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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  Banjola Deluxe Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Tinfoot (see all reviews from this person) on 11/5/2011

Where Purchased: eBay

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 400 ($US)

Sound

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

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

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

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

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

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

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

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

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

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

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

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

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

Customer Service: 10

Components

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

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

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Absolutely love it. :)

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by TONUP (see all reviews from this person) on 2/5/2008

Where Purchased: Banjo Teacher. Com

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 679.00 ($US)

Sound

I play 3 finger (Scruggs Style) and it really adds a new dimension to the tunes I already know.

It has gentle neandering tone, which may not be to everyones taste, that allows it to be played unmuted without upsetting anyone. It's a quiet instrument that would be fine if accompanied by a solo guitar played softly. Definetely no good in a multi instrument session though.

The 'guitar like' sutain is quite different from a banjo and notes can blur into one if you overcook the tempo.

For the price they could of put in a pre amp like the Pat Cloud model. The proper banjo style peg head drew me to this model.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The action is a bit higher than my OB250, but not restrictive.

You can't change much else on it, except perhaps the bridge. It's a bit like a guitar in that respect. The tailpiece is a bit tinny!

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Looks quite unique and there doesn't seem to be that many around.

All the rest of the components, except the tailpiece, are fine. All the finishes on wooden components are pretty much up to standard as well.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The hardware will probably last quite a while, but this is not a robust instrument. In fact it is very light and seems quite fragile.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Ross Nickerson was the epitomy of good service, when answering questions, discussing shipping and organising the order etc.

I imagine Gold Tone would support their product fully.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tailpiece, Tailpiece, Tailpiece!!!

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

There are cheaper versions from Gold Tone and other manafacturers out there, but I like a branded product and my other Gold Tones have been perfectly satisfactory so far.

It's unique..ish sound make it something different to play whilst being the same.

This is no replacement to a resonator or open back banjo, but it does have it's place within the legitimate world of instruments (including some novelty value). It's also great for improvising stuff and working out your own breaks for some reason, possibly because it has a forgiving type of tone.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by banjoec (see all reviews from this person) on 1/7/2005

Where Purchased: FOTW

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is the ultimate closet picker banjo. Not loud, but beautiful sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

perfect set-up when arrived.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nothing the polishing cloth counldn't take care of. Looks beautiful with the gold hardware and dark/light woods.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware looks and feels durable. Finish of wood looks a little more delicate.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Happy with the parts

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

If I could make some recommendations for improving this instrument....You cannot access abouve the 14th fret. Thumbing the 5th string above the 12th is tough. How about a spot on the body to anchor you ring and pinky. Like a pickgaurd type thing so your hands aren't on the wood. Otherwise nice instrument, there's nothing else like it.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Yohan014 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/21/2004

Where Purchased: Italmelodie

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 1300$ (can) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The banjola DLX have a mellow and rich sound.The sustain of the tone is very good. But the Banjola is not very powerful. I tune it in G and it's perfect. To hear the banjola DLX, go to www.folkofthewood.com (Vidéo samplers).

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The setup from the music store was very good and the action was perfect. I didn't have to make any changes.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The instrument is very nice. The Heaths and flowers inlays on the fingerboard are beautiful.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Yes, it will last with proper care. The banjola is more fragile than a banjo. The finish is of good quality. I can depend on it.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Excellent service from Italmelodie.

Customer Service: 8

Components

The Banjola DLX have a top solid spunce and Planetary style tuners. As i can see, there is no week point or cheap parts. Good playability of the neck.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I recommand the banjola DLX, It's a very nice musical instrument with a good sound. She is also very light (Less than 4 pounds), you can easily travel with her. I love it a lot and i'm thinking to buy a backup in case something happen to the one i have. It's a unique musical instrument, buy it without hesitation!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 12/18/2003

Where Purchased: Private Sale

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Beautiful bright acoustic sound without the volume of a heavy tone ring banjo.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Well setup. Added a Fuller Sohem bridge to boost volume a bit.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Beautiful appearance with custom gold tuners. Stain at joint on top of neck/body connection could have been done better, but it's offset by the gold hardware. Nice hearts and flowers inlay similar to an OB250.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Tuners seem better than typical Goldtone planetary tuners. Gold Mandolin type tailpiece. Solid instrument.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Company has been reliable in my past dealings, but I've not needed anything from them with this instrument.

Customer Service: 9

Components

This instrument has a floating banjo type bridge rather than a guitar type bridge. Seems to be better than average quality. Tighter planetary tuners than the other Goldtone's I've owned. They may possibly be upgrades. Nice wood. Lightweight Goldtone case is nice.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I'd recommend it highly for a banjo neck instrument with a softer, resonant sound. The volume may not be what some want when playing with others in a jam setting, but it's the perfect instrument for playing around the house without driving everyone crazy with a high volume banjo. The resonance opens up all kinds of possibilities in a new sound. It's a nice, refreshing new voice for a banjo. I find it a little awkward to hold on my lap due to the mandola shaped body, so a strap is recommended, but having something light in weight is a welcome change. It's not a replacement for a heavy tone ringed banjo, but rather a different voice. A wonderful instrument for solo playing or with which to sing.

Overall Rating: 10

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