Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

440
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!

6919 reviews in the archive.

Deering  Goodtime special open back  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Scanbran (see all reviews from this person) on 12/30/2010

Where Purchased: Eagle Music

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 489 (GBP) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I bought this banjo as a second banjo and as back-up to my main instrument. I wanted something with a tone ring to give a different sound to my existing rosewood ring banjo, since selling (regrettably) my Gold Tone BC-350.
I'm glad I chose the Special model, as I really can tell the difference in tone, and this banjo has quite a bright, zingy ring to it, tempered somewhat by the renaissance head and no-knot tailpiece.
I play only clawhammer/frailing, so I like the fact this Goodtime Special offers something different, which I hope will cut through better in a jam.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set-up was near perfect when I received the banjo. Very low action, which suits me fine for my style, although due to the fifth string spike (rather than a nut), catching the fifth string over the fingerboard is very difficult. Bridge placement was fine, and the head was nice and tight.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Beautiful banjo to look at. This one was an Eagle Music custom banjo, termed 'The Southern Queen', which means it deviates a fair bit from a standard Goodtime. The peghead is the new fiddle shape, and it is branged 'Leader' with a burned in Eagle motif, which is very classy and striking. Nice planetary tuners give it a classic look, and I love the natural satin blond maple finish. The renaissance head just completes it, and the bow tie inlays are quite nice too.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware looks bomb-proof and the finish is lovely, although might possibly mark/scuff easily given the light satin look.
The banjo feels very solid to play, and adfter only a week, although it;s hard to judge, seems very substantial.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Dealt with Eagle Music and the owner Steve Noon, who answered all my queries pleasantly and promptly.
Even though I only ordered the banjo on 23.12.10, I found it had been delivered to me less than 24 hours later, which is superb customer service, and amazingly it arrived in time for Christmas, which was a great bonus.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I don't know which brand of tuners are used on this banjo, but they feel solid and consistent and there is no slipping at all.
The neck is simply incredible - so smooth and fast and a delight to hold.
I changed the bridge pretty much right away to a Sosobee select maple, but the stock bridge seemed ok.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

A very fine, good looking and great sounding banjo, which with the addition of a 5th string nut and a scoop I'd be happy to use as my main banjo in any circumstance.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by melaniep (see all reviews from this person) on 10/11/2009

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 579 ($US)

Sound

Sounds great - very crisp - a big improvement on the Korean beginners banjo that I started with (I'm still not ready to spend lots on a banjo though).

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup was perfect.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This one very much depends on your taste - I think it looks great, but I know some others disagree. In this price range, i'd rather be paying for sound and quality of build than looks, and that seems to be the strategy with the goodtimes.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Feels really solid.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I live in Australia and a friend who was visiting the USA ordered this for me - had a bit of an initial bad experience with a few emails back and forth to try to work out payment and billing to her temporary address, but once that was sorted everything was fine.

Customer Service: 7

Components

Everything seems pretty good quality for the price range.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Really happy with this banjo - I just love it.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Banjoconvert (see all reviews from this person) on 12/11/2008

Where Purchased: Woodsy's - Kent, OH

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 499 ($US)

Sound

I play old time, clawhammer style and this is my 1st and only banjo so far. I waited to review this until I had some experience. This banjo has been great for learning, but it goes way beyond just being a starter banjo. Stock setup sound is bright and loud. The steel tone ring provides punch and volume, and increases sustain. I went to a Fiberskin head to add bass and mellow out the sound. Could easily be played bluegrass style as well, very versatile. I love the price level... I don't worry about this thing when I travel or take it to an outdoor jam.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Perfect setup from Deering and/or Woodsy's. Nice action at the nut and string height was comfortable. I put on the Fiberskin head but have kept everything else stock. Stock strings were fine, I always use Vega lights now. I always stuff the head with a sock rolled up and place it against the rim, by the tailpiece end. Don't like the sound without some type of stuffing, it just rings to much. Super easy to maintain and adjust.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Ok, no flaws at all in appearance. I love the basic looks and natural wood approach. I disrespect the thick finishes of most of the imports, by the way, and Deering is doing a great thing by keeping this thing basic. Nice wood. Peghead shape STINKS! I cut and reshaped it and now I feel it is respectable. Deering should change this design! That's why it gets only an 8.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Very well made... should last a lifetime.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I contacted Deering before purchase and Carolina was super to deal with! Great customer support and they have mailed out some interesting and helpful information. Great company.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I don't see any weaknesses in components. Everything is quality. Tuners hold tuning very well. They're basic, but this keeps the price right.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I really like this banjo. It's a great deal on a very playable, great sounding banjo... made in the USA. I do recommend it. I do like the standard goodtime model and would probably just buy one of those if it were stolen, considering my preference for a more mellow sound. Now honestly, all the imports out there that seem like a good deal, just do not have the quality that the Deering Goodtimes have.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by N8116B (see all reviews from this person) on 4/28/2006

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 489 ($US)

Sound

It is an ok beginer banjo with a very bright and tinning sound. I would like a little bit more mellowness and longer sustain but it is adequate. I finally have gotten the sound I was looking for.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

It required me to install the bridge but the marks were placed on the drum head so it only took a few moments. I changed the head twice now to get the sound I wanted. I first tried a fiberskyn with a heavy moon bridge and that did improve the sound. But when I added a Remo head that was painted purple with changing the bridge to a Grover compensated one, and adding a no-knot tailpiece I was very happy. It sounds like and old time banjo now!

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

It is not the prettiest banjo but it is ok. The printing on the peg head is a iittle cheesy but you are not paying for a top crafted instrument here. Just one that can do the job it was designed to do and it is made with the best quality at this price point. I swapped out the tuners to real banjo tuners and the head looks a little better. The addition of a purple Remo head though really changed the look. Instead of being a pale blind banjo it is now striking. If I could find purple tuner buttons I would be very happy

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

The tuners leave much to be desired. They are the guitar type and seem a little fragile.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The weakest area is the tuners. The rest are all pretty good.
I have swapped out everything except the neck, pot, and tone ring.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

It is a fine beginner banjo or travel banjo. At the asking price the sound is really good. If you want a more traditional sound be prepared to change a few things.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by Joannes (see all reviews from this person) on 6/4/2005

Where Purchased: Banjoshop Wim van de Weg

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 469 (Euro) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The main reason for buying this banjo was the sound. The volume and the brightness are far superior to anything else in the same price range. The difference between the regular Goodtime and this one with a tonering is substantial, but even the regular one impressed me with its volume. It is perfect for old-time banjo playing, but because of the volume and clarity it is suitable for bluegrass as well.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfectly set up. Wim van de Weg knows his stuff and this baby played like a dream right from the start.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Well, it's very basic. A lot of banjo's in the same price range look prettier, although that's a matter of taste anyway. It's very simple and modest and not without it's own kind of charm. The wood looks beautiful and the entire instrument has an aura of being well-constructed. The only thing I didn't really like about it is the guitar-style tuners.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Yes, this looks like a solid well-built banjo, no doubt about it. Though I am not an expert I think it is reliable and will have a long lifespan if cared for. I got a booklet with the banjo explaining how to maintain and repair it which I found very clear and helpful.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

The company is great. If I may be so bold: It is the only real banjo dealer in The Netherlands, at least the only one I could find and I really, really looked. If you live in The Netherlands, look him up online at http://www.banjo.nl. You won't be disappointed. Wim van de Weg is friendly and helpful and he really cares about banjos. He can also repair, modify and set up banjos. Only problem might be getting to the store, which is sort of in the middle of nowhere.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Like I mentioned before, as far as I can tell this banjo is solid stuff. Everything works smoothely and looks like it will last. The only thing I dislike is the guitar-style tuners (pegs to the side instead of to the back), but that is something that can be remedied if desired.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I LOVE this banjo. I couldn't be happier with my choice and I don't think you'll find a better banjo for the same price. It is suitable both for hanging back and playing on your own and for playing together with others (because of the volume). Like I mentioned before: the tonering really makes it a lot better than the "regular" Goodtime open back. I would recommend this banjo to anyone starting to play and I suspect that even advanced players will really like it.

Overall Rating: 9

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.078125