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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.

Gold Tone  Maple Classic MC-150R Banjo Reviews

Submitted by J e f f (see all reviews from this person) on 12/16/2009

Where Purchased: ZEPP Country Music, Inc.

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 525 ($US)

Sound

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

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

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

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

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

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Overall it appears to be reasonably reliable.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

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

Customer Service: 10

Components

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

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

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

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

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

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

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 4/2/2005

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 447.00 ($US)

Sound

With zero experience, I followed kit instructions and all the advice and instruction on several web sites and it seems to work, really rings out. I got the deluxe kit with the Bell Brass Tone Ring and Planetary Tuners. It has comparable tone and volume to what I hear on CD's and online. All of the strings tune right on according to a Sabine auto tuner. When I get good at picking it I believe it will be great. Working on rolls now and when I get one right it sounds great. A freind who has heard several banjo's, was impressed with the sound. I believe he thought it would be sub-standard being a kit assembled by a non-musician.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

As a kit set up was up to me, also as a kit I introduced some problems that required correction before it was ready to play. I needed to refile nut, and reset the neck to the rim. With plenty of my own tools, wood working experience and online advice from Richie Dotson's web site it was not a problem. With out the various web sites with all of the great banjo info I may not have taken the kit route.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Definatly easy on the eyes I have shown to some wood worker friends and they seemed impressed. I don't think they had anticipated the amount of hardware and still alot of wood showing. The wood in this kit is a non-fancy maple but still has interesting grain pattern in resonater, solid with no flaws. The neck is built up from three pieces of maple with a curly maple veneer on peg board, joinery is flawles. The rim is multi-ply maple with veneer on bottom of rim, a nice touch to cover the multi-ply edge. Fret board of rosewood and a well done simple snowflake inlay with no filler. All metal had smooth crome finish.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Metal finish appears solid and looks like it should last, I tested some hidden spots for toughness and it has it. I slipped and let the t-wrench bind on a tension nut and the sharp edge of the nut took it with out damage. I finished the wood with 9 coats of polyurethane which is very tough. If this banjo is still in good shape by the time I am ready for a gig, then it will certainly be good enough to hold its own. No indication that it won't at this time

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

One of the tuners did not work when I got ready to tune. It was late at night, so I e-mailed Janet Davis Music. They had a reply the next day with instruction to call and ask for Jim Davis. Jim said he would call gold tone, and they should ship it that day. That was monday by thursday I had the tuner. The wait gave time to fix my assembly mistakes.

Customer Service: 10

Components

This banjo is a good solid unit with nothing fancy to to rate as a standout. Just a good all-around instrument, I wanted something to start and grow into with out most of the shortcomings of some of the beginner banjos that I have read about. Tuners could use some help, without string tension the peg is some what loose, however they do hold a tune just fine.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Well worth the price I paid, the ready to play version was 2 dollars higher, and it did not have the bell brass tone ring, or planetary tuners. Having all the tools and most of the finish materials on hand made it a better value since I did not have to buy much to finish it. The big plus for me is knowing how it fits together, and the fact that I finished and assembled it myself. If stolen today I would replace with same, if stolen after I learn to play would probably replace with a Gold Tone OB-250 plus kit. I would recommend the MC-150 kit to any one with basic woodworking skills and access to the internet the pictures in the instructions were to dark to be of much help. The pictures on Gold Tone's web site were clear and sharp and could be enlarged.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by docswords (see all reviews from this person) on 12/3/2004

Where Purchased: Good Deale Bluegrass Shop - Deale, MD

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: () historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This was my first banjo purchase and I coudn't be happier. The Gold Tone MC-150 fit my budget and fulfilled my expectations. The MC-150 has a sharp bright sound that resonates so beautifully.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Mike from Good Deale Bluegrass Shop provided professional assistance in my purchase and did a fantastic good of seting up the banjo for my purchase. Great support from a wonderful bluegrass shop!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

As any beginner, I must have shopped around for months before I found "THE ONE", and when I came across the Gold Tone MC-150, I knew that I had found a fantastic little banjo. The Maple wood is beatiful and the quality is superb. This MC-150 was assembled at Good Deale Bluegrass Shop and it's evident that this kit was put together with great skill.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I've had it for only 4 months, so it's still practically brand new. I use a banjo strap and this banjo fits my body to form.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The Customer Service at Good Deale Bluegrass was outstanding!! I recommend if your shopping for a banjo that you should drop by and browse their inventory. It won't be long before you leave a satisfied customer as I.

Customer Service: 10

Components

n/a

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Overall as a beginner, I'd recommend a Gold Tone to anyone looking for a great banjo at a good deal(e).

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 1/16/2004

Where Purchased: The Thin Man

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 339 ($US)

Sound

Sounds good to me, a relative beginner with banjo. I'm experimenting with Bluegrass and clawhammer. It's bright and loud.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I set it up so it's a 10.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I like the light maple, and have received many complements. The neck has nice inlays and is bound - the head has nice wavy grain.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware is robust and should last.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

It's not a perfect world. The neck in my kit had to be returned because it had not been cut to fit the rim and the hole had not been drilled for the 5th Peg. It was turned around quickly, but I was out over $22 to get to Florida. Goldtone has been very helpful when I have called.

Customer Service: 5

Components

The rim was disappointing - the veneer was thin and the many plies seemed to be of a soft wood. The tone ring seemed OK. The neck and other hardware were great.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

A kit is a good idea if you have woodworking and finishing skills. You learn how the instrument is made and you figure out how to set it up. I had to do extensive work to the neck to get the action correct - and the plans were so old they had the wrong phone number for Goldtone. By the time you get all the supplies, it's probably cheaper to buy a finished instrument.
I think it looks great, sounds great, and is easy to play. I've told several people that if I had to do it over again, I'd probably buy a Goodtime.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 8/15/2002

Where Purchased: Good Deale Bluegrass Shoppe

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

Sound

I am just a beginner, but I have played the MC-150R for a week now, and I find the tone of the banjo to be very bright. It definitely stands out when I am playing in a bluegrass group. I can easily change the sound from bright to sharp to mellow. The banjo has many tones and voices - it is extremely versitile.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The setup was perfect when I purchased the banjo. I tuned it up and it seems to hold its tuning well. I do a lot of string bending, and the tuning stays right on. The action is very low. I sighted down the neck and it was true, no warping.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It was love at first sight. I saw the MC-150R and I knew that this was the banjo for me. I don't like a lot of decorations and foo foo. The light maple was absolutely gorgeous. The finish is perfect. I like the unassuming snowflake inlays - very simple - yet the workmanship was perfect. The chrome gleams and is eye-catching.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The banjo is built like a tank. Solid. The metal work is perfectly chromed. The tuning machines are sealed. The wood is well sealed. There is no flex in the neck whatsoever. The only work that will need to be done is to change the strings.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

No service yet.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I like that the tuning machines are sealed. I can't think of one part that needs to be changed or upgraded.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would absolutely recommend this banjo to anyone. I want to say that I bought the banjo from New Deale Bluegrass Shoppe in Deale Maryland and just want to thank everyone there. For the $400, the owner threw in a case, deluxe tuner and strap. I was allowed to take all the time I wanted to make my decision. Although in this case, there was no real decision as I knew I was taking the banjo home as soon as I pulled it off the wall. The owner answered all my questions and could not be more helpful. I am so happy with my new Gold Tone banjo!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 1/25/2002

Where Purchased: EZFolk.com

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 450 ($US)

Sound

I am not an expert on sound. I like this banjo because it was the cheapest I could find with a tone ring and good sound. I had been playing alumium rim (no tone ring) banjos which can cost the same as this high quality instrument.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Excellent

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is maple (no the traditional mahogany). I like the lighter color, and other appearance features are top notch. I requested banjo style tuners as opposed to the guitar style shown on the web page.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Cannot comment - seems reliable to me. Night and day different from what I was playing before.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Gold Tone standard warrenty. More important though - How to purchase. I found that Gold Tone, and other stores could not get me a better price than EZfolk.com. Especially for someone like me that has to purchase across state lines.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

General - You can't buy a new high-quality banjo for this price ($450). I am extremely happy Gold-Tone is in business. In my opinion this banjo is just as good as any other. The only difference I can tell is that it has an alloy tone ring and not a brass ring.

Purchasing comments: I find it amazing that music stores will not work with an individual that is interested in instrument brands that the store doesn't carry. It seems to me that any business would want to cater to any customer in which they can make some profit. In my case I wanted to upgrade specifically to a Gold Tone banjo. With no help from the music store, I sold my old banjo on Ebay for more than I paid for it (unexpectedly), and purchased the new instrument from EZ-folk. I was surprised that Gold Tone in Florida told me they rather I buy it through EZ-folk then from them
directly.

Overall Rating: not rated

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