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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  Dojo  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Gonzoso (see all reviews from this person) on 9/1/2011

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 300 ($US)

Sound

It sounds like a guitar sort of. It has a lot of resonance and fast bluegrass gets muddy and doesn't sound right to me, but others tell me it sounds good. It plays blues, jazz, and rock very well. I enjoy this instrument as another machine to make sounds pleasing to me, although not really bluegrass.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was set up well. Mine was a scratch and dent model sold on ebay, it was a scratch and dent at a music store, then the store went out of business and the seller obtained this banjo. I got it out of the box, tuned it and she played perfectly.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The dojo I got is very pretty. The wood seems to be a nice mahogany with a pleasant but not too glossy finish. The only defects it has are a few small scratches in the finish at the bottom of the instrument on the side where you're arm rests. They're not even visible really.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Solid for the price.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

na

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Sounds awesome, tuners are solid no problems yet.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

It's a neat instrument an has its own sound. I stopped at a guitar shop and this metal looking guy with tats and a shaved head and beastly beard picked it up and played it for a few minutes and got really into it and said it was one of the neatest things he's played. Everyone that's heard it has liked it. I like it because I can't play a guitar to save my life but I can tear up a banjo really well for some reason, so I can transfer my banjo skills into something that almost sounds like a guitar. It's a nice instrument and fun to play with. I don't think I would spend 600-700 dollars on it. 300-400 is about what its worth to me. They can be found used for that price if you're savvy.

Overall Rating: 10

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

Where Purchased: Ebay - private seller

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 249 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Nice acoustic sound. Plays like a banjo and sounds like a guitar/dobro. Has great resonance. I know some have had problems with theirs but mine is wonderful.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Already set up for me since it was used. All I had to do was tune it. I am currently having a strap button installed on the heel and a few spikes on it at the music store. I want to be able to play it just like my banjo.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

My quality of the craftmanship was fine. Beautiful wood and cutouts with metal resonator on front. Mahogany wood with rosewood fingerboard. Nice cutaway design.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

So far so good. I haven't had it very long so I don't know about long time wear and tear. Everything feels sturdy enough.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have never dealt with Gold Tone. No warranty that I am aware of.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Parts seem fine to me. Not cheap feeling. I am not upgrading anything at this time. I thought of adding an electric pickup but found out that it would be a booger so I may just deal with it. Some models come with this already.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

yes, I like the way it sounds. The only difference is the neck is a little larger around so my banjo capo doesn't fit. I would probably just try to use my guitar capo when I need it. It is nice to be able to play something a little softer for the late night practicing.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 11/18/2004

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 399.00 ($US)

Sound

the sound was very poor.. I did not think it was anything like the sound clip Gold Tone has on their web page! I returned this instrument the very next day!

Sound Rating: 1

Setup

The saddle was not parralel to the biscuit. it was way off! I do not knowif this was by design or not.

Setup Rating: 1

Appearance

For the low price of the instrument I thought it actually looked pretty good, hence I am rating the appearance based on the price, not comparing it to how something that costs twice as much would look.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Being as I only had it less than a day before returning it, I do not feel I can answer the reliablity question fairly.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Elderly has a very good return policy and I did talk to their set up people prior to returning it to see if there was something I coudl do to improve the sound. I will apy the cost of shipping both ways, about $70.00. but that is much better than waiting for someone to steal my instrument to make my day!

Customer Service: 10

Components

The resonator was not the standard size, it was smaller. I think that may have contributed to it's poor sound?? I noticed ( after I got it) that someone is selling multiple units of this same instrument that could not be sold as new by Gold Tone due to manufacturing errors!

Components Rating: 3

Overall Comments

Based on the unit I received, I would NOT recommend this unit to anyone!
If it was stolen I would have to laugh, as fate would have played a cruel trick on the person who took it!
I should have asked if the sound clip was representative of the actual sound an average unit makes. Keep in mind that someone at Elderly checked this unit out and signed off on it and sent it to me. That leads me to beleive they all sound that way. THe set up guy I talked to at Elderly told me they have very little sustain and a tiny sound. The sound clip indicated otherwise to me!
This is not really a banjo, but I have never played anytihng banjo like that sounded so sad!

Overall Rating: 1

Submitted by TENUSEA (see all reviews from this person) on 10/5/2004

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 395 ($US)

Sound

Disappointing................my Saga SS-10 has more projection than this.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

It was set up well, I'm assuming by Elderly, since they make it a practice to go over their instruments thoroughly, so I can't fairly rate the "factory" set up. Action was perfect out of the box from Elderly. The 10 rating is solely for Elderly, since I haven't had any direct experience with Gold Tone.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Conversational value because of the design notwithstanding, this area was the most disappointing aspect of this instrument. Lots of smudges and imperfections in the finish, the lower bought joint near the tail-piece is not even close to being approximated.........I just hope the glue holds out. If it weren't such a hassle to send things back through the mail, I would. This is my first Gold Tone instrument, and judging on the fit and finish, most likely my last/only. My Saga SS-10 entry level is much better assembled and finished than this thing.

Appearance Rating: 1

Reliability

Overall, with the exception of the neck, construction seems shoddy/puny. The finish already had several imperfections when I received it. I'll use it as a conversation piece at jam sessions, but I wouldn't depend on it solely during a gig.

Reliability Rating: 2

Customer Service

In fairness, I'm writing this up to a mistake on my part in purchasing it in the first place. It's playable, although it should have been sold as a second, and I don't feel like going through the hassle and cost of paying shipping to send it back and risk getting another dud. So.....I haven't talked with Gold Tone or Elderly about it, but I'm sure it would be taken care of if I did.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nothing particularly stands out. Fit and finish, tone, etc., are all quite lacking. This instrument should have been in the "blem" , or factory second category.

Components Rating: 2

Overall Comments

If you are a true dyed in the wool banjo picker, DO NOT buy this instrument. If it were stolen, I'd file a claim and replace it with something else. The only question I wish I had asked before buying would have been to myself...............and I can't repeat it here.

Overall Rating: 2

Submitted by Unknown on 4/9/2004

Where Purchased: Private Sale

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 355 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Nice sound with good sustain. It lacks volume for playing unamplified in the bluegrass setting, but has a real nice sound otherwise.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The instrument's biscuit bridge was pushed up against the chrome cone cover, which dampened the volume. The biscuit was re-centered, and the instrument came alive. A simple fix. A shipping thing, for sure.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Nice binding and appearance in general, although the edges of the "f" hole were not stained. A real visual flaw that never should have left the factory, although not difficult to correct.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Instrument seems very substantial, I expect no reliability problems based on what I see now.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Contacts with the company in the past were always friendly and productive. The necessary repairs here will be made by me because it's just cheaper than shipping the instrument, and i'm not the original owner, even though the instrument is only a month old.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The factory case is nice. THe chrome plating seems to be well done.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I recommend this instrument because of it's unique voice. It's a real conversation piece when you're out with others.

Overall Rating: 8

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