Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

388
Banjo Lovers Online


Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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!

6918 reviews in the archive.

Deering  Goodtime II  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by crburtner (see all reviews from this person) on 4/30/2017

Where Purchased: Deering

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I think it sounds great! Of course, I'm new to the banjo (been playing for three months) but there is nothing cheap in the sound this instrument makes. It has a solid and reliable tone, given that I didn't spend a fortune on my first banjo.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

From the factory, this was ready to go out of the box with a little tuning. Actually, it was just that easy! I added a strap from Lakota Leather (highly recommend!) It was easy to remove the resonator and attach the strap.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I think the blonde maple is really gorgeous! It may be a bit bold, but it is such a distinctive feature of the instrument.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The finish is great! Deering has a great video on-line of how the Goodtime banjos are made- check it out! There may be one or two spots that look just a little bit uneven, but I can't tell if that is the wood or the finish. Everything about this instrument is pretty solid. I find that the tuners keep the instrument in-tune, I have to tune fairly infrequently.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

N/a. Under warranty for a few years, I think.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

These are probably appropriate for the price point, but there is nothing so cheap that detracts from the playing experience. In fact, everything fits together so well with this instrument. The instrument has 16 shoe brackets, which may contribute to bringing the cost down. The soft case I purchaserd from Deering with the instrument works nicely for my light use.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I am new, so take this review based on my limited experience and knowledge. However, I couldn't be happier that I spent my money on this beginner instrument. Deering is a wonderful company. It took 4 weeks to receive my instrument from the factory, but that is because they build them as needed. I had spikes put on for an additional $30, and the customization was great. So, I didn't mind the wait time. I can see how a cheaply made and cheaply-sounding instrument could deter the beginner, but I truly feel inspired to continue to learn on this quality instrument. While I'm sure it's not the most profound banjo out there, for the money and for the beginner, it can't be beat!  

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by SouthCreek (see all reviews from this person) on 9/7/2016

Where Purchased: Deering Supplier, Australia

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 1200 (AUS) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The Goodtime II was my first banjo. I initially came to the banjo because I wanted to learn how to play Scruggs classic - and Scruggs style in general. But as I ventured the world of Bluegrass, I came in to contact with various other styles of playing and adopted those into my repertoire. This banjo was able to accomodate everything from Scruggs and Reno to Jens Krugger and Steve Martin. This banjo can be mellow with great sustain or bright and crackly - with a surprising amount of snap considering it doesn't have a tone ring. A head tension of 91 provides the best sound to my ears. The sound is well ballanced across the fret board and the highs have a vibrant quality. Just don't expected the Goodtime II to be as "loud" as a higher end tone ring banjo and you won't be dissapointed.

The lack of tonering results in a more "woody" sound, but the soud is special on its own. Every now and then I'll put down my higher-end Deering Banjo and play the Goodtime, just for that woody sound and feel.

I replaced the Goodtime bridge and tailpiece with a Deering True Tone and Deering Bridge and this improved the qualities of the banjo even more.

As to my own liking , I have always used medium gauge strings.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was fine. Over time I adjusted the setup to suit my player style.

I also added a Shubb sliding capo. That was a fine decision, but I prefer properly installed spikes. I found the Shubb made it difficult to frett the 5th string due to added width on the neck, even though I have big hands.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I'm not a fan of the Fiddle Shaped Peghead or the blonde wood. The fiddle head appears at odds with the rest of the banjo and the blonde finger board shows up a lot of dirt. The flange design is also very bland. However, I wouldn't expect to see a gold flange in this price range.Greg deering sought to make a "good" banjo affordable and that's exactly what he did. For what this banjo sounds like, I really can't complaina out cosmetics.

The inlays do match the simplicity of the woody sound.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

This banjo is solid, but lacks finish. There is visible wear on the neck where the banjo has been suspended from a neckstrap. Aside from looking dirty and worn over time, I see this banjo sitting in my living room 50 years from now, sounding just as great - if not better as the violin grade maple rim ages.

The tuning pegs don't feel quite as solid as the rest of the banjo, but they do keep things in tune (no slip).

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Never dealt with the company. Got the banjo through a local store, via Australian Deering supplier.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The standout component is the slender neck. The neck is highly playable; it feels amazing.

The maple is high grade.

The tuning pegs feel weak and they are cheap. Some heavier Deering planetary tuning pegs would go a long way - but the Goodtime II pegs are not readily swappable due to peg hole size differences.

This banjo is very light weight. I get a surprise every time I lift it, after weeks of playing my heavier tonering banjo.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The Goodtime II was my first banjo. Even beyond its price range, this banjo sets the standard for how good banjos are made. Due to its playability and brilliant sound, this was the perfect banjo to start learning on. I have since progressed to a much higher-end Deering banjo and chose to remain with the company even after hearing hundreds of other banjos played. The Deering quality and sound is truly...enDearing. 

This banjo has been signed by Greg Cahill, John Simpson and Lauren Grundy. 

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Sheepses (see all reviews from this person) on 8/8/2013

Where Purchased: Thomann musikhaus

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 551 (euro) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

i love the sound it makes, a ready rich and bright sound!

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

when it arrived it was setup very well, only needed to tune it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

it has the wooden bowtie inlays which look good the rest looks very basic.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

So far i've not been able to play other banjo's and this one will last for a while i'm sure.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

not dealt with deering (yet)

Customer Service: 10

Components

i am going to change the bridge but the other parts are very well built

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

i love it!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Matthew Reis (see all reviews from this person) on 3/23/2011

Where Purchased: Woody's Music

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This banjo has a great sound for the money. I'd give it a 7.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

I haven't made any setup changes.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

The light maple is a little bold at first, but you get used to it.

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

This is a reliable banjo for the money.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I'm not very happy with Deering customer service. It was difficult to get them to answer my questions.

Customer Service: 2

Components

This might be a rare thing, but there are cracks in the rim. After only about two years, I have to replace the rim. I'm disappointed with this rim.

Components Rating: 4

Overall Comments

This is a good banjo for the money that you spend. I don't think I'd ever buy a Deering again, but that's just my opinion. If you like the Goodtime II, you would be buying a good banjo.

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by revellfa (see all reviews from this person) on 5/28/2010

Where Purchased: Guitar Room, Martinsburg WV.

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 365 ($US)

Sound

She had a great punch sound much like the old Gibson kalamazoo banjos of the 1930s.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

This was the most well set up, easily playable banjo that I have ever owned. The fingerboard was absolute butter! The adjustability of this banjo is amazing. The coordinator rod scheme is like a cross between a Nechville and the older Japanese Alum. rim banjos. Quite fascinating. The easiest banjo I have ever played.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Well, for what it is it was great. The natural finish kinda grows on you after a while. The peghead design has also grown on me. You either like them or you don't and I like them.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The hardware was fine. The lack of a truss rod bothered me a little bit. Time will tell how the necks hold up in the future. I'm sure that in the future they will be regarded as very reliable instruments.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Never had to deal with Gregg and Janet.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The best component was the neck--very easy to play. The tuners and tailpiece could have probably been a bit better but they can always be upgraded later. However I do think these are like the old Kalamazoo banjos--just leave em' like they are and appreciate em' for what they are.

The multi-ply birch rim on these older ones are pretty good. I've learned to appreciate them as they do produce a great bright tone.

Overall, for the price, a real winner!

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

One of the best banjos for the bucks on the market. At home with any playing style--equally at home with two-finger, clawhammer, and bluegrass. If anybody ever stole it, I'd...Oh wait, I already sold it (and even made a little money on it too!) I do however wish that I would have kept this banjo, they are developing a "cult following."

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by Ohio Senator (see all reviews from this person) on 6/6/2009

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The Goodtime is a great deal for the money.
They JUST upgraded the pot to a 3 ply maple, which is unbelievable for the price, and I'm anxious to hear what the new models sound like.
I love the sound of wood minus the tonering, and this banjo has great old timey flavor, if a little bright.
I used it on one track of an album I was cutting when i wanted that slanky old time sound.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

It was set up well, and easy to adjust

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Its simple and pleasing, but they also JUST upgraded the headstock and headstock inlays, as well as upgrading the fretboard inlays to walnut bowties. That is unreal!
Made of unstained satin maple throughout otherwise, its smooth and fast.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The guitar tuners never gave me any trouble and held their tune well (better than my Telecaster!). Was definitely dependable, i even played out with it for a few months while awaiting my Vega Bluegrass Senator.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Deering's cust service is unbeatable, and the warranty on these has been increased to 6 years.

Customer Service: 8

Components

The new upgrades are hard to fathom at the price.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I owned a cheap chinese banjo (maybe $3-400 value) 5-6 years ago that I never really played because I thought I didn't like the way banjos sounded and it was rough to play due to poor quality. I eventually sold it and never really expected to try banjo again.  A couple of years ago was playing drums in a band, and we didn't need any percussion on a particular track, but I thought a banjo would be a nice addition so I borrowed a Goodtime II. I haven't played drums since that day two years ago, believe it or not.  I was the banjo player in the band from then on.


Not only is the entire Goodtime line a great choice for a beginner, I think that its the only way most people should go for a first banjo.
SO many people end up with those Chinese made models with bells and whistles, but NO tone and plenty of flaws and lousy workmanship. I have a friend who spent a fair amount of cash on a GoldTone... sure he had a decent banjo, AFTER he swapped out the bridge, tone ring, tail piece, head, and tuners! For a THIRD of the price he could have had a Goodtime.

The main lesson here is you will play an instrument that doesn't make it harder than it already is, and the Goodtime line does a great job of being made well and getting out of the way.  
 

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by eNo (see all reviews from this person) on 1/27/2009

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 499.99 ($US)

Sound

Sound is pretty good. Its loud, clear and bright. I mainly play clawhammer and I it plays well with that style. Overall good sound.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The fret were terrible on the one I bought. They hung way over the edge of the fretboard and made it difficult to play because the fret ends would rip apart your hands. I had 2 to choose from at the store and they were both like that. The salesperson said it was because of the humidity... which didn;t make sense to me because it was in a humidified acoustic room, and none of the other banjos had that problem. But I once had a bass guitar with that problem. When I got it home I let it get used to the environment (which didn't help) then I smoothed the fret edges myself. Very nice now!! Other than that the setup was good.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Very plain but pretty banjo. I like the maple look.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

looks like it can take a beating. I wouldn't gig with it.... not nice enough for that. But very solid.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

It uses Guitar tuners, which I'm not a huge fan of... but they work fine. My main beef is it used a "railroad spike" instead of a pip to guild and hold the 5th string down. That to me is uber cheap... even though this is $500 banjo.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I like the fact that this is a US made banjo... but they have cut some corners to get the price down that imports don't have to. You can get a much better import banjo for around the same price. But you have to US made... This is a great value and a good price. Overall its a good banjo... some people rate this banjo really high... I guess its all relative but some people are giving it a 9 and even 10!!! Are they high!??! This is a good banjo... but seriously!!! Lets be realistic. For $500 - $600 you can get a much better import or independant manufactor banjo.... some even with a case! But your gonna have to search and buy online... which some people don't like to do. Most people are comparing this to a Fender, Rogue, Epi ect.. Not to good quality import banjos or smaller makers. If this banjo were stolen I don't think I would buy another one... There are others that are better quality for the same price. Having said that, I like the banjo and really enjoy playing it. I don't regret buying it at all...

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by Myself88 (see all reviews from this person) on 10/11/2008

Where Purchased: Woodsongs, Boulder, CO

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has a much clearer, and much less "twangy" sound than any other banjo I played in this price range. My ears can not determine any difference in sound even up to the 900-1100 dollar range, although some of the banjo's in the next tier have noticeably better sound quality.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The Banjo was setup perfectly by the store.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

There is nothing fancy about its appearance, But I think it looks great. The oddly shaped pegboard did give me serious pause, but it has grown on me considerably in the two months that I have owned it.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

This is a solid instrument. It is made very well, I accidentally dropped it about 6 feet onto cement, and while it did get a little scratched, it didn't even come un-tuned, and still plays completely perfect a month and half later

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The store I went to is mostly caters to the Guitar/Mandolin/Violin crowd, but they seemed to know their stuff about banjo's pretty well, and were able to answer all of my questions.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Nothing seems cheap

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend this banjo, although I do wish I had shopped around and gotten a better price. If it was stolen, I would definitely buy another Deering, although not necessarily this exact model. My favorite feature is the way the neck plays, It has plenty of room to move your fingers around (but gets a bit cramped after the 15th fret) and is contoured well to the shape of the hand.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by BarnyardMonkey (see all reviews from this person) on 5/27/2008

Where Purchased: Online

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

Sound

A good banjo to learn on,or pick around the house (or a small gathering with a couple instruments).has a mellow bluegrassy sound, but not tinny.can be bright if picked pretty hard.

I don't care for the overtones it produces at times up the neck,but not a bad sound at all other than that.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was setup pretty well since it came from another player.very low action,and the low profile neck made it very easy (almost to easy) to play.

came with a Bart Veerman bridge,which sounded pretty good on this banjo.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Well, the banjo is pretty plain looking,with a flat looking finish.
the headstock design isn't for me. (border line ugly)

The fit and finish was in good shape.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

The weakest area of this banjo i believe is the neck.it doesn't seem to solid in my opinion.

But other than that,its a good solid little banjo.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The tailpiece seemed to be the only part on this banjo (other than the neck) that seemed a bit weak.it would shift around a bit when changing tunings,and the edges and binding joints seemed like they would break easily.

But mine has lasted for around 1.5 years now.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Overall this is a good little banjo for someone learning,or just having fun picking on it in the yard or whatever.i feel it's a little over priced however (new).

Compared to the GoldTone CC-100 (something in its price range),the GoldTone wins hands down in my opinion.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by meritcooper (see all reviews from this person) on 12/6/2007

Where Purchased: Mundt Music - Tyler, TX

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: around 450 ($US)

Sound

I was just learning when I got it. It was fine for anything I needed to do on it. amazing to get such a big sound out of a lightweight instrument. It doesn't have the long resonance like a larger banjo, but it is plenty for beginners.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Already set up when purchased. My teacher checked it out and said it was fine. We never made any changes to it. The only thing I think they should add to this model is to add some spikes to it. My version did not come with any sort of gig bag. I had to purchase a chipboard case at the time of purchase. That may been something to do with where I bought it.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

It was a really pretty instrument and had an old timey look to me. Nice light colored wood and made in the USA. Dots were easy to see. After a year, it still looked just as good as it did new.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

It had open geared tuners like on a guitar. It stayed in tune for long periods of time. It was very durable and I used to walk around the yard with it all the time. I could set it on the ground and prop it up on a chair and wouldn't have to worry. I never had anything break on it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

It had a year warranty, but I never had to use it. Deering has a great reputation so I am sure they would have fixed it had it needed it.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Open geared tuners - worked great and held a tune. Nothing ever broke. Very sturdy. I never fooled too much with it either.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I have recommended this banjo many times. I just sold it last week. It was great to have for backup even after I got another one.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by CheeseHead (see all reviews from this person) on 11/8/2007

Where Purchased: Guitar Center, Madison Wisconsin

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 415 ($US)

Sound

Really liked the sound on this instrument, the store that i went to also had a couple fenders and i really liked the sound in the deering, It seemed crisper and louder.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Came all set up, just had to tune it, which only took a few min. and it stays in tune very nicely.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Nothing fancy, which is fine as long as it plays. Would have liked a little inlay work on the fretboard but am more concered over functionality over beauty. It is not "unpretty" by any means and the maple is very striking with no flaws that i have found.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

giving this an 8 because with in the first week the chrome is already tarnished on the armguard(even when wiped down after playing)...but over all no complaints

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

N/A Have not dealt with them

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Deering has put together a very decent banjo, was right in my budget and i feel they may have gotten ripped off at those prices :-)

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

overall i really could not be happier with my banjo....i know when it comes time to upgrade deering is going to be at the top of my list!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by mbk (see all reviews from this person) on 10/8/2007

Where Purchased: GC

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play clawhammer and this does have a resonator, but I really like the bright, crisp sound -- I think it is one of the nicest sounding banjos I've heard, and I've been playing some rather expensive ones at Elderly's showroom over the past few months. Maybe it's the maple?

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Perfect in every way right off the GC wall. I fell in love with it the minute I played it. It was tuned up (I tuned it for them) and it has not gone out since, even though I've banged it around a few times.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I like the look of it a great deal -- spartan, but striking. Wood looks well finished and I like the Made in US star on the peghead. I also like the unusual peghead shape.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Stays in tune, action holds up. The only thing I worry about is the lack of a truss rod -- that's a big concern. Will it always be as nice as it is now? I can't say for sure.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

They did not answer my initial email, and I was a bit worried about that, but they must not have gotten it because they were really prompt and courteous with my second and third email, so I give them very high marks in this regard.

Customer Service: 10

Components

It's cheaper stuff, but it all seems to work very, very well -- I have no plans to make any changes at all -- I even like the strings they chose. I'm really starting to think that guitar tuners are the way to go.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I love every single thing about this banjo. It sounds great, plays easily, stays in tune really well, even with massive string bending, and makes me sound like a much better player than I am. I believe the ads that say you have to spend ten times more (well, at least 5) to get something that sounds as good. I just hope that neck does not warp or get otherwise wrecked -- that is my only real concern here. But this is one of the few instruments that I own that seems to have no glaring failings. Did I mention that I love it? I have several cheap banjos, but this is the only one that does not remind me that it is cheap -- in fact, it makes me think I'm playing something far more valuable -- and, in effect, I am.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Jaminbanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 9/11/2007

Where Purchased:

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

Sound

It has a great sound for its price. Loud & Bright.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Was setup when I got it.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

It is a plain banjo but i dont care what a banjo looks like i care about the sound.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

Its a hardy banjo. I have worn-out the frets and have played it so much that the finger bord has grooves in it.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The parts are good.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

This is a vary vary good banjo. And its MADE IN USA!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by lost_virginian (see all reviews from this person) on 8/6/2007

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 349.00 ($US)

Sound

I am just learning, I also bought an old Kay banjo from a pawn shop. The Deering is head and shoulders above that.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was not set up at all, I had it set up a Drum and Strum in Warrenton, VA. They did a good job, it still sounds good.

Setup Rating: 2

Appearance

I like the understated look, nice satin finish. No flaws in the finish

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

So Far so good, it is my knock around banjo and holds up well when I am roughing it in my Airstream.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had to use them.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The arm rest is a bit sparse but it works on this banjo

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I highly recommend this banjo, over all the ones I've tried (Johnson, Fender FB 54 and Rogue)

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by bayouland (see all reviews from this person) on 10/27/2006

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 350.00 ($US)

Sound

Warm, rich, full tone. Added a rolled brass tonering and man did it brighten it up yet it still kept it's richness and character. Much louder now too.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Guy at the Guitar Center knew nothing about banjos. I had to show him how to set it up.

Setup Rating: 2

Appearance

Elegant simplicity are the only words to describe it. It doesn'r look like any other banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems reliable. Open guitar style tuners stay in tune forever.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Called Deering about registering for warranty and to inquire about their videos. They answered my questions immediately.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components all seem solid. Everything was put together really tight. No truss rod kinda concerns me but I haven't heard anybody complain about the neck warping.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I love this banjo. I traded in a fender FB-300 on it and man what a difference. The fender was garbage in my opinion. I fact when I tightened the Fender's head, the rim warped. Did not have that problem with the Goodtime 2. If it were stolen, I would hunt the thief down and string him up by the b***s! When I get a pro banjo you can bet it will be another Deering. I think there is a Sierra in my future.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by heacock (see all reviews from this person) on 7/25/2006

Where Purchased: Mountain Music Shoppe, Shawnee, KS

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 439 ($US)

Sound

I'm a novice player, trying to learn Scruggs and melodic styles. The Goodtime II sounds great to me, but it's probably not as loud as some banjos I've heard. The tone is a bit on the "mellow" side, but I sort of like it that way. Haven't played it with a group yet, so I can't say how well it holds up among other instruments.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

This banjo was set up very well. Good action. The bridge seems just slightly askew, but I don't know if that was intentional (perhaps for proper intonation) or just slightly inaccurate, but I have noticed no intonation problems so far.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The Goodtime II is all-maple construction, natural satin finish on everything, and I think it looks great. The headstock design is a little non-traditional (a bit guitar-ish, if you ask me), but not at all displeasing. All of the exposed wood parts (neck, rim, resonator) appear to be flawless. Not a lot of fancy grain here, but smooth and attractive. No flaws anywhere that I can tell.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

No problems with hardware generally--everything seems to be pretty good quality. The only reservation I might have is with the tuners on the headstock--they're open-gear tuners like on my old cheap Yamaha guitar. But come to think of it, those tuners are still working just fine after more than 25 years, so there's probably no reason to worry.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Haven't had any dealings with the company yet, but most of what I've read in other reviews seems to be generally positive.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Although the Goodtime II is a very simple, basic instrument, the quality of the materials and components seems very good; the narrow arm rest isn't terribly comfortable, but that's a minor thing--I'm thinking about making a new armrest out of maple, just for fun.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Although I've only had it a short time (less than a week), I have to say I love it. If it were stolen, I'd get another one just like it. I had a very helpful sales person at the Mountain Music Shoppe (a banjo player) who answered all of my questions. I've never played a really expensive banjo, so this is truly the best banjo I've ever played.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Ben87 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/17/2006

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 399 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has a great oaky sound. It does not have the twang that others do. But with the med gauge strings that I have on it, it does sound very bluegrassy.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

This banjo was fully set up. But i have taken it apart and it is very simple to put together and to adjust things.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Although this banjo is not the most decorative around, it has that simple look only a hillbilly could love ;)

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I have heard alot about this banjo and it not having a truss rod...but i have never had a problem with warping.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Well...i have asked them 2 questions and it took them a few days to get back to me...but they were very imformative

Customer Service: 7

Components

I would love a better armrest...the vega style is ok...but that could make it nicer looking. Also, i would rather it have banjo tuners instead of guitar style...but i suppose it does give it a look of its own.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

This is a great beginner banjo. Sounds very good compared to others untill you reach the 1500+

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 12/29/2005

Where Purchased: Meyberry Music, Jonesboro, IL

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: $300 ($US)

Sound

It has a good rich, crisp sound but not much sustain up the neck.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The set up was and has been just fine with me.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I love the natural blonde maple finish. I do wish the peg head looked more like a traditional banjo though. I feel that the Goodtime 2 has a unique down home look aobut it.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I have had no problems with reliablility.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have not had to contact the company for any service, but have ordered a leather strap, new strings and icks from Deering.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I would like to have better tuners instead of the guitar type that are installed.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

When I returned fromthe war in Iraq I wanted to fullfill my dream of learning to play banjo. It was very important to me to buy one that was handmade in the U.S.A. I do not like anything imported. For me, a banjo is not a REAL banjo unless it is made in the U.S.A. The Goodtime 2 is an excellent 1st banjo in all respects and made in the U.S.A>

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by brandon_brummett (see all reviews from this person) on 9/19/2005

Where Purchased: Steilberg String Instruments

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 400 ($US)

Sound

Banjo has a bright sound. It does not have the depth of tone that a banjo with a tone ring does but has a great sound nonetheless.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Banjo was set up perfectly; no problems.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The banjo is not the prettiest banjo out there but is not ugly either. The light "blonde" color of the banjo makes it unusual as compared to other banjos out there. Overall, not a bad appearance at all.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Hardware, finish, etc. seems to be great. Very dependable and tough.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

All my dealings wit the store and with Deering reps have been great. I've never had a problem with the banjo and am sure if I did the folks at Deering or Steilberg would make it right.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Banjo does not have a tone ring, truss rod, banjo style tuners, or a truss rod. However as it's a beginner instrument it doesn't all of that stuff.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend this banjo as a beginner/entry level instrument for folks wanting to learn bluegrass banjo. Very durable, American made (which is important to me), and has a great sound. I've compared it with banjos costing $14000, and some costing $100. It is on par or surperior to any banjo I played under $1500.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by jdmatthew (see all reviews from this person) on 7/5/2005

Where Purchased: Musician's Friend

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 399 ($US)

Sound

Since it doesn't have a tone ring, it sounds a little plunky--none of the "hollowness" you really wish for. However, considering the price it doesn't sound too bad. Not much sustain, but it may be because of my limited setup ability.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Action was set just right, however head was MUCH too loose, it sounded like a 5 string guitar. Replaced stock bridge with a Bart's, improved the sound a lot. Considering they're selling these to a lot of beginners who don't know any better, the setup should be done more diligently. After I messed with it a bit, it sounded better.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

I like the look of the maple, it is appealing to me. There is no fanciness here, just a good solid instrument. Unstained rock maple. The hardware looks good. If you're looking for beauty, don't buy this banjo, but it is a great "starter" banjo, or one you might take places you wouldn't risk a fancier instrument. The peghead is ugly, why don't they shape it like every other banjo in the world instead of a guitar head?

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

It is built like a rock. I was a little worried about the guitar tuners holding tune, but they work fine. It seems to be solid, everything goes together well and there is nothing rattling, buzzing, or falling off.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have emailed two questions about modifications and didn't get a reply. I gave up and got on some of the forums for my answers. I don't think they're all that worried about pleasing Goodtime owners. I don't plan on buying that next, much fancier banjo from them because there are other companies in the same price range that seem eager to support their customers.

Customer Service: 4

Components

I thought the included bridge was poor. Buy a Bart's or Emerson and you'll like the difference. The tailpiece is a Presto imitation and crooked from side to side, had to bend it by hand. Everything else on this instrument is as it should be. The parts are quality other than the tailpiece and I think this banjo will last forever if it is cared for. It is solid.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I think it is a great first banjo or take along anywhere instrument. It only weighs 6 lbs. If it was stolen I probably would replace it with a much better instrument, since my involvement in playing has increased so much. I like the slim neck, it is very easy to play. Compared to other banjos in its price range, it sounds good without major surgery and will give you a good experience while you see if you really want to be a banjo picker.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by GritsAndMolasses (see all reviews from this person) on 8/4/2004

Where Purchased: Guitar Center

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 320 ($US)

Sound

This banjo is outstanding for the price. Every other banjo below $500 sounded like garbage. It will almost hold it's own in a jam, but you will outgrow it once you start playing with some pros. Needs a tone ring though (and the Special model isnt much better). If the rim wasnt multi-ply it'd be amazing. Great for melodic stuff.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Impeccable setup. I havent had to touch anything other than strings since I bought it (and it was a floor model too).

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's very spartan and, in my opinion, backwoods looking (due to the maple construction). Doesnt look espensive or flashy because it isnt.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

This banjo has withstood torrential downpours (in a non-watertight case), rapid shifts in humidity and temperature, day-long bluegrass festivals and jams, and countless dings and bumps. The hardware polishes right up. I can get her to look brand new today if I wanted to.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I wanted to buy the tone ring for it but Deering refuses to sell it to me. They were nice about it though, and their response was rather prompt. Their phone service sucks though.

Customer Service: 5

Components

My only complaint is the 5th string being fed through a spike, as opposed to an actual 5th string nut. Come on, would it possibly cost THAT much more to slap a 5th string nut on there? The wood is outstanding.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would DEFINITELY reccomend this for the rock bottom price I paid. You cant beat it in this price range. If it was stolen, i'd be pissed (because i love this thing) and i'd buy one of the new Gold Stars (because im thinking of upgrading anyway). If you want to learn to play bluegrass banjo, get the Goodtime 2.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 12/17/2003

Where Purchased: Bluestrings Music

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 425 ($US)

Sound

I was delighted to find that the Goodtime II sound is loud, yet sweet sounding. The sustain up the neck is not quite as good. This sound is very pleasing to me and is great for melodic playing. I've seen that some other folks say that the Goodtime II is not loud. Maybe it has to do with setup, but mine can keep up in most situations.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

As far as I can tell, the banjo was set up correctly. The action is just about perfect. The head tension and tailpiece seem to be right--I do have fine tone and good volume. No complaints from me, although I have little experience.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The Goodtime II is a simple, unpretentious banjo. Excellent workmanship is evident throughout, however, and that adds to the appearance. The finger joint that joins the headstock to the neck is perfect. I like the blonde maple appearance, and especially like the satin finish. Pleasing to my eye, and to others who have seen it.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The hardware so far is fine. I don't mind the guitar-style tuners at all. The satin finish is great, and I think I prefer it over the lacquer finishes. I have had no durability problems with it so far, after about 8 months. This also is a rugged banjo. I have used it on gigs with no problems.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

The folks at Deering have been very helpful to me when I had questions. Usually they returned my email messages within 24 hours.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I am a novice banjo player, so I'm not knowledgable about components that may improve the sound. I wouldn't mind seeing sealed tuners instead of the open ones although the open ones work fine. But otherwise I have no complaints. The banjo seems very durable overall.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to any beginner or novice player, or to anyone who likes the sound. For my money, it's the best entry level resonator banjo out there. If my banjo were stolen, I would buy another one. I love this banjo. I probably will never sell it even if I get a higher-end banjo, which, by the way, will be a Deering. I like the sound and the relative light weight most of all. When I was shopping around, I asked the usual questions about action, quality and durability and sound. I'm glad I bought this banjo. I've only played other people's banjos, most recently a Gibson Mastertone. The Goodtime II is not in that league, but it isn't supposed to be. The Goodtime II is a fine, fine, fine, entry-level banjo.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by mattiskim (see all reviews from this person) on 9/23/2002

Where Purchased: Deering

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 425.00 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sound is very good for a non-tone ring instrument. Of course it is not LOUD, but very rich and full. A real beginners instrument [ which is what I wanted]
Not loud enough to annoy friends and family, but rich enough to be heard by the user.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set-up out of the box was excellent.. I've used it roughly and taken it all over and the setup is still good. Ive put dots on the outside of the neck [ a personal thing] because i cant see my hand or remember what fret is what note with the 5 string capo.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It looks pretty good.. OK, it's not a pre-war Gibson, but it's pretty, All maple with a maple resonator, it looks better than the open back. neck is of 2 piece design but very attractive. Old style Vega armrest works well on this model.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Very well made. I had a small problem on the resonator due to excessive heat this summer. But, I caused that. Hardware, GREAT, neck, VERY GOOD. playabilty : VERY GOOD. Guitar type tuners present no problems and help in tuning.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have contaced Deering in the past and had GREAT response and help. Phone service=execllent/e-mail = excellent.

Customer Service: 10

Components

2 piece maple neck is rock solid despite the dovetailed connetion [very noticable near head]. Its straight and playable [kinda like an old Fender telecaster neck] NO fingerboard -just the finished maple. Metal parts are attractive and I think nickel plated. They wear well. Resonator is laminated maple and a bit thin on the back- its held on with 4 wood screws that screw into the resonator itself. Its not an item you want to take off all the time. This is a weak point. Black painted dots on neck -BUT NOT ON THE SIDE OF THE NECK. so it is somewhat difficult to see what you are playing without rubbernecking over your hand. Ive used magic marker to mark the outside dots. These wear off, but are easy to remove or replace without damaging the neck. Also I added a 5th string capo. [ no installation problems] spikes work well, but the maple is so hard they sometimes come out and need to be super-glued in.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Excellent beginners or travel banjo. However, I dont recommend IT, buy the GOODTIME special - [with the tone ring @$495.00] Lots of bang for the buck but Deering can't retrofit a tone ring into the GT2. The GT-Sp. HAS lots of guts for jam playing and shares all parts.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 8/29/2002

Where Purchased: Deering Banjo Co.

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 400 ($US)

Sound

This banjo is perfect for a beginner, which is what I bought it for. It has a very clear, full sound for a banjo in this price range.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The original setup was excellent and I only made slight changes to it after my first set of strings wore out. I tightend the tension of the head a bit and that was about it. It is very easy to make changes.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It is a VERY simplistic banjo. Mine is just the natural wood finish, before they came out with the various colored stained finishes (or I would have had it stained purple!). But the natural wood is beautiful. It is a light wood with no fancy inlay or wood work. But you would be amazed at how many compliments I have had in my group lessons/jams on the appearance. People really like the simplicity of it and they are always asking what company made it. There were no flaws in the appearance or craftsmanship. It is made from very good materials.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

For a simple, beginner banjo, I believe this is a good, reliable instrument. It is well put together and it's held up well. I plan on buying a more expensive banjo once my skills improve, but I plan on putting this one away for my daughter to learn on when she is old enough.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Deering has been so wonderful throughout the entire process. They were very helpful when I was choosing the banjo, they shipped it well, and they have been excellent in their follow up. They really care about the players and they run a good shop.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing that I have noted thus far.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend this banjo for the price I paid. If this banjo were stolen I would turn around I buy the same thing, but in a new color! (The colored stains weren't available when I bought mine.) I've only played a few other banjos, but I wouldn't trade mine for the ones I played, and they were more expensive!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 8/9/2002

Where Purchased: Woody's Music

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 350 ($US)

Sound

Incredible sound for the price. I was extemely satisfied with it. The only trouble I had was that it had some trouble sustaining higher notes. I don't use an amp.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Woody's Music set it up for me.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The banjo is plain, but there were no problems with it.

Appearance Rating: 6

Reliability

My friend has an old Deering Goodtime 1 that doesn't sound too hot. It may just be old strings, but the banjo is probably a little at fault. I wouldn't consider it a life-time banjo, more of a starter until you can step up.

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

Never dealt with the company, but the warranty was for a year I think.

Customer Service: 8

Components

No part of the banjo stands out, but no part is weak or cheap.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would definately recommend the banjo to anyone who is just begining. I would be upset if it were stolen, but not too upset. I love it, but it is no Mastertone (my other banjo).

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by konspyrator (see all reviews from this person) on 7/22/2002

Where Purchased: Wood & Strings

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 400 ($US)

Sound

It sounds good to me, though I'm just a novice. It's much more banjo-ey than the Fender models (which sound like round guitars).

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was set up when I got it. Minor tuning was needed (taken care of at the store). The action is nice and easy, in my opinion, and as a novice it doesn't hurt my fingers to fret the various chords.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Others have mentioned it; the wood is light with very little stain (probably just a poly finish). Some people may not like the open geared guitar style tuners, but they do the job. Anyway, I like a banjo that's a little unique.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Feels sturdy, with a good heft to it (I like heavy. Heavy means I know I'm holding something). One of the strings went from true to sharp according to my tuner, but that's probably the factory strings. I wouldn't have noticed it by ear, but I was trying to figure out this newfangled electronic tuner.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I'd go with new strings right off the bat if you're an accomplished player. Me, I'm just learning so the factory installed strings are adequate.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This banjo was available cheaper at other music shops, but Wood and Strings cut me a great deal on a hard-back, lined case. There certainly are cheaper beginner's banjos available, but most of them are Chinese of Korean. If you ask me (and nobody does) a Chinese banjo is like Domino's (tm) chicken wings. Sure they can do it, but it's just not the same.

I'd recommend it to beginners looking for a solid, American made banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Buddydawg2k3 (see all reviews from this person) on 7/16/2002

Where Purchased: Hatfield Music

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 425 ($US)

Sound

The Goodtime II has a full sound that can be used to play a variety of songs it is not to

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The banjo was set up properly when I received it.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It took me a while to get used to the blonde color of the maple but it has grown on me and I like the unique appearance

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

It seems to be reliable. I play for atleast 12 hours a week and haven't noticed any weak parts.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer service at Hatfield Music is excellent.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The two things I do not like about this banjo are the guitar tuners and the awkward armrest.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

The Goodtime II is a good deal for an instrument under $500. It has a full rich sound and is made out of reliable, durable materials. Change the tuners and rest and you will have a much better banjo. I have impressed many people with the sound of this inexpensive banjo.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 5/9/2002

Where Purchased: Folk of the Wood

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 350 ($US)

Sound

Bright, warm, full tone...I'm just a beginner but it sure sounds great to me

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Folk of the Wood set it up for me. Low action, very easy to fret. Neck is very fast.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Very basic design, but I do like the blonde wood. Looks real nice, just not fancy - which is fine with me.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Seems pretty solid...the guitar style tuners aren't ideal, but that really doesn't affect how it sounds.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Haven't had a reason to contact them. Hopefully it will stay that way

Customer Service: 8

Components

Some might want to splurge and go for the Goodtime Special (comes with Tonering), but I didn't need one for my purposes.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Great starter banjo...sounds great and is reasonably priced. I really don't think you could find a better value for the money - Deering makes some nice banjos!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 3/8/2002

Where Purchased: mail order

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 349.00 ($US)

Sound

I'm just learning, but I did some research before buying and the goodtime had a rep for good tone and value. It sounds good to me..

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Needed to set the bridge, tune the strings, and tighten the head which was taken care of at my 1st lesson...

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

about as plain as you can get

Appearance Rating: 5

Reliability

guitar style geared tuners that seem to stay in tune very well making it an easy instrument to maintain. seems to be a reliable instrument for the price

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

sent in my warranty card and a request for a catalog. got the catalog quick, haven't had another reason to contact deering yet...

Customer Service: 7

Components

multi-ply maple rim, maple neck, and resonator. 2-piece flange and a geared 5th string tuner peg

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Have only played this banjo and a maple classic so I'm no expert but at this price range I think both gold tone's maple classic and the goodtime 2 are great starter banjos...

Overall Rating: 8

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.078125