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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

6919 reviews in the archive.

Deering  Goodtime  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by embrizzle (see all reviews from this person) on 2/10/2019

Where Purchased: Fretted Instrument Workshop

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds great! Nice, mellow tone.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I love the look of this banjo. It's basic and clean-looking.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This is banjo best-suited to amateurs and hobbiests, so reliability in gigging is not something I've tried on it. But, for my uses, I've never had a problem with it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never needed a repair!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

What I was looking for when I bought this banjo: 

  • Good beginner's instrument
  • Lightweight, as I was traveling with it a lot
  • Nice, round sound
  • Wouldn't need to be repaired often (I was leaving to live abroad for a couple years and wouldn't have access to a repair shop)
  • Wouldn't break the bank

It has fulfilled all of these criteria perfectly!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Strumbody (see all reviews from this person) on 5/20/2015

Where Purchased: Springfield Pawn

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Neck a tad shorter than standard, don't care for the blond color or GoodTime stamp on the head, but the thing is SO DARNED easy to play, I couldn't put it down. Basically, it rekindled my interest in a lot of 5-string styles I'd been neglecting. Also, there's a lot to be said for having a banjo that weighs almost nothing to take on vacation, etc. I like the "plunky" 1800s sound of the thing, although I know some folks would wish it had the resonator and tone ring.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Banjo was grimy from the pawn shop floor (apparently guys who come in to pawn power tools they've stolen from their job site couldn't keep their hands off it). But it was set up very well. Cleaned it up, reset the bridge, changed the strings, didn't even need to adjust the neck or tighten the head, so either the initial owner or whoever he got it from had done a nice job of setting it up.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Natural light wood doesn't say "banjo" to me. It looks like a toy. It ISN'T a toy, though, it has the best neck I've ever owned on a banjo. No mechanical or cosmetic problems at all. If I didn't already own two backless banjos and needed to order one, I'd probably order the version with the darker finish that has come out since.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Wish it had an arm rest. Other than that, I suspect the hardware will last another 50-75 years. Would I use it on a gig without a backup? I trust the banjo to last indefinitely. Eight instead of 10 because of lack of arm rest.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Deering is very nice people. I didn't deal with them about this banjo, but they've been very helpful with others.

Customer Service: 9

Components

I would prefer planetary tuners, I suppose, but the geared tuners are well made and the 5th-string tuner stays in tune, which isn't true of a lot of more expensive banjos

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This is the best beginner banjo in the world.  I've set up a number of "beginner banjos' and made them playable for friends or family, but none was a pleasure to play like this one.

When I see a "like new" beginner banjo on Craig's List, I assume someone got an import on a lark or as a birthday present and one of the reasons he never learned to play it was that it was never set up.  In other words, the banjo had problems that the owner either didn't know how to get fixed or didn't have the determination to overcome. When I see a 'like new" Goodtime on Craig's List, I have to assume that the fault was the owner's, NOT the banjo.

Also the slightly short neck makes it more useful for people who have smaller arms.  The light weight, even in the Deering gig bag also makes it suitable for smaller people than most starter banjos.

 

 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by saltcityscott (see all reviews from this person) on 2/2/2015

Where Purchased: Best In Music

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 349 ($US)

Sound

Being mostly self taught this banjo is so easy to make sound fantastic. I have wanted to learn claw hammer and my old archtop just doesn't allow me to get that sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect. needs absolutely no adjustment other than tuning.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Flawless, simple design very well done. Truly less is more. I love the bowtie inlays and headstock brand.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

It holds tuning amazingly well. It has a feel of a well built machine. Reminds me of a cross between my old Mercedes and a built Jeep. Beautifully made and rugged enough to go anywhere and do anything.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

When I registered the instrument Deering was very friendly and offered to help if I should ever need.

Customer Service: 9

Components

I chose this banjo for the mellow tone and warm sound it gives by not having a metal tone ring. it rings well but doesn't punch as hard. When I play alone just for me it makes it easy to match my mood and makes me happy.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Could not be happier. Will this be my last banjo, no. But it could very easily stay my favorite for a long time.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by oklahomabill (see all reviews from this person) on 5/21/2014

Where Purchased: GC

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds just like a Banjo, it has that classic banjo sound... Bright, with just enough strings over a tight drum head flavor that it evokes the classic banjo sound.

I am learning clawhammer and could not be more please with he goodtime as a introduction to banjo playing.

Sound Rating: 6

Setup

Setup was fine. Intonation is dead on. No fret buzz. Tuners hold tune. What's not to like.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

It ain't the prettiest banjo on the web. But to be honest, at my age and skill level it's pretty enough. Then again, If you're buying a banjo for looks or collectors value then your probably not reading this review. The Deering GoodTime looks like a no frills solidly built banjo. Because it is.

Appearance Rating: 4

Reliability

Hardware looks good.... Fit and finish are acceptable for the price.

No "gigs".... Back porch, wood lot and a couple of old dogs are my audience.

Reliability Rating: 4

Customer Service

Googled them before I purchased.... Seemed ok.

Customer Service: 4

Components

For the price no complaints.

Components Rating: 4

Overall Comments

If your looking for a nice starter banjo that won't bust the bank the Deering GoodTime is a banjo you should consider. Yes, you can find nice used banjos on the auction site but with the Deering you actually get what you pay for... No surprises.

Overall Rating: 5

Submitted by automatic octopus (see all reviews from this person) on 11/4/2013

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: 500 ($US)

Sound

I bought it to learn on, and it's easy to play and sounds better than it should at this price point.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was great, I just started playing.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Everything is nicely finished, but the nature of the banjo is that it's an unstained pale wood. Good feeling of quality, but it makes no attempt at looking fancy.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Appearance is kind of no-frills, and it feels like what's there is up to the job.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

It's a very light banjo, and yet very playable.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I can see why everyone recommends this banjo to beginners - it's just a fun instrument to pick up, and easy to play.  

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by easypicker (see all reviews from this person) on 10/10/2013

Where Purchased: http://www.squidoo.com/deering-goodtime-best-banjo-for-beginners

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 389 ($US)

Sound

Easy action, neck narrow enough for my smallish hands, adjustable to the tone I like which is a more mellow twang but can be made sharper. Looks really nice and feels and looks very well made. Good detailing.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

I bought it online and all stringed instruments are shipped with the strings loose so they won't be damaged. It was easy for me to set the bridge and tune it with my tuner.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's just a beautifully well made banjo. The quality of materials and the way they contruct them is superb. I won't need another one.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Yes, the hardware is solid, not cheap. In fact all the materials are really top notch. The finish is really nice, and looks like a much more expensive model.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Deering has really good customer service..they make them here in the US, and are a familiy owned business. I have called them a few times for advice and they were really helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I can't find anything for this price that I would say needs upgrading. I did change the strings, but that is my own personal preference.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

You can't go wrong with the Deering Goodtime for this price (under $400).  Very well made, and a solid US company to back it up.  I think this is the best banjo for a serious beginner or intermediate player.    You can learn more about it and buy it here:

http://www.squidoo.com/deering-goodtime-best-banjo-for-beginners

Here is a good guide for buying banjos with some more models and payment options to choose from if you can't spend all the cash at once and have a credit card:

http://banjobuyingguide.weebly.com

 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Red Squirrel (see all reviews from this person) on 10/1/2013

Where Purchased: Randee's Music, Rockford IL

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It has a nice sound for old-time music. I got a fretless one and put nylon strings on it.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

It was set up very well.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Clear finish, all maple with bow tie inlays. Very natural looking.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

It seems to be built well. Very reliable. It has no truss rod so you can't adjust the neck, but on a fretless you should never need to. I might also add that the neck is perfectly straight as it is.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Store offers two Free setups that never expire with all their instruments. Havn't had to use any yet! ;-)

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All components are very high quality.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I am very satisfied with this banjo. A good short way to describe it is: a good banjo, for a good price,  made in the USA.

 

 

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by jimblargh (see all reviews from this person) on 3/29/2013

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 350 ($US)

Sound

The Deering Goodtime Openback Really has a beautiful woody tone. The only problem with the openback is that I'm a bluegrass picker and it isn't very loud. But in terms of tone only it's very nice.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup must have been spot on. I was a total beginner when I got it and I never had to adjust anything.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Looks nice in a well made utilitarian sort of way. Some of the RK's and Flinthills of the world are two bling-ey for my tastes anyway!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Like I said, never had to change out anything. This banjo is the definition of reliability.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had to deal with this, but I've heard that Deering customer service is excellent.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I once read a post that said 'Nothing beats a deering neck'. Maybe it's just that it's what I'm accustomed to, but I tend to agree.
Hardware seems nice and sturdy. Only one coordinator rod, but it's nice and thick. Don't see any problems on that front.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Whenever you're getting your first instrument, the underlying problem is that you don't know what to look for. I based my decision on price (I'm not rolling in the green paper!) and reputation, and I have to say that it worked out well. I have two fundamental insights for those in a similar situation.
1) If you can afford a Goodtime Special, I've played them and they seem really nice. If you know you're committed and have the budget to do so, grab one of these. Especially if you can find an auction for a used one on ebay or seller here on banjohangout. Had I started with one of these, I probably would not have felt the need to upgrade after a year and a half.
2) The upside of getting a quality instrument like a goodtime openback is that though I recently upgraded, I had the luxury to research and to wait for a deal, seeing as I already had something reasonably nice to play. The second banjo is easier because you know what you're looking at, and you know what you like and don't like.

One final note: Deering Goodtimes have a pretty good resale value. So if you do decide to upgrade you're not out all of the money you spent on your first banjo. So far I've kept mine though. And my second banjo is a Deering too!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Chris Meakin (see all reviews from this person) on 11/30/2012

Where Purchased: Musician's Friend

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 399 ($US)

Sound

My musical style is eclectic. I like bluegrass, classical, jazz, and hard rock mostly. This is my first musical instrument of any kind, and the beginner tunes I'm learning are mostly bluegrass, and some melodic style.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

I was pleasantly surprised at how well it sounded out of the box. It was delivered to me in a foam sleeve, inside a triangular box, inside a rectangular box, and had obviously been sliding around in the back of the van when it arrived >10,000 miles later. I would have preferred it if more care had been taken in packing prior to shipment, but as it turned out, no harm was done (perhaps I was lucky?). The only tweaks I have made in the past 18 months are a head tighten x 2, and a bridge change.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I really like the 'simplicity' of the finish. I have not noticed any deterioration whatsoever of the hardware, although I do wipe the strings down every time I play (which is about 7-10 times a week). I also use a very small amount of lemon oil and chrome polish on the appropriate parts whenever I change the strings, which is about every 6 months. The one feature I would have liked was side dots down the neck, but I'll make those with a fine hand drill and some coloured wood putty.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I think this instrument will outlast me (and I'm only 56), given sufficient care and maintenance.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Hasn't needed any repair so far. I believe the warranty is lifetime, but I don't have my docket handy.

Customer Service: 8

Components

This is an honest, good value instrument. Nothing particularly stands out to me except its playability, but I don't really have anything in real life to compare it to, just what I hear on BHO or youtube. I don't think any of the parts are cheap or weak at all; the only reason I changed the bridge was to experiment and see if I could obtain a more mellow sound for some tunes I like. I bought some bridges from Steve Davis, and can certainly recommend them (and of course there are others here on BHO making equally awesome bridges).

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I bought this instrument based on previous reviews, the good value price (I didn't know if I would continue learning banjo and didn't want to pay $1000 or more on a decent BG 'jo), and its light weight. I won't be ever selling this banjo, but I do intend taking it on hikes in the nearby hills. I imagine I will buy 2 or 3 more banjos in years to come, and I reckon a Deering will be amongst them. I would say to any newbie considering taking up the 'jo, but who has NO access to a bunch of instruments and friends that know how to play them, and are therefore buying 'blind', you won't be disappointed in a Goodtime.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Claw Hammered (see all reviews from this person) on 11/5/2012

Where Purchased: Gear Tree

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play clawhammer, for playability it fits that style fine.
I would say it has a mellow sort of woody tone. It relies on a tone rim vs a ring so it is not bright, nor does it ping. Its not really plunky either. More of a woody middle of the road sound that is pleasing.
This banjo is not loud. I would find it hard pressed to cut through others if played in a group or jam. Solo, student or travel is what it is best suited for.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

It was set up poorly on arrival. Tailpeice not tight, nuts on rods loose and head was far too loose. After getting things straighten out it improved tremendously.

Setup Rating: 3

Appearance

Its is maple and is very vanilla looking. Its not offensive but its nothing beautiful either to my eye. I do like the bow tie fret markers and the headstock is much better looking than the old Gumby style. It is about as plain as it gets though. Because it is so plain all the joiner work on the neck are extremely apparent and there is no rim cap so you can see the laminates in the rim. The neck is the fretting surface there is no seperate fretboard laminate. This has posed no issue in playability as it frets just fine. Overall appearance I would say is bland.

Appearance Rating: 6

Reliability

It appears that it is economically made, but not poorly made. Compared to most imports which I looked at, this is much higher quality. I trust that if well maintained it will last a lifetime. Time will only tell as far as finish is concerned. I feel I could depend on it anytime except for playing in a group where, again, its just not loud enough.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have not dealt with Gear Tree, but I have with Deering via E mail. They have been prompt, responsive, and courteous.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The hardware is quality and you will find most of the same harware on higher end models. Once the banjo was set up properly I have had no issues and dont see where there would be.
My only complaint is I dont like guitar tuners on a banjo. They work fine, but they are just not attractive.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This makes a fine entry level or travel banjo. It, thus far has been reliable. In my view its far too bland in appearance or volume to be much more than that. It has no real outstanding qualities nor does it have any horrible ones. It is user friendly and it is priced about right for what you get. It made a great starter for me as I would expect it would anyone else

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by siemionet (see all reviews from this person) on 10/11/2012

Where Purchased: Eaglemusic Shop

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 295 (£) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds great for the money. Firstly I bought Ozark 2113G Walnut banjo. Looked great with all features that expensive pro banjos have apart of sound. So I returned it to shop and bought online Deering Goodtime. Sound is very open. It was maybe a bit too wild for me so I bought Tim Purcell's Bridge. Definitely great instrument. It looks like it's gonna sound better with time. It doesn't have truss rod in neck. I'm classical guitar player and I can't imagine good sounding classical nylon string guitar with truss rod! Overall great banjo. Coming with nothing (not even gig bag), just with good sound.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Eaglemusic Shop sent it to me set up completely. It was even tuned so I could play straight out of the box. Fantastic. I found some guys are complaining set up here however notice this: they mostly bought used Goodtime so I can suspect someone did something wrong with set up before selling.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It looks like I would make it by myself in garden shed haha.... My favorite Gibson was Junior! Simplicity so you pay only for sound. Inlays are OK. Only one thing I don't like is the way I can see that headstock is glued to the neck. Some cosmetics could be done to improve this. Anyway I love that simple wood look. Nice.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

It looks solid if you look after it :)

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Eaglemusic is that shop I would recommend. Very professional help!

Customer Service: 10

Components

I would recommend upgrading bridge - first of all. Than I would think about maybe better tailpiece however not necessary. Overall it sounds as it sounds - really good so if someone wants something else I would suggest to buy something else :)

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Great banjo for that money. If you buy it you will never regret it. Just remember what is important for you: sound or features.....

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by GerkyBanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 4/25/2012

Where Purchased: Amazon

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 360 ($US)

Sound

I love that sound. Very bright and vibrant. I'm a beginner so take the comment with a grain of salt

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Great right out of the box.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nice and plain... beautiful finish

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Solid built to last and very lightwieght.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I had a problem with the pot splitting but Carolina at Deering replaced the instrument right away... excellent customer service.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Good solid construction... it's made in the USA...excelent

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I love it!!!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by beegee (see all reviews from this person) on 4/4/2012

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: 225.00 ($US)

Sound

bright, mids and highs not much bottom end. Lots of sustain, long decay. it needs a towel or sock inside

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Terrible set-up. Action too high, crappy bridge

Setup Rating: 3

Appearance

Typical plain-vanilla Gumby GT

Appearance Rating: 4

Reliability

hardware is so-so.

Reliability Rating: 5

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The fret ends are sharp
The wood nut is not slotted deeply enough
The neck is too narrow at the nut
The tension hoop is cheesy
Cheesy geared tuners

Components Rating: 4

Overall Comments

A fun little banjo, It could be "funner" with a good set-up. I'd replace the tension hoop with a grooved hoop and replace the geared tuners with planetaries and replace the wood nut with a properly-fitted bone nut.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by tasrev (see all reviews from this person) on 2/23/2012

Where Purchased: banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 470 ($US) - shop, $720 (AUD) shipped

Sound

I play clawhammer.

Sound out of the box on arrival from the US - amazing. Louder than any openback I'd played (music shops in Australia rarely have a good range of banjos).
Clarity of notes/brightness was my first impression.

Now having gotten used to it and having a K&K pickup installed I notice the characteristics and limitations of the sound a bit more.

It's very bright. I think the head needs to be mellower for the sake of keeping more mids/lows in the mix.

When playing at an old-time jam session it seems to get lost.
I like how it sings when playing by itself, but trying to make it work in a group situation or at the moment through a PA is a struggle. Not sure if it's the banjo itslef, the tone of the banjo, the pickup or the PA setup.

Get's louder and warmer with my pop-on resonator.

For the price though, a great sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I emailed the guys at banjo.com to make sure it was good to go when it arrived in Oz (I didn't buy a case).
Got it out of the box and it was in tune (after being shipped)!
I played it for hours that arvo.
Action, neck, tension - great!

Changes made:
Railroad spike 7th fret
K&K pickup with jack drilled into the rim
Heavy strings

Soon to change to Fibreskyn head for more low-end tone

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I love the look of it. Some people hate the appearences - that's fine.
I find the blonde wood striking.
Love the bow ties.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Within a year of owning it the 5th string peg's plastic disintegrated.
I emailed Deering and got a personal email back pronto, with appologies, and they sent me a new (better) one.

Apart from that, great!

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

Dealt with Deering via email when the 5th string peg disaster happened.
Best customer service EVER!
Friendly, prompt, understanding.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I think they should offer different heads as standard (choose).

Tuning peg on 5th String wasn't flash, but is now fixed.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

A great starter banjo if you live in the US, or if you find a used one for roughly equivalent pricing in AUD.

This is a better than average entry/upper entry level banjo, especially for someone having to buy off the internet (overseas). It's so much better than the cheap Chinese rubbish they sell here.

I'd recommend this for anyone.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by BigRedWarEagle (see all reviews from this person) on 1/27/2012

Where Purchased: craigslist

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 170 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I play kids' songs and sometimes venture into clawhammer. It's the perfect banjo to do that because, let's be honest, kids' songs aren't exactly meant to be played on a 2k+ banjo. If the kids want to bang on the head, play the banjo by themselves, or accompany me by slapping various parts of the instrumet..that's fine! Bang away, kiddos. It sounds great playing church songs and christmas songs.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup is fine. I would rather have a higher bridge and a scoop, but that's for me to worry about down the road.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Gumby for president!

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

The hardware is great for $170. It's definitely not meant to last a lifetime, but I bet I could replace it easily and it does its job.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have always loved talking to the Deering folks.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components, as said before, are decent for the price.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

My kids are so excited their heads are about to explode. That right there is worth a couple thousand dollars. Do I miss my Ome Juniper? Absolutely. For my skill level, though, and the risk of snapping in half from 3 kids who love the banjo, this thing is dang near perfect. And truthfully, $170 is a STEAL!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by larry caputo (see all reviews from this person) on 1/9/2012

Where Purchased: Won at Banjo Jubilee

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

My wife and I attended the Banjo Jubilee in San Jose Ca in 2009. My wife's number was picked as the winner of a Deering Goodtime banjo.
Myself, I play banjo in the Peninsula Banjo Band and have a Vega which has excellent sound. I was quite excited that my wife won the Goodtime banjo until I started to play it. Sound was dead (no spark). It was supposedly worth about $600.00 but it didn't even have a tone ring. I couldn't even hear myself while playing with other musicians.
It spoiled my whole image of Deering.

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

I thought I might be able to upgrade it so I took it to Griphon's music in Palo Alto, Ca. and asked if they could put a tone ring in it. They said. "Don't bother you'd be wastiing your money. The only thing a goodtime banjo is for is to practice chord formations when you're just learning as a beginner.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

The neck seemed to be fairly nice. I thought of putting the neck on a Vega or Gibson banjo head but since I already have a Ome 5-string and a Vega Plectrum I decided to get rid of it. I felt lucky to find a buyer who was willing to pay $100.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

It's gone now. Chords up the neck sounded dead.

Reliability Rating: 1

Customer Service

I didn't even try to deal with the company. I'm surprised that they can sell the instrument for over $500. They must sell it to people who don't know banjos.

Customer Service: 1

Components

They should, at least, put a tone ring it the instrument. The novice banjo player, once he becomes good and wants to play for the public, will probably want to look at other brands when he needs to upgrade.
For $600.00 there must be enough profit in the instrument to justify some better sound.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I'm surprised that a prestigious company like Deering has such a poor sounding instrument on their list of banjos for sale. A beginner could pick up a better instrument for less money at a garage sale.

Overall Rating: 2

Submitted by AlpacaLips (see all reviews from this person) on 9/17/2011

Where Purchased: private party

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 90 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

This is the old-style Goodtime (dotted fretboard, open tuners, white plastic tuner grips, and Gumby headstock). It sounds fine for a $90 banjo. (Actually, it sounds fine for a $300 banjo, which is why I was happy to get it for $90.) It is quieter than other open-back banjos I've played, but still plenty loud enough to require a mute after the family goes to bed. I haven't played with the setup, but I believe it has basically a factory setup. The video at http://www.deeringbanjos.com/goodtime-banjo is a good representation of the sound. It has no tone ring, and it shows. The sound is very inferior to my $750 Gold Tone WL-250 (which is expected), but well within the range of expectations for a banjo of this price.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

Action was set at the factory. Action is ideal. The tailpiece is set high, and I wouldn't lower it. (The reason that I say it has a factory setup is that it didn't appear to have been monkeyed with; I'm 90% sure it even had its original strings.) I replaced the strings it came with because they were light gage which for me is like trying to waltz on greased glass, and because they were rusted to crud and wouldn't stay in tune. Installing new Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20 Bronze frailing strings made it play and sound WAY better.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

It's a very plain banjo. Dull maple finish, dotted fretboard. Not a lot of bling. Very ugly Gumby shaped headstock. Yawn.

Other than that, you can see on Deering's website for yourself what it looks like.

Appearance Rating: 4

Reliability

I think this banjo is about 6 years old, and it appears to have all original components. When I got it, the strings were rusty, all surfaces were dirty, and the chrome was tarnished. I cleaned the head with damp baby-wipes, gently cleaned all wood surfaces with 0000 steel wool (OK due to the factory dull finish; I wouldn't do this on a laquer finish) and soft wipes, and took the steel wool to the fret wires, chrome tension hoop, chrome tailpiece, and j brackets.

It now looks almost like new; the only sign of age is that the tarnish on the tailpiece was severe enough that it did leave some pitting that only re-chroming or replacement will fix (no big deal). I wouldn't expect any more from any banjo that had been so badly mistreated. Wipe down your banjos, people!

The only damage is that some of the j brackets are bent slightly at the point where the nut screws on. The construction of the banjo is such that the hooks go from the hook shoes up to the tone hoop at a slight angle, and over time the combination of stress and this angle has caused them to bend. I don't think they were over-tightened, so I'd say this is probably the banjo's weak spot, and given enough years of normal use, it might fail. Fortunately the hooks are easily and cheaply replaced.

Considering what it's been through, I'd say this banjo's hardware is very reliable.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Haven't dealt with Deering.

I will say this: unlike my Gold Tone banjo--which had myriad cosmetic problems out of the factory that could only have been the result of low standards or negligence--the Deering banjo was obviously flawless when it left the factory.

Customer Service: 9

Components

As previously noted, this is the old style, which has the ugly shaped headstock, plain dotted fretboard, open tuners, and white tuner grips (the new ones have a fiddle headstock, attractive wood inlay, closed tuners, and chrome grips). Its greatest component drawbacks are:
-- lack of a tone ring
-- lack of an arm rest of any kind
-- j hooks and shoe angle that seem to facilitate bending over time
-- tuners that turn too easily, so that when the tuner is bumped, it goes out of tune (even leaning it against a wall can be a problem)

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

This banjo sounds better than expected, and even more surprisingly has excellent intonation up the neck.

Now that I've played this banjo, others in its price range, as well as my other better one, I'd say that the plain appearance and lack of features is why I wouldn't pay over $200 for this banjo (I would pay $250 for the current model, and $300 for the current Goodtime Special, which has a tone ring, arm rest, and fancier headstock detail).

$90 was a steal, even though it needed some lovin' after I rescued it.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by erikforgod (see all reviews from this person) on 7/11/2011

Where Purchased: Amazon.com ( Plainfield IN )

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 439 ($US)

Sound

I wanted to learn some clawhammer banjo so after careful research I decided to purchase this banjo. It sounds very bright and with considerable volume without the small towel that I placed in the back behind the coordinator rod...since then it has a much more mellow sound ( my wife and I live in an apartment ) The set up seemed very good right out of the box...it tunes well and I basically tuned it up and got right down to business. I was pleasantly surprised with the sound of the Deering frosted plastic head, I thought I would like the Fiberskyn better but I have grown to like this one!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The set up was great....it was clean and the action seemed adecuate. I noticed since coming to Argentina that maybe the banjo has changed slightly ( it was summer in the states when I bought it and winter here ) but since then it seems now to have adjusted and be about the same.....the humidity is very high here in Argentina. It sounds great and tracks well along the neck.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I really enjoy the natural blonde all blonde maple look of this banjo. Also the rosewood or oak natural hardwood inlays really look nice with all maple neck. I even enjoy the wood-burned "crow" label and Goodtime label in the peghead...it looks great! Very beautiful...simple but elegant and this is one of the things that attracted me to this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware seems of a very nice quality....nickel plated and it cleans well. It says the banjo weighs 4 pounds but I felt it might actually be closer to 5 or 5 1/2 it doesnt feel or look cheap at all but actually rather sturdy and the Sugar Maple that this banjo is made of is of very high quality....not to mention the maple ebony topped bridge. I would use it in small gigs or on stage with a good sound system to amplify the banjo a bit more. Not sure how it would cut through the mix in a group situation, but it is definately great as a "one man minstrel" type banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Carolina is very helpful ( talked to her twice over at Deering before this purchase...very coordial and nice....Janet hjas frequently appeared on the "Banjo hangout" and answered questions. I feel I would have no problem if help was needed.

Customer Service: 9

Components

I think Deering should allow you to choose either a Fiberskyn head or a frosted head. Not too mention...I kinda like the guitar style tuners...but I think they should offer this banjo with planets.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

A great banjo for the money....very satisfied!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by PeteG (see all reviews from this person) on 2/22/2011

Where Purchased: Eagle Music UK

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 280 (Pounds) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I am new to playing so a Banjo that makes you want to play even when that is repeating the same basic thing over and over was really important. This banjo sounds sweet even with my newbie strumming.
Difficult for me to rate as I am inexperienced. My banjo teacher banjo sounds better - but it cost a lot more and he can actually play.
The fact he likes the sound of my banjo says something,

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Set up fine, my banjo teacher had a play and approved so thats all good. Also got a free check up coming up back at Eagle music where they will ensure all is still good or tighten up settled in Banjo

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It is a thing of beauty. I now have a music stand in my living room and I just love picking up or looking at my Goodtime.
Everyone will tell you how the Goodtime is a pale wood looks basic and could be the banjo Ikea designed My house has plenty of Ikea in it so maybe that says somthing about me.
The banjo is straightforward and thats what I wanted - sounds good now concentrate on playing it! My Goodtime is the 2010 set up and has The Crow and a crow under the Goodtime. Looks nice but I would have been just as happy without the Crow special edition logo - it was all they had in stock as they sell so fast!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Only had it 3 weeks, but it feels solid and well made. Nothing about it feels "plasticky" or frail and I am sure if the dog doesn't knock it over it will be around as long as I am

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Can't praise Eagle too highly. Everyone is friendly and attentive. As soon as you walk in you are offered a brew and allowed to wander or get right into what you need. They also didn't try to upsell me beyond the Goodtime but advised me fairly so I should be happy for at least a couple of years. (heres hoping I get that good!)
I am going back in a few weeks for a check up and they have told me to call anytime for help.

Customer Service: 9

Components

It seems to me to be a good solid tuneful starter / intermediate banjo. It has the guitar tuners and I am certainly happy they do the job and look fine to me.
While I know there are things this banjo has not got. It sounds great and is well built. It seems the Deerings have invested in making a good basic banjo that will last rather than trying to add components that a more expensive banjo would have but having to then scrimp on materials and build quality. Thats the right approach for me.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I love my Goodtime, its helping me want to play and pick it up and it feels like great in my hands.
Cant see me ever getting rid of it and I feel great that I made a good choice.
I feel happy when I pick up my Goodtime so I guess that says it all.
At £280 including a gig bag, spare set of strings, strap, intro to banjo book, set of picks and an electronic tuner I feel it was very good value and it is essential to actually pick up the banjo and have a play and listen to someone play it who is good, before parting with your money - so this is one occasion where given the choice, I wouldn't buy over the net.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jberlau (see all reviews from this person) on 11/6/2010

Where Purchased: Eagle Music (GB)

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 369 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sound is good, a bit thin perhaps for an open back...Loudness good enough to drive the neighbours crazy and to be heard among other acoustic instruments.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Setup was done by Eagle Music and was almost perfect, action not too low, bridge placed absolutely correct.
This banjo does not have a truss rod, only one coordinator rod, therefore it might be difficult to set the action when necessary without deforming the wooden pot.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Wood is mountain maple, bow tie inlays, frosted Deering head...the typical Goodtime appearance. Simple but good.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Seems sturdy enough to last for a while...suitable for travel, outdor sessions etc. On a gig I should certainly have a second one around, if only for the possibility of a broken string...

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I once sent an email to Deering regarding strings - never got an answer, they do not seem to care...

Customer Service: 3

Components

No standout components as the instrument is build very basic to keep the price relatively low, updates could be a no-knot tailpiece, a different head perhaps...and definitively an armrest.
The banjo has a piezo pickup, with tends to give a lot of feedback when plugged into a guitar amp. Do not know how to avoid the feedback...

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

This is a good beginner`s and travel banjo, light weight, relatively easy to play and with a simple but nonetheless nice appearance.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by el gordo (see all reviews from this person) on 8/5/2010

Where Purchased: Mars music

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 330.00 ($US)

Sound

Sounds great for clawhammer.but I pick everything for scruggs style to rock , blues, clawhammer,Iplay everthing I know on it.I like cause its lite I can play it in the car bring it any where with me even on my motorcycle in the gig bag.Its not to loud but sound real good to me.and price good

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It was set up pretty well for a store bought banjer.When I had a shop set it up I had do it like the factory setup because I like it.The only thing I'd do is add a arm rest.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Its nothing fancy thats why I like it,I anit worried about takeing it with me where I go.very good finish on it,and its held up good for 8 years of abuse and playing the crap out of it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

So far after 8 years no problems with the hardware.The finish is still in very good shape.I can depend on this banjo very much its more dependable than the mailman

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had to deal with the company,but I ask Janet Deering question about it and she was very nice and answered every I ask(on the banjohangout)

Customer Service: 10

Components

I dont know about standout components but everthing has held up very well after 8 years of use(being played every day)and well constructed for the lowest priced banjo they make

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I lov my goodtime banjo it gets played more than any other instrument I own and I have some exspenive guitars and banjo (deering seirra)it dont sound better than the seirra but it still get the most use

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Bizdoc (see all reviews from this person) on 7/31/2010

Where Purchased: Janet Davis

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I like the sound of this, rather plunky, which I like. Loud enough to play with others, but the open back model is lower volume than my rsonator models, which is a benefit playing at home

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up well, good action, tail piece was high at my request for a plunky sound

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Wood is rather plain, however I have grown fond of the blond color, the inlays are attractive, and the head is a real improvement. The 3 ply rock maple rim is attractive. The lack of a fingerboard inset leaves the fingerboard the blond maple, plays fine, but when used to the dark finger boards of my other banjos it is sometimes surprisingly distracting. Lacks an Arm Rest.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I've found nothing on the unit that isn't reliable, even the guitar type tuners, that at one time I didn't like, are reliable and smooth.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The only issue I have is that there is no arm rest. I originally had a Vega arm rest added to the order, but found it to dig into my arm. I later ordered a Nechville wooden arm rest, which made a world of difference, now very comfortable.

the component rating is a little lower due to no arm rest

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I like this banjo very much. It is so light at 4 lbs. It picks up and plays effortlessly. This has become my player banjo. It's just so easy to play which is why I wanted this unit. I like the sound, love the low weight.

Get a good arm rest for this. I found the Nechville armrest to fit extremely well and made a big difference in playing this banjo.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Lizzie Lee (see all reviews from this person) on 7/4/2010

Where Purchased: Music Works, El Cerrito, CA

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: ~350 ($US)

Sound

Wonderful sounding banjo. When sitting around the living room or partaking in a small jam it can definitely hold its own....based on hearing others play it, as I am still working on increasing the volume of my playing :D I play Scruggs style and as long as I play the song correctly I get a clear, warm sound out of it!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup at time of purchase was very good. Since purchase I have had a spike installed at the 7th fret and now use a Hendricks bridge.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful blond maple gives it a very natural feel. At only 4 lbs it is light enough to take with you camping, to the park, any place you will want to have it with you in order to pick a little tune.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have had this banjo for over 2 years and the only problem I have had was that a couple of weeks ago the head broke. Luckily I was at the CBA's Father's Day Fest, where Deering had a booth, and they were able to replace it for me and tighten everything up...now it is good as new!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

see above....Deering is a wonderful company that should pride itself on it's exceptional customer service....not to mention the fact that they are just all around nice people!

Customer Service: 10

Components

would not change a thing

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is a fantastic banjo for the price! I would recommend it to anyone!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by asmcsgac (see all reviews from this person) on 1/23/2010

Where Purchased: BHO

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 125.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Received stock in used mint condition. Mainly Scruggs style picking. The selling price caused me to jump on it. Will use primarily for travel. For the money it has an impressive clean crisp sound with outstanding intonation at all positions. Hard to put down...perfect for playing by oneself.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Stock setup with only a minor action adjustment.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Unique look. Certainly nothing fancy at all. But if you haven't seen one before it will cause you to look twice.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Decent quality on the hardware. Gotoh geared fifth tuner works well. Stays in tune very well.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Dealt with the company before. Outstanding service and communication.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Construction materials lend to wonderful sound and good solid lightweight instrument.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Perfect for student, hard to beat sound for the price and USA made quality.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Rick McKeon (see all reviews from this person) on 11/18/2009

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music Company

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 379 ($US)

Sound

Great sound and volume for an open-back banjo. I have another banjo with a heavy brass tone ring. It has great sound, but is very heavy. I am not dissapointed in the sound of the Goodtime.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

JDMC did a great job on the setup. I had them put a Bart Veerman bridge on it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I love the look - bright and light.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The dove-tail head joint scares me a little bit, but as long as it doesn't come off, I'm happy.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

JDMC is great to deal with. They are always friendly and helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Good quality parts.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Just got my Goodtime banjo yesterday, and I am lovin' it. Great sound and volume. I especially like the weight. At 4 lbs. I can pick it up with one hand without effort. It makes banjo playing fun.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by tklassen (see all reviews from this person) on 11/18/2009

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It is not a bluegrass banjo, a muted sound, keeps peace in the household by not over powering all other sounds. Stays in tune, and is accurate up the neck.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

String height set to 3/16 above the 12th fret, head is tight enough that there is no sag under the bridge, the tailpiece is not adjustable. Installed RR spikes at 7, 9, 10, and 12 fret. It is a very playable banjo with little adjustment.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Simple, it is not eye candy, you get what you pay for. I love it.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Nothing much to go wrong, little hardware, guitar tuners, have carried and taken this banjo all over North America, very light it came with a fabric gig bag. Stays in tune, easy to play and will not cause the neighbours to complain.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Not applicable, nothing has gone wrong that would require service in 6 years

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nothing it is cool in itself.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Light, simple, playable, always have it at the ready. It is my main banjo inside the home and for personal travel. For the money invested it is a great value. I have never used it at a gig, but think about it once and awhile.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by gdoc (see all reviews from this person) on 10/27/2009

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music Store

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Wonderful banjo for bluegrass playing. Love the light weight. Loud, good tone, very good banjo. Sound rating if rated for banjos in that price range would be 10

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

The banjo was set up as I requested. I later changed to 1/2 bridge. String action is perfect now.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Blonde finish, simple. But that helps keep the cost down.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

I expect this banjo to outlast me.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Warranty is one year, but at this price I am surprised it even has a warranty. A couple emails to the company were answered the next day.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing outstanding except it is an excellent banjo in a price range anyone could buy. It could easily sell for much more.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

They keep the price down by skipping all the options. I'm adding an armrest and I will install side dots. I think it is good that they sell a no frills banjo, in order to sell a good quality banjo and a price anyone can buy. Frills can always be added.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Banjomagnus (see all reviews from this person) on 8/7/2009

Where Purchased: Ivor Mairants Musicentre

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 300 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Great for clawhammer. Pretty much plays itself. Clear and clucky with a farmyard feel.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Banjo was set up when bought and perfectly adequate. I put on some heavier gauge strings, a denser bridge (make unknown) and it has a deeper more mellow sound now.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

I love it - modern, fresh, plain and very cool.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

You can take this anywhere.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had to contact Deering.

Customer Service: 5

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Would recommend to anyone wanting a great banjo to learn clawhammer. It'll be a long time before you want to upgrade from this banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by DENNISNDODIE (see all reviews from this person) on 1/30/2009

Where Purchased: Willis Music

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 199.00 ($US)

Sound

Sounds good a little flat up the neck but good for the price.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Good

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Looks good maple throughout which is what I like

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Tuners are not great but do the job. Have to adjust quit often

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

No experience in this area

Customer Service: 5

Components

Ebony tip on bridge has came unglued and the tuners are not great also would like a better nut. For the price and playability its great.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I recommend this for a knock around banjo or for a beginner.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by Hillbilly Gypsies (see all reviews from this person) on 11/27/2008

Where Purchased: Lanning music

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: About $350 New historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is a VERY good low priced, American made open back banjo.. It's an excellent starter/travel banjo. Has good tone and is very light in weight. I would have to say that I personally prefer the tone of the open back good \time banjos over the bluegrass style resonator models.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

The banjo wasn't exactly set up when I got it.. I had to adjust the intonation right off the bat. I have since done a TON of changes and have totally customized this banjo almost to the point that you would never know that it started out as a goodtime. Please check out my BHO profie for pics. This is a GREAT banjo for customizing and it is very easy to work with and alot of fun too!

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Very simple design. Not the prettiest banjo on earth. I'm not at all a fan of the gigantic peg head!! (This is why I totally customized mine) All in all a great banjo though.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

It has held up to many camping and beach trips. It is my camp/beater banjo and I don't use this one for gigs. I just can't hold up to the abuse my heavy heavy handed clawhammer style in the live setting.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

No experience with customer service.. Never had a need for it :)

Customer Service: 5

Components

Not a very stand out instrument more of a good quality, simple, reliable, cost friendly banjo! A real bang fer yer buck! I would recommend a tailpiece upgrade right away.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Highly recommended! Excellent quality for the price. I wouldn't worry too much if stolen because of the price. I like the light weight travel friendly factor too. GREAT starter or backup instrument. A whole lot of fun to modify, customize and hot rod these little banjers!

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by pluckyfingers (see all reviews from this person) on 9/22/2008

Where Purchased: EF Productions

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 329 ($US)

Sound

Has a "real "banjo sound and can be made brighter or duller depending on what you want it to sound like. The family commented on how nice it sounded on the first day I had it. It sounds even better now.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Played well straight out of the box. Bright and clear with perfect action for both bluegrass and clawhammer. Changed the head to a renaisance and bridge to moon light and tailpiece to a no knot. $50 worth all up and worth it. Easy to modify and play around with.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

All in perfect condition. Well made banjo with no imperfections. A local luthier commented on the build quality.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

After a year everything works well. The tuners stay in tune, no finish blemishes and wood solid as a rock.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Greg Deering sounds like a very nice person.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I like the lightness and comfort factor of this banjo. After all it is often touted as a travel banjo, but it is much more than that, it is a cleverly made American banjo made by a great company.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Would replace it. Get one at the lowest price you can and don't feel guilty taking it out. If you want a "real" banjo sound in a real instrument at an affordable price this is one of the best you can get. This banjo is the T Model Ford of banjos they only come in one colour, not black.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Bernie P. (see all reviews from this person) on 7/5/2008

Where Purchased: Mtn Music Old Forge NY

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: $300 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has excellent sound considering the price.Easily the best in it's price range and better than many costing considerably more.With a good setup it holds up well when playing up the neck but cant stand with pro level banjos in this area.All in all real nice sound for either Scruggs style or clawhammer.I base the sound rating on the price range/others in its class.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Al Worthen is the owner of the shop where I bought it and one of only four "Master Deering dealers" in the USA.He's a very skilled luthier and does a great job setting up all the instruments in his shop.He likes his customers to bring their banjos back after a couple months of playing to check and make any adjustments if needed.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's a very basic looking banjo.No fancy inlays or woods are used.Pretty much all maple.I'm not real crazy about the peghead shape but otherwise it looks pretty good.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Theres not a whole lot that could go wrong with such a simple design-so far so good.The tuners are simple geared units and hold tune very well.All the other hardware is holding up fine to.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

I've never had a problem so I cant comment on dealing with Deering/warranty issues.From what I hear they are great to deal with and stand behind their products.Same goes for Al at Mtn. Music.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nothing fancy here.All the components are well made and should last a long time.All parts are made in the USA.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This is an excellent banjo to start out on and a keeper to knock around with should you decide to upgrade to a pro level banjo later.It's a quality banjo regardless of its basic,simple design with great sound.I do wish the neck was a bit meatier to fit my hand better but othwise I'm very happy with it.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by pinenut (see all reviews from this person) on 1/2/2008

Where Purchased: pawn shop

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

skin head sounds good. changed to amber and it sounds great

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

non-existant as purchased. its good now

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

this is an old goodtime the pot has curl all around inside and out

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

built tough

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

does not apply. Deering builds a product worth standing behind

Customer Service: 8

Components

CHANGE OUT THE GUITAR TUNERS THAT WORK FINE AND LOOK BAD for some geared banjo tuners. warning: must enlarge holes.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Good starter banjo. I do love it. plays true action ok

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by kevinl (see all reviews from this person) on 8/15/2007

Where Purchased: Local paper

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 200 ($US)

Sound

Sounds great I like to play clawhammer style, nice bright sound .

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up was pretty good I tightened the head a little.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Plain Styling, Very clean apperance which is good for my taste.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems like you could paddle a canoe with it and it would still play.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have not dealt with Deering yet.???

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Tuners are kind of cheap but they work well (What do you expect for $200 ?)

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone.I would cry if someone stole it.The first time I played it I knew it was a keeper .I like its natural wood look.I dont have to much to compare it to besides a Fender fb54 (nice firewood). .All in all it is a very nice banjo for the price paid.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by flowerofthewest (see all reviews from this person) on 1/21/2007

Where Purchased: Deering Banjo Company

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 700 ($US)

Sound

This is an open back banjo. It is quite an amazing little banjo. No tone ring so the sound is not really loud, but loud enough for playing with friends and practicing alone.
The original set up is good enough for me. It sounds bright and plunky. For what it is and the price paid, the sound is great. I am very happy with it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was purchased in April and sat in my friend's house until December when I visited and opened her up. The set up was spot on.
No changes made. Just tuned her up and gave her a good run.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I bought a Special Edition banjo (hence the higher price). Greg Deering make 8 special necks for the Goodtime - walnut inlays on the peghead and down the neck. It looks much fancier than the traditional Goodtime. i had the better tuners put on the banjo instead of the stock ones they put on. Also had the railroad spikes added. I quite like the look of the banjo. It's very different from the others I have.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Yes, the hardware should last. I had the upgraded hardware added to the banjo. The finish is good for the banjo that it is. I imagine the finish will wear easier than better banjos, but hey, it's a Goodtime!
I would not use it gigging; it's a bit too quiet for that.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have not dealt with them yet. It is under warranty.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Because it's a Special Edition banjo, it has really cute wanut inlays down the neck and a custom floral walnut inlay on the peghead.
I think the hardware on it is fine for the banjo that it is.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

If you want a reliable little banjo that has been smartened up a it, Yes!
I love it!
Because it's a Special Edition, I doubt I could find another like it. I would write Greg Deering and ask him to make me another.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by brewmaster (see all reviews from this person) on 1/15/2007

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: $270 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sounds good to me for the price. Not very bright or deep. Sound goes downhill fast past the 10th or so fret.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Action was set pretty high bridge was out of wack and the head was waaaaay too loose....but I did buy it used so I can't blame deering for that. It was all easy to fix.

It did come with Mastertone D-tuners which is nice as the stock tuners are pretty cheap.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

It aint pretty but it aint ugly. Plain jane is more like it.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Like a rock.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never called Deering so I have no idea.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

It would have made being a beginer easier if it had neckside dots. Everything else was fine.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by pinch (see all reviews from this person) on 12/27/2006

Where Purchased: eBay

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 256 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sounds like a banjo.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The head badly needed tightening when I received it, but that was easy to do. Otherwise the banjo has been just fine.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Looks like a banjo (from Ikea).

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I don't think the Goodtime has a finish or if it does it is not obvious. Either way, it suits me fine.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

All the advice one could ever want is available at info@deeringbanjos.com or (619)464-8252. I never plucked a banjo string before receiving my Goodtime. The folks at Deering were very helpful to this newbie.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tuners could be better, but they are quite adequate. Everything else is fine. I added an armrest which seemed to be a necessary addition for me. I attached a leather strap. Because the instrument is so light I just used a strap from one of my wife's old purses.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I *love* this banjo and recommend it to anyone, especially someone just getting started. It is light so I'll take it anywhere including vacations. I keep mine at work so I can practice at breaktime. Buy this banjo for quality at a low price and low weight which makes it easy to grab and play.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Certassar (see all reviews from this person) on 6/2/2006

Where Purchased: Eagle Music Shop UK

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: appx. 250 (pound sterling) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Mellow and pleasant, a bit weak above the 12th fret. Lacks the twang and pop of tone-ring banjos, but the wooden sound has its own charm. Low volume but very balanced sound. Being an open-back it’s easily muted with a small towel stuck between the cordinator rod and the head, making it very silent while keeping good tone and pitch.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Action was a bit high, but easily lowered. Otherwise no need for changes (except for the addition of an arm rest).

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Probably the ugliest banjo ever produced by a professionel banjo manufacturer. However, the unpretentious appearance is a powerful statement telling you, that all the money went into quality and nothing else. It’s ugly and it’s supposed to be! That makes it a very honest banjo, and it has my respect.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Despite the low price it’s a really reliable banjo. It keeps the tuning fairly well. Being very light weight it’s not as fragile as other banjos and could probably take a lot of beatings and bruises without suffering too much. Perfect for beginners and travellers.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Ordered it in the EagleMusic web shop and received the banjo about a few weeks after. No problems.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Expectations should normally be set low, when considering a banjo in this price range, but Deering really know their stuff. The components are plain, the wood is multi-ply composite, the tuners are geared guitar style tuners, it only has 16 bracket hooks, and so on. But still it works perfectly and the result is a nice sounding work horse of a banjo. The fret board is surprisingly accurate making it enjoyable to play even for advanced pickers. The only problem in my opinion is the lack of an arm rest. If you consider buying a Goodtime, then be sure to order a Vega style arm rest as well.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Having both a Goodtime and a Sierra there is no question about which of my two banjos has the best sound, but it’s still the Goodtime that gets picked the most. Its light weight and low volume makes it so easy to just pick it up at any time and anywhere. It’s perfect as a beginners banjo, and a perfect companion for the more advanced picker who need a banjo for traveling, singing around the camp fire, or just some casual picking. I can’t imagine anyone ever regretting buying a Deering Goodtime.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 3/15/2006

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 280 ($US)

Sound

It has a smooth, mellow sound. Although it's an open back...no resonator, no tone ring....it has adequate sound. It came with a factory-installed pickup. I plan to team it with a Behringer ACX-100 60-watt acoustic amp for gigs.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Banjo was set up ok when I bought it. I got it from a music store, where it had been an occasionally-used demo for 3 years. Although the dealer told me the (original) strings were fine, they weren't. I put on new strings and now it's fine. No other adjustments or setup needed.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The Deering Goodtime banjo is deliberately plain in appearance. This one has factory-applied teal green paint, which gives it a "different" look....very distinctive.

It's also very light...4 lbs. My previous banjo weighed about 5 times as much.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The rock maple construction will last a good long time. It stays in tune and holds up under heavy use. It's a Deering...I expect it to provide dependable use for years.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I've got a 1-year warranty.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The guitar-type tuners work well. The factory-installed pickup works well. Overall, a good, solid banjo.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo for the type of music I play...basic bluegrass, folk, and Irish songs in the Key of C. I don't do a lot of fancy picking...just basic Scruggs-style picking.

This is not a banjo for a bluegrass picker. But if you're a casual banjo player like me, whose main instrument is guitar, and you use the banjo to switch off to when the song is appropriate, this is a great instrument.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by BigRedWarEagle (see all reviews from this person) on 3/9/2006

Where Purchased: Ken Stanton Music

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 199 ($US)

Sound

Amazing sound for the price. I got the open back model because I already have a Huber Vintage on order, but I'll be keeping this one as my camping banjo.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up quite well - didn't require many adjustments

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

I love the simplistic look. Doesn't try to be more than it is...love it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Tuners are pretty poor, but it's not an expensive banjo so I didn't expect much.

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

I've always had good experiences with Deering's representatives when calling for the history behind my banjos (told me a load about my Maple Blossom)

Customer Service: 10

Components

Good stuff except for the tuners

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I adore this banjo - it's inexpensive and sounds sweet. I pat myself on the back every time I play it.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 9/9/2005

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 190 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Can't complain, fairly loud, nice tone
it sounds the way I want it to sound

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was sold "AS IS" and not set up

I set it up myself, it wasn't hard.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

I LIKE the way it looks, simple and functional

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I don't see what can go wrong with it

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

This was sold "AS IS" and not set up. Elderly told me what was needed and how to do it, and I've always been happy dealing with Deering

Customer Service: 10

Components

I put a Moon Bridge and a Ren head on it, and I put a Vega style arm-rest on it
The changes were made because I wanted to, not because I needed to. It is a solid instrument

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This is the banjo that I pick up and play everyday, I take it with me when I go places.
If anything happened to it I would get another.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by CrippleCreek (see all reviews from this person) on 6/1/2005

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 250 est ($US)

Sound

Good sound for price.

Sound Rating: 6

Setup

Well made. Changed bridge.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Very spartan looks. Unique though.

Appearance Rating: 4

Reliability

Very reliable.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

VERY easy to play and fret. Comfortable.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Excellent first banjo and use it to take with you due to its light weight.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 5/12/2005

Where Purchased: Folk of the Wood

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 250 ($US)

Sound

This is one of the best sounding banjos I've ever heard. I do a lot of frailing and this is the perfect banjo. Also, I'm currently learning Scrugg style and this banjo is perfect for that too. I bought this banjo as a beginning/intermediate piece and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up was perfect when I got the banjo. I did not need to change a thing.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I like the natural maple look of the Goodtimes. So I'd have to say the look is great. I've had mine for a few years now and the maple is starting to turn a bit yellowish and a bit darker, which is in stark contrast to the white maple look when it was new. I like the look of the maple as it ages.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This thing is solid (even though it's pretty light). I've got small kids and you can only imagine what they've spilled on it. My son drew on the peghead with crayons and I was able to clean everything up very easily. The finish is still great. This banjo gets played every day and it is holding up just fine.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had any issues so I have not had to contact customer service. But just browsing through the Folk of the Wood web site, they seem very customer oriented. They have lots of good advice for the beginner and have a really great Q&A area that I have found helpful on item unrelated to this banjo.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Maple neck and rim are solid. Tuners are fine, they are guitar style but work well. I've seen people change out the tuners for Planetary style for a different look but everything that comes on the Goodtime is of a good quality. There is no weak link.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend (in fact I have) this banjo for anyone who is looking for a good beginner/intermediate banjo. I've been looking to upgrade to a more "professional" openback banjo and the only intrument that I've found that has a better feel and sound than the Goodtime is the Deering Vega 2. Everything else I've played has not been as nice to play as the Goodtime. This banjo is so well put together that I probably will never get rid of it. And if it was lost or stolen, I would definitely buy another one.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by garyblanchard (see all reviews from this person) on 3/10/2005

Where Purchased: EF Productions Music & Sound

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 225 ($US)

Sound

Nice bright sound (actually a bit too bright for my taste). I am putting on a fiberskyn head and raising the tailpiece to make it a little plunkier. The volume is great for the music I play.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was well set-up when I got it. All I needed to do was tune and start playing. The action is nice, not too high and no buzzing strings.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I love the look of the Goodtime. The light colored wood on the body, neck and fretboard have an inviting look. The woodburned logo suits my sensibilities and i love the art-deco headstock.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This will be my prome banjo, and I'm expecting it to hold out well.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I lost out on the warranty by not buyimg from an authorized dealer, but my every contact with the folks at Deering has been outstanding. Very friendly, courteous, and helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

There is nothing on this banjo that I would "upgrade." The only real change will be the fiberskyn head.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have tried a number of openback banjos, ranging in price from $200 to $2,500. This is the banjo that most met my needs. I feel it is a great bargain at the price and is a nicely constructed banjo. I would reccomend it to anyone!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Eric123 (see all reviews from this person) on 2/5/2005

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 305 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I love the sound of this banjo. I started playing (clawhammer style) a month ago on a $100 dollar import banjo and the difference in sound quality and resonance is unbeliveable. I can get much more volume with a lighter touch on my Goodtime. It came with a gig bag, an armrest, and professionally installed capo spike on three frets.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was set up for a three finger player and the action was too high for my taste, so I adjusted it to a lower setting, re-tuned it and that was it.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Some people do not like the untradtional look of the Goodtime but I think it is pretty cool.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

This feels like a really solid banjo. I have not had any of the strings give off that anoying buzz like my import banjo did.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All parts seem solid and well put togethor.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I have never played any other banjos other than My Goodtime and my cheapo. But I listened to a lot of sound clips from other banjos before I decided on the Goodtime. I do not think you will find a better sounding banjo than the Goodtime for under a thousnad dollars. IMO

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by heyjude (see all reviews from this person) on 10/22/2003

Where Purchased: Ebay auction

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 240.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I love the sound of this banjo. Plunkety, plunkety, learning clawhammer on it.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

I didn't do anything after i got it but tune it and play it. I did check Deering's website to learn how to check the set up and everything was right up to spec.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Very simplistic, not much to go wrong or get out of kilter. The Zippo of banjos. Not a classic or traditional look but it grows on you. I like it!

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I think you could paddle a canoe with this banjo, it's tough. Definately my choice for hard use: picnics, camping, outdoor jams, canoe triips, whatever.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Bought used, haven't dealt with the company.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Components are plain jane but should last as long as the expensive, fancy stuff. Nothing on it that I would change.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I got three banjos and this one is played the most. I keep it by the computer so I grab it while waiting for downloads. I stays out where I can grab it anytime. Everybody should have one.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 10/9/2003

Where Purchased: KSM Guitars

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 250.00 ($US)

Sound

As a teacher I was looking for a banjo I could afford to purchase and rent out to students who want to try the banjo but don't want to buy one. Naturally, I want the banjo to sell them on playing the banjo so it has to be emminantly playable and sound nice as well.. Tall order for a cheap banjo but this one fits the bill! Very nice, mellow, old timey sound, clean and breezy. Likes=Cheap, excellent playability rivaling many in the multi-thousand dollar catagory, nice tone and very effectively turns novices into banjo players, just as I hoped it would. Dislikes= Not particularly beautiful, especially the headstock and the fingerjoint used to attach the headstock, other than that not much to dislike here.
(Note.. in the numerical ratings I'm going to rate this as compared to others of similar price..)

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Every one I've purchased so far has been set up very well. I haven't had to tweak one yet. It comes with an adjustable tailpiece and neck so tweaking will be a breeze if it becomes necessary.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The body is maple and cedar laminate (I think) and the neck is rock maple with no additional fingerboard. About as basic as they come. The clear satin finish looks nice and the neck is very fast. The only thing I don't like is the headstock is kind of large and cheesy looking and a readily apparent fingerjoint was used to attach it.. Minor complaint.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Impressinve hardware. Geared tuners. Been using 'em for a year now and they're holding up very nicely.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I'm a longtime Deering fan. My main instrument is a Deering Calico and I love it, but I've never had the need to interact with them.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nice tuners for a banjo in this pricerange. Fast, comfortable neck. No complaints.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I absolutely and whole heartedly recommend this bango to anyone who wants a nice playing, nice sounding banjo and has less than $500.00 to spend. I think you'd have to pay a thousand or more to get anything with similar performance. I love it because it does just what I hoped it would which is generate enthusiasm in a beginning banjo player. In this price range there is nothing like it.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 10/8/2003

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Nice bright sound, as good as any other banjo in it's price range.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Easy to fret, particularly for those with small hands. Action is easy, and easily changed.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nice clear finish without flaws. I don't care for the IKEA type styling or fingerjoint at the neck/headstock.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Quality components and workmanship. Seems as durable as any.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

None needed.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The stock guitar type tuners on this banjo were replaced with planetary tuners, the stock head was replaced with an Elite head, and a Vega armrest was added.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I recommend this as a good learning banjo which you can reasonably expect to graduate from at the point when you get out to play with others and need more volume. It's a nice sounding banjo to practice with when you don't want to drive others from the house with a louder banjo. I personally do not prefer it's looks, but it's a good player. It works well for both frailing and 3 finger picking.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Buzzard (see all reviews from this person) on 4/27/2003

Where Purchased: mucisians friend-mailorder

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 200.00 ($US)

Sound

surprisingly loud for an openback & to my uneducated ear a bit tinny i bought it to learn basics & some clawhammer. I like the tone of it better when i plunk & strum over the last few frets. when i use picks & attempt some rolls it really has snap & rings well picked in a more conventional spot

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

the banjo was well set up to be a cheesegrater out of the box. wouldent play in tune very high action (but thats what i get for buying mailorder from a guitar shop i guess) Jerry from the Prescott Folklore Center ajusted the action, tightened the neck, set the bridge properly, trimmed the fret ends, & installed a couple of spikes for me. very easy to finger now

Setup Rating: 2

Appearance

personally it beats the tar out of my old harmony as far as looks goes. i like the look of raw wood. the grain pattern is easy for me to see & it looks like decent quality maple. there really is no finish to speak of so therefor no flaws in that & the hardware is in very good shape, no rust or pitting. it dosent feel cheap.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

there is a bit of slop in the 5th string tuner & im not wild about the guitar tuners but they do operate smoothly on the whole & do stay in tune. i like the feel of the satin finish on the neck & now that its properly set up i wouldent be afraid to play on it anytime anywhere

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

warrenty was good for a year from the factory & it was past that when i moved to Prescott & found my banjo guru

Customer Service: not rated

Components

at this price for the quality i got (other than the set-up which i believe now was a fluke) i think its more than a good deal. i would upgrade the tuners eventually

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

i wouldent hesitate to recommend this banjo to anyone looking for a starter. altho i must say that where i used to live there wasnt much in the way of quality student type openback banjos to choose from (Phoenix). now that ive had an oppertunity to plunk on plenty of other banjos, my big hands might choose something with a fatter neck.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by fbanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 12/10/2002

Where Purchased:

Year Purchased:
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Customer Service: 7

Components

Components Rating: 5

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by Unknown on 9/5/2002

Where Purchased: folkofthewood.com

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: ($US)

Sound

Imagine the difference between Kathleen Turner and Lisa Simpson. Which one gives you a visceral response? Well, the Goodtime is up for it, warm and woodsy.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Dialed in and ready to go! Way easier than the Mail Order ones you get from Sinoasia. I pulled it out, started strumming, and phew...the vibrant melodies put the room into a hedonistic intensity.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Appearance is not important when you're reaching for the soul.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

Just like people, reliability is subject to luck, care, and love. It will be past on to multiple generations.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Entertainment gives us what we want. Art gives us what we don't know that we want.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

But what's with all the mp3 and real audio's of banjo samples? How can we be sure the samples are presented in a consistent recording and compressions standard. I'd like to see a matrix of different models that are presented so that accurate comparisons can be made to the sound.

Music is to the soul as making love is to Joanne. Qualification, criteria, criticisms, judgements are moot now, because we belong to each other. Absolute forgiveness and unconditional love...

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Foucault (see all reviews from this person) on 8/28/2002

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 295 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has a beautiful, warm sound. I use it for playing bluegrass and clawhammer styles and it sounds great both ways, even without a resonator (I have the open-back model.) You can get a good contrast between playing quietly and loudly.

If considering buying, I recommend playing several if possible. There was quite a difference between the four different banjos I had to choose between. Hearing them played by someone else helped me choose the right one for me.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I haven't needed to change the setup one bit. The action seems just right. Adjustments seem easy to make.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The look of this instrument is what puts a lot of people off. It doesn't particularly look traditional. I consider it to be a "beautiful blond" - if Ikea made banjos, they'd probably look like this!

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

It really looks and feels well-made and solid. I don't think Greg Deering would allow something that was going to fall apart quickly, to leave his factory.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I really can't rate Deering's customer service, since I haven't had reason to contact them. The banjo has a one year warranty. Elderly's sales people, on the other hand, were great. Because I hadn't played before, they found a salesperson who could play several banjos for me, so I could "audition" them.

Customer Service: 9

Components

This is a very basic instrument, with no frills. The tuners seemed a little insubstantial, in comparison to my Taylor Big Baby guitar.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I love this banjo! It's fun to play, and you can't beat the price. Thoroughly recommended for a beginner's instrument or as a backup or travel instrument. I'd buy another if this one was stolen (and my wife would let me!)

I would say that this is the banjo equivalent of the Taylor Big Baby guitar - a quality instrument, made well, but stripped of the frills that make an instrument expensive.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 4/23/2002

Where Purchased: Mike's Music Supply, Flintstone, GA

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 250 ($US)

Sound

Incredible sound, esp. for an open-backed banjo, and the price. It's bright, and plenty loud. Am a novice, but more experienced folks have told me this is a really good sounding banjo.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Haven't had to change a thing, yet. A pro might need to tweak, but it seems about perfect to me.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's simple, no resonator, but doesn't look cheap. Nice light natural wood finish. Nickel plating on the tension hoop is slightly pitted in places (more by feel than sight.)

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Seems extremely solid and well made. The 5th peg tuner seems to have a little play in the knob.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Haven't had long enough to have any problems :-) but Deering has impressed me with their approach to building banjos. Took more than 6 months for the requested Maintenance Manual to arrive, however, Deering's website (www.deeringbanjos.com) has the same info and lots more besides.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Probably the best thing about the Goodtime is that it is an inexpensive banjo, but it doesn't use plastic like some similarly priced banjos from overseas. It has an adjustable coordinator rod and tailpiece, and a maple rim. It uses guitar-style tuners.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I don't think you'll find a better

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 2/22/2002

Where Purchased: Boe's Strings

Year Purchased: 2000
Price Paid: $325 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I'm a frailer and was really eyeing a '64 Gibson that had been on the rack for a while. When I picked up the Goodtime II, I couldn't believe the feel and the sound: soft and rich. I haven't even given a thought to taking the resonator off, although it is available in open backed on the Deering WEB page.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set-up perfectly when I bought it. New strings were all that it needed and slight shift in the bridge location.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo has a very peculiar look: blonde and beautiful. Looks almost like birds-eye maple with the logo branded on.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I'd prefer to have the more traditional Gibson-like tuners, not the open gear, guitar style like this has. A hook to slide the fifth string up to the 7th fret for playing in A/D modal tunings would be another bonus, but what do you want for 325 bucks and a gig bag?

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Deering has a very good WEB page on maintenance and such, but the only extent to which I have contacted them.

Customer Service: 8

Components

See reliability comments. It stays in tune, even though it's probably time to tighten up the head after 2 years of playing around.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Looks and feels like a steal to me, especially since the other review on this banjo was $150 more than what I paid.

Great feel, sound and overall very nice toy.

Overall Rating: 9

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