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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  N/A Banjo Reviews

Submitted by michaeljameskyler (see all reviews from this person) on 8/9/2006

Where Purchased: Guitar Tex

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: $200ish ($US)

Sound

First off, I looked on Gold Tone`s website and couldn`t find anything that looked like my model. It`s an open back and obviously one of their cheaper models. It sounds very mellow. Not loud at all. Buzzed from the beginning on the middle open G string. I started itchin` for another banjo after only 3 mounths of playing it.

Sound Rating: 2

Setup

The fifth string wasn`t geared, and was almost impossible to tune. Like I said, it buzzed a whole lot.

Setup Rating: 3

Appearance

Their were no flaws on it, but it was way too simple. Just plain dots on the fret board and a very basic peg head.

Appearance Rating: 2

Reliability

Well, the good thing about this banjo is that as soon as you buy it, it can`t get any worse.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I just bought it from a small store. No complaints.

Customer Service: 10

Components

(see setup) Besides those, there isn`t anything else.

Components Rating: 4

Overall Comments

For a beginner banjo, it`s okay. But if you want a great beginner banjo, read my review for the Iida Aluminum Classic.

Overall Rating: 2

Submitted by atracksler (see all reviews from this person) on 1/3/2006

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 450 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sounds great for clawhammer style playing, and not too bad for 3-finger playing either.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo, was used but set up excellently, medium-high action, just lik I like it.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The neck is nicely flamed, the inlays are really nice.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The tuners dont seem like the best in the world, I will probably replace them in a short while.

The finish is good and It looks like it will last me a lifetime.

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

NA

Customer Service: not rated

Components

As stated above, the tuners arent the best in the world. I got a new sampson walnut bridge and a no-knot tailpiece and nylgut strings are on their way to me. The Fiberskin head is great.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would highly recomend this banjo, it will probably be the last openback I will need to buy.....although I've said that before about otehr instruments......

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by bassman (see all reviews from this person) on 5/1/2005

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 450 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

After some pretty big changes (see below) I have come out ith a great sounding banjo. A nice "thunk" that you can feel in your belly, but very definite note seperation and good sustain. Still a little too metallic to be just how I want it.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Since I've gotten this, I changed to a Medium 5/8" Moon bridge, a no-knot tailpiece (from the Price-licensed) and Renaissance head (from fiberskin), in that order, and each change has brought improvement. With the Fiberskin and Price, it was just too bright, but that was hard to compensate for with the fiberskin, which souded dead to me unless it was very tight. The banjo came to me with perfect action.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The inlay and wood is all very attractive, but you can tell that Gold Tone makes primarily Bluegrass banjos (very glossy finish, big--but beautiful--cloud inlays, "Gold Tone" on the headstock...). There are just one or two finish flaws where the stain has gotten on to the binding, but very minor and not noticeable.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Very solid, well-built instrument. No problems at all with the tuners, good solid brackets and tension hoop. Never had a problem.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never had a reason for customer service.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Nothing but quality components on this machine. Solid tone-ring makes this a pretty loud instrument. I never had any problems with the parts i swithced out, I was just looking to change the tone. I think Gold Tone would do very well to make Renaissance heads standard on their instruments. The only problem I have is a cracked tuner knob, but it's holding solid.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

For the price paid, I would buy this banjo again and again. I think that's it's easily worth the list price. I don't think that I've played a better instrument for this price, even the newer Reiters. After the changes I've made it really suits me well, but others looking for a brighter banjo would probably love it without any changes.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 9/10/2004

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 599 ($US)

Sound

Love the sound... it has a mellow,rich and warm tone with out being too loud as to drive away other musicians, who like me, are new to playing with the Banjo.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

John Drummond from Banjo.Com has set this banjo up really well...very easy to play and nice low action....was even in tune when I opened up the box(although off pitch...probably due to the 10,000km it had to travel form to reach me in NZ) I don't think that I will need to have the setup adjusted

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is very easy on the eyes ...nice cloud pattern inlays on the fingerboard and tastefully dark stained maple body and neck...the gloss finish was well applied and altogether seems a very tight little instrument.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

As I have only had the banjo 2 days its a bit hard to assess the potenial longievity of the hardware but it certainly seems adequate and the chrome seems to be well applied.I think that it seems to be solid enough to withstand many years of use

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I cannot speak too highly of the service and help I received from John Drummond at Banjo.Com..he was friendly and very helpful and a thorough pleasure to deal with.This Gold Tone banjo has a lifetime warranty if you live in the US but apparantly this does not extend to your friends in New Zealand...this is the only aspect that's disappointing.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The components all seem good quality although the tuner buttons seem a little cheap and I will be interested to see how well they last.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

As an experienced musician, but being new to banjo and wanting a banjo for "all seasons" to learn to play both Blue grass and Clawhammer I researched my options for months and kept coming back to the White Lady.I was not disappointed and would happily get another especially from Banjo.Com

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 9/3/2004

Where Purchased: Private

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 400 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Nice old time sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Stock setup was changed to a No-knot tailpiece with one of Arthur Hatfield's bridges and GHS Crowe Strings. Nice action. Tightening the head really brought out the tone in the banjo and got the tone ring sounding good.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Fit, finish, and cloud inlays are very nice.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems substantiate enough. I've had no problems.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

None needed.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Strongpoint is the cloud inlay neck. I see no weaknesses. The dual coordinator rods make for easy adjustment.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend. I also pick on it sometimes as well as clawhammer. No need to upgrade. This has everything I need.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 8/23/2004

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 559 ($US)

Sound

Nice plunky happy sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Bought Mail Order, but set-up perfect out of the case, and still in tune!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Attractive appearance made this a "must have" in the first place. Cloud inlays on ebony fingerboard, edge binding with spot markers, Inlays on peghead. Well finished for the price.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Too early to judge how it will wear with time, but seems solid to me.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Wayne at Gold Tone sent prompt helpful replies. John Drummond at banjo.com was very helpful and patient with my many questions and changes of mind. I have to rate www.banjo.com as spot on for friendly and efficeint service. I am sure that the other half a dozen names that get hangout mentions are also very good, but I could only buy from one of them. I was pleased to be able to buy from an independent, and still get a great deal.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Planetary Tuners, lotsa adjusting things that I am leaving well alone. Fyberskyn Head, nice woods. I ordered with a Canadian made hardcase which is excellent. (and price was right - John offered a number of case options.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

The price was in line with others, and less than some. If I lost this banjer I would buy the same again!. I love it, it truly does make everyone grin when it is picked. It cost a few dollars more than I planned to spend but I am happy that I did it. The old maxim that you get what you pay for is true with the Whyte Ladye

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by mojohand (see all reviews from this person) on 8/1/2004

Where Purchased: BH member

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Great Old Time sound! Good and plunky. I am comparing this to my cheapo starter I had been playing on, so anything would have likely sounded better, but this does sound really good.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Excellent set up

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Beautiful banjo. Very nice cloud shaped inlay designs. Deep, rich color on the tone ring.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

No problems yet

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

NA

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Great whyte Laydye tone ring for that distinctive sound

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Highly recommend banjo as an upgrade or starter. My playing has vastly improved since playing this quality instrument vs the "toy" I was learning on

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 3/27/2004

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 599.25 ($US)

Sound

Sounds great! I'm learning clawhammer and I like a somewhat bright, full sound and this banjo delivers.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was setup just the way I wanted it. I told JDMC what i wanted as a setup and they did it great.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is far better looking than I expected. I had no way of seeing one

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I've only had it for a couple of days, but I have several other instruments and everything looks to be of very good quality and it looks like it will last a lifetime.

Reliability Rating:

Customer Service

Janet Davis Music were very helpful and courteous throughout my dealings with them. There was a delay in getting my banjo due to being out-of-stock and Gold Tone was waiting on receiving necks. I called and e-mailed a few times to check on my order, and each time was handled in a friendly, helpful manner.
The setup was done the way I wanted it and the banjo arrived in perfect condition. I'll do more business with them in the future.

Customer Service: 10

Components

This appears to be a solid, well-built banjo. To me, everything looks good and reliable. Gold Tone has been making this model for a good while now, it's a great seller, so as the saying goes,

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The sound is the best feature of the White Ladye. It's incredible! Along with great appearance and price, Gold Tone has a winning combination in my book. Highly recommended!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by argyll (see all reviews from this person) on 3/17/2004

Where Purchased: Andy Perkins Banjos Faversham UK

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 495 (pounds) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is an open back banjo which was bought to replace a cheaper non tone ring banjo that I'd had for a few months and oh what a difference a tone ring makes. Clear bell like notes with more substain than I had expected. Its also loud even without picks. Strictly from a novice's perspective theres nothing yet that I dislike about this instrument. I also listened to another Gold Tone at the same time, think it was a Maple Mountain.The White Ladye came out on top

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was set up by Andy Perkins and was in tune out of the case. Action was low with no buzzes, but strictly from personal choice probably a fraction too low. Could have had the action changed there and then but I decided to persevere with it for a week or two. Bridge was a 1/2 inch Grover (I think) A 5/8 inch Emerson Sweetpower 2 compensated bridge is on its way to me now to play with. That may improve things, at least the picking height. It will be interesting to see if the Emerson makes a noticeable tonal difference

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Very attractive from the front, just enough razzmatazz to look different without being garish. Nice real MOP cloud inlays on the fretboard and the usual Gold Tone logo between the tuners. The finish on the neck I consider a bit heavy and overdone, indescriminate blobs of colour up and down the neck trying to make it look like figured wood, never work for me, but I said the same about some of the $2-3000 banjos I've seen. Even plain maple can look good without having to disguise it as something else.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

This is a heavy banjo. It sits in my lap and ain't going nowhere. The top finish is somewhat less than subtle but looks like it would take a bit of punishment, not that I wont look after it. The tailpiece looks like its on to stay and the tuners work well. Only time will tell whether I'm right but it looks like a solid banjo

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

All the usual guarantees. The shop is about two hours drive but this is my second banjo from them and I'm happy with the service so far. Very helpful and free with advice. Both banjos I bought were ready to play. Apart from my decison to persevere with a low action (my fault) I have no problems. However I liked the product so much I wanted to spend some more money with Gold Tone, but an email to the factory four days ago remains unanswered.

Customer Service: 7

Components

All standard parts. White Ladye tone ring, fiberskyn head etc Too early to tell whether I have weak parts on this banjo, I concede that some of the parts like the tuners and tailpiece have a distinctly korean cheapie finish. But they havent let me down yet. If and when something falls off, then I'll come back and tell you all.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I have to recommend this banjo because I cant find any real fault with it and by UK standards in comparison with whatever else is on the market, it is inexpensive. If it were stolen, I'd take the insurance money and I'd replace it. Love it. Like the balance in my lap and I like the neck.Very playable and has certainly renewed my interest in playing. Dont have any doubts and in comparison with everything else I've tried in the price range, it shines. For that it deserves ten out of ten

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 5/9/2002

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: $571 US historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

A very rich sounding open back that I purchased with a removable resonator. Being more interested in Clawhammer, I have even taken off the brackets for the resonator. But if I want the resonator, it's there. I love the sound of this banjo.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

When I talked to Janet she ask enough questions to set me up proper. The Grover bridge works well with this banjo. Plunky. I 'll be pursuing a skin head.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I bought it mail order and was a bit worried. Upon opening the case, beautiful. Maple neck and rim. Rim finished in Mahogany. Cloud inlay.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo appears very well made. I have played with adjusting the head and tailpiece a bit and every thing works just fine. Feels very well made.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have had email contact with Wayne at Gold Tone. He is the the owner and designer of the White Layde. Any question I have asked, he has answered. I would highly recommend your purchase through Janet Davis. She is awesome with her setups

Customer Service: 10

Components

Though at first I thought about a few changes, I have returned to the inital equipment. I was playing both 3 finger and Clawhammer on the same banjo. This banjo is desiugned with frailing in mind.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I feel this banjo is worth much more than the money I paid and if I ever somehow lost this banjo, after crying I'd go buy another just like it. Gold Tones support is unmatched. It's nice to converse with the designer.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 1/18/2002

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music Co.

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 559.00 ($US)

Sound

It is set for bright sound, just crank down on the Price tail piece. I also lowered the action to suite my personal style. It can make a different sound on each string for each fret! That's a joke! At present, I like everything about this banjo.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Janet Davis did the initial setup. She will setup however you want. Just tell her when you place your order. Adjustments are easy to make, just go slow and be careful if you have never adjusted a banjo.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This model has a walnut finish and I have not found any flaws. Rim and neck are of good quality straight grained maple. Inlay markers of MOP "clouds."

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All the hardware is chrome plated. I have observed no wear on wood finish or hardware after the first year. This banjo looks great and I would take it anywhere.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have talked with Goldtone on the phone for information but I have not had any service issues. They were very friendly and supplied all the information I needed.

Customer Service: 9

Components

This banjo is assembled the way a banjo should be assembled. Tight! It has a nice finish and chromed hardware. The Price tail piece is made like a Mack truck. What more could one want for the price paid! Maybe just a little more volume.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend the Gold Tone White Ladye even if I had to pay list of $800. It is alot of banjo for the buck! If it were stolen, I would buy another immediately. I should have gotten the cut away fret board because this banjo really sounds nice when it's frailed up the neck. I previously owned a Deering Deluxe and it played and sounded great but was just too heavy. I like this open back just as much as I liked the Deering.

Overall Rating: 9

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