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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  Elite Classic  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by steveforse (see all reviews from this person) on 2/11/2007

Where Purchased: Angie's Banjos

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 871 ($US)


This was a very mellow banjo. I never liked the sound of it when I picked it Scruggs style, but I always loved the sound of it when I frailed it.

Sound Rating: 10


Wayne sets them up in his shop in Florida before they go out. The action was good. I tried a Desert Rose Z Elite bridge on it, but it still played mellow. I liked how the head was low on the pot. It was a pleasure to play.

Setup Rating: 10


This is a very pretty banjo. The pearl vine with the abalone flowers is very beautiful. I get a lot of positive responses from people who see this banjo. It is a little busy, but I guess that's the tradeoff. No dots on the fretboard, which is a mixed blessing since it forces you to use the side dots or just get a feel for where the frets are.

The skin head had an orangish tint to it, as though someone had smeared some good clay into about have of it. You don't really see that in the pictures that they show (it always looks whitish) and a lot of people thought my banjo was just dirty. I guess that's a negative if you're trying to impress people, though personally, I liked it. The spun-brass rim was a little tarnished when I got it, but I'm not doing anything to it. It looks good with the skin head.

The ebony wood on the fretboard is a very dark brown. Not black. Not brown like rosewood either. Very deep brown. It blends very nicely with the rest of the color of the neck, which I think is a dark brown stained maple. Overall, the neck looked great to me. I admire it sometimes.

Appearance Rating: 9


I had this banjo for over two years and I never had any issues with it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

When this one was stolen, Gold Tone was extremely helpful in helping me look up my registration info to get the serial number. I love this company.

Customer Service: 10


There were little marks around the frets where it looked like they were going to install them, but then changed their mind. That used to bug me. Also, there was obvious filler on the fretboard for the tree of life, but you had to really pay attention.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This was my first real banjo. In retrospect, the spun-rim design is not really a great first banjo. Their Whyte Laydie would probably be a better choice. Mine was stolen in 2009 and I was very sad. But for the price I originally paid, I thought it better to purchase an original SS Stewart banjo to replace it for just a few hundred more.

Overall, it's a great sounding banjo with great looks.

Overall Rating: 9

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