluxe
submitted 1/20/2008

Submitter

Bohonkie (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Directly from Gold Tone

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$775 ($US)

Sound


Very mellow tone. For those who believe these Banjolas sound like a regular banjo with a mute, you're missing something. In case you're not familiar with them, they are a banjo neck mounted to a large mandolin body. Martin used to make them almost a hundred years ago, called Banjolins. You play them just like you do a banjo. True, the sound is quieter, but so is a loving woman as compared to an angry wife! This banjola has an even tone throughout the fret board and each individual string. It's a pleasure to sing with and works not only for slower tunes, but can sound good with the faster stuff as well. This banjola shines in four situations: First, when you're in a mellow mood and don't want to play at break-neck speed but want to play something like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - but NOT like Jens Kruger! Second, when you want to play on a summer evening on your porch or patio and don't want your neighbors trying to flush you AND your banjola down the toilet. Third, when you have tunes going on in your head, can't sleep, and want to play late at night without your wife or other family members calling the neighbors for help in flusing you and your banjola down the toilet. Last - when you go to a jam and you want to look really cool and have folks ask, "What's THAT you're playing?" I have never played any other banjola, so I can't make comparisons with other models or brands, but I can tell you that my wife loves the tone of this banjola. It's very rich and, much the same as most politicians, not overly bright. But in this case, not being bright is a good thing.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


This banjola has a truss rod, but doesn't have any way of adjustng the bridge or string height as the neck is set in and the bridge is non-adjustable. I set up the truss rod several times before the instrument settled down. The best strings are mediums to heavy because they don't buzz and they have the richest, loudest (for a banjola) tone.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Beautiful with flowers and hearts inlays. Walnut sides and back, mahogany neck, pine sound board. Inlay is accurate. See my pictures at Banjo Hangout.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Now that I've replaced the tuning buttons, everything else should be long term. Once I fix the neck (see Sustomer Service and Components), should be very dependable. Using on a gig would not be a concern as this is a novelty instrument and would not be used the entire gig.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


This banjola came directly from Gold Tone. It was a replacement for one I bought from a music store (don't want to mention the name) because the one I bought had a cracked neck. Maybe at the factory, maybe later on when humidity changed, the neck split for 2 to 3 inches beginning at where the 5th string tuner is inserted and ran paralell toward the body. This music store (who was moving locations at the time and in utter chaos) referred me to Gold Tone who initially suspected I might have damaged it or, more likely, that it had been damaged in shipment. When I e-mailed photos, their customer service agreed the split was their fault. They paid for shipping back to the factory and sent me a replacement immediately. However, as received, this banjola had a severly cracked 5th string tuning nut. I notified customer service again, who sent out a replacement, but the replacement was cracked also (obviously it was used as the inside was full of dirt and black residue). I decided not to bother them anymore and bought a complete set of buttons made from ebony, from Janet Davis Music. I had to find replacement screws, and I polished them to a mirror finish. Again, see my photos at B.H.

Customer Service

7

Components


Finish is great. Looks fantastic. Originally with very cheap tuning buttons, as discussed, but now the neck is warping. Please note that I use a humidifier religiously. I contacted Gold Tone over the holidays, and heard from the president who said he'd be in touch after the holidays, but I haven't heard back from him (a/o Jan 08). I think there is a lifetime warranty, but what good does that do if they won't get back to you? I get buzzing at higher registers (8th fret onward) only on the G, D, and 5th strings. The high D and the B don't buzz, indicating a twist since it didn't buzz before. I might have to just live with it, but the $775 I paid is a low price and this instrument has a suggested retail of over $1,200 - that's way too much to pay for something that warps and buzzes. I might add a 1/64th" shim under the bridge and that would raise the strings, which are low action, but I believe it will cure the buzz on the two bass strings.

Components Rating

4

Overall Comments


I recommend this banjola as something different for the player who wants a more mellow and quieter sound. I love to play it but am concerned about the buzzing. I love the sound and the looks. It's also light weight.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 1/16/2008

Submitter

pilgrimskey (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2008

Price Paid

553.87 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Not only does this banjo have a great tone and it is also quite loud.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was already set up by previous owner. No buzzing at all when played.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This banjo is beautiful to behold. Looks better then ebay photos as well as Gold Tone's website photos for this particular model.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This banjo is well build. I laughed at a previous review that stated that you could pound nails with it. After receiving my own, I would have to agree.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Have not dealt with Gold Tone as a company yet. Have looked at their website which provided sound samples and other valuable information of the model that I was interested in.

Customer Service

10

Components


Have not found a weak part on it.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would absolutely recommend this banjo. Especially for the price I paid. I believe I came upon a steal of a deal.
What would I do if the banjo was stolen? Pray for the person who took it and then start looking for another one.
This is a great banjo. In my searching for a banjo I did not find a negative review on the OB-250 . Now I know why.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Tranjo
submitted 1/16/2008

Submitter

Benjor (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


It has a surprisingly good sound for a 'travel' banjo. I find that while I can practice bluegrass-style picking on it, the thing actually sounds *much* better as a clawhammer banjo. I prefer it for clawhammer over my fancy full-size D.P. Hopkins banjo!

I bought this banjo to take with me on frequent airplane trips around the country; I was eager to play in random local bluegrass jams wherever I could find them. It's great being able to fold the entire banjo into my backpack along with my notebook computer -- sure makes air travel easy! However, my sad realization is that it's just way too quiet to play in a jam of 12+ people; it gets easily drowned out to the point where I can't hear it anymore. So in that sense, it's probably best suited for people who want to *practice* while travelling, not jam in large groups.

Sound Rating

6

Setup


The banjo was set up just fine, and it has high-quality tuners.

My big complaint, though, is that the act of tuning this thing can be incredibly frustrating. Banjos are already difficult to tune as-is: the tuning is extremely sensitive to the tiniest turn of the knob. With this banjo in particular, the act of tuning one string affects the pitch of all the other strings! Big fancy banjos don't have this problem. Tuning this banjo, however, is like playing a game of whack-a-mole. Get one string in tune, all the others fall out of tune. It's gotten to the point that after I reassemble this banjo from my backpack (which takes ~3 minutes), I deliberately leave myself *30* minutes to tune it. Crazy!

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


It's finish and construction seem solid and attractive to me; it certainly sports a unique look!

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


It definitely seems well-built enough for travel; it's not a cheap, junky object by any means. I would expect it to last many decades. But no, I wouldn't use it for a real gig -- it's too quiet (see my prior explanation.)

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The standout design of this banjo, of course, is the fact that (a) the tuners are inside the head (!), and (b) that the neck pops off with the removal of a single thumb-screw. It's hard to judge this against other banjos, since it's an oddity of design, created to serve a very specific purpose. I don't know of any other 'folding' banjos!

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo to people who want to practice by themselves while traveling -- it's particularly great for camping or air-travel. I wouldn't use it in a large group gig, it's just too quiet. It sounds much better frailed than picked. It's definitely better than all the "mini" travel banjos out there, if only because it has a FULL sized neck.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Tranjo
submitted 1/10/2008

Submitter

Medwin Bew (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Hillbillys, Wales UK

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

420 (£) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Overall I am very pleased with the sound. It takes some getting used to being much more muted than a full bluegrass banjo, but its very pleasing. Mine sounded a littel muddy to start with so I experimented with head tension and string types and mixes. I have now returned to medium strings, but have changed the head from the clear Remo Ambassadour that came with it to a coated one of the same type. To my ears it sounds much clearer and I am very happy with it. Contentment! But its nice to get back to my Gold Star when I get the chance to play loud. Full marks to Tranjo design though and full marks as a practice banjo if you want to use something with a full size neck tuned to G. Ingenious. I can recommend it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


As this wasn't a full banjo I wasn't expecting it to come with all the set up requirements, but did expect it to come with a properly tensioned head. This one was very loose but easily adjusted to taste.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Personally I like the quirky look of the Goldtone Tranjo. I think it looks quite pleasing to the eye. It certainly attracts some attention from others. But I wasn't happy with the finish of this particular instument. I'd have packed it straight up and sent it back if I didn't need it for an imminent long business trip. The celluloid stained finish has what looks like a rag mark in it on the face of the intrument and there is an ugly dark patch where grain has risen to meet the surface but hasn't been properly sealed and sanded so stain has soaked in. To be honest the celuloid finish may be a good choice for toughness, but the way the stain is obviously incorporated into the finishing coats rather than pressure-applied beforehand means that the instrument shows up every slight dink and sratch as blonde. I think itwould have been better to leave the finish as natural. More vexing was the fact that I couldn't tune the damned thing without breaking strings until I discovered that 2 of the rollers were stuck fast and two others were fairly stiff on the spindle. I had to ease them off and use a piece of rolled Emery paper to sand them out until they would spin easily on the spindle. (And yes, the instrument was settled at room temperature/humidity for some hours before I tried to tune it). With a bit of graphite here and there she then tuned like a dream. I also discovered that the little wooden plate designed to hold the stings in place during transit just wouldn't hold the 5th string at all. It kept slipping out which meant yet another string change because it got kinked the first time I travelled with the instrument broken down. The other real frustrating niggle is that the truss rod hole is slightly off center. So threading the 2nd string can be a major headache because it always emerges into the truss rod hole and I have to fiddle about until I can find the other hole (hidden in the truss rod hole) so I can feed the string out over the nut. Not happy about that. But the parts are very well machined otherwise, to good tolerances. Excellent, and the neck is easy to attach and remove but with no sloppiness whatsoever. I was also impressed with the quality of the neck and fingerboard (apart from that slightly off-center truss rod!) which is an absolute pleasure to use.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


Well, there isn't much hardware to worry about on the Tranjo, but I was very impressed with the tuners Gold Tone have used. Smooth and no slip. They seem top quality to me, although being 16:1 ratio means its rather a wrist-aching exercise to restring without a guitar string winder. And it was surprisingly easier than I thought to string the tuners and do routine tuning - you just have to train your mind!

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I haven't dealt directly with Gold Tone, but I think I will write to them to give them a gentle nudge about watching the quality control at their factory. I wasn't expecting absolute perfection in a production model, but don't think this particualr Tranjo matches up to their obviously well earned reputation for producing quality finished instruments. As for Hillbillys, I found them to be very helpful and friendly on the phone and with a quick servcie, but I wasn't a 100% happy bunny. They very kindly threw in a gig bag for me, but it was far too long and bulky to be of use for a travel banjo. But what erked me was that I didn't get a manual, didn't get any Allen keys for head and truss rod adjustment, and didn't get a Tranjo strap or even an elastic capo (necessary to grip the strings to the neck when breaking the instrument apart for travel). Just the Tranjo. For the money I felt this was not a thoughtful service. The instrument also arrived with a minor but annoying dink on its trailing edge that wasn't obvious transit damage.

Customer Service

5

Components


Apart from that slightly off center truss rod hole (which may be a necessary part of the design??) and the sticky rollers I think this Gold Tone Tranjo is well machined and put together. The Gold Tone site mentions a bone nut, but my instrument appears to have a standard fret for a nut. I also wonder if polished steel rollers would be a better option than wooden ones. Smoother action? But maybe they would cause unnecessary buzz. But I do think that the channels, where the strings emerge through to the face of the instrument ready for running over the bridge, could be given more thought. The strings bite into the channels slightly following the wood grain and this must cause some unnecessary friction and added tension when tuning, although this isn't a major issue given the hardness of the maple used in construction.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


In the UK we pay top wack for any imported banjos what with import tax and value added tax, so probably tend to be more critical of value for money. That said I would certainly buy another Tranjo if mine got lost or stolen but I'd buy one directly from Mr Farris and pay the extra few bucks to have guaranteed quality straight from the designer. I am sure there are lots of very contented Gold Tone Tranjo owners out there, but I think my instrument escaped their quality control which is a pity. The design is remarkably clever and its perfect as a practice/travel instrument. Mine sits next to my armchair ready for noodling about on during odd free moments and has brought my confidence on in leaps and bounds. I probably use it more than my precious Gold Star GF100 which I tend to be more careful with (it stays in my 'practice' room out of harms way and domestic traffic!)

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-Mini
submitted 1/2/2008

Submitter

pinenut (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo-teacher.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Its a little high with an echo. a fiberskin or amber head might fix it. those are unavailable (to my knowledge) in the 8" size. I would like to see a 10" pot on this neck (move bridge away from edge toward center). volume is good in car. I use it for traveling.

Sound Rating

6

Setup


set-up was fine.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


looks good very nice. simple with nice binding

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


built sturdy. this is a practice-travel-childrens-banjo

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

7

Components


Parts and components are good

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


It is not light enough for backpacking. The size is good for playing in the car. If stolen or lost or broken I would replace it with another 20" scale but with a 10-11" pot. Maybe another cc-mini. I like this banjo.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone TT-500 (Todd Taylor Model)
submitted 12/12/2007

Submitter

KyletheGreat (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

1600 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


As an archtop banjo, it had a little more ping and pop to it it. For an archtop it does sound really good though!

I am not a huge fan of the archtop sound, but i will give it credit

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The banjo was setup great when purchased....I only needed to tighten the head a bit and change the bridge. I had a small problem with a buzz, but corrected it quickly by having the frets sanded.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This banjo was so ornate...the inlay was all abalone and pear...it has the tree of life growing up the fretbord and all around the peghead. The back has an eagle with a banjo in its talons and the words "Todd Taylor Banjoman" inlayed into it. The hardware is gold plated. The banjo is fancy!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware is made of quality like most of Gold Tone's products. It should last

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


The parts are great. The banjo is well made

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


For somebody who likes archtop banjos, I would highly recommend this one. It will make you stand out at any pickin'

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 12/12/2007

Submitter

KyletheGreat (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Crazy Al's Music Outlet

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

695 ($US)

Sound


Sounds good. It will definately hold its own against any banjo in the $1,000.00 range.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


The banjo sounded aweful when purchased. It sounds great now thanks to some head tightening and a change of bridge. Action is great!

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The banjo has pretty plain inlay which makes it easy to read and play. The antique finish on the neck and resonator makes for a beautifully unique looking instrument.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


the banjo should last a good while

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Al's is usually a decent music store

Customer Service

8

Components


The parts are standard mastertone copies...it is overall pretty well made and should last a good long time.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would definately recommend this banjo for the price paid! It makes a great banjo to throw in the truck for jamming in areas and conditions that you wouldn't want to have your more expensive banjos in.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Dojo
submitted 12/6/2007

Submitter

meritcooper (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay - private seller

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

249 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Nice acoustic sound. Plays like a banjo and sounds like a guitar/dobro. Has great resonance. I know some have had problems with theirs but mine is wonderful.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Already set up for me since it was used. All I had to do was tune it. I am currently having a strap button installed on the heel and a few spikes on it at the music store. I want to be able to play it just like my banjo.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


My quality of the craftmanship was fine. Beautiful wood and cutouts with metal resonator on front. Mahogany wood with rosewood fingerboard. Nice cutaway design.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


So far so good. I haven't had it very long so I don't know about long time wear and tear. Everything feels sturdy enough.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I have never dealt with Gold Tone. No warranty that I am aware of.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Parts seem fine to me. Not cheap feeling. I am not upgrading anything at this time. I thought of adding an electric pickup but found out that it would be a booger so I may just deal with it. Some models come with this already.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


yes, I like the way it sounds. The only difference is the neck is a little larger around so my banjo capo doesn't fit. I would probably just try to use my guitar capo when I need it. It is nice to be able to play something a little softer for the late night practicing.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek- CC50TR
submitted 12/6/2007

Submitter

stanger (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angie's Banjos

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

250 ($US)

Sound


The CC50TR has an 11" head with a spun brass bead tone ring. It's an openbacked banjo. It is a A scale banjo with a twist; the scale is the same as other Gold Tones, but the TR is missing the 1st and 2nd frets of a regular length neck and only has 20 frets. The scale is actually as if there was a permanent capo on the 2nd fret. With the supplied medium guage strings, the sound is remarkably good and deep when tuned to G, and brithens up when tuned to A. The volume is quite good, and it sounds good played in either clawhammer or 3-finger style.
The tone is not complex, but is very pleasing. It is designed to be a lightweight traveller, and fills it's purpose very well. Much more tone and volume than expected.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


One of the most pleasing aspects was the setup details. On Oriental banjos of this price, I expected to have to do some work on the nut, as they almost all have problems there. The nut on this banjo was very well fit, the correct height and shape, and very nicely notched with proper string spacing. The new head is a little loose, but came with enough tension to sound good. All I had to do was raise the tailpiece, which was cranked all the way down to the head surface and tune it up. The stock medium gauge strings keep the banjo's feel from being too sloppy when tuned to G, and still feel good when tuned to A. This was a good factory setup all around.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I didn't expect a fancy banjo, and I got what I expected. The finish is a nice matte. The color is good, with some sunbursting on peghead and heel. The rim is the same finish, darkened to the same shade as the dark part of the burst. All is very clean. Just a decal on the peghead and pearl dots in the board. This banjo was highly CNC cut, and is clean throughout, with good parts fit. No flaws in the plating. The board is bound with black, probably because the fingerboard may be thin and laminated. Even if the fingerboard is thin, the wood is quite hard- it's not rosewood, but probably is a Chinese hardwood that's the same hardness. Looks simple but nice.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The hardware looks pretty good overall. A nice surprise was the tension hoop- on similar banjos, the hoop is usually short in height and made from thin unplated sheet steel. This one may be steel, but it's as heavy as most brass hoops, rounded on top and nicely plated. It is as short as the others, but much sturdier. The sidewinder tuners are the same as are used on the Goodtime, but with box covers over the gears and larger imitation pearl knobs. They're cheap, but I've seen lots of them and they are quite durable. The 5th string geared tuner looks Chinese, and these have been variable. This one works smoothly right now, but it may lock up in the future as some I've seen have done. I hope not, but it's too soon to know yet.

The finish is good, and probably a catalyzed polyester. Should last as long as the banjo. The tailpiece is one of Gold Tone's Price style- lighter than the ones Price makes, but looks like it's durable. It's well assembled and the tension screw worked smoothly.

The fret work is excellent. Very well set, well levelled, and nicely shaped on the edges.

I'm not crazy about the brackets- they are the ones typically found in the price range, but these look pretty good. It may need a better set in the future, or not... They seem sturdy enough, and I've seen lots of older banjos with 'em. The rest of the hardware looks good to above average for the price range.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


First time I ever bought a Gold Tone, although I've played a couple of their higher priced banjos. I liked them, and though this one would be as good. Angie was very responsive- she promptly answered all my questions, and the banjo came with a standard padded gig bag and free shipping as part of the deal. It was drop shipped to me straight from the factory and arrived with no damage promptly. Both Angie and Gold Tone provided tracking numbers and an accurate arrival date. So far, customer service is as good as it gets, and I'm very satisfied.

Customer Service

10

Components


The banjo is good all around, but the tone ring quality, fit and rim finish are excellent. The bridge was also a nice surprise- well shaped and substantially wide and heavy, unlike most stock Oriental bridges. It's very good- the best I've seen at this price. While none of the parts are the best available, none are the worst available, either. The hoop is an excellent upgrade compared to most of the competition, and everything is nicely fitted.
The neck shape is excellent- very comfortable and fairly deep. This is a very good banjo for the money, and other than the brackets, is as good as can be found for the price.

The shoes are fine, but hardware looks a little light. If not for the brackets and shoe hardware, I would have given this one a 9. It really is a solid 8 3/4 in component quality.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


This is a super little lightweight traveller. It's a lot of fun and very easy to play. It would be an excellent child's banjo with light gauge strings, as the short neck is perfect for small fingers. The 11" head gives the banjo a nice full tone, unlike the smaller heads found on other similar banjos. It is a very good banjo for a second banjo, tuned to A for old-time players, and sounds as good in G as in A.

It's small enough to carry on an airplane, and loud enough to use in most small jams. I bought this for my daughter, but I'm thinking of buying another for me. All my others are very expensive vintage and top-end hot rods, but this little outfit has a lot of charm and appeal, and is a good alternative banjo for just packing around on trips or other travelling. It's very easy and comfortable to play, and is a good alternative to capoing on the 2nd fret for playing fiddle tunes. It would be easy to stash in a camper or trailer, and has a lot of modest charm. The peghead is possibly a little large, but it's acceptable to me. Overall, I expected less, and got a lot more. I'm very pleased.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 11/30/2007

Submitter

pgboyd (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

975 ($US)

Sound


Sounds great to me - a nice, bright sound with good low end.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The action seems a little high to me. I replaced the strings with a lighter gauge and plan on possibly adjusting the string action a bit.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I love the finish and the sunburst resonator.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Seems solid, everything fits well and stays where it's supposed to be.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I received an email from Gold Tone's President after I registered my banjo thanking me for my business.

Customer Service

10

Components


Everything looks pretty good. I replaced the armrest with a solid wood just as a personal preference.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I think this was a great value and perfect to get me started playing again. It sounds good, holds tuning, and looks great. I do have my eye on a dream banjo down the line, but this will still be one I hold on to for awhile.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone BG-Mini
submitted 11/25/2007

Submitter

Mark Stonecipher (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ciderville Music

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Pretty good for a little 8 inch head. I was really surprised by the tone, not a lot of low end but with a tone chamber that small I would expect that. Comparing it to a regular banjo isnt really fair.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


action was about where I would like to see it, head was a little loose, not bad though. The place where I got it doesnt really do any setup on anything,

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


Great wood, really nice dark color. the finish is good, binding looks great too.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


seems to be well built, I doubt that I will be wearing it out anytime soon. I would think that it would even stand up to a child playing it as long as they take care of it.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


It does have a warranty and have never dealt with the folks at Gold Tone

Customer Service

5

Components


The tuners are very touchy, better tuners would be welcome.
I was glad to find out it does have a tone ring. even a rolled brass tone ring is better than nothing for a bluegrass type banjo.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Having never played a banjo this size I cant really compare it and comparing to a regular bano isnt fair. I would recommend this banjo to anyone that travels much, it is small, the TKL hard shell case would easily fit in an overhead compartment on an airplane as carry on.
For being as small as it is it still sounds like a banjo, it might not ring like a regular sized one but I would not expect that from it. This banjo is not a toy banjo, it looks, feels and plays like a regular banjo. I have a 5 year old daughter that keeps bugging be to teach her but a regular banjo weighs more than she does. The BG-Mini is lightweight but built solid and balanced pretty well, the neck does want to rotate downward a little but much. I would use this banjo on stage for some tunes that require a different sound.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 11/21/2007

Submitter

scruss (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

The Twelfth Fret (Toronto)

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

$899 (CAD) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Loud, plunky sound - just about right for clawhammer. Initially there was too much sustain, so some foam between the head killed the brightness just right.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Rather nice - Grant fitted spikes while I waited, which is a tough job with this banjo's very low (mandolin) frets. Head tension just right, and likewise action.

Only major change I've made was shifting the armrest around. Stock, it's just plain in the wrong place. If you shift it round one bracket towards the tailpiece (which requires you to release some brackets and swap the shoes) it's much more comfortable.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


It's a very dignified, simple banjo. Big wide black fretboard, single star inlay on the peghead, and basic dots on the frets. Translucent head and dowel stick make for a handsome banjo.

I'm not wild about the high-gloss lacquer on the neck. It isn't the most enjoyable to play in hot, sticky weather.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Tuners have a little more play in them than I'd like, but I haven't had it go wrong so far

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


No dealings with the company, but The Twelfth Fret are great..

Customer Service

8

Components


Tuners are of middling quality, and no-knot tailpiece is rather flimsy.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


It's a nice instrument and good value, but if you want more plunk for your buck, try the Enoch Tradesman.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 10/6/2007

Submitter

NOLScgp (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO memeber

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

930 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This banjo had a decent top end when I got it and the bottom was ok, I tried tightening the head up to an Ab from a G and the bottom completely disappeared. Once I replaced the stock tail-piece and the bridge and it improved it greatly and I was able to tune up the head without losing anything, it mellowed out the highs of the banjo and boosted the lows, overall it normalized the banjo's sound and made it ring like a bell and the neck vibrate much more also. It is a maple banjo in all sense of the word, it roars like a lion but with some coaxing will purr like a kitten. The new Snuffy Smith bridge really lets it ring much more than the stock bridge

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Change the original tail-piece!!! It will make an amazing difference. Change the bridge too, I put on a Snuffy Smith, it's awesome. The action was a little high, but nothing a little truss rod adjustment couldn't fix. The tuners are ample, I put on 2 Keith D-Tuners and will probably replace the other two at some point, but they are functional, just not as precise as I would like

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


This banjo is a beauty, the back of the neck is tiger striped, the fretboard inlays are nearly perfect, the headstock and finish are excellent, I wish it was a true "Golden" Gold Tone, but the Nickel finish is still really nice.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I've only had the banjo for 2 months, but it seems rock solid to me and I would use it without a backup.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I haven't dealt with Gold Tone at all but it is interesting to see that they have a lifetime warranty for the original owner and a secondary warranty that is for five years for a second owner if you sell it.

Customer Service

9

Components


The upgraded tone ring is really nice in this banjo as well as the 3-ply rim, these are the standout parts. The original tail-piece is junk, it was bending when I took it off the banjo, it should definitely be replaced, I put on a Fults Cumberland and it greatly improved the sound of the banjo. The original tuners are ok, but they feel a little cheap to me.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


The TKL case it comes with is excellent. For the price I paid I would recommend this banjo to anyone. If this banjo was stolen, I'm not sure if I would buy another, I would probably save up for an American made banjo or try a RK or ODE, but for a Pacific Rim banjo assembled in the US, it's an amazing banjo for the money, I hope to have it for a few years to come and play it often. I played a Gold Star GF-200 before this and they both seem to have the same flaws, I was just able to get this one for about $400 less than the GF-200

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 10/4/2007

Submitter

onlinemike (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHOM

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

650 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


The banjo is full and loud. It sounds amazing for the price. The tone ring shines in this model. I'm a noob to the banjo but to me it sounds great.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo came set-up from the BanjoHangout Member I bought it from. I have had it a week now and I'm going to change the strings. Other than that I can think of nothing.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I is a pretty Banjo for sure. For a rig under a grand, she looks great. Nice finish, parts seem solid. I spotted a few burs on the tailpiece but it is casted.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


It is a solid ride. I expect it to last a very long time.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Gold Tone was amazing. I noticed one of the resonator screws was missing on arrival. I called Gold Tone they shipped one right out and for free. Then I decided I wanted to get capo spikes. I called Gold Tone again, said if I was to drive to them could they install them while I waited. They said no problem tell them the day I wanted to drive up and they would make sure the fella who does that would be there for me. Phenomenal!

Customer Service

10

Components


Nothing I can think of or notice at this time.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I love this banjo. It plays sweet and didn't cost me a new mortgage to buy. I would definitely get anther if it was stolen. All I need to do is get a instrumet polish kit so I can keep her shiny!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 9/28/2007

Submitter

DennyK (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$645 ($US)

Sound


Beautiful full rich sound

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was perfect as I requested.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


A beautiful banjo to look at. The pearl clouds and the name glow nicely in the light and the dark finish really makes for a good looker.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


So far the Whyte Layde looks and feels like it's going to last for a long time.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer service was excellent and I couldn't ask for better. Has a lifetime warranty.

Customer Service

10

Components


All the components seems to be adequate so far...no complaints...

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


For the price you can't ask for a nicer banjo. I've had my eye on this one for a long time and finally got one and would recommend it to anyone looking for a moderatly priced banjo. I just keep picking it up and playing it and I guess you could call it a love affair. Again, for the money you can't go wrong.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250
submitted 9/27/2007

Submitter

Springman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

1300 ($US)

Sound


Awsome sound, very loud, and no "rattles" when playin low notes.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Perfect. The guys at banjo.com have been excellent. I'm considering smoothing out the wood finish inside the resonator, but am unsure if it will change sound.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very attractive. Dark maple finish, with blonde trim and black fretboard. Inlays are flawless. Hand rest has attractive pattern.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Feels very sturdy - this is the heaviest banjo I've ever held. My only advice is be careful with belt buckles - I scratched the back of the banjo 1st time I played it. No big deal.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Excellent - banjo.com is my recommended dealer.

Customer Service

10

Components


The only thing that will need changing ismthe strings. This banjo is near perfect for me and will surely last for the long haul.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


If you don't mind the weight (which contributes to the excellent tone), this is perhaps the best bang for the buck. A professional grade instrument with at an affordable price.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone IT200ATR
submitted 9/25/2007

Submitter

neilpaxman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Andy Banjo

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

375 (UK £) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Nice and plunky, but with the heavy strings and resonator, has plenty of bite

Sound Rating

8

Setup


As always with Andy, not only well set up (just the bridge to seat - and he tapes the head to show positioning for GDAE) but well packaged and adaptable

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Bog standard to look at, but as it is built by Andy in the UK, has good quality fittings and all the essentials are bullet proof

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Built to outlast me...

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Ever helpful, quick to give advice when needed, and fast delivery

Customer Service

10

Components


All weaker standard parts are replaced before shipping, and the result shows

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Would recommend for anyone starting Irish Tenor. This is Andys bespoke special which comes in below the IT250 model, but has everything needed without being flashy.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 9/3/2007

Submitter

Springman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

169 ($US)

Sound


Sound variation is great, depending on use of picks. Sound quality is best with medium strings.

Sound Rating

6

Setup


The banjo is very easy to "play with" or adjust and there is little risk as the banjo is relatively inexpensive.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


This is a bare bones banjo, finish is relatively good, especially for a unit less than $200. My only complaint would be the string tension bar on the banjo head (very small wood screws that I worry will wear our with too many adjustments).

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


I use this banjo almost daily. It is great for practicing rolls. Additionally, this is perfect for a working person who travels. Lightweight, small, and closely replicates "standard" banjo action.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Very helpful. I purchased at banjo.com, who is especially responsive.

Customer Service

8

Components


Good banjo for price.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


The Plucky is an excellent choice as a travel banjo or for practice. I would not perform a gig, but that is not the purpose of the banjo. Perhaps my favorite feature is I can play it anywhere, even in the car.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 9/3/2007

Submitter

Springman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

389 ($US)

Sound


Good sound, easy to play. This was my third banjo and I am very happy. I've used it for playing live performances, but would prefer more volume.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Perhaps the only recomendation would be to leave strings long when changing as they will slide. Also, use medium strings for best sound.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Excellent external finish. I have taken off the resonator and thought that sanding the internals smooth might help sound, but I've not yet attemped.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I've used it for live performances and it always works well. Very dependable and rugid.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Warranty is excellent and vendor (banjo.com) has been a pleasure to deal with.

Customer Service

9

Components


Need to add spikes or slide tuner for 5th string. Most players of this level of banjo cannot yet do a thumbover for the 5th string.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo as an excellent beginnr, to intermediate level banjo. This banjo will work well for 3-4 years, depending on how much to play and your purpose. When I upgrade, it will be with another Gold Tone as this is the best 'bang for the buck'..

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Banjola - Pat Cloud Delux
submitted 8/14/2007

Submitter

Seth Henry (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Folk of the Wood

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

1000 ($US)

Sound


Very rich and mellow. I use mostly for 3 finger classical and jazz flavors. The stereo pick ups are quiet and so far feedback free. Used with a Roland AC-60 amp and a Boss DD-20 Giga-Delay. Primo for getting way out there.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Factory set up was done properly. I had them add strap peg and 5th string nails at 7 and 9.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Since this is there top end model. I requested from FOTW to contact Goldtone and pick out the sweetest one or I'd send it back in a heartbeat. Beautiful wood and inlay. Finish is flawless.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


So far good stuff. The tuners ehhh they're good but I've used better. I'll play it anytime anywhere... except in the rain.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Folk of the Wood is a class outfit. Made me feel great about the purchase. You can buy from FOTW with confidence and peace of mind

Customer Service

10

Components


Tuners.... they're okay but not outstanding

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


If you enjoy playing mellow and intricate, the Banjola PC model is outstanding. The tonal flavor make it easy on the ears... very good for the soul.
I still enjoy my Mastertone but the Banjola PC has a soft edge that really flows.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 8/6/2007

Submitter

bananabanjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

instrumentalley.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

800 ($US)

Sound


This banjo has a rich, deep sound, almost a bass sound. No need for the optional resonator, especially if you're a clawhammer player. I added the GTS head, which deepens the sound even more, but requres that I tune it more often, despite the claims that this "new" type skin head doesn't react to humidity changes.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


It was on backorder from Gold Tone, so when I finally got it (over a month and a half from when I ordered it) it was basically set up, but not as well as the White Ladye I purchased several years ago from Folk of the Woods. I immediately replaced the arm rest, which is more of a meat grinder than an arm rest. I had to swap some of the tension hook nuts around to accommodate the new arm rest, but it works fine now.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


It's an okay look, light maple all over. However, I was expecting the same quality of finish I got on my GT White Ladye and was disappointed. The neck finish doesn't match the finish on the peg head, and the layers are plainly visible on the heel where they glued them together. And you can feel them when you run your finger over them. The finger board is also about a 32nd inch too high above the banjo head. You can see that the neck mounting is what is causing it. The cuts on the base of the neck don't match up properly with the tension ring.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


The tuning pegs slip a little. I plan to take it into the local banjo guy for a complete checkup and to add some capo spikes. I'm also changing out the tuning buttons for ebony--just for fun. The varnish on the finish is solid, with the exceptions mentioned already.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


I got it from an online retailer, who I will not use again. Not very good customer service. However, I have dealt with Gold Tone directly in the past, and they've been very responsive. I'm a bit sorry to see that the quality of this banjo isn't up to the standards I expected based on my last Gold Tone purchase.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The pot size is great. It's hard to find a 12" pot at this price with this sound. I have to commend Gold Tone for bringing this out. I just wish the workmanship was up to the sound standard.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


If you can get this under $800, it's a good deal. I played several other banjos around this price range, and they don't compare. I love the sound. The finish and overall construction lacks attention to detail that I expected from having bought a Gold Tone White Ladye. Maybe I was spoiled by that experience, or maybe they're slipping. I wish I had had a chance to see the banjo in person before purchasing it. Appearance makes a difference to me.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 8/6/2007

Submitter

Beanblossom (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angie's Banjo

Year Purchased

207

Price Paid

650 ($US)

Sound


When I received it, it sounded pretty bad. After adding a heavy Moon bridge and a set of medium phosphor GHS strings, I'm really likeing it. Bright, but can be played softly. Tightening the head made it even better. As I play it more, sound continues to improve.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up by Gold Tone and dropped shipped. The bridge was in the right place, but other than that, setup wasn't that great. Head was very loose and the fifth string pip was way to high. I wasn't impressed by the setup

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


This banjo is a beauty. The finish and inlay are top notch. I love the dark stain.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Tuners seem a litttle weak, but otherwise I believe it will be very dependable. It is very solid.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Angie has great customer service and probably the best communication going today.

Customer Service

10

Components


Tuners are the only thing I would critisize. They are a little jumpy, but do hold tuning. Otherwise top notch all the way. Amazing quality overall for the price

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I would certainly recommend this banjo, expecially for the beginning clawhammer student. Great value and can be adusted to a really nice Whyte Ladye sound. I would buy another without hesitation. Besides, this banjo is just plain pretty. My instructor was really impressed with it and likes to play it

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 8/5/2007

Submitter

NickelPlate (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

719 ($US)

Sound


I've waited a month before rating this banjo to give it and myself time to acclimate to each other. The sound is excellent. Very bright and incredibly loud. It's capable of both a harsh (in a good way) popping sound as well as more mellow tones when picked closer to the neck. The sound is also very clear and rings like bell with a somewhat hollow characteristic. I do occasionally notice some slight overtones, when playing certain combinations of chords/notes. I'm not sure if they are overtones though or sympathetic vibrations. They're very subtle however and don't have any negative impact on the great sounding music this banjo is capable of producing.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was, as far as I can tell, setup expertly by the folks at banjo.com. This is my first banjo so I have no other banjo experience to measure it by. However, I do come from many years of playing guitar and know a good instrument setup when I see/play one. The action is nice and low, less than 1/8th" at the 12th fret. Buzzes are non-existent even when really pickin' hard. Bridge placement and intonation are also terrific, although the intonation is not quite perfect when getting up really high on the neck, then again, I've heard much more expensive elite banjos that don't have perfect intonation. The guys at banjo.com also pencil marked the bridge which is nice. I'm planning on upgrading to a Gary Sosebee compensated bridge soon. It will be interesting to hear the difference.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Mine came with some scratches on the back of the resonator which was kind of a bummer. But I called Goldtone and sent just the resonator back to them so I could still play. They buffed it out and shined it up like new again free of charge and got it back to me quick so no points off for that. It looks perfect now. This is not an ornate banjo but for what it is I think it looks great compared to some instruments at a much higher price point. The engraved armrest is a nice touch. The lacquered finished is deep and wet looking with a high glossy shine. The chrome/nickel plating looks great and doesn't seem cheap. And the snowflake/diamond inlays add a little more flare than plain old dots.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Build quality is great. This thing is very heavy (13lbs) and doesn't feel cheap in any way. Like some people, I too feel the tuners are probably the weak point, although they do work just fine and the banjo stays in tune rock solid. I really don't see a need to replace them, but it would be nice if they were a little smoother.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


As mentioned above, Goldtone was great about polishing out the scratches in my resonator and they answered many questions I had before I bought the banjo.

Customer Service

10

Components


Again the tuners could be better, but they work well enough and really don't need replacing. The flange is very heavy duty and solid and the tension hooks also seem really beefy. The fret job is pretty good, but some of my frets aren't dressed perfectly. It hasn't affected my playing in anyway yet though. But one point off for the tuners and another for the fret job.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would definitely recommend this banjo for someone looking for a bright traditional sounding instrument that looks good, is solidly built, and easy to play at a great price. Just make sure you get it somewhere where they can set it up for you good and proper like banjo.com. Having not played anything else I can't really offer much comparison to other banjos. But I've got a pretty good ear, and I closely listen to recordings of high end banjos and while I can hear a difference in say a pro Gibson or Stelling, I can honestly say that I feel this instrument would do just fine in a professional setting. It has a clean, clear and bright loud tone that can cut through background noise like a knife through warm butter. I can't hear thunder while playing this thing. Should stay with me for a long time.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50RP
submitted 7/31/2007

Submitter

jkber2002 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Pick and Slide Music

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

162 ($US)

Sound


good for beginner banjo
strings are nice and low with decent tone up the neck
banjo is nice and light easy to carry around

Sound Rating

5

Setup


overall setup is good considering it is a base model and fairly cheap
I tightened the head a little bit and it needed better strings of course

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


again considering it is the entry model it is very nice looking and seems to be very durable
It has a nice flat maple finish and decent hardware
I bought a B stock model which had a factory finish flaw( a small crack in the finish) but it is not seen unless you know about it

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The hardware for price paid seems like it will be more than adequate and the finish is pretty durable not a bunch of cheap gloss

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


n/a

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


This is the first new banjo I have bought and the last one I had was cheaper so for the price paid I would definitely recommend
It sounds good enough to learn on and It has planetary tuners and geared fifth peg
I will definitely want to move up to better quality but for now is just fine

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 7/20/2007

Submitter

mtracy (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

playbetterbluegrass.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

189 ($US)

Sound


Sounds good to me. I like the open-back sound. I just got the banjo, so have touched nothing in terms of setup.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


I just a beginner, but from what I have heard and read, the banjo was setup properly.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I really like the looks of this banjo. It looks "old-timey". I looked at the CC-100 with the clear finish, but actually prefer the stained finish on the CC-50.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


It appears to be built very well, with the pieces fitting together nicely. It is very sparse on details, but what is there looks good and strong.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Tim at playbetterbluegrass.com was great. My banjo was actually backordered, and I called to cancel my order. The nice lady who took the call got me on the phone with Tim, the owner, and he said he would call Gold Tone to see about delivery dates. He promptly called me back to update me on the shipping. Because he called, and kept the order, and am glad I did.

Customer Service

9

Components


The tailpiece looks very solid, like a nice piece of machinery. The holddowns also look very nice to me. The tuners are guitar tuners so stick out to the side. I think the planetary tuners look nicer on a banjo. It does have a smal brass tone ring, which makes it sound better than other low cost banjo I played around with.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


As a first banjo, I don't think you can beat the CC-50. I have seen other low cost banjos, and they seemed a bit flimsier than this banjo. I think I made a good choice

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 7/14/2007

Submitter

amkmrk (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Direct from Gold Tone

Year Purchased

2001

Price Paid

500.00 ($US)

Sound


It sounds much better than the import thing I used to play. However, it still leaves me feeling that I have not yet found the banjo that has "the sound". Just not the Scruggs twang I'm looking for.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Set up well. Tension was not as tight as I prefer, but that was a simple fix.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Simple, but nice. No flaws. Basic snowflake inlays. Not ornate, but for the cost I wouldn't expect more.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I've played about an hour a day most every day for the past seven years and the hardware has held up just fine. I am most impressed that it stays in tune very well.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Only time I dealt with the company was the day I purchased the banjo and Wayne was very pleasant to deal with.

Customer Service

9

Components


No standout compoonents, but they do the job for a $500 banjo.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo for the price I paid, but it will still leave you dreaming of the day you can get a professional level banjo.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50
submitted 6/28/2007

Submitter

TheStonesRiver (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Nashville Used Music

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

150 ($US)

Sound


This is my first banjo, so it has been what I learn on, so I've tried out Seeger, Scruggs, Blues, Spanish stuff too, and it's all sounded good. Pretty good for bluegrass for an open-back, bright sound for sure, not so loud, but nice quality for a cheap banjo.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Definately change the strings, setup strings are quite dull on this one, I've put Martins on it, some scruggs sig strings too, but change of strings makes a big difference. I've tightened the head a bit, not too much, it was in good shape. Because its open-back its easy to pull a Seeger practicing technique of tossing a shirt in at night if you dont want to wake everyone up. Also, note that tuners get loose after a years use, but again, its a cheap buy for a bright sound.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


Its maple all around, dark stain, redish-look, its a pretty open-back, i'm fond of it, since it's been my brain-trust of getting the hang of the banjo, its pretty.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The pegs make me wonder how long this will go on, never broke a string on it after a year, but I do change them once a month or so. Finish holds up fine, its sturdy for a cheap buy.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The fifth string peg is geared and good, the rest might need to be replaced after a couple years. Fret board is nice and well spaced, and head is average.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Its cheap, if you're looking for a camping to-go banjo, its a good one. Its also good for a beginner banjo, can take a beating, and holds up really nicely, I love mine. I haven't gotten a new one yet, so can't compare it, but for a first banjo, its good, works well with someone trying to find out their own style.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 6/26/2007

Submitter

MatthewVanitas (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

South Austin Music

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

175 ($US)

Sound


Really pretty impressive for a 8" pot. Perhaps a little shrill further up on the highest string, but not at all ukulele-like as one might expect.

I've been using it mainly for OT/clawhammer styles, and it sound good for both bouncy dance tunes and darker murder ballads (albeit in a more eerie and less dreary way)

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Action height was good. Bridge took a fair bit of tweaking to get the intonation set, due to the very short scale length. As the other review mentions, if you press down really firmly to fret, you bend the note slightly, again due to short scale length sensitivity, etc.

Even after adjusting the bridge, I'm not totally thrilled with the intonation, as I still get some minor "off" notes. However, I've let other (more experienced) banjo players try the Plucky, and they didn't feel it was too off-pitch. Apparently I'm just spoiled by fretless banjo intonation. I will be de-fretting this banjo though, so that solves the issue for me.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


Fit and finish are quite good for an inexpensive banjo, no real complaints at all. No burrs or roughness.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Tuners seem a little cheap, but ring and brackets seem pretty solid. One screw on the tailpiece came a little loose, will Loc-Tite it if it happens again.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Emailed Sunday night asking about fretless versions, had a reply in my inbox Monday morning stating that filed-frets are an option from the factory. Each email I sent had a reply in under 24hrs. Really impressed!

Customer Service

9

Components


Tuners, both headstock and 5th, are not so great. I find myself retuning this instrument more than any of my other string instruments. Definitely the weakest link in this piece.

Components Rating

4

Overall Comments


Overall, I'm extremely pleased. The banjo is sturdy, compact, good tone/volume, and the price is outstanding. It's hands-down unbeatable in fulfilling the knockaround backpacker banjo niche.

I've taken this banjo to backpacker hostels and outdoor festivals, and everyone wants to try it! It's a fun change of pace, and ideal for travel. Its key weakness is low-quality tuners, but those can be replaced by anyone with basic mechanical skills.

I plan to upgrade the tuners on mine, defret and copperclad, and use it as my main travel/backpacking instrument.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 6/19/2007

Submitter

parwoody (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music Co.

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

675 ($US)

Sound


This is a great banjo! The bass is warm with a strong presence, and rich-full overall sound. A beautiful open-back from Gold Tone.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


All set-up was fine except the action was just a little higher than I wanted.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Very nice detail on this instrument. I prefer the gloss finish over the satin finish on my GT CC100+. There are no apparent flaws.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Too soon to know, but overall quality would predict very good reliability.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I have not dealt with Gold Tone.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I appreciate the wide (1 3/8") neck and the Ren' head. The ebony-rosewood headstock, heel and pot-binding are nice touches. I have had no problem with the Hot-Dog armrest which others have not complimented. Very good for the price.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Very nice banjo! Great for the way I play . . . a blend of 3-finger and clawhammer. Favorite features are the 12 inch pot which provides very good volume and strong bass, and the wide neck. I much prefer the CB350 to my GT CC100+ and my old Epiphone MB250 resonator. If stolen, the BC350 or a perhaps a Ramsey would be 1st replacement choice primarily because of the wide neck.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 6/1/2007

Submitter

cockneybanjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Andy's Banjos

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

485 (£) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


lovely sweet tone, really rings out but can be played very softly with no loss of tone. This one is a short-neck A-scale one, 23 1/2" scale length, so I haven't tried it on a G tuning yet.

3 years on and the G tuning with heavy strings as recommended, didn't really ring my bell and I've gone back to the A tuning.

I've also found that using a capo above the 5th fret isn't particularly attractive, not that it's something you do very often in a frailing style.

4 years on and now using medium strings and tuned in aDADE, which seems to suit it

Sound Rating

9

Setup


just fitted the bridge and tuned it.. .. no other changes yet. Feels very natural, easy action and good 'feel'. Swapped to a Shubb compensated bridge and that seems to suit it.

Had it serviced and thoroughly cleaned lately at Andy's Banjos. It came back with a Renaissance head which seems a good thing to have.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


nice old-timey appearance, solid quality finish and good trim.. just looks so good on the stand in the corner!

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


seems very solid

three years on and a lot of travel to various parts of the world, playing under the helideck in West Africa, in a few jams and a lot of time in the erratic climate control found on many vessels. Finish on both woodwork and hardware is still good, apart from noticeable wear on the arm-rest plating.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


can't comment on Gold Tone but Andy's service has been remarked on elsewhere, knows his stuff and makes sensible recommendations, then sends a good instrument quickly. What more do you want?

Customer Service

10

Components


very nice example of a particular type of instrument. Not a bluegrass 'clanger' but just a quailty item all round if you want that sort of instrument

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Good value, not a cheapie but I felt I was ready for a step up and knew what I wanted... So far, so good. Would I buy another one? YES! If it was stolen? Buy another one! Definitely a step up from the Grafton, but so it should be for the extra $$$.

18 months on and it is now my main travel banjo. The 23 1/2" neck means it is just about short enough for airline carry-ons, and the A tuning suits playing with guitar players with no interest in bluegrass or often, traditional country either; but you can hold your own with the folk and country players of you want to. Good for plectrum-style strumming, too.

now has a Shubb compensated bridge which is really well suited to it.

seven years on and this is still a favourite. Don't play it much but I always look for it when I get home, and it makes some session appearances from time to time

 

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50RP
submitted 5/31/2007

Submitter

tommygunatkins (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Duke of Uke, London

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

() historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


This is the first banjo I've owned, without the use of anything other than some (ill-fitting) finger picks it has a pleasent tone and, as a beginner, is easy to get a good sound from. Bright and loud enough to avoid the risk of getting upset about not being able to get a note out of as you might find with other banjos in the next price brackett down. Set up with a frosted head it is perfect for bluegrass and the low action make it also suitable for chord/tenor playing (excluding the 5th string of course).

Sound Rating

7

Setup


The setup was fine right out of the box, again this is a banjo aimed at beginners and has the nesscasary low action, head and tuners to give reliable sound and tuning. The warrenty includes instructions for making simple setup adjustments. I'm planning on replacing the flange for something a bit more serious, however, the only changes I'd seriously advise would be to swap the strings for a set of the best you can afford!

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


As far as aesthetics go, this is quite a simple banjo; dot inlay, satin mahogany finsih, which has to be said is very nicely done. No flaws etc. but it's a new banjo, and I'd be remiss to pay money for a banjo that looked like it'd been in a tip for the last five years.

Appearance Rating

6

Reliability


The hardware looks like it should live up to it's name, small brass tone ring means it should see you through your fist jams although you may need something a little louder when you get more serious. Planetry tuners mean tunning is reliable, the body itself is nice and sturdy and should ensure a hardy lifespan.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Baught from a dealer rather than the company. Does come with a waranty for 5 years, by which point you may find yourself wanting to upgrade...

Customer Service

5

Components


Small brass tone ring & sturdy chrome-plated metalwork, 18 brackets and a Straightline tailpiece. Personally planning to upgrade the flange which is a bit modest but all components worthy of the pricetag.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


In all, this is aimed at beiginners and suits the target audience, is a fine first banjo. The setup and components make getting a decent sound out of the instrument easy enough to avoid disgouraging a beginner and is sturdy enough to see you through untill your abillity becomes such that spending a larger amount of money on a banjo seams valid

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone OB-300 DELUXE Model
submitted 5/26/2007

Submitter

Thom Canning (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gold Tone (Titusville)

Year Purchased

9/28/06

Price Paid

2145.00 ($US)

Sound


I bought this banjo new and had wayne install one of his graphite necks w/ hearts and flowers inlay. I believe this is the first OB-300 built by Wayne w/ a graphite neck. This instrument plays beautifully up and down the neck with a loud bright rich tone. For the money, this banjo is as nice as any I've seen or played that costs $5000.00 or more. I'm extremely happy with my choice.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The OB-300 was set up well at the store, however they forgot to install the 5th string spikes. Having a graphite neck, this instrument never needs to be tuned and plays fast and easy. They also put a graphite bridge on and the sound is crisp with great clarity. I'm a tooling engineer and very picky. I wouldn't change a thing. I had the instrument shipped from Fla. to Idaho by UPS, and it arrived on time in perfect condition.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


All of the wood work is first rate, finish and inlay, beautiful. Wayne Rogers called to tell me my Banjo was ready for delivery and said that mine was one of the finest instruments they had produced to date. The inlay was installed perfectly and the finish is flawless.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This OB-300 is built and set up to play for along time under any conditions. Because of the graphite neck my Banjo isn't effected by moisture, or weather changes and stays in tune. I know this sounds crazy but she is a beautiful work horse, with great sound up and down the neck. I have other banjos that aren't being played since the purchase of this one.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer service is great, Wayne and his crew aim to please the most discerning customer and produce an instrument that is first class with a price tag that is less than half that of any thing comparable. My OB-300 has a lifetime warranty. I have been described by others as a perfectionist and quite critical at times of products and services of companies I've dealt with. Wayne Rogers and his crew at GOLDTONE are professionals and provide great customer service.

Customer Service

10

Components


The gold plate on the hardware is heavy bright and polished and the inlay is truly a beautiful work of art. The graphite neck is polished and flawless w/ the hearts and flowers design,radiused and plays fast. Once again this OB-300 is a great value and the price is about half of anything comparable.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


As anyone can tell, I'm more than satisfied with my OB-300, and recommend Wayne Rogers and GOLDTONE all the time. I've owned several nice banjos and other than a mastertone copy built by Frank Ford at GRYPHON Inst. in Palo Alto, Ca. 40 years ago which also has been fitted w/ a graphite neck by Wayne, and my OB-300, are my two favorite banjos. They make beautiful music, play well, are sturdy and require very little maintenance. I LOVE BLUGRASS MUSIC AND FOR ONCE I'M A HAPPY CAMPER!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone CB-100
submitted 5/23/2007

Submitter

teddy111 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjostore (Spain)

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Euro (540) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I play almost down picking, drop-thumb, clawhammer)... loud enough to suit my needs, It sounds rich and full !

Sound Rating

9

Setup


100 % OK ! Thank you the guys of Gold Tone, Florida !

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It's a simple 18 brackets open-back banjo... the peg-head is as simple as can be... only the Gold Tone logo on it... the planetary pegs are standards on this model !
It's a all maple banjo with a rosewood fingerboard... scalloped neck after the 17th fret for easily playing above it !
I like the ''shooting star'' inlay on the fingerboard... !

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


It seems "solid"... compare to the banjos that I've played in the past... they were very cheap ones... but as I've played an old bakelite pot Harmony for more than 20 years and sold it in mint condition to a friend... this Gold Tone will surely resist a long long time !

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


The seller in Spain (Website) seems to be the ''official'' distributor of Weissenborn & Gold Tone in Europe... friendly contact via e-mails with him !
Warranty is the same applied to all Gold Tone products !

Customer Service

9

Components


The pegs are maybe cheap (?) but they hold the tuning right... !
The only upgrade I'll make is the tone ring... switching to a White Laydie one... but there is no urge !

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I recommend it... and not only as a beginner's banjo... every player who couldn't or wouldn't invest in an expensive banjo will find a good "frailer" in this one ! If this banjo was stolen, I'll be disappointed of course... but I surely buy another one !
Compare to the Harmony... impossible ! It's "night & day"... as I'm a guitar player too, I like the broader neck of the Gold Tone !

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 5/11/2007

Submitter

Gus Bloch (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Excellent sound. Great tonal range depending upon where it is strummed. The scooped next helps this.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Was set up OK, but needed some re-tuning which is expected. Action was quite high and bridge measured 3/4" high. This is a plus as it allows the customer to make easy adjustment. Sanding and polishing
the base with fine sand paper mounted on a glass surface to remove about 1/16+ solved this. Polishing the bridge base to 600 grit seems to imrove tone a bit. Neck setup and head tension were perfect.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Nice looking and understated. No manufacturer's name on headstock.
Only the cognosenti will know the brand name which may be a plus for
some. Finish excellent at any price. The flush execution of the truss rod cover is a nice touch.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


My fourth Gold Tone product from Banjo.com. All have been completely reliable and stable once broken in. I expect the same from this one.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


They have always been helpful and friendly. A good friend of mine visited the them last summer and enjoyed their hospitality. 9Call first)
The dealer did a good job as usual.

Customer Service

9

Components


I removed the armrest. Its a nice piece, but I find it unnecessary.
Lugs are good quality. I have had no problems yet with the stock
OEM planetary tuners. The rest is fine and even better considering the price.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


The wide neck and miniscule frets took some getting used to. Probably not a great choice for a beginner or someone who has never played a string instrument. I plan to install Aquilla Nygut strings after break in.
This will likey require some polishing of the tailpiece and such. I'll report on the results at a later date. I already really enjoy this instrument and I'm sure it will be a keeper.

Overall Rating

not rated


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 5/9/2007

Submitter

GW in Ohio (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Clodhoppers Music (Charleston, WVa)

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

650 ($US)

Sound


I didn't like the sound; it was too muted. I tightened up all the head brackets and also tightened up the truss rod and that brightened up the sound quite a bit, but it's still not quite what I want.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


It was set up well, but I don't like the medium gauge strings that came on it. I hope when I change out to Martin light-gauge bluegrass strings I'll finally get the bright sound I'm looking for.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The maple rim is beautiful. It has the cloud design on the fingerboard.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Tough, well-built banjo. Tuners work well.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Haven't dealt with them yet.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Other than the strings, everything is good. The banjo came with factory-installed capo spikes and a pickup for playing with an amp.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I'm giving it a 9 on the assumption that I'll eventually get the bright sound I want from it.

Yes, I'd recommend it for clawhammer playing, but not so much for finger picking and don't even try playing bluegrass with fingerpicks on it.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone "Pat Cloud" Banjola
submitted 5/2/2007

Submitter

Tom-B (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay UK

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

300 (Pounds) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


It is quiet but has sweet tone with a long sustain makes it very good for playing blues or slow melodies. Has a built in pick-up for use with an amplifier if desired.
Difficult to rate the sound against other banjolas as this is the only one I have heard and of course it cannot be compared to a banjo

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Very well set up with a low easy action. It has a built on guitar style bridge.so there is not much additional setting up an owner could do.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very nice looking with MOTS inlays along the side of the fingerboard and body.. Has two strap buttons built on. Came with a solid case.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Gold geared tuners seem sturdy enough. The light weight mandolin style body is obviously pretty fragile so I will be careful where I put it.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


No contact with company so far

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The general appeareance and finish is much better than I expected

Components Rating

not rated

Overall Comments


I'm very pleased with it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an instrument with a different sound. It is quiet for practice but is not really suitable for playing fast rolls etc as the longer sustain tends to knock out your timing.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 4/29/2007

Submitter

Gus Bloch (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

700 ($US)

Sound


Good loud, clean tone. Best for bluegrass.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up was correct, but changed as banjo was broken in.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Nothing special, but attractive. Nice wood figuring on headstock,.Deep, shinny chrome and pretty with a plain resonator.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Hardware very solid. Tuners work well, seems overbuit, but this might be because it weighs thirteen pounds or so. It has never broken a string. After a month of so it buzzed a bit, so I followed the tune up proceedures sent with it from the factory. Been fine ever since.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Called Gold-Tone and talked to Wayne. He was very helpful and informative and willing to spend time talking to a customer.
Lifetime warantee. Doubt if it will ever be needed.
Should go without saying, but John at banjo.com was excellent to deal with as usual.

Customer Service

9

Components


Everything is very functional as is and will probably last a long time. No fret wear noted yet. Tuners still work perfectly. The back of the flange is somewhat crude, but its not visible and at this price point, what else would one expect?

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I am adding my review to the long list of satisfied Gold Tone 250F customers. I bought it because I had excellent sucess with a previosly purchased Plectrum Special 250.
I am selling this banjo today to a good friend for $600. Why? Because
I find that as a singer, I'm more interested in classical and old time styles
and the neck on the 250 is too slim for my fat fingers to double thumb
cleanly. It is perfect for Scruggs style playing. My friend haas been shopping for a new banjo and has played many priced under $1200.
He prefers mine over them all and with a case it will be a bargin.
I would buy another and the Gold Tone BC 350 and WL 250 are both very high on my list.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Banjola
submitted 4/24/2007

Submitter

eagleisland (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Buckdancer's Choice, Portland maine

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


I love the sound of this instrument. It is very soft and very gentle with a lot of sustain. The best word I can give to describe it is "delicate." It's lovely for melodic and Celtic-style stuff. Doesn't handle bluegrass worth a damn, but it's really not intended to. One can certainly PRACTICE bluegrass on it, however. It does NOT sound like a banjo - it sounds like a banjola, and as such is unique. I suspect the sound will become fuller as it ages and gets played.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


There's not a lot of setup you can do with these. Mine developed a nasty third-string buzz within a week of purchase. It required both a truss rod adjustment and some fret dressing to solve this. It is not an expensive instrument, so I suppose some (ahem) lack in quality control should be expected.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


I find the appearance of the instrument quite tasteful; the scrolled peghead is appealing and the inlays are pretty. No exterior finish flaws noted, although inside it's pretty obvious that the bracing didn't see much sandpaper during cutting and assembly.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


See below, components

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Have not dealt directly with Gold Tone. The store where I bought it is staffed with knowledgeable people who give a damn. They addressed the buzz issue graciously and promptly, with no charge.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The hardware is cheap. The tuners are adequate. The tailpiece is almost a joke - stamped metal, and obviously designed as a one-size-fits-all approach to tailpieces for a variety of different inexpensive instruments. Hard to explain unless you see one for yourself. Then again, I think it's adequate for the instrument and what I plan to do with it. The woods used appear to be of very good quality.

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


I purchased this primarily for the sound and the fact that it's very light. I travel a fair amount on business and this will be the instrument I take with me from now on - it weighs a fraction of what a banjo weighs. In its gig bag, it should fit in overhead bins easily - even on the smaller regional jets. I think the instrument offers good value for money, overall. One note: because of the lightness of the pot, these instruments are neck heavy. You WILL need a strap; playing one for the first time you'll be surprised how much energy gets used simply holding up the neck, which is awkward. Strap it and your left hand won't be fighting itself between fingering and support. One more note: if you have family members who are not entranced with the loudness and punch of a banjo (like I do) give one of these serious consideration. The sound of the banjola is appealing to all - bonus points for the fact that you can play it late at night, after everyone else has gone to bed.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Plucky
submitted 4/8/2007

Submitter

kaitlyn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

190 (canadian) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Surprisingly bright and loud, but totally out of tune the farther up the neck you go. Also the pitch changes significantly depending how you hold it. I'm a beginner so I don't know much about it, but I would say the 5th string isn't geared and makes it almost impossible to tune, and the other tuning keys seem to have something wrong with them too (maybe it's the strings, I haven't tried replacing them yet).

Sound Rating

5

Setup


The people at Gold Tone recommended I play around with the position of the bridge to try to improve the tone up the neck but I have yet to do that. Action is good, easy to play.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


Very pretty for a tiny banjo, nice satiny finish, no frills but still a nice banjo.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I don't think I would play this with others around, or try to sing to it as the pitch goes out so often it's a little embarrassing. But it's great for traveling and backpacking as it weighs almost nothing, and it's still fun to play.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


They responded to my email about the pitch problems right away and were very friendly about it. We don't have a Gold Tone dealer in my area so I couldn't comment on that.

Customer Service

9

Components


I would say definitely the 5th string tuner and maybe all the rest of them too need to be looked at, the tailpiece is good and solid, probably change the strings right after you buy it.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I think it's a little overpriced, I don't know if I'd replace it if it was stolen, it depends if I can figure out the tuning and make it sound a little better. But it's a fun thing to have around and it definitely attracts a lot of attention for being so tiny and cute. But it's perfect for backpacking so that alone makes it very attractive. And you can play this thing anywhere, airports, bus stations, in the car. So, more for fun than for serious playing.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Tenor Special TS-250
submitted 4/6/2007

Submitter

Tim2723 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angiesbanjo.com

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$699 ($US)

Sound


I play Irish trad and folk. The banjo as received was a bit too bright for my taste, so I added a Fiberskyn head (standard 11" medium crown) and it settled down to just the right 'plunk'.

Just to clarify, this is the 19 fret flat top, standard flange, resonator model. Not the Irish tenor (open back), archtop (AT), or large flange (250F) models.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


I ordered the TS-250 set up for Irish tuning (GDAE) and with the Gold Tone SMP pickup installed (at extra cost. The banjo was $699 and the total was $820). The set up required a bit of tweaking as recieved, but the action was set as low as possible. Tenor players using standard tuning would probably like it. Personally, I think ALL banjos need a little tweak by the player, but the GT is very easy to work on. I actually had to raise the action slightly for the heavier strings. Nothing unexpected in the design and all the tutorials on this site apply to it. You'll have no trouble fine tuning the set up for yourself.

However, I did ask for it to be set up for GDAE tuning, and all they really did was slap a set of heavier strings on. I expected a little more effort on their part, but there were no real problems with the set up either.

The SMP pickup was installed neatly. As it was no extra charge for installation, I recommend having it done at Gold Tone. You need a really good drill and soldering experience.

Since I expected to change things anyway, the factory set up was fine, so I give it an 8.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


I have not found any finish flaws, but the banjo is pretty Plain Jane. Nice hearts and flowers inlay, plain resonator back, plain brown. It's a good everyday kind of banjo for those who like things simple and clean.

If it didn't say Gold Tone on the headstock, it would look like a four string version of my Epiphone MB-250. Nothing fancy, but well done.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The banjo is a typically well made intermediate priced Korean import. Very similar in fit and finish to my Epiphone MB-250. It's solid, tight, heavily plated. Probably last a good long time with reasonable care.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


This was my only disappointment. Let me first state that the service from angiesbanjo.com was beyond reproach. Angie was right on top of everything and worked her tail off on my behalf. Good thing too. Gold Tone never responded to a single email or phone call from me. They did what I asked (restring, Irish tuning, install pickup), but they did not even attempt to work with me directly, they didn't really fine tune the set up, and they didn't respond to my complaint when all was said and done.

Angie gets a 10

Gold Tone gets a 1 only because that's the lowest number on the thing.

Customer Service

1

Components


The components are very good quality, Korean made parts. There is nothing at all wrong with a good import in my opinion. It's the best way to get a nice banjo at an affordable price. But beware: The Gold Tone site leads you to think these are hand crafted in Florida. They are assembled there from good quality imported components, but this is not an American made instrument.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


For the price I paid ($699 with TLK hardshell case and free shipping) it's a very good buy and I would recommend it highly. It's not worth anywhere near the MSRP of $929. This is basically a good imported banjo assembled by high-priced American labor. If it were imported directly it would probably cost around $400 from any number of Internet dealers (Elderly, etc). If I'd been fully aware of that, I would have haggled a little more. I'll bet I could have gotten another $50-$100 off.

But it is a nice banjo in its price class, and there isn't that much to choose from today in new mid-priced tenors. If it were stolen, I'd probably buy a second one.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 3/24/2007

Submitter

Bob Robert (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

BHO

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

250 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


This banjo sounds good to me, but this is my first (and only) banjo, and there are no others here for me to compare it with (China).

Sound Rating

not rated

Setup


The banjo was damaged in shipping, though I do not believe that was the fault of the previous owner. I put the blame on the shipping company. Two or three of the blocks inside the resonator that the bolt anchors are set in were broken off. I was able to repair the damage.

This banjo has an Elite head on it, and I like the appearance of it very much.

I have not attempted any setup work on it, other than changing the strings.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I like the light wood of this banjo. It is a light maple with black trim on the edges of the resonator. The marker inlays are nice diamond shapes rather than plain dots. I think this adds a lot to the overall looks of the banjo.
Guitar style tuners, but I know that if you buy a new one from Gold Tone, you can opt for planetary tuners.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I haven't had any problems with this banjo. I think it seems as though it is very well built and will last for many years. It also seems to stay in tune really well.

There is a very small amount of corrosion on one bracket.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The warranty is only valid for the first owner. Therefore, I'm on my own for repairs.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I like everything about this banjo - looks, sound, reliability. I really like the fact that it stays in tune, so I don't have to waste a lot of time retuning it. I only get to play for about an hour a day, sometimes not even that long, so the reliability is appreciated greatly.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would HIGHLY recommend this banjo for the price I paid, or even at the new instrument price. I love playing it, and if it were stolen, I'd replace it with one exactly like it (since I still wouldn't be able to afford to upgrade.) I can't remember ever reading a negative review about the CC100-R

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 3/12/2007

Submitter

TONUP (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo Works, Kent

Year Purchased

Feb, 2007

Price Paid

£945.00 (UK Sterling) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Crisp bright sounding, just what I had hoped for

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Andy Perkins at the Banjo Works in Kent has set this banjo up really well, the action is nice and low and the strings can be fretted with the lightest touch. To start off with I found the bridge a bit on the high side, but I'm getting used to it now.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I have the blonde model and everything seems wel finished and put together

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The hardware all seems to be pretty good quality, at the moment I 've no reason to doubt that it will give good service.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


I emailed Gold Tone with my query regarding the bridge hieght and received a response the next day from the company president, Wayne Rogers. That's pretty good service in my opinion. Also Andy Perkins at the Banjo Works in Kent was really helpful and patient when I visited his premises to try and buy the banjo.

Customer Service

9

Components


I've come from a much cheaper banjo so everything feels a lot better. The only thing I would like to add eventually is a set of Scruggs tuners.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I've played it everyday since I bought it and I am very pleased with my purchase so far. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to play it with other instruments yet, but I dont doubt that it will be able come up to the mark without any trouble. It's said that if you are looking for a top line banjo without spending a fortune Gold Tone are the best for under a grand. Seems accurate so far.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 3/10/2007

Submitter

Muddy Roads (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

First Quality Music

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


Real good sound for clawhammer. i put a little pad between the head and coordinator rod because i rings out a bit much with the White Ladye tone ring. Pretty nice tone, i play over the frailing scoop that i made and that gets the best sound for this instrument.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up just fine from FQMS. The action is fine even with the 1/2" bridge. Soon after getting it, i scooped the fretboard above the 17th fret. They should start making them this way. the action is nice and low over the 1st 7 frets. Oh, and i added a "no-knot" tailpiece.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Nice cloud inlays, it's a handsome banjo. The rosewood is a nice color for the fretboard since the banjo is stained dark. The only thing i don't like is the 'fiddle' peghead shape. too fancy and i like a simpler look.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Never had anything go wrong with it. it's built real sturdy. the finish seems thick and won't wear off. I've been going to jams with this one for 3 years and it's nice and strong.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


never tried to contact GT for any reason.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tuners are nice and nothing needs upgrading, i did put a "no-knot" tailpiece on though just personal preference for the sound.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Great banjo for learning clawhammer. better than a "beginning" banjo. this one is good but if you can spend a few hundred more you can get a handmade or custom banjo maybe. Great price for a clawhammer banjo with a WL tone ring. i've played bart reiters with the WL tone ring at the store and can't tell that they sound any different.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone EBM
submitted 3/1/2007

Submitter

donolin (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

musicians friend

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

$724.00 ($US)

Sound


I have only had thie one 29days ALSO MAKE NOTE; FOR $724.14 I GOT THE BANJO W/ SQUARE HARD SHELL GOLDTONE CASE AND FREE SHIPPING

Sound Rating

10

Setup


very well i did nothing . but i had a fender that was so far out it took 3 days to get it set, so this was just wonderfull.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


for the price i paid i realy got a lot of banjo,i rate on this five stars

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


the gold it light but what do you expect for this price.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


it comes with no arm rest i e-mailed the co. see below on how they responded I WANT TO ALSO TELL YOU TOM ANDERSEN from janet davis was very help full in getting these parts he even called goldtone and confermed that, that was what they told me to do. thanks again tom.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


it came with no arm rest i contacted the co. and was advised from the owner himself as to how he attached another brand to his and advised me to do same and asured me if i needed more help get back with him, that just don't happen very often

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


i did find a vega-style gold plated armrest at JDMC #121-114g,and 4 gold screws#223-956g, drilled four small holes in the four lowest corners of this bracket set bracket to same height as it would have mounted and it looks like it came this way. installed 4 spikes at 7,9,10and 12 and it looks and plays great

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Irish Tenor IT250F
submitted 2/21/2007

Submitter

BDCA (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Clodhoppers

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


This is a newly released banjo which is unlike the IT250 open back. This has a resonator, and is based on a their Tenor AT with zinc flange and archtop bell brass resonator.

This baby kicks and will cut through a session without hammering the strings. I use a very light plectrum and I can still be heard.

The sound is loud but with full tone and just enough sustain, even on the heavy (.42) G.

I am replacing a 1927 Bella Voce and it souns like an instument worth many times the price.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The set up was a hair higher than I liked but was easily reset using the compensator rods. I didn't like the bridge, which was extra wide, and replaced it with a standard tenor bridge,

The tuners were surprisingly good for a Gold Tone. Either a good batch, or better quality than in the past. I replaced them with a set of Stew Macs, but could just as easily kept them on.

Setup Rating

7

Appearance


The finish is excellent. The 17 fret neck has a hearts and flowers inlay and the maple on the resonator is absolutely beautiful. The arm rest is engraved as well.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All components appear to be top quality, even the tuners. The tail piece is a solid brass Waverly style and should last forever. All in all a solid piece of work

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Unfortunately, the banjo appears to have suffered some shipping damage, and the fingerboard seperated from the neck during my first gig (in California). I was heading for Florida the following day and returned the banjo to the Gold Tone facility in Titusville. They were the nicest folks and the banjo with a replacement neck is on the way to me.

I have also received excellent customer service for a used Irish Tenor I purchased locally.

The also pointed out Kevin's Seafood, up the road which has OUTSTANDING food.

Customer Service

10

Components


Gold Tone tuners are notorious but these were as good as the Stew Macs. I replaced the tailpiece with a Waverly and the tuners, because I had them. The only funkyzeit was the bridge, which is no big deal. A new tenor bridge and I was good to go.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


After playing a banjo that is worth 10-15 times the value of this banjo, it is amazing that Gold Tone can import and configure an instrument of this quality for less than $2000. The have significantly upgraded the tailpiece and apparantly the tuners.

The beauty of this banjo is that it sounds and plays great, is not expensive and can be replaced if the airlines turn it into spare parts, unlike my other banjos (Gibson Bella Voce and Cliffored Essex Paragon).

I am still getting used to it and will probably be able to coax even more tone out of it once I have time to experiment with strings, heads and bridges.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 2/16/2007

Submitter

MossPiglet (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Zepp Music

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

700 or so historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Sounds great ... 12 inch pot gives sublime tone for clawhammer and gets loud too, you can be heard in jams or stringband. Its loud and plunky with nice overtones, its got a rich bass, sounds so nice in double C with that low C (for stagework I usually keep it in this tuning, and have another banjo for my G stuff) , yet its still got a treble cut to it also, thanks to the simple rolled brass tonering .... it really has quite a full spectrum sound. I always get complements on its tone ... I also have a heavy artificial nail kept up by the local nail salon, which really helps the clawhammer tone on any banjo.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Only thing I changed was to a heavy moon bridge ... I tried moon medium also, but just love the deep sound on the low strings with the heavy. I did order it with the matching resonator, however the resonator is a junk tray in my studio now ... I never use it. It sounds fuller and more resonant without it. I use ghs medium gauge phosphor bronze string sets, the phos bronze helps the bass sound rich.

It has one of the widest necks for a banjo that Ive seen, which has advantages and disadvantages ... Ive come to love it that way tho, lots of room to articulate complex melodic stuff ... however it can be long reaches sometimes too. The frets are very small, which also has good and bad points ... you have to have good technique to get bar chords to ring clean, however you can do real nice slide stuff so it almost sounds like a fretless. These are some unusual features, no doubt specified by Bob Carlin ... they really give the banjo a unique character.

I find no problem with the stock armrest that other reviewers have had problems with ... I just raised mine a hair to keep my arm up off that ringin Ren head.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


It has a simple understated look, perfect as I dont need or want flashy stuff. The neck is huge so it looks a bit funny there sometimes, but its a 12 inch pot too, so I guess its balanced. Some people have complained about the heavy gloss finish ... I dont have a problem with that esp since I live in minnesota and thicker finishes standup better to our huge weather and humidity changes .

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Ive had it about a year and no problems ... and Ive played it alot cause I really dig the tone.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Havent dealt direct with goldtone ... ordering from Zepp was aok of course. Emailed Bob Carlin himself with a few questions before I bought it and he replied right away.

Customer Service

8

Components


Its not perfect ... a small file mark on the neck ... a dark spot in the maple on the neck. Im sure at this price that some of the components are not the greatest, however Ive had no problems and it gave me a great clawhammer tone and playability at a price I can afford. I appreciate that they are making affordable banjos that are really designed to get the best out of what you can have at a reasonable pricepoint.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


Theres some other banjos I dream of owning but cant afford, so I really like this carlin model ... its got some unique features that give it character and its got sweet tone. I recommend it ... Ive played other brands close in price, ... Reiter, Ramseys ... I came away very glad I purchased the bc-350. None of them ring like this big 12 incher.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Elite Classic
submitted 2/11/2007

Submitter

steveforse (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angie's Banjos

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

871 ($US)

Sound


This was a very mellow banjo. I never liked the sound of it when I picked it Scruggs style, but I always loved the sound of it when I frailed it.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Wayne sets them up in his shop in Florida before they go out. The action was good. I tried a Desert Rose Z Elite bridge on it, but it still played mellow. I liked how the head was low on the pot. It was a pleasure to play.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This is a very pretty banjo. The pearl vine with the abalone flowers is very beautiful. I get a lot of positive responses from people who see this banjo. It is a little busy, but I guess that's the tradeoff. No dots on the fretboard, which is a mixed blessing since it forces you to use the side dots or just get a feel for where the frets are.

The skin head had an orangish tint to it, as though someone had smeared some good clay into about have of it. You don't really see that in the pictures that they show (it always looks whitish) and a lot of people thought my banjo was just dirty. I guess that's a negative if you're trying to impress people, though personally, I liked it. The spun-brass rim was a little tarnished when I got it, but I'm not doing anything to it. It looks good with the skin head.

The ebony wood on the fretboard is a very dark brown. Not black. Not brown like rosewood either. Very deep brown. It blends very nicely with the rest of the color of the neck, which I think is a dark brown stained maple. Overall, the neck looked great to me. I admire it sometimes.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


I had this banjo for over two years and I never had any issues with it.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


When this one was stolen, Gold Tone was extremely helpful in helping me look up my registration info to get the serial number. I love this company.

Customer Service

10

Components


There were little marks around the frets where it looked like they were going to install them, but then changed their mind. That used to bug me. Also, there was obvious filler on the fretboard for the tree of life, but you had to really pay attention.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


This was my first real banjo. In retrospect, the spun-rim design is not really a great first banjo. Their Whyte Laydie would probably be a better choice. Mine was stolen in 2009 and I was very sad. But for the price I originally paid, I thought it better to purchase an original SS Stewart banjo to replace it for just a few hundred more.

Overall, it's a great sounding banjo with great looks.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 1/19/2007

Submitter

Vincent52 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo Hangout Classifieds

Year Purchased

2007

Price Paid

249 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


For the money, I think the CC-100R sounds great. I had borrowed a Fender FB-54 to begin learning. The Gold Tone is far superior once I set it up properly. I originally replaced the strings with d'addario J60 lights. The sound was pretty average to weak. Switched to GHS Sonny Osborne medium light PF175. That switch really gave this thing a great sound. All the pop, ring & volume a bluegrasser could ask for!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


No. It was used and was in good, but not great condition. The action was too high to suit me. Strings were old & corroded. Fingerboard/frets needed clean & polish. Setup was pretty simple when following instructions found on web and in particular on Gold Tone site. I did play a new CC-100R in a local shop before making this purchase. It was set up very well, except the action being slightly higher than I like.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


Natural finish is mostly plain maple with slight amount of birdseye on resonator. Chrome hardware. Nice bound rosewood fingerboard. Curly maple headstock veneer. Not real bluegrass looking. However, I think it is attractive. (But then I always have preferred blondes!)

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


No dealings with Gold Tone other than reseaching on their site.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


All wood components seem to be well made and sound. I would expect that the tuners may not last a lifetime. They are kind of cheap. Everything else seems pretty good considering the low cost.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would absolutely recommend this to others looking for a good quality beginner instrument. I plan to move up trough the Gold Tone line once I gain sufficient playing ability. I think they made about the best banjo that i have seen compared to the cost. I've really got my eye on the new OB-250. Sweet!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 1/13/2007

Submitter

pmcnamara (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Accoustic Expressions, San Diego, CA

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

700 ($US)

Sound


Good rich sound,and loud enough for my liking

Sound Rating

7

Setup


It was set up, but I changed the action a bit; typeical Gibson 2 Tension bar set up.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


Good, plain looking banjo. No flaws.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Hardware, finish are good. I would use this as my main with out a back up

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I have never had to deal with them

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I didn't like the tail piece, I replaced it with a Kershner; I also replaced the the Head tuners with 5-Star tuners, the factory ones were of poor quaility. $80 of tuners from Steward McDonald solved the problem; also the bridge was junk, I replaced that with a Stew Mac Grover.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


I would recommend it for an intermediate player or for a practice banjo. If it was stolen, I wouldn't be too upset as it is my practice banjo.

Overall, for the money, a good instrument

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 12/15/2006

Submitter

Westelk (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

playbetterbluegrass.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

750 ($US)

Sound


The 12 inch pot provides great bottom-end--the perfect balance between highs and lows for clawhammer. I did not need to do anything to make it sound good.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup was fine, but as always I switched to a higher bridge.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Plain and well done. The finish is too thick and glossy for me.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Well made with good components.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I have not contacted Gold Tone.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


This banjo has a marvelous wide neck, and the 12 inch pot really makes for a full sound. If you play clawhammer and you do not have a 12 inch pot banjo, you should get a BC-350. The "hound-dog" armrest is uncomfortable. I replaced it with a single-leg armrest.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I enthusiastically recommend this banjo. If I could own just one banjo, this would be it. Although it is more comfortable to nestle an 11 inch pot in my lap, the 12 inch pot definitely has the sound advantage.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone "Pat Cloud" Banjola
submitted 11/18/2006

Submitter

travis_towle (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

1,000.00 ($US)

Sound


GREAT light sound - but you will need to amp it if you want to play with others. - comes with the pickup for the amp - sounds great with a roland micro cube.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Nice - no problems with the set up.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


When it came in the face finish had a 2-3 inch long crack in it that was only in the finish "like a nitrocellulose lacquer crack". When I called the tec at JDMC they said it was nitrocellulose lacquer and said to buy some and spot repair and buff. NOPE... Not a nitrocellulose lacquer finish.

I called Gold Tone and they said it was a finish like super glue and said to ship it to them for repair, so I did. Today it came back to me and the crack is still there!!! They "tried" to fix it but damn, I have a grand in this new Banjola and it is cracked!!! GRRRRRRRRR You can see the crack and now where they buffed it is dimpled from the buffing wheel, not to mention they also scratched the back of it now while fixing it!!!

The new one they sent me is GREAT = but again has a finish flaw in the front - for the money I would expect perfict!

Appearance Rating

4

Reliability


Great - no problems - but hard to keep in tune and kinda hard to get in tune - but can be done - just takes a little longer. Still a 10.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Great - they worked with me on the first one, no problem - just hate to WAIT for my toys!

Customer Service

10

Components


Great - no problems.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


The quality of the Pat Cloud Banjola was GREAT - it looks nice, it plays nice - only problem was the crack from someone slaming it down in the case with the packing around it when they shipped it to me. That caused the finish to crack on the top face of it, right where people look when you are playing it!!!

Janet Davis Music company worked with me on the Banjola and replaced the Banjola. The new one is GREAT and plays GREAT too!

It is GREAT to have another instrument and sound to play with out having to learn new cords and keys - totaly new sound - would buy one again.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 11/8/2006

Submitter

krismcclintick (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Pick and Slide Music

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

400 ($US)

Sound


The sound is wonderful for Scruggs style playing. It has a loud crisp sound while maintaining a nice bas sound as well. I am still playing around with what brige to use but the banjo sounds good with them all.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


the banjo was set up at the factory and was done pretty good. I had to lower the action some to my liking. but all in all the setup was good.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The banjo has a wonderful dark stain along the neck and pot and a dark sunburst on the resonator. It has snowflake inlay which looks nice and un assuming.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The parts seem quality and the banjo is heavy nd should last a long while.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer service was fantastic.

Customer Service

10

Components


Tuners seem to stay in tune and the tailpiece is very durable.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would highly recommend this banjo. It sounds great and should last through years of jamming.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Kits
submitted 10/30/2006

Submitter

daddybland (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Online

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Once assembled the OB-250 kit sounded great. I have not finished the MC open back yet

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The parts are good quality for the $$$. Fit was exellent.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Parts look Great

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


N/A

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


Wayne is a great guy to deal with. He answersd my emails and phone calls promptly and made the subs to the open back kit with no problem.

Customer Service

10

Components


I have upgraded a lot on the OB-250 kit mostly for apearance preferance. GT's parts are very good for the money but there is definatelt better stuff out there.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I had a blast building my OB-250 and it plays and sounds great. The MC-150 kit has been fun so far and I am sure will sound great when I finish it.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 10/22/2006

Submitter

swright (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Used from a Banjohangout member

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

$420 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


It is absolutely beautiful. I like to play both bluegrass and more melodic/classical stuff, and it hits both ranges really well. The bigger resonator really comes through on the low notes and it sounds just as good up the neck. It is insanely loud. People 4 doors down the hall in my dorm were coming to see what was making so much noise.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Mine was setup by the guy who owned it previously. He put on a new set of light gauge strings and the action is perfect. The strings are barely above the neck, but not so much that they buzz. Playing this thing with light guage strings feels like you're just playing on a neck with no strings. It's completely effortless.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I really like the looks of it, it's nothing super fancy, but for the money it looks really good. The neck on mine even has a little bit of curl in the wood. The inlays are fairly basic but they're a step up from dots or squares. There werea few finish blemishes near the headstock, but this is a used instrument.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


The hardware seems sturdy. It doesn't have the cheap, flimsey guitar-style tuners you often get with this price range. There is a little bit of looseness in them, but just barely. The geared 5-th string works really nicely. The finish seems good and it still looks good despite this one being 2-3 years old. I have complete confidence in the quality of this instrument. It is really solid and just looks, sounds and feels great.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Customer Service

not rated

Components


I've only been playing for a little over a year, so I don't really know enough to tell with any great detail. Nothing jumped out at me as being poor quality. It is very much playable the way it is. As soon as I got home with it, I sat down and played for 2 hours non-stop, and it left nothing to be desired for me. I know there are an endless number of banjos that have nicer features here and there, but for the money, you can't beat it. I played his Recording King, and I much preferred the Gold Tone.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I can't even begin to put into words how much I love this banjo. I would recommend to anyone for twice what I paid for it. If it were stolen, I would be devastated because I'm too broke to buy another one. :) (that's college for ya....) I just love this thing. It is so easy to play and sounds so nice that for someone relatively new like me, the increase in sound quality and playability boosts your confidence and enhances your playing. I have no regrets about buying it (or driving 5 hours to pick it up :) ) I played a few Morgan-Monroes and Fenders that were in the $1000 range, and I like the sound of the Gold Tone much better. I also played the Goodtime 2, and it's a decent banjo, but for just a little more you can get a new Gold Tone, or get a used one for about the same price and the two don't even compare. If you're looking for a banjo in the $500-600 range, I don't think you can beat this banjo. If you're looking for something lower than that, save your money and get the Gold Tone, you won't regret it.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-Mini
submitted 10/12/2006

Submitter

N8116B (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

274 ($US)

Sound


The sound is really very nice. Plucky yet clear. The banjo is tuned for C, a 4th higher than G and that give it a little bit of a different quality when you play. But I found that even with the smaller, 8", head there was adequate resonation.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Banjo was set up and tuned just a few days prior to my purchase. The Elderly guys always do a good job. I have made no changes at all and have been very happy with the stock version.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It looks like an old time banjo. The guitar tunars give it a little bit of a cheaper look as does the GoldTone logo on the peg head. But it is an inexpensive banjo. The wood is blonde but the fretboard is rosewood with nice inlays.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Even though this is an inexpensive model it looks like it was built to last. Strong where it needs to be and they did not scrimp on craftmanship.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Excellent service, they included an extra set of strings and helped with locating the correct gig bag. They did not have the bag in stock but gave me the part number to help me find it elsewhere.

Customer Service

10

Components


Good bridge, fretboard is excellent. The tone ring looks a little weak but then this is only on an 8" head and may not need to be as strong as the ones on full size banjos.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


This is a great 2nd banjo or travel banjo. For kids it is just the right size. But even with my fat fingers I was able to play it without hitting wrong strings.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 9/21/2006

Submitter

BigSal (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Brills Music and Barber Shop

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


My first banjo so it sounds great to me. The volume has done well playing with others and gives a good brightness. After tightening the head after initial setup she really began to pop. Have no complaints but have nothing to campare to since it is the only one I have ever played.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Dalton Brill of the shop I bought it from set it up fine and have no complaints. I did recently tighten the head some and really love the sound now.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I nice looking no frills banjo. A nice looking blonde maple with a flat satin finish. The neck has a simple snowflake pattern for the inlays. I wish it was a little bit flashier. Over all a good looking banjo. I showed a picture of it to a coworker and she said it was very nice looking. "Traditional" is the word she used and liked it more than the fancier looking banjos. The tuners are the only thing I would change. The ends are big and goofy looking.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


No problems other than the tuners. I got the planetaries. When tuning they are unresponsive until a certain point and then they over or under tune, depending on which way you are going. can be quite frustrating because it is difficult to fine tune. Besides this the banjo has been rock solid for 4 months now.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


Have not had to use.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Tuners I think are awful in looks and function. The bridge looks cheap but don't know enough about thiem to tell if it really is or not.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I think for playability and learning on this is an awsome insturment. Except for the couple of negatives mentioed I would not get any other brand at this price point. I love my CC-100R and will be picking on it until it is time to step up in the big leagues. This banjo will be with me a long time to come and will probably be my daughter's started here in a couple of years. If you are looking into one of these and you are a beginner don't hesitate and get this one.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Maple Mountain MM-150
submitted 9/18/2006

Submitter

lucas73b (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Palm Guitars

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

795 (euro) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The banjo comes with a WL tonering and fiberskin head. The sound is bright and melodious throughout the whole range up and down the neck. Perfect for that clean, crisp roll. Not loud enough for disturbing my neighbours when practising. I use it for frailing and other old-time styles.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo was set up reasonably well, but needed a bit finetuning: The action was set very low. I raised it a little, the coordinator rods make adjustment easy; I also slackening the head tension a bit thereby deepening the sound. Points of concern were that he heel cut leaves only little room for tightening the head (not a problem yet), also I had to remedy a buzz the 3rd and 4th strings had on the 1st fret.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


The banjo looks pretty: very simple, not very fancy inlays, just as I like it. The finishing is flawless, the neck feels smooth.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The banjo looks solid and reliable, after 2 years of playing no wear off of finishing, not much fret wear. The tuners look fragile and have a bit of free motion, but they do the job.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Have not dealt with them.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


The tonering has an irregularity which just looks a bit slopppy but does not seem to affect the sound. Otherwise all components are fine.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I love the sound of this banjo and I like its simple, basic looks. If I were to replace it I would choose something similar, but not necessarily the same.

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 9/12/2006

Submitter

vrteach (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Music Folk, St Louis

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

622 ($US)

Sound


I play CH & a little 2-finger picking (no picks). It has a loud, fairly bright tone. Mine came with a renaissance head, and I have replaced the original tailpiece with a kircherner, and also have a small piece of masking tape on the back side of the head just under the bridge. These have tamed the sound a little (the 5th and 1st strings were sometimes loud enough to hurt my ears). These changes were not really necessary as it sounded great as it was in the store, but I like it even better now.

It can be played softly, and can be heard just fine with two fiddlers, three guitars, and a mandolin all playing at full volume.

2008 note: I've been holding it a bit differently lately (on the thigh) and I'm getting a warmer bass than before.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It was set up perfectly. Only changes I've done in the 8 months I've owned it are those mentioned above and replacing the strings. The tailpiece change was effortless.

2008 note: I've had to tighten the Ren head a couple of times.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I like it. No flaws or problems.

2008 note: no change.

2011 note: no change

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The finish is quite thick and sturdy feeling. It in general feels very solid.

2008 note: Still in good repair. It is my standard banjo if I'm only bringing one.

2011 note: no change.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I have not had any dealings. This banjo is warrantied for workmanship for an unlimited time.

2008 note: Still no repairs needed.

2011 note: still no repairs.

Customer Service

9

Components


I don't think anything needed to be changed, not even the tail piece which I did.

2008 note: Since then I have replaced the Kirchner with another no-knot. I'm happier with the no-knot, but I had moved the original one to another banjo.

2011 note: for some reason I now use a small pair of socks stuffed in it. Not sure why I changed my mind.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo to anyone who likes the white laydie sound. On the day that I bought it I played 10-15 other very fine open back banjos, and in many ways it was the least "old-time" sounding, but in my hands, to my ears, it really is what a banjo should be. I've been playing for 30 years and can honestly say that I haven't played a better (for me) banjo, although there was a 1915 Bacon with an internal resonator that sticks in my memory. If you are looking for a plunky sound, this banjo will not suit you as well.

2008 note: I'm still completely satisfied with this instrument.

2011 note: I'm still completely satisfied with this instrument.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Maple Mountain MM-150
submitted 8/30/2006

Submitter

jamie_t123 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

FQMS

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

591 ($US)

Sound


I really was quite taken back by the tone. I sit and play for hours. The tone, while very different from my bluegrass banjo, is very haunting and pleasant

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Outstanding set up

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I think that the wood grain and finish is very lovely...not the fanciest Banjo in the world, but it is a mountain open back, so I really prefer that it is'nt.

Appearance Rating

not rated

Reliability


So far so good, I can't see anything that would lead me to believe that there would be a problem

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Got a nice thank you note from the owner after I e-mailed in the warranty information.

Customer Service

10

Components


Don't see any areas of concern, all seems nice, esp. for the price paid.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Yes, I would recommend. If stolen I would consider the same model, but might try a BC-350. I do love it, I think of it when I'm away from it. My favorite feature is the simple, but very pretty look of the instrument. Very happy with it.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250+
submitted 8/30/2006

Submitter

jackbarb (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

06

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Bright and Loud.Sings like a bird.I'm a Scruggs style picker.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Beautiful set-up.I'm a lefty

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


No flaws,she's a throughbred race horse.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I would use it anywhere any time.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I havn't needed service.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


No cheap parts.I believe I'll leave her the way she is for now.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would buy another in a heart beat.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250G
submitted 8/19/2006

Submitter

nateway (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

From Member of BHO

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

775 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


To me it sounds as good as some of the higher priced Banjos. Has a great clean sound. Can be adjusted to have a brighter sound if thats what you want, but I like the deeper sound myself. I love the sound and wouldn't change a thing.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was top notch when I got it. The member I bought it from had taken great care of it and had it set up like a dream.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Dang good looking Banjo!!! I have gotten many compliments about how nice the banjo looks!

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I haven't had any problems with any of the hardware on it. I did have a bone peg made for the 5th string.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Didn't deal with a company but he member was top notch and even met me for pickup. Couldn't find a better person to deal with.

Customer Service

10

Components


I love everything on the Banjo. I had my instructor look over the banjo, he has been playing for 24+ years, and he said he wouldn't change a thing. I love the way this banjo looks and sounds. The wood and gold go together great. The only thing I can see me changing is maybe trying another bridge, but just to see what another bridge would do to the sound. It would only be for a learning experience, not for a need.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Great all around banjo. If you are looking for a banjo I would say the OB250G would be a great decision. It is a banjo that will be good for a long time, and even if I do decide to upgrade it will still be a great back up banjo. Of course the Stellings are nicer, but cost much more also. If you are looking for the bang for your buck, and cant afford to be in the Stelling price range, then you cant go wrong with this Banjo. I love it!!!!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone N/A
submitted 8/9/2006

Submitter

michaeljameskyler (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Guitar Tex

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

$200ish ($US)

Sound


First off, I looked on Gold Tone`s website and couldn`t find anything that looked like my model. It`s an open back and obviously one of their cheaper models. It sounds very mellow. Not loud at all. Buzzed from the beginning on the middle open G string. I started itchin` for another banjo after only 3 mounths of playing it.

Sound Rating

2

Setup


The fifth string wasn`t geared, and was almost impossible to tune. Like I said, it buzzed a whole lot.

Setup Rating

3

Appearance


Their were no flaws on it, but it was way too simple. Just plain dots on the fret board and a very basic peg head.

Appearance Rating

2

Reliability


Well, the good thing about this banjo is that as soon as you buy it, it can`t get any worse.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I just bought it from a small store. No complaints.

Customer Service

10

Components


(see setup) Besides those, there isn`t anything else.

Components Rating

4

Overall Comments


For a beginner banjo, it`s okay. But if you want a great beginner banjo, read my review for the Iida Aluminum Classic.

Overall Rating

2


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 6/24/2006

Submitter

boFNjackson (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Woodwind/Brasswind

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

373.50 ($US)

Sound


I've only been playing banjo for about a year and this is my second banjo, so I don't know the best about the tonality of good banjos. Tone sounds nice and crisp, since I'm still a bit of noob when it comes to banjos, I don't know all the ways of customizing one to get different tones, but Gold Tone supplied a nice sheet that explains in detail the best ways to adjust parts and how they effect the banjo.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


It was almost practically in tuned out of the box. I had to make a slight bridge adjustment and and I lowered the tailpiece a touch. I'd like to adjust the twin coordinating rods to lower the action a little as well.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


It's Great! Clean, and simple. I play recreational so I don't need anything too flashy. The maple finish is real nice. The planetary tuners look nice too.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


The hardware is great. I've only had it for about a week but I plan on treating this banjo just right so it can last and last.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


haven't delt with any yet

Customer Service

not rated

Components


parts seem real solid. gear 5th string is a luxury for me (since my last banjo is the cheapest of the cheapest), and I enjoy the planetary tuners a lot as well. Wood seems top notch all the other parts are real secure. I love how the resonator easily pops off after just unscrewing four screws.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I highly recommend this banjo for anyone who wants a great deal and a great banjo. it retails for $519 but WWBW is selling it for $373.50 with free shipping, which is the best deal I can find for this model brand new. If I had known I would've gotten into playing the banjo this much I would have gone for the goal and purchased this for my first banjo, insted of $129 Kay Santa Rosa off of eBay.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone EBM
submitted 6/8/2006

Submitter

Johnnie (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

TRE'45, Norway

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

6990 (NOK) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I'm playing in a countryband were I use the banjo on a handful of songs. I have a Gold Tone OB-250 that I have used with a condenser microphone, and have had some feedback/monitor problems playing with a loud band.
When I saw this electric banjo I thought it looked good, and convinient to bring along to gigs.

The banjo has a singlecoil telecaster neck pickup and the Gold Tone SMP humbucker pickup under the head. The banjo have two volume knobs and one toneknob. The DI sound straight in the board is kind of weak and bassy. You have to boost it and tweak the EQ a bit to make it sound like a banjo. The toneknob on the banjo is only a treble roll off and my opinion is that it has no practical use.

The humbucker does actually sound very good when the EQ is tweaked. The middle and neck position has a more electric banjo sound and has a bit more gain too. I haven't tried it though my Fender cranking out Smoke On The Water yet though :-)

The acoustic sound is thin with not much bottom or warm midrange, but is quite loud enough for practising together with a couple of guitars in the living room.

For my use in a band situation this banjo is perfect soundwise. The lack of a natural banjo sound is so minimal in such a setting that it does the job perfect. For an entirely acoustic bluegrass session, or for recording I'll use the real deal.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The banjo was setup perfect for me.
I've added one spike for the 5th string since we play a lot of songs i A.
The scale is 27-3/8" and is longer than my other banjo. It feels a bit strange at first but it's easy to adapt to.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The big visual difference from the Gold Tone EBT is that the EBT looks like telecaster and this EBM looks like a big mandolin with a small banjo "head".
The metalparts are gold, but the gold finish is not of a very high quality.
The rest of the finish was blemishfree and looked good.

I 've got lot of comments from people that it looks good. It's an unusual instrument and noone has never seen one before, so it's fun to carry along to gigs.

It's a Korean made banjo, and they're good at making instruments looks good, but it's of course not a top of the line instrument. I'll call it a nice workhorse.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


The gold finish of the hardware will wear of soon, but the rest of the finish is OK.
The pickups and knobs and output jack seems all right.
The tuners feels smooth.
I'll use it on a gig with no backup with no problem.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


No experience

Customer Service

not rated

Components


This banjo should have had an integrated preamp and an active toneknob. But you can get the sound tweaking the EQ on the mixing board or use a graphic equalizer like one of the BOSS guitar pedals.

The rest of the banjo reminds me of a telecaster, plug in and play it.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


For me this banjo is perfect, but it's best in an electric band.
It doesn't have the real banjo look, but that can be both good and bad.
For me it's a gigging tool and if it breaks I can get me an identical electric banjo without trouble.

It's not the best banjo in the world but a fun little instrument made for a certain use, It's not for everybody, but have you considered an electric banjo, try to find one and try it out.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 5/16/2006

Submitter

Two-tones (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

650.00 ($US)

Sound


This was the first banjo I ever purchased and I really didn't know anything about banjos at the time, except for the reviews I read. Now I own 3 banjos and I absolutely love this banjo. It is by far my favorite to play, my favorite to look at and the best sounding. If you want to play clawhammer, old-time, frailing, this banjo will make you smile in delight. I've had more than one banjo teacher be surprised at what a wonderful sound this banjo has.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


This was set up wonderfully by Barry and John at Banjo.com. I haven't made any changes at all to this banjo and I really don't think it needs any. However just for curiosity sake, I might try a new head on it one of these days.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Cosmetically this is an absolutely beautiful banjo !!! I'm a huge fan of dark wood to begin with and the high gloss mohogany finish on the maple body and neck gives it a real nice classy look. The cloud inlay on the figerboard was done nicely and looks good as well. The white binding around the rim and up the sides of the fret board also gives a really nice touch. I never grow tired of looking at this banjo, much less playing it.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


All the hardware on this banjo seems to be good quality hardware. So far I've had no issues at all with anything on this banjo.
If I played in gigs, this would be my first choice and I would wear it strapped around my neck proudly. I have no doubt that it would sound and perform like a banjo of more than twice the price in a gig environment.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


The people at Banjo.com are great. I've bought 2 banjos from there so far and both times it's been a pleasure to do business with them. They are very helpful and very knowledgable. I would wouldn't hesitate to give them my business for any banjo need.

Customer Service

10

Components


As stated above, there is nothing this banjo lacks, except someone to play it.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this wholeheartedly, especially for the price.
If this banjo was stolen I would have hunt down the SOB and open up serious can of whoop-a_ _ . Without a doubt !!! However, if they couldn't be hunted down I would buy another one in a heartbeat without question.
I spent hours looking for and reading reviews on banjos when I was first in the market to purchase one, and I guarentee you will not find a bad review on this banjo anywhere. Not only will you not find a bad review it's rare when you find someone willing to sell a used one. There is a reason for that...

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100 OB
submitted 5/16/2006

Submitter

Two-tones (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

300.00 ($US)

Sound


I'm fairly new to playing the banjo, so this review certainly isn't coming from a seasoned veteran. However, in my opinion this is an excellent beginner/camping/practice/take anywhere banjo. It has a good "old-time" sound which is also fairly bright.
I also own a Gold Tone White Layde which is obvioulsly a better quality and better sounding banjo, so in comparaison I was a little disappointed at first, but what can you expect. However, after playing it I have to admit, I pick up the CC-100 more often than the White Layde for praticing because the CC-100 weighs significanly less. But don't get me wrong, if I HAD to choose between them, I'de take the White Layde everytime. Also I should note, I tested the Deering Goodtime at a local music store, and as much as I would have liked to buy a strictly American made instrument, I'm glad I went with the Gold Tone, I was not impressed at all by the Deering Goodtime. The CC-100 just looks, feels and plays like a better banjo.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


I ordered this with the optional planetary tuners, which I personally like the look of more than the standard guitar style tuners. (another reason I don't like the Goodtime). The set-up was done well by the guys at Banjo.com. It has a nice low action and light strings which make playing as a beginner much easier.
The only problem was in shipping, the truss rod somehow became dislodged and was pushing up on the truss rod cover. Not Banjo.com's fault though. Other than having planetary tuners installed and putting the truss rod back in place (after calling Banjo.com about it) I haven't changed a thing.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I like dark woods personally, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the appearence of this banjo. The maple neck and rim are of good quality and I have no complaints at all.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The hardware seems well suited for a $300.00 banjo. The hooks seem to look a tad fragile, but so far I haven't experienced any problems.
I love the finish on this banjo, I don't know what they use, but the neck is quick and is as smooth as a baby's bottom. I've never played at a gig before so I can't comment on that, but if I was ever at a jam session, I wouldn't be embarrassed or worried about using it with or without a backup.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


The guys (and girl) at Banjo.com are EXCELLENT to deal with. Very helpful, very friendly and a pleasure to do business with. They would take the time to answer any questions you have. I've bought both my banjo's there and would do it again in a heartbeat. John and Barry are first class.

Customer Service

10

Components


As I stated above the only thing that "looks" fragile are the hooks. Other than that it seems like a well built instrument that would stand the test of time. I originally bought this as a camping banjo, but I like it so much I wouldn't want to risk anything bad happening to it, so I bought a kit banjo and use that for camping instead.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo all day long for anyone wishing to buy a low cost beginner banjo. In my opinion it's the best banjo out there in this price range. It doesn't compare to my White Layde, but it's still a decent sounding banjo for the price.
If this banjo was stolen I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Banjitar GT-500
submitted 5/10/2006

Submitter

String Jockey (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Heritage Music in Akron, OH

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

N/A ($US)

Sound


Nice and bright..Loud...Has a pickup but it's a little weak...I will try and adjust for more volume...however, this is a loud banjo acoustically. This is a 6 string so the low strings do get a little muddy...but that's just the nature of the beast. It fits my needs very well.

Sound Rating

5

Setup


The setup was fine from the Gold Tone office in Florida. The frets were sharp and I had to take it to a local shop to have them filed down. It feels great now but it should have come to me that way. Action is good. I will probably change the head possibly to a Deering Black Diamond. I want to keep the bright tone....Oh Yea.....one of the nuts on the bottom coordinator rods was completely loose...actually rattled...it was a quick fix....oops, that one got by inspector #207. (smile)

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


The appearance is all subjective. This has no fancy hardware and the snowflake inlays on the neck are nice...but some filler might have been used. IT IS THE BACK OF THE RESONATOR THAT I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH. The grain of the wood and the finish was very nice. However, on this Gold Tone GT500 there are two very noticable spots on the back which show knot holes in the wood. And, on the inside of the resonator there is a small knot hole but it's so deep you can feel it with your finger. MORE ON THIS LATER ! ! !

Appearance Rating

5

Reliability


Gold Tone Hardware seems fine. I would have liked better tuners. I had a Dean entry level before this one and it had Grovers....VERY NICE ! And, this should have come with similar.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


Customer Service..... Well....um....er....it's like this. With the problem of the knot holes I wanted to switch out the resonator with one that didn't have flaws. (This retails for aobut $800.00) I mean, it's no Mastertone but come on... $800 is almost 4 tanks of gas...(smile). I addressed this with an email to the President at Gold Tone Company. His first response was: "Thanks for the purchase.. Wood does occasionally have knots in the venneer..However send me a picture of the resonator and Ill check it out and perhaps arrange a replacement..
I sent very clear photos showing the flaws. He sent me a picture showing an "upgrade for $50" resonator. And, said I would have to ship the flawed piece to them first for a "re-fit".
After several messages, a lady in "Customer Service" emailed me back saying they would switch out the resonator and:
"Shipping a resonator UPS Ground to your zip code will be $11. Please advise us on your intentions."
I was currently using the banjo for a professional show and did not have the luxury of being without it without a backup. I told them to forget it and that I would just keep the blemished piece. I didn't send in the warranty card...thought it might not be worth the $.39 stamp.
Let me say that the lady in customer service was very nice and responsive....just had her customer services hands tied.

Customer Service

3

Components


This Gold Tone GT500 Banjitar seems to be a good semi-pro instrument. I would like to see nicer tuners and fewer knot holes in the wood finish for the money. Check Quality Before You Ship Please.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


Pat Brooks at Heritage Music in Akron could not have been nicer. The cost to me was 40% off the list price and included a hard shell case. He even had it drop shipped to my house.
There are basically 3 usable "new" 6-sting banjos on the market....
Dean, Gold Tone, and Deering. I believe Deering to be the best choice but with the money issue (see cost of gasoline reference above), the Gold Tone was my choice. With care, I believe it will be a suitable and workable instrument for me. Of course this is a "niche" instrument and is not for everyone. Being a guitarist and an old dog unwilling to learn new tricks, the 6-string banjo works for me. Your mileage may vary. Have a great day!

Overall Rating

5


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 4/26/2006

Submitter

dayresjr (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

www.angiesbanjo.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

671.00 ($US)

Sound


Great Bluegrass banjo
I think this is the perfect banjo for the novice as well as the experienced banjo player.
This sucker really pops when you play it.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Setup from Goldtone was perfect, bridge placement was right on, string action was great, not to high or to low, I have not had to make any setup changes as of yet, All I had to do is fine tune the strings and start jammin'

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Beautiful,very well made banjo
Has a mahogony neck with a rosewood fretboard and maple rim, very nice gloss finish, no flaws what so ever, very nice snowflake position markers on the fretboard

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Hardware looks rock solid, Finish looks very durable, I think this will be the only banjo I will ever own, The only banjo that could possibly be better is maybe a GoldTone Orange Blossom or a vintage Gibson

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Gold Tone customer support gladly answered all of my questions about this banjo, very helpful, This banjo has a full liftime warranty which is unheard of in this price range.

Customer Service

9

Components


Has a cast bell brass tone ring which no other company makes for this price.
The only thing that I will probably upgrade is the factory tuners,they feel like they have some freeplay in them, otherwise they hold the strings in tune just fine.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would highly reccomend this banjo for any level of player,
If my banjo was stolen I would have a flipin' fit, then I would run right out and buy another one just like it.
As you can tell I really love the look and tone of this banjo, I has great low tones and yet clear crisp highs it really cracks when you play it.
I purchased this instrument from www.angiesbanjo.com She has the best prices that I've found anywhere and shes very knowledable and helpful as well, I would definetly buy from her again.
Thank You Angie.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 4/17/2006

Submitter

New Kid (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Angies Banjo's

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

650.00 ($US)

Sound


Suits My style of play just fine. ,Works well as a scruggs style but really shines as a clawhammer banjo. What a great sounding banjo has that old timey haunting sound ... at least to my ear! fingerpicked it is bright and alive. I like the overall feel of this banjo ,(very solid feeling) projects very well. Feels Like it will last...

Sound Rating

10

Setup


banjo set up by goldtone was very well done not changing anything.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


A real looker ! the inlays look old not like the plastic ones on my Fender fb-58. .the finish is a dark stain that looks great. the neck feels fast very comfortable to play.Neck is bound as well as the back of the pot rim nice touch! Mine has the no knot tailpiece 5/8'' bridge ebony fretboard with cloud inlays and optional frailing cutout. Whyte ladye tone ring

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Too early to tell

Reliability Rating

5

Customer Service


no oppinion as off yet

Customer Service

5

Components


to soon to tell

Components Rating

5

Overall Comments


Without a doubt yes recommend it highly.If lost or stolen would buy another ASAP!!!! Favorite feature Whyte lady tone ring. it really sings! I'm glad i got it with the no knot tailpiece and the frailing cutout .To my ear it sounds perfect for me. This is a great value ! Angies banjo's had the best prices and service

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bob Carlin BC-350
submitted 4/5/2006

Submitter

charliep (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Excellent sounding clawhammer banjo.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Banjo was setup perfect right out of the box. Action was great .

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very pretty clawhammer banjo. Inlaid with star on head stock and another star at the 5th fret. Not fancy like a lot of resonator banjos but pretty in an understated way. The light finish is very attractive and I have found no defects in the finish.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


This is my third Goldtone banjo and I have never had any problems with reliability.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I overtightened an attachment bolt on the armrest and broke the bolt. Called Goldtone and they sent a new bolt and barrel nut free of charge. Excellent customer service.

Customer Service

10

Components


The only complaint I have about the banjo is the armrest, which they call a "Hog Dog Armrest". After playing for an extended period of time the armrest begins to dig into your arm. I replaced it with a vega style armrest. After replacing it I realized an easier solution {and cheaper} is to go to the hardware store and buy a length of clear tubing , cut it lengthwise,and put it on the outside edge of the armrest. This would give the armrest a more curved face and give your right forearm a break. The scooped fretboard, the 12" pot, and the plunky sound make a great clawhammer banjo.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


Dynamite clawhammer banjo for the money. I've played other handmade banjo that cost substantially more money and I don't hear or see much diference. I would definately buy another if this one was stolen.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 3/31/2006

Submitter

ljutic213 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

AngiesBanjo.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

671.00 ($US)

Sound


I am a first time banjo player...so, I am not exactly good with the different sounds...all I can say is this banjo is exactly what I had in mind...true bluegrass all the way...it has the same sound as the OB-250...the next step up in sound would be the OB-250+

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The banjo was perfect out of the box...AngiesBanjo.com ships direct from Gold Tone...so, if anybody should know how to set up a Gold Tone, they would...have not changed a thing...

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


For the money, it is beautiful...Gold Tone adds some nice inlays and the finish is amazing...shines like a gem...the banjo is easy on the eyes and gives you a lot of fluff for the money (versus just dots instead of inlays and such)...

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


Once again, I am a new banjo player...but, the banjo seems great for me and I bet it will last a life time with the proper care...besides, Gold Tone offers a Lifetime Warranty...so, you cannot really go wrong...

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Have yet to deal with Gold Tone...although the banjo was shipped directly from them and it was perfect out of the box (as noted above)...I cannot say enough good about AngiesBanjo.com...Angie is extremely helpful and has EXCELLENT prices (same price as others but Angie includes a hard case and the shipping at no extra charge)...awesome...

Customer Service

10

Components


Very glad to have a tone ring...sounds great...the inlays are great...and I like the trim around the resonator...to me, it is good as is...maybe someday I will upgrade the bridge...but, I am not sure to what (once again, a new banjo player...like one week new)...

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Hands down the best banjo for the money...I am an engineer and tend to research topics to death...surfed high and low for about one month and talked with several people before settling on this banjo...

Would replace it in a heart beat if needed...if I had extra cash, I would get the OB-250+ (for the JLS tone ring)...no need spending extra for the OB-250...you get the same sound...you are only paying for a little extra fluff (inlays and such)...

I asked every question under the sun and now have a BG-250F in hand...

For a new player like me or for the intermediate step up, you cannot go wrong...

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Hoab
submitted 3/29/2006

Submitter

jugpunk (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

589 ($US)

Sound


The 13 inch pot sounds really different than any other banjos I've owned. Although, the banjo could really benefit from a better bridge, a better head (renaissance preferred), and some kind of a tone ring, maybe a Whyte Layde tone ring would help.

Sound Rating

6

Setup


I had this banjo custom built. The guys at Gold Tone made a fretless version of the Hoab for me. I also had them to add a frailing scoop, which I later learned was pretty much unnecessary, because the way the banjo is designed, the head is already far enough away from the strings to avoid any unwanted "drumming". They filed the frets away, so I could learn to play fretless styles, and still be able to play close to pitch because I can see where the frets were.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


It's not the prettiest banjo in the world. Nice enough I guess. Pretty run of the mill, plain-Jane. No bindings or fancy inlays (but who needs em?) I do not like the tension hoop, which is about the cheapest looking thing I've ever seen on a banjo. It looks like some sort of weird, black, thin, molded sheet metal trim from an automobile. And there's a big, ugly joint where they didn't even bother to solder it together.

Appearance Rating

3

Reliability


The neck joint looks like a gaping wound. Obviously not much time was spent in piecing this one together. I think it'll hold up well enough though.

Reliability Rating

4

Customer Service


They were super nice, and built the banjo really fast for me.

Customer Service

9

Components


As I said before, the tension hoop is a hunk of junk. And the tension brackets are super cheapo too. But the wood seems nice enough. The head is a cheap, glossy thing. I wish I could find a 13inch Renaissance Head for this thing.

Components Rating

3

Overall Comments


If you're just starting to learn banjo, and you want to get that old time clawhammer sound, this banjo might be a good starter for you.

Overall Rating

5


Gold Tone White Ladye WL-250
submitted 3/29/2006

Submitter

jugpunk (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Mayberry Music Jonesboro IL

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

600 ($US)

Sound


This is the best open back banjo I've ever owned thus far. I used to own a Wildwood Troubador, but it failed me too many times. I also owned a Bart Reiter Bacophone, and it too failed me. This banjo comes with a renaissance head straight from the factory. It has a great sounding Whyte Layde tone ring. It sounds great!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The setup was pretty darn good. Although, I had to tighten the head a little (normal). I also added some 5th string spikes. This thing plays like a dream.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


This is a very purty banjar. I really like the simple, yet classy inlays. The rich tones of the wooden pot looks great.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


It hasn't failed me yet.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


The guys were great, and they special ordered this banjo for me. It arrived in only a couple of days. And they gave me a good discount, well below list.

Customer Service

10

Components


The tuners work good. The tension hoop is great. The tone ring is great. The hoop tensioners work smoothly. The tailpiece is quiet.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo to anyone who likes the sound of a Whyte Layde. Probably not the best banjo for Scruggs Style, but perfect for my tastes. It outperforms many of the other banjos I've owned which cost twice as much (or more).

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 3/15/2006

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

ebay

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


I really love the sound of this banjo. I played a Gibson RB-250 and couldn't tell much of a difference.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


I bought this on ebay and it came professionally set up. I added a snuffy smith bridge and that made a huge difference in the sound.

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The mahogany wood really is pretty if you like mahogany. I think it gives it a real mellow sound to it which makes it really versatile. Nothing flashy though.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I think the tuners could be updated, but overall very good quality parts. It really looks like a quality expensive banjo.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


No experience with Gold Tone's customer service. Bought on ebay.

Customer Service

10

Components


The neck plays really well. Really fast. Very good instrument for the price.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


I would recommend this banjo for the price I paid. I would probably upgrade to an OB-250 if it was stolen. I love the banjo though so I am not complaining. I would definitely tell anyone to try and play this banjo and see how much it sounds like more expensive banjos like the Gibson RB-250.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 3/10/2006

Submitter

talkingriver (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

937 ($US)

Sound


The sound is great. Itís loud and full, comparable to more expensive brands/models. Iím not all that experienced but it sounds as good and better then banjos Iíve played that cost a good bit more.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


The setup was right on. It was in tune out of the dang box. The action was set well. I picked it up and started playing it. It suites me fine.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I think itís beautiful. The rich orange sunburst on the resonator looks great. Iím impressed with the inlay work on the neck. For the money, itís hard to beat. I looked it over well and couldn't find any flaws. Sure is a pretty thing.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


It seams rock solid. Iím sure it will last. I think Iíll probably end up upgrading it a little down the road. Iím quite satisfied with it though. The finish seems to be durable. It sure has my trust. Id be more then confident to use it without a backup. I'll give it a 9 - though for the price, it gets a 10.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


I didn't buy it from the company. Though I was in contact with them before I bought it when I was trying to decide on a specific instrument. They were quite helpful then. I got it from banjo.com and couldnít be more happy with their service.

Customer Service

not rated

Components


I bought it because of whatís offered for the priceÖ maple rim, resonator, & neck, brass tone ring, attractive m.o.p inlay (hearts & flowers) work on the neck and headstock. Thereís just a touch of play in some of the tuning machines. It stays in tune just fine though. Iíll probably up grade them down the road. Again, for money, itís hard to beat.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I couldnít be happier with this banjo. I played every banjo I could get my hands on (about 15 different ones) before choosing this one. Again, I chose it because of what was offered for the money. Iím quite pleased to have a banjo that sounds this good for under $1000. Iím sure there are some 3,4,5 thousand dollar banjos out there that sound better. But, Iíll stick with this one. That being said, if I would have had a little more money to spend, the OB 250 plus is appealing. It has some nice extra features. If stolen, yeah I'd buy it again - no doubt.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 3/5/2006

Submitter

rone (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

E F Productions ebay

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

Received as a present historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Nice bright sound. Plenty of volume.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Set up was spot on when I received it. Tuned with no problems.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


I like the look of the light maple. Nice smooth maple neck. The inlays are better than the other banjos in this price range.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Very dependable and well constructed. Have not had any issues with reliability. Always in tune when I get ready to play.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Very helpful with a 2nd string buzzing problem. They talked me through the repair.

Customer Service

9

Components


Banjo came with planetary tuners and a nice TKL Gold Tone case. Better standard features than other banjos in this price range.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I very much would recommend this banjo for the price. I received this banjo as a gift, and have been very happy with it since the day I received it. This is an excellent starter banjo. I would replace it if something happened, but may upgrade to next model.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone "Pat Cloud" Banjola
submitted 3/4/2006

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Private Trade

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


Nice delicate sound with ability to be amplified.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Set up well. No adjustments needed.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Very good quality workmanship. No known defects. Abalam and wood binding, very nice unique inlays.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Seems fine. Tuners are nice and tight without play.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


None needed

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Seems like good quality.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I owned a Banjola Deluxe in the past, and sold it due to lack of volume. Gold Tone has really got it right with this one. The dual pickup setup now allows for amplification if used for performance, or without for late night practicing. All components seem upgraded, and this model has a bridge like a guitar instead of a floating bridge like the other models.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Custom Maple Classic Kit
submitted 3/3/2006

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

The Fret Shop

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

400 ($US)

Sound


I ordered the kit with a Whyte Laydie tonering instead of the standard alloy ring. It has excellent tone and quick response for both clawhammer and bluegrass. Handles both rhythmic and melodic forms of clawhammer, and has good intonation for chromatic bluegrass licks up the neck. However, it took two years of tweaking to get it how I wanted it.

Some bluegrass players have mistaken its tone for that of a flathead, and are shocked to discover the Whyte Laydie ring.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Since it came as a kit, I had to set it up myself.

Setup Rating

not rated

Appearance


I had to finished it myself. Since it was my first experience with varnish and laquer, it didn't come out so well. The wood could be nicer, though.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


I will probably replace the stock guitar-style tuners eventually. Structurally, everything else is fine.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Goldtone was very helpful and readily answered all my questions. They really went the extra mile.

Customer Service

10

Components


The best component was the Whyte Laydie tonering, which, coupled with the substantial multi-ply rim, produces great tone and volume.

I replaced the tailpiece with a Kirshner. It came with a chrome-plated steel Price knock-off, which really deadened the tone. I also replaced the nondescript stock bridge with a medium-weight Moon bridge.

The flanges included for attaching the resontor caused the tone chamber to be way too deep for clawhammer, so I bought some Gibson-style L brackets and screwed them to the side of the rim and attach the resonator that way. It isn't very pretty, but now the resonator is close-fitting (like some of the old Vega resonators) and it helped the tone tremendously.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


I would highly recommend this banjo to any do-it-yourselfer who already has a little knowledge of banjo design and the patience to tweak it until it sounds like they want it. If it were stolen, I would just build another one from a kit. I love it for its tone; it's a real ugly duckling. Even though it sounds great, it can't compare to a real Vega Electric or Whyte Laydie.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Banjitar GT-500
submitted 2/24/2006

Submitter

yeu351 (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Rufus Guitar Shop, Vancouver, B.C.

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

$880 + case & taxes (Canadian) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


The sound of this banjitar is really bright & clear with a loud voice & good sustain. It sounds just like an ordinary 5-strings banjo with the extra benefit of the low base sound on the additional 6th string. Since it is being tuned in the standard guitar tuning EADGBE, all the guitar chords & scales can be instantly played on the banjitar without a learning curve. I've applied the guitar crosspicking technique on it to emulate the bluegrass banjo roll and am very happy about the sound.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjitar has been set up by the Rufus Guitar Shop when it arrived here from Florida. They changed the strings to light gauge from extra light as it was originally shipped from the factory. The intonation & tuning are excellent. It has low action & good playability. I didn't have to adjust the truss rod as the neck is perfectly straight.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


The rim, resonator & neck of the banjitar are all made of eyes pleasing blonde color maple wood. The beautiful wood pattern in the resonator can be viewed through the clear banjo head which is very unique. I particularly like the feel of its rosewood fingerboard which is very smooth to play. The inlays are simple but good looking.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The banjitar has chrome-plated hardware, alloy tone ring & heavy duty stainless steel tailpiece. It weighs about 9.5 lbs on the scale. Because of the quality hardware used on it, I feel that it is very durable and can last a long time.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


The banjitar comes with a limited warranty, but Gold Tone Instruments does not warrant their banjos purchased outside U.S. Warranties are provided by the authorized distributor of dealer importing the banjos to Canada. Anyway, the people who sold me this banjitar at Rufus Guitar Shop in Vancouver, B.C. are very knowledgeable, friendly & helpful!

Customer Service

8

Components


I've found that this banjitar is very well made with quality hardware & materials. I don't need to do any upgrade at the moment as it is still new. As I mentioned above, I really like its maple wood pattern seen through the clear banjo head.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I have been playing acoustic & electric guitars since 1960's. It's quite natural for me to look for a banjo that I can apply my guitar skills on it. After researching on the internet for a few months by comparing all the features & prices of various brands & models, I've found this banjitar which is perfect for me. I would recommend this to all guitarists who want to play banjo but don't like to go through the trouble of learning completely new chords & scales. The banjitar is a very versatile musical instrument which can be played in standard guitar tuning EADGBE or in open G banjo tuning DGDGBD. If you want to learn a little bit more about the banjitar, I highly recommend that you buy the video called "An Introduction to the 6 & 12-String Banjo" by Mickey Cochran. Have fun!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek 100 OB
submitted 2/21/2006

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Andy Banjo (Faversham, Kent)

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

220 (£) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


I bought this as a travel banjo as it is both cheap and light. Although the CC100 is really suited to clawhammer style, I play mainly bluegrass, jazz and classical. It is of course much quieter than a heavy resonator banjo, but it does exactly what I want. The sound is rich and mellow and my wife says she often prefers it to the brighter, louder sound of my other banjos (Huber Roanoke and Deering Deluxe). I have scored the sound as relevant to its class (not compared to an expensive resonator banjo!)

Sound Rating

9

Setup


In the shop, I found the action a little low and there was a buzz around the third fret on the 4th string. Andy adjusted the action and it has been fine ever since. I tightened the head a little but the maximum tightness is limited by the tension hooks which are fairly light. This may be a deliberate design feature to prevent overtightening and stressing other parts of the instrument. The head now is just about as tight as I want it. I've done nothing else to it apart from change strings occasionally.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The banjo is very simple, with a light maple finish. However there were no flaws and everything was as immaculate as it should be. There is simple inlay for the position markers on the neck, which is understated but pretty.

One of the reasons I bought this in preference to the Deering Goodtime, which I also considered, was the quality of the finish, especially the neck and fretwork. I found these far superior to the Deering product.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


It has travelled several times by air on holiday and is still as good as new. It is very well made. It will certainly outlast a Goodtime.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


I've not dealt with Gold Tone, but Andy Banjo's service is as good as it gets!

Customer Service

10

Components


I already mentioned the tension hooks, which is the only component I would have any concerns about. Everything else, especially the neck and fingerboard, which I feel are extremely important, is of very high quality.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


This is a great little banjo. I would definitely recommend the CC100 as either a starter banjo for a beginner or as a travel banjo. I found it so overwhelmingly better than its main competitor, the Goodtime, that I can only think that people buy the latter mainly for its US provenance. The strongest feature of the CC100 is the neck and fretwork. The instrument is beautifully playable, solid, strong yet so light. I absolutely love taking it on holiday with me.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50RP
submitted 2/19/2006

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Replay Music

Year Purchased

2006

Price Paid

300 ($US)

Sound


It has good full sound.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


It was all set up.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Mahogany resonator. Good simple appearance

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


HAve not had it long enough to tell.

Reliability Rating

8

Customer Service


lifetime warranty from seller

Customer Service

10

Components


Everything seems good.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


........

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone N/A
submitted 1/3/2006

Submitter

atracksler (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

450 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Sounds great for clawhammer style playing, and not too bad for 3-finger playing either.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


The banjo, was used but set up excellently, medium-high action, just lik I like it.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The neck is nicely flamed, the inlays are really nice.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


The tuners dont seem like the best in the world, I will probably replace them in a short while.

The finish is good and It looks like it will last me a lifetime.

Reliability Rating

6

Customer Service


NA

Customer Service

not rated

Components


As stated above, the tuners arent the best in the world. I got a new sampson walnut bridge and a no-knot tailpiece and nylgut strings are on their way to me. The Fiberskin head is great.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


I would highly recomend this banjo, it will probably be the last openback I will need to buy.....although I've said that before about otehr instruments......

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 11/1/2005

Submitter

Dukieman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

388 ($US)

Sound


Being a beginner I am not an expert on the banjo sound but I love the way this banjo sounds. Great highs and lows. As the add says more bang fo the buck. My neighbors can vouce for that.

Sound Rating

10

Setup


Setup is superb. No string buzz, easy to fret and holds a tunning well even with crappy playing.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


Love the plan finish. Not to flashy but that was what I was looking for.
After inspecting the hardware I was well pleased, no rough edges or bad castings.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


For what I paid I am well pleased with the hardware. The hardware looks pleanty sturdy for this banjo.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


John at Banjo.com was a pleasure to deal with. He answered all my questions and bent over backwards to please me as though I was buying a 5000 dolar banjo. When that time comes he will be the first I talk to.

Customer Service

10

Components


I went with the planatery tuners and love them. Also like the adjustable straight line tail piece. I also got the TKL hard shell case made for gold tone well worth the money.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


If you are looking for a quality starter banjo this is the one. Looked at many other banjos in the same price range but nothing held a candle to the gold tone cc100r/p. One of the few things I have bought in a while that I am totaly pleased with.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 9/14/2005

Submitter

scooterchick (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

eBay Doc Resonator

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

300 ($US)

Sound


I'm new to the banjo but I really like the sound of this: not as loud as a megaphone or as metallic/tinny as some old types (Framus) I've heard - nice and mellow with good highs and lows. A bright sound with warmth - it ought to get better as I get better at playing it and with use :)

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Yes, this banjo was set up extremely well. Even after travelling for a couple of weeks, it sings.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


I love the look of this banjo: the natural wood with the rosewood fretboard. 'Elegantly understated' suits me to a 'T' and is what I wanted. :)

Finish is perfect.

I went for planetary tuners and for the price that was an option I found a bit hard to find for other makes in the same range.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


This banjo will outlast me, I think!

And I can always upgrade some of the hardware if I need to as I go along.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Doc and Lori were a dream to deal with.

Customer Service

10

Components


I'm not an expert but this banjo was glowingly poured over by some expert musician friends of mine and they love it!

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


I highly recommend this banjo for someone like myself who is just starting out. And buying it on the net (after literally dozens of hours or research), nicely set up and from someone who knows what they're doing was the best way to go for me:

I saved over $300 (!!!!) versus buying it locally here in town. Imagine that!

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 6/1/2005

Submitter

CrippleCreek (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Music Plus

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

350 est ($US)

Sound


Excellent sound, lots of pop..not quite as much as a Orange Blossom but great.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Setup was good. Changed the cheap bridge to one of those bone ones. Head needed tightening.

Setup Rating

5

Appearance


Not as flashy as some, but very good for the price.

Appearance Rating

7

Reliability


Dependable, reliable. GOld tone quality through and through.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


N/A

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Bridge is cheap.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Highly recommended for a second banjo, one to keep for a long long time!

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone N/A
submitted 5/1/2005

Submitter

bassman (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

ebay

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

450 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


After some pretty big changes (see below) I have come out ith a great sounding banjo. A nice "thunk" that you can feel in your belly, but very definite note seperation and good sustain. Still a little too metallic to be just how I want it.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


Since I've gotten this, I changed to a Medium 5/8" Moon bridge, a no-knot tailpiece (from the Price-licensed) and Renaissance head (from fiberskin), in that order, and each change has brought improvement. With the Fiberskin and Price, it was just too bright, but that was hard to compensate for with the fiberskin, which souded dead to me unless it was very tight. The banjo came to me with perfect action.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


The inlay and wood is all very attractive, but you can tell that Gold Tone makes primarily Bluegrass banjos (very glossy finish, big--but beautiful--cloud inlays, "Gold Tone" on the headstock...). There are just one or two finish flaws where the stain has gotten on to the binding, but very minor and not noticeable.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Very solid, well-built instrument. No problems at all with the tuners, good solid brackets and tension hoop. Never had a problem.

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


Never had a reason for customer service.

Customer Service

9

Components


Nothing but quality components on this machine. Solid tone-ring makes this a pretty loud instrument. I never had any problems with the parts i swithced out, I was just looking to change the tone. I think Gold Tone would do very well to make Renaissance heads standard on their instruments. The only problem I have is a cracked tuner knob, but it's holding solid.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


For the price paid, I would buy this banjo again and again. I think that's it's easily worth the list price. I don't think that I've played a better instrument for this price, even the newer Reiters. After the changes I've made it really suits me well, but others looking for a brighter banjo would probably love it without any changes.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Maple Classic MC-150R
submitted 4/2/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

447.00 ($US)

Sound


With zero experience, I followed kit instructions and all the advice and instruction on several web sites and it seems to work, really rings out. I got the deluxe kit with the Bell Brass Tone Ring and Planetary Tuners. It has comparable tone and volume to what I hear on CD's and online. All of the strings tune right on according to a Sabine auto tuner. When I get good at picking it I believe it will be great. Working on rolls now and when I get one right it sounds great. A freind who has heard several banjo's, was impressed with the sound. I believe he thought it would be sub-standard being a kit assembled by a non-musician.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


As a kit set up was up to me, also as a kit I introduced some problems that required correction before it was ready to play. I needed to refile nut, and reset the neck to the rim. With plenty of my own tools, wood working experience and online advice from Richie Dotson's web site it was not a problem. With out the various web sites with all of the great banjo info I may not have taken the kit route.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Definatly easy on the eyes I have shown to some wood worker friends and they seemed impressed. I don't think they had anticipated the amount of hardware and still alot of wood showing. The wood in this kit is a non-fancy maple but still has interesting grain pattern in resonater, solid with no flaws. The neck is built up from three pieces of maple with a curly maple veneer on peg board, joinery is flawles. The rim is multi-ply maple with veneer on bottom of rim, a nice touch to cover the multi-ply edge. Fret board of rosewood and a well done simple snowflake inlay with no filler. All metal had smooth crome finish.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Metal finish appears solid and looks like it should last, I tested some hidden spots for toughness and it has it. I slipped and let the t-wrench bind on a tension nut and the sharp edge of the nut took it with out damage. I finished the wood with 9 coats of polyurethane which is very tough. If this banjo is still in good shape by the time I am ready for a gig, then it will certainly be good enough to hold its own. No indication that it won't at this time

Reliability Rating

10

Customer Service


One of the tuners did not work when I got ready to tune. It was late at night, so I e-mailed Janet Davis Music. They had a reply the next day with instruction to call and ask for Jim Davis. Jim said he would call gold tone, and they should ship it that day. That was monday by thursday I had the tuner. The wait gave time to fix my assembly mistakes.

Customer Service

10

Components


This banjo is a good solid unit with nothing fancy to to rate as a standout. Just a good all-around instrument, I wanted something to start and grow into with out most of the shortcomings of some of the beginner banjos that I have read about. Tuners could use some help, without string tension the peg is some what loose, however they do hold a tune just fine.

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Well worth the price I paid, the ready to play version was 2 dollars higher, and it did not have the bell brass tone ring, or planetary tuners. Having all the tools and most of the finish materials on hand made it a better value since I did not have to buy much to finish it. The big plus for me is knowing how it fits together, and the fact that I finished and assembled it myself. If stolen today I would replace with same, if stolen after I learn to play would probably replace with a Gold Tone OB-250 plus kit. I would recommend the MC-150 kit to any one with basic woodworking skills and access to the internet the pictures in the instructions were to dark to be of much help. The pictures on Gold Tone's web site were clear and sharp and could be enlarged.

Overall Rating

9


Gold Tone Orange Blossom OB-250
submitted 3/3/2005

Submitter

gjacobs (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Ebay

Year Purchased

2003

Price Paid

550 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound


Great bluegrass banjo. Very loud, very good action up the neck and down. Holds up great in the many jams I've been to.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Banjo was not setup well when I got it. I don't know the history of the banjo so I can't blame Gold Tone. Local luthier setup it up, sound awesome after that.

Setup Rating

6

Appearance


Beautifull finish, the sunburst /flamed wood back is very pretty.

Only gripe is a wood knot on the neck, just a slight appearance issue.

Appearance Rating

8

Reliability


Hardware is pretty solid. I play virtually every data, no issues to date. Finish is perfect, no issues holding up wonderfull. Seems to resist the beltbuckle scratches better than my guitars. I don't gig, but I feel confident having this as my only banjo. Second winter with the banjo and it does not seem sensitive to seasonal change (I live in NE).

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Have not contacted Gold Tone

Customer Service

not rated

Components


Hardware is pretty solid. Tuners have some slop, but no issues with staying in tune. Nickel plating is tarnishing, but that is pretty standard. I play virtually every data, no issues to date.
Tailpiece was bent when I received it. It is made of some "pot" metal, but was able to bend it back. Its no Price tailpiece, but it works just fine.

Components Rating

7

Overall Comments


This banjo was a upgrade from a Deering Goodtime2. No comparison, Gold Tone much fuller sound. Holds up with the Gibsons, Deerings I've played with at a fraction or thier price. This is THE (well maybe the new Gold Star would be close) banjo to get if you don't want to spend >$1500. Only thing I may replace is the tuners, otherwise love the banjo, a keeper.

Overall Rating

8


Gold Tone Bluegrass Special BG-250F
submitted 2/24/2005

Submitter

joeyd (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Turtle Hill Banjo Company

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

625 ($US)

Sound


A great sounding instrument! A true beginner, I don't even pretend to have a music style but I do love Bluegrass, particularly the old Gospel songs. Felt like three finger pickin' was where I wanted to go so I ran my short list down to six banjos in the $300 to $750 price range; this one simply outclassed them all. I've played it every day since I bought it and I never get tired of listening to it. A friend who has played for years asked to play it for a minute and he really didn't want to set it down!

Sound Rating

9

Setup


Dave said that Gold Tones come out of the box beautifully set up and that has proven to be the case. He added capo spikes and may have made one or two minor adjustments that I'm not aware of but other than that we didn't have to make any changes to the stock set up. Because of the construction of this particular banjo, setup changes could be made quite easily if I ever get to the point where I want to try something different.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


This is probably the single factor that most influenced my purchase. The finish work is absolutely flawless and it just perfectly fit my view of what a banjo should look and feel like. There is just enough contrast in the snowflake inlays and the white binding to accent the dark mahogany resonator and to make it a very rich looking instrument.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


I have no reason to suspect that this banjo won't outlast me. I have seen a couple of instruments that have made me covetous but if and when I decide to move up to an "investment grade" banjo, I will most certainly keep the BG 250F.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


Have not dealt with Gold Tone but would be remiss if I did not recommend David Schenkman and the Turtle Hill Banjo Company. If you live anywhere close to MD and you want competent, accurate, and professional advice, go see Dave. I don't know of any other place on earth that you could take a list of six different banjos and have them all available to compare. He stocks about two hundred new and used banjos and he stands behind what he sells.

Customer Service

9

Components


The bell brass tone ring is probably the most noteable feature in this price range. The tailpiece is easily adjustable and although I have not yet had occasion to do so, it looks like changing the strings will be easy because of the way it is built. I don't see anything that needs to be upgraded at all.

Components Rating

10

Overall Comments


Would most definitely recommend this banjo anywhere in the $550 to $650 range. I absolutely love it and would immediately replace it with another Gold Tone if it was stolen. As noted above, look and feel are my favorite features. I would also recommend face to face contact with the seller as well. Appreciate that not everyone has a dealer close by but for my bucks, nothing beats hands on, especially for a novice.

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-100R
submitted 2/23/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

Banjo.com

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

350 ($US)

Sound


Compared to other banjos in the same price range the tone and volume is great. I didn't think I could get such a good sounding banjo with a tone ring for the price I paid! Not as loud as the $1000+ but for a starter level banjo both the highs and the lows are clear and poppy.

Sound Rating

8

Setup


The banjo was bought through Banjo.com but shipped directly from Gold Tone. It came perfectly in tune with low action. I adjusted the tailpiece a little but thatís about it. Good set up overall. I have made only minor adjustments thus far but the instrument seems easy to adjust.

Setup Rating

9

Appearance


Simple but I think it is very beautiful! Blond maple body and neck w/ snowflake inlays on the fret board. No flaws in the finish. Only downsides Are: 1)the curly maple veneer on the headstock is cheep looking up close and while it is pretty, the natural grain of the headstock would look fine too; 2) No flange- the resonator seems a bit out of place without one. These are very minor complaints.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Have not had it long enough to comment

Reliability Rating

not rated

Customer Service


My questions were answered quickly and honestly by Banjo.com when I called. They seem to not be around the phone always but there response time is quick! No experince with Gold Tone.

Customer Service

8

Components


Positives: brass tone ring! planetary tuners ($36 upgrade)
Negatives: tension hooks seem a little cheap (time will tell), I would like to get a new bridge (Emerson powerbridge)

Overall seems sturdy and well put together with good parts (even if the parts came from Asia)

Components Rating

8

Overall Comments


Great banjo for the price!!! If it were stolen Id get another one but in the future Id upgrade to another Gold Tone (OB or BG) or a $1000 dollar range Deering or Morgan Monroe. I looked mainly at the Deering Goodtime 2 and my cc-100r when shopping. Personally I think I made the right choice

Overall Rating

10


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-Mini
submitted 2/8/2005

Submitter

daddydaughter (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Acoustic Music

Year Purchased

2004

Price Paid

Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound


For its size (3/4 size) , it puts out a nice bright sound, however it is a bit thin sounding when compared to a full size open back.

Sound Rating

7

Setup


Setup seems ok , no changes have been necessary

Setup Rating

8

Appearance


The CC-mini looks similar to a GoodTime openback, just smaller. All natural maple with a rosewood finger board. It also has guitar style tuners. The fingerboard is shorter, only 20 frets, but it is only slightly smaller than a full size neck (width) and the strings are a little closer. The fret spacing on the upper neckis reduced as well.

Appearance Rating

9

Reliability


Seems solid enough., although the tuning pegs could be of higher quality.

Reliability Rating

7

Customer Service


No need to deal with Gold Tone at this point.

Customer Service

5

Components


As stated above, the tuners could be of a better quality. As it is tuned to either "C" or "A" , the tuning seems to be a little trickey for me. Does not stay in tune as well as a higher end banjo.

Components Rating

6

Overall Comments


My daughter received this banjo as a Christmas present, so she could have a banjo to travel with on the airplane, and take backpacking. It is indeed great for kids, the chords are easier to lay down on the smaller neck. In comparison to our other full sized banjos, it will never be played as much, although for traveling I think it will work out just great !

Overall Rating

7


Gold Tone Cripple Creek CC-50RP
submitted 2/6/2005

Submitter

Unknown

Where Purchased

banjo.com

Year Purchased

2005

Price Paid

299 ($US)

Sound


for the price it can't be beat.i like bluegrass and its got a sound for it.it not as good more costy instruments,but if i had gotten a banjo like this one 20 years ago,i would be a much better player today.

Sound Rating

9

Setup


when it came in,all i had to do to it was fine tune it.goldtone and the folks at banjo.com all did a fine job of setting it up.the action up the neck is great.it plays very easy.

Setup Rating

10

Appearance


it's a basic looking banjo.it has a dark finsh.dot markers.dark binding.fiddle headstock.the plus side is that it came with plantary tuners.something that you usually don't see in this price range.

Appearance Rating

10

Reliability


all the parts fit well.its a better banjo than what i was playing.i'llprobably be playing it for a long time to come.

Reliability Rating

9

Customer Service


i dealt with the owner of banjo.com when i ordered it over the phone.he's agreat guy.very helpful with my order.i highly recomend them if youre looking for a banjo.

Customer Service

10

Components


its made of good parts.maple neck. mahognay rim and resonator.brass tone ring.the biggest plu s is the plantary tuning pegs.to me a banjo doesnt look right with guitar type tuners.

Components Rating

9

Overall Comments


i love the instrument overall .if it was stolen i'd have to have another like it.i highly recommend this banjo to anyone looking for agood deal in a low cost quality banjo,beginner to intermediate player.

Overall Rating

10