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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  Bluegrass Special BG-250F Banjo Reviews

Submitted by thomass (see all reviews from this person) on 11/18/2009

Where Purchased: Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 739 ($US)

Sound

Really sounds great. I'm a beginner, this should last me a long time

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Had some over tones. I took it to the local music store and they fixed it up....no problem.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Very nice...better than I expected. Looks more expensive than it was.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Looks very sturdy and has a real "expensive" appearance

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Great warranty...very nice people.

Customer Service: 9

Components

No complaints.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I'm very satisfied.....a real value for the money. A lot better than the guy playing it !! :-))

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by BarnyardMonkey (see all reviews from this person) on 5/27/2008

Where Purchased: Online

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 375 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Banjo had a decent sound,but a bit tinny and some overtones way up the neck.

But had a pretty good bluegrass tone to it.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

I got it used,and the setup was horrible.I took it to the shop and they did a complete setup.I added a Sosebee Cottonmill bridge,and replaced the GT tailpiece with a presto.

Played well after that.
but the neck seemed a bit clunky.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Very nice looking banjo,with a dark brown finish.

No finish flaws that i could see at all,very solid.
the headstock was my only dislike.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Solid banjo,other than the factory Tailpiece.
the armrest seemed to tarnish very easily though.

Other than that,it seems reliable. (and heavy)

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

All parts seemed to be just fine,other than the tailpiece.
which seemed like it could bend easy,and was light.

everything else was good to go.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I feel this is a decent Intermediate/beginner banjo.i've played it with a small group on a jam and it did ok.

I prefer the sound and playability of the Goodtime2 or CC-100,but the BG-250F is louder,and more solid built. (then the Goodtime 2)

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by jkber2002 (see all reviews from this person) on 3/9/2008

Where Purchased: BHO Classifieds

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I like 3 finger style and this banjo suits that style well.
I have light strings on it now but it does better with med
I like Ernie Ball Earthwood strings on it Also I have a Snuffy Smith bridge that sees to do pretty good w/it also it had the straightline tailpiece replaced with a Presto
It has a good full sound so far and I probably don't have it set up as good as I could yet Plays nice, bright and clean all the way up the neck and has great volume
It is plenty loud

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Banjo was setup well when I took it out of the case
It has low action too
I had an extra set of light strings laying around and put those on it but have got a little string buzz and need to go back to a little heavier strings
Other than that it is a very solid banjo and set up well

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

It is sort of basic looking but very solid and good appearance for the money
Not much custom or fancy on this banjo but very good overall on the fit and finish for this price range I would think

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Tuners are good, all other components seem very solid
the finish does have a crack near where the nut is on the neck on the side. It does not seem to affect the playability I think it might have been from shipping
This banjo has a very solid dependable feel to it - sort of like a workhorse you know will always be around

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I have not dealt with gold tone personally but the 2nd owner warranty is 5 years
that seems pretty fair

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tone ring is very good for this price range and the tensions hoop is very solid too Also the wood rim or pot if that is right is very nicely done
For the price I think everything is right on
this is a very heavy banjo - about 13 pounds

Components Rating: 5

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo for the price range especially when purchased used for something to play every day
I would replace this model if stolen
No buyers remorse, everything is just what it should be on this banjo
I have played more expensive banjos in music store but for th $$ this one is a great choice and will last as long as I will

Overall Rating: 10

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

Where Purchased: Crazy Al's Music Outlet

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 695 ($US)

Sound

Sounds good. It will definately hold its own against any banjo in the $1,000.00 range.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

The banjo sounded aweful when purchased. It sounds great now thanks to some head tightening and a change of bridge. Action is great!

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

The banjo has pretty plain inlay which makes it easy to read and play. The antique finish on the neck and resonator makes for a beautifully unique looking instrument.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

the banjo should last a good while

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Al's is usually a decent music store

Customer Service: 8

Components

The parts are standard mastertone copies...it is overall pretty well made and should last a good long time.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would definately recommend this banjo for the price paid! It makes a great banjo to throw in the truck for jamming in areas and conditions that you wouldn't want to have your more expensive banjos in.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by NickelPlate (see all reviews from this person) on 8/5/2007

Where Purchased: banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 719 ($US)

Sound

I've waited a month before rating this banjo to give it and myself time to acclimate to each other. The sound is excellent. Very bright and incredibly loud. It's capable of both a harsh (in a good way) popping sound as well as more mellow tones when picked closer to the neck. The sound is also very clear and rings like bell with a somewhat hollow characteristic. I do occasionally notice some slight overtones, when playing certain combinations of chords/notes. I'm not sure if they are overtones though or sympathetic vibrations. They're very subtle however and don't have any negative impact on the great sounding music this banjo is capable of producing.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was, as far as I can tell, setup expertly by the folks at banjo.com. This is my first banjo so I have no other banjo experience to measure it by. However, I do come from many years of playing guitar and know a good instrument setup when I see/play one. The action is nice and low, less than 1/8th" at the 12th fret. Buzzes are non-existent even when really pickin' hard. Bridge placement and intonation are also terrific, although the intonation is not quite perfect when getting up really high on the neck, then again, I've heard much more expensive elite banjos that don't have perfect intonation. The guys at banjo.com also pencil marked the bridge which is nice. I'm planning on upgrading to a Gary Sosebee compensated bridge soon. It will be interesting to hear the difference.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Mine came with some scratches on the back of the resonator which was kind of a bummer. But I called Goldtone and sent just the resonator back to them so I could still play. They buffed it out and shined it up like new again free of charge and got it back to me quick so no points off for that. It looks perfect now. This is not an ornate banjo but for what it is I think it looks great compared to some instruments at a much higher price point. The engraved armrest is a nice touch. The lacquered finished is deep and wet looking with a high glossy shine. The chrome/nickel plating looks great and doesn't seem cheap. And the snowflake/diamond inlays add a little more flare than plain old dots.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Build quality is great. This thing is very heavy (13lbs) and doesn't feel cheap in any way. Like some people, I too feel the tuners are probably the weak point, although they do work just fine and the banjo stays in tune rock solid. I really don't see a need to replace them, but it would be nice if they were a little smoother.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

As mentioned above, Goldtone was great about polishing out the scratches in my resonator and they answered many questions I had before I bought the banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Again the tuners could be better, but they work well enough and really don't need replacing. The flange is very heavy duty and solid and the tension hooks also seem really beefy. The fret job is pretty good, but some of my frets aren't dressed perfectly. It hasn't affected my playing in anyway yet though. But one point off for the tuners and another for the fret job.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would definitely recommend this banjo for someone looking for a bright traditional sounding instrument that looks good, is solidly built, and easy to play at a great price. Just make sure you get it somewhere where they can set it up for you good and proper like banjo.com. Having not played anything else I can't really offer much comparison to other banjos. But I've got a pretty good ear, and I closely listen to recordings of high end banjos and while I can hear a difference in say a pro Gibson or Stelling, I can honestly say that I feel this instrument would do just fine in a professional setting. It has a clean, clear and bright loud tone that can cut through background noise like a knife through warm butter. I can't hear thunder while playing this thing. Should stay with me for a long time.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by amkmrk (see all reviews from this person) on 7/14/2007

Where Purchased: Direct from Gold Tone

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 500.00 ($US)

Sound

It sounds much better than the import thing I used to play. However, it still leaves me feeling that I have not yet found the banjo that has "the sound". Just not the Scruggs twang I'm looking for.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Set up well. Tension was not as tight as I prefer, but that was a simple fix.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Simple, but nice. No flaws. Basic snowflake inlays. Not ornate, but for the cost I wouldn't expect more.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I've played about an hour a day most every day for the past seven years and the hardware has held up just fine. I am most impressed that it stays in tune very well.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Only time I dealt with the company was the day I purchased the banjo and Wayne was very pleasant to deal with.

Customer Service: 9

Components

No standout compoonents, but they do the job for a $500 banjo.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo for the price I paid, but it will still leave you dreaming of the day you can get a professional level banjo.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by Gus Bloch (see all reviews from this person) on 4/29/2007

Where Purchased: banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 700 ($US)

Sound

Good loud, clean tone. Best for bluegrass.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up was correct, but changed as banjo was broken in.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Nothing special, but attractive. Nice wood figuring on headstock,.Deep, shinny chrome and pretty with a plain resonator.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Hardware very solid. Tuners work well, seems overbuit, but this might be because it weighs thirteen pounds or so. It has never broken a string. After a month of so it buzzed a bit, so I followed the tune up proceedures sent with it from the factory. Been fine ever since.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Called Gold-Tone and talked to Wayne. He was very helpful and informative and willing to spend time talking to a customer.
Lifetime warantee. Doubt if it will ever be needed.
Should go without saying, but John at banjo.com was excellent to deal with as usual.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Everything is very functional as is and will probably last a long time. No fret wear noted yet. Tuners still work perfectly. The back of the flange is somewhat crude, but its not visible and at this price point, what else would one expect?

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I am adding my review to the long list of satisfied Gold Tone 250F customers. I bought it because I had excellent sucess with a previosly purchased Plectrum Special 250.
I am selling this banjo today to a good friend for $600. Why? Because
I find that as a singer, I'm more interested in classical and old time styles
and the neck on the 250 is too slim for my fat fingers to double thumb
cleanly. It is perfect for Scruggs style playing. My friend haas been shopping for a new banjo and has played many priced under $1200.
He prefers mine over them all and with a case it will be a bargin.
I would buy another and the Gold Tone BC 350 and WL 250 are both very high on my list.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by pmcnamara (see all reviews from this person) on 1/13/2007

Where Purchased: Accoustic Expressions, San Diego, CA

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 700 ($US)

Sound

Good rich sound,and loud enough for my liking

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

It was set up, but I changed the action a bit; typeical Gibson 2 Tension bar set up.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Good, plain looking banjo. No flaws.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Hardware, finish are good. I would use this as my main with out a back up

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have never had to deal with them

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I didn't like the tail piece, I replaced it with a Kershner; I also replaced the the Head tuners with 5-Star tuners, the factory ones were of poor quaility. $80 of tuners from Steward McDonald solved the problem; also the bridge was junk, I replaced that with a Stew Mac Grover.

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I would recommend it for an intermediate player or for a practice banjo. If it was stolen, I wouldn't be too upset as it is my practice banjo.

Overall, for the money, a good instrument

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by krismcclintick (see all reviews from this person) on 11/8/2006

Where Purchased: Pick and Slide Music

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 400 ($US)

Sound

The sound is wonderful for Scruggs style playing. It has a loud crisp sound while maintaining a nice bas sound as well. I am still playing around with what brige to use but the banjo sounds good with them all.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

the banjo was set up at the factory and was done pretty good. I had to lower the action some to my liking. but all in all the setup was good.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The banjo has a wonderful dark stain along the neck and pot and a dark sunburst on the resonator. It has snowflake inlay which looks nice and un assuming.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The parts seem quality and the banjo is heavy nd should last a long while.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer service was fantastic.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tuners seem to stay in tune and the tailpiece is very durable.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend this banjo. It sounds great and should last through years of jamming.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by swright (see all reviews from this person) on 10/22/2006

Where Purchased: Used from a Banjohangout member

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: $420 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

It is absolutely beautiful. I like to play both bluegrass and more melodic/classical stuff, and it hits both ranges really well. The bigger resonator really comes through on the low notes and it sounds just as good up the neck. It is insanely loud. People 4 doors down the hall in my dorm were coming to see what was making so much noise.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Mine was setup by the guy who owned it previously. He put on a new set of light gauge strings and the action is perfect. The strings are barely above the neck, but not so much that they buzz. Playing this thing with light guage strings feels like you're just playing on a neck with no strings. It's completely effortless.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I really like the looks of it, it's nothing super fancy, but for the money it looks really good. The neck on mine even has a little bit of curl in the wood. The inlays are fairly basic but they're a step up from dots or squares. There werea few finish blemishes near the headstock, but this is a used instrument.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

The hardware seems sturdy. It doesn't have the cheap, flimsey guitar-style tuners you often get with this price range. There is a little bit of looseness in them, but just barely. The geared 5-th string works really nicely. The finish seems good and it still looks good despite this one being 2-3 years old. I have complete confidence in the quality of this instrument. It is really solid and just looks, sounds and feels great.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I've only been playing for a little over a year, so I don't really know enough to tell with any great detail. Nothing jumped out at me as being poor quality. It is very much playable the way it is. As soon as I got home with it, I sat down and played for 2 hours non-stop, and it left nothing to be desired for me. I know there are an endless number of banjos that have nicer features here and there, but for the money, you can't beat it. I played his Recording King, and I much preferred the Gold Tone.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I can't even begin to put into words how much I love this banjo. I would recommend to anyone for twice what I paid for it. If it were stolen, I would be devastated because I'm too broke to buy another one. :) (that's college for ya....) I just love this thing. It is so easy to play and sounds so nice that for someone relatively new like me, the increase in sound quality and playability boosts your confidence and enhances your playing. I have no regrets about buying it (or driving 5 hours to pick it up :) ) I played a few Morgan-Monroes and Fenders that were in the $1000 range, and I like the sound of the Gold Tone much better. I also played the Goodtime 2, and it's a decent banjo, but for just a little more you can get a new Gold Tone, or get a used one for about the same price and the two don't even compare. If you're looking for a banjo in the $500-600 range, I don't think you can beat this banjo. If you're looking for something lower than that, save your money and get the Gold Tone, you won't regret it.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by dayresjr (see all reviews from this person) on 4/26/2006

Where Purchased: www.angiesbanjo.com

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 671.00 ($US)

Sound

Great Bluegrass banjo
I think this is the perfect banjo for the novice as well as the experienced banjo player.
This sucker really pops when you play it.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup from Goldtone was perfect, bridge placement was right on, string action was great, not to high or to low, I have not had to make any setup changes as of yet, All I had to do is fine tune the strings and start jammin'

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Beautiful,very well made banjo
Has a mahogony neck with a rosewood fretboard and maple rim, very nice gloss finish, no flaws what so ever, very nice snowflake position markers on the fretboard

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware looks rock solid, Finish looks very durable, I think this will be the only banjo I will ever own, The only banjo that could possibly be better is maybe a GoldTone Orange Blossom or a vintage Gibson

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Gold Tone customer support gladly answered all of my questions about this banjo, very helpful, This banjo has a full liftime warranty which is unheard of in this price range.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Has a cast bell brass tone ring which no other company makes for this price.
The only thing that I will probably upgrade is the factory tuners,they feel like they have some freeplay in them, otherwise they hold the strings in tune just fine.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would highly reccomend this banjo for any level of player,
If my banjo was stolen I would have a flipin' fit, then I would run right out and buy another one just like it.
As you can tell I really love the look and tone of this banjo, I has great low tones and yet clear crisp highs it really cracks when you play it.
I purchased this instrument from www.angiesbanjo.com She has the best prices that I've found anywhere and shes very knowledable and helpful as well, I would definetly buy from her again.
Thank You Angie.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by ljutic213 (see all reviews from this person) on 3/31/2006

Where Purchased: AngiesBanjo.com

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 671.00 ($US)

Sound

I am a first time banjo player...so, I am not exactly good with the different sounds...all I can say is this banjo is exactly what I had in mind...true bluegrass all the way...it has the same sound as the OB-250...the next step up in sound would be the OB-250+

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was perfect out of the box...AngiesBanjo.com ships direct from Gold Tone...so, if anybody should know how to set up a Gold Tone, they would...have not changed a thing...

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

For the money, it is beautiful...Gold Tone adds some nice inlays and the finish is amazing...shines like a gem...the banjo is easy on the eyes and gives you a lot of fluff for the money (versus just dots instead of inlays and such)...

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Once again, I am a new banjo player...but, the banjo seems great for me and I bet it will last a life time with the proper care...besides, Gold Tone offers a Lifetime Warranty...so, you cannot really go wrong...

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have yet to deal with Gold Tone...although the banjo was shipped directly from them and it was perfect out of the box (as noted above)...I cannot say enough good about AngiesBanjo.com...Angie is extremely helpful and has EXCELLENT prices (same price as others but Angie includes a hard case and the shipping at no extra charge)...awesome...

Customer Service: 10

Components

Very glad to have a tone ring...sounds great...the inlays are great...and I like the trim around the resonator...to me, it is good as is...maybe someday I will upgrade the bridge...but, I am not sure to what (once again, a new banjo player...like one week new)...

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Hands down the best banjo for the money...I am an engineer and tend to research topics to death...surfed high and low for about one month and talked with several people before settling on this banjo...

Would replace it in a heart beat if needed...if I had extra cash, I would get the OB-250+ (for the JLS tone ring)...no need spending extra for the OB-250...you get the same sound...you are only paying for a little extra fluff (inlays and such)...

I asked every question under the sun and now have a BG-250F in hand...

For a new player like me or for the intermediate step up, you cannot go wrong...

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 3/15/2006

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 500 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

I really love the sound of this banjo. I played a Gibson RB-250 and couldn't tell much of a difference.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I bought this on ebay and it came professionally set up. I added a snuffy smith bridge and that made a huge difference in the sound.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The mahogany wood really is pretty if you like mahogany. I think it gives it a real mellow sound to it which makes it really versatile. Nothing flashy though.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I think the tuners could be updated, but overall very good quality parts. It really looks like a quality expensive banjo.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

No experience with Gold Tone's customer service. Bought on ebay.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The neck plays really well. Really fast. Very good instrument for the price.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo for the price I paid. I would probably upgrade to an OB-250 if it was stolen. I love the banjo though so I am not complaining. I would definitely tell anyone to try and play this banjo and see how much it sounds like more expensive banjos like the Gibson RB-250.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by CrippleCreek (see all reviews from this person) on 6/1/2005

Where Purchased: Music Plus

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 350 est ($US)

Sound

Excellent sound, lots of pop..not quite as much as a Orange Blossom but great.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup was good. Changed the cheap bridge to one of those bone ones. Head needed tightening.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Not as flashy as some, but very good for the price.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Dependable, reliable. GOld tone quality through and through.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Bridge is cheap.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Highly recommended for a second banjo, one to keep for a long long time!

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by joeyd (see all reviews from this person) on 2/24/2005

Where Purchased: Turtle Hill Banjo Company

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 625 ($US)

Sound

A great sounding instrument! A true beginner, I don't even pretend to have a music style but I do love Bluegrass, particularly the old Gospel songs. Felt like three finger pickin' was where I wanted to go so I ran my short list down to six banjos in the $300 to $750 price range; this one simply outclassed them all. I've played it every day since I bought it and I never get tired of listening to it. A friend who has played for years asked to play it for a minute and he really didn't want to set it down!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Dave said that Gold Tones come out of the box beautifully set up and that has proven to be the case. He added capo spikes and may have made one or two minor adjustments that I'm not aware of but other than that we didn't have to make any changes to the stock set up. Because of the construction of this particular banjo, setup changes could be made quite easily if I ever get to the point where I want to try something different.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This is probably the single factor that most influenced my purchase. The finish work is absolutely flawless and it just perfectly fit my view of what a banjo should look and feel like. There is just enough contrast in the snowflake inlays and the white binding to accent the dark mahogany resonator and to make it a very rich looking instrument.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I have no reason to suspect that this banjo won't outlast me. I have seen a couple of instruments that have made me covetous but if and when I decide to move up to an "investment grade" banjo, I will most certainly keep the BG 250F.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Have not dealt with Gold Tone but would be remiss if I did not recommend David Schenkman and the Turtle Hill Banjo Company. If you live anywhere close to MD and you want competent, accurate, and professional advice, go see Dave. I don't know of any other place on earth that you could take a list of six different banjos and have them all available to compare. He stocks about two hundred new and used banjos and he stands behind what he sells.

Customer Service: 9

Components

The bell brass tone ring is probably the most noteable feature in this price range. The tailpiece is easily adjustable and although I have not yet had occasion to do so, it looks like changing the strings will be easy because of the way it is built. I don't see anything that needs to be upgraded at all.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Would most definitely recommend this banjo anywhere in the $550 to $650 range. I absolutely love it and would immediately replace it with another Gold Tone if it was stolen. As noted above, look and feel are my favorite features. I would also recommend face to face contact with the seller as well. Appreciate that not everyone has a dealer close by but for my bucks, nothing beats hands on, especially for a novice.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 12/13/2004

Where Purchased: E.F. Music Productions (E-bay)

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 585.00 ($US)

Sound

It suits my music style just fine! It seems to me to have a rich sound just off the fingerboard, right where it should. It also seems to have quite a bit of variety regarding the tones you can get out of it... it's been alot of fun thus far!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The banjo was set up great... after having been shipped all over God's green earth, I only had to tune ONE string! Everything's in perfect working order.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The diamond shaped inlays are very simple, however the dark wood and finish is completely beautiful. For the price I found, I had to buy this banjo over the Cripple Creek 100R.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I believe the hardware will last... and the finish seems very strong and durable... not to mention beautiful. Since I got it this year, I'd be guessing as to it's reliability, but I suspect this will be a great looking banjo (and a great playing banjo) for decades.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Haven't dealt with them, so I'll have to give them the benefit of the doubt. It is under warranty for a lifetime to the original owner (that's me!) I read it, and it sure stinks if you live out of the US.... no warranty for you!

Customer Service: 8

Components

I believe all of the components to be superior for a banjo in this price range.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would definitely recommend this banjo for the price I paid... $585.00, WITH a hardshell goldtone case! Well, actually, my lovely wife bought this for me for Christmas, because we couldn't pass that up. There's still one on Ebay now, if anybody wants to take advantage of the deal.. it appears to be an internet music store that works through E-bay: E.F. Music Productions, or something like that. Anyway, after having gotten my BG-250F, I've realized that I'd have been happy getting it for the regular price as well.... it's well worth it. If my banjo was stolen, I'd post fliers all over the midwest offering a reward for information leading to the retrieval of my beloved banjo.

Overall Rating: not rated

Submitted by PickinRick (see all reviews from this person) on 7/26/2004

Where Purchased: Janet Davis

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 618 ($US)

Sound

This banjo has pretty good tone, however it lacks that deep hollow sound that you find in professional models. For the price it is much better than to be expected. I had a Snuffy Smith bridge put on it and the tone and volume improved significantly.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

When I received the banjo the bridge needed to be set and the banjo needed to be tuned. This could have been due to a rough ride in shipping. Everything else was fine.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

This banjo is not extremely ornate but it looks good. The finish is flawless and the chrome plating shines. I have had this banjo for about a year and half as of the writing of this review and the banjo still looks nearly as good as the day I bought it.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I have played it a lot and it is holding up very well. The only complaint that I have is the about the tuners. The tuners have some slack action in them, however they have held up fine.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

No problems with Janet Davis, as a matter of fact, Janet personally spoke with me over the phone and answered many of my questions. I emailed Goldtone about some warranty questions and their response was immediate.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

As I metioned in the in the reliability section the tuners have some slack action in them and at times can make it difficult to tune the banjo. I have not had any trouble out of any of the other components so far.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

For the money I don't think that this banjo can be beat. I've had several professional level pickers play it and they liked it very much. This banjo makes an excellent beginner/novice banjo. It was well worth the money.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Boxcar (see all reviews from this person) on 2/19/2004

Where Purchased: E-bay

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

Sound

his Has a decent sound for the price, bright with new strings and alright bass. shoulda saved for a deering Deluxe which blows this Banjo away soundwise, as well as everything else. its an alright bluegrass banjo sound.

Sound Rating: 6

Setup

banjo was setup decent, i lowered the bridge a bit to better suit my tastes, right now its at a good height for playing clawhammer and bluegrass. which i switchup equally. and i put some Schaller D tuners on.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

some nice wood grains on the neck, and tasteful snowflake inlays. I dont like the peghead inlays much but thats me.

Appearance Rating: 6

Reliability

seems like everything will last until I upgrade, the finish seems good. I really have no choice of playing this without a backup at a gig as i only have 2 banjos and the other one is a 107 year old Baystate 309 with nylon string, not to bluegrassy.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

never dealt with them, dont intend to.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

everything seems well constructed especially compared to my Fender FB-55 which are so poorly made.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

If I had the choice again I would Save for a more expensive one. cuz the banjo fever cant be cured with this banjo.

Overall Rating: 6

Submitted by Unknown on 12/23/2003

Where Purchased: ezfolk.com

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: 700 ($US)

Sound

Loud and bright sounding. I play bluegrass, so this was exactly what I wanted.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

This was shipped via UPS and the bridge was knocked down. With the help of my isntructor, this was easily corrected.

Setup Rating: 3

Appearance

Classic dark maple look. Head stock inlay and logo is uninspired, but that is not important to me.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

No complaints here.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have no need to contact them.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I think the bridge could have been better, and have since replaced it with a Moon bridge.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I love this banjo, and will probably never have another, unless my playing dramatically improves. I am an intermediate player, and probably always will be. A beginner/intermediate probably never needs a better banjo than this. I play this thing A LOT, and it really serves me well.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 11/25/2003

Where Purchased: Edison, NJ

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

It was and continues to be one nice banjo. For the dollar, you can't beat it. I play bluegrass style. The sound is excellent. It could be louder, although that is a function of setup and playing style. Gold Tone tends towards the heavy side of medium gauge strings, which are tough to play and hurt the sound. I am slowly moving them lighter and lighter.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Banjo had some setup issues, and the action was high. Not a reflection on Gold Tone, just some neglect by the store. Keep the head at G# and put a Snuffy Smith Type II 9/16 bridge on it. Use 10-12-16-23-10 strings at the heaviest ... lighter strings may help volume. Banjo weighs around 12 pounds. Adjust tailpiece angle towards head to brighten sound too.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Banjo is understated. The simple diamonds on the fretboard are rather plain, but I've come to really like the look of them. There was one tiny abrasion on the back of the neck ... music shop mishandling most likely.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Two weak points on the banjo ... the small L-bracket that holds the tailpiece BOLT, and the tailpiece bolt itself. The short L-bracket stressed the tailpiece bolt to failure. Gold Tone sent me a longer bracket and bolt ... very nicely set up now! Finish is holding up fine even with almost daily use. Spending a few $$$ and upgrading the tuners wouldn't hurt.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Gold Tone is great ... 100% behind their products.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Overall banjo is a nice rig, especially at the typical price. Put a Snuffy Smith 9/16 bridge on there; lower the string gauges to 10-12-16-23-10 at the max (may require neck relief change); keep head evenly tensioned and at G# and the banjo will sound really nice. Upgrading the tuners would really make this a performance level instrument.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Overall I love my BG250F. I'd buy another one if I lost this one. I own a Huber, and I feel as good playing my BG250F as I do the Huber.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by JSarge (see all reviews from this person) on 10/23/2003

Where Purchased: Guitarworks

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play bluegrass and this banjo suits that need very well. I am going to

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The head was not tight enough but that was easy enough for my instructor to cure. As I have already mentioned, the only other thing that I am looking at is a new bridge.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I have found no flaws at all in or on the banjo. The appearance is quite nice for an instrument that isn't a custom job. There is nothing here that I can think to change or improve.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

No complaints here either. I don't envision that there will be any reliability problems with this banjo. Then again I'm not in the habit of predicting the future.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I've had no contact or dealings with GoldTone but the store where I purchased it has been more than helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I think the price of this banjo was the outstanding feature for someone like me that is just getting started earnestly into playing. If and when I reach a playing level that I feel competent, then I'm sure that I will consider an upgrade. For me at least, this instrument makes me want to pick it up and practice, practice, practice.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

If this banjo were to disappear or be stolen I would probably jump my plans ahead and purchase a custom built instrument. Barring that, I'm extremely happy with the banjo and the price that I paid. I plan on passing this instrument on to my kids and I have no doubt it will still be worth every penny I paid.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 10/15/2003

Where Purchased: The Fret Shop

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 550 ($US)

Sound

This banjo sounds better than my RB-250 did, even after a Huber tonering, Price tailpiece, and various bridges. This is a great banjo regardless of price.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was OK, but what do you expect from a guitar store. I think a good banjo setup just takes too much time and effort. The store's setup was as good as I expected, though.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

The finish is very nice, but the simple truth is it's not much to look at. It's about as plain-looking as they come, but the finish is very nice.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The hardware seems just fine. I haven't had any problems, but it doesn't seem QUITE as beefy as some of the Gibson parts. But who cares?

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have nothing but good things to say about Gold Tone.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing really stands out except that I am a Price Straightline tailpiece fan, and the Gold Tone comes standard with their licensed version of it. One thing I have noticed that I assume is related to the components is that it stays in tune very well. I didn't realize what a problem the Gibson was until now. I never have to tune this thing.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I wish that I had been smart and started with a Gold Tone. Trying to buy the name brand Gibson was a costly lesson. I am a skeptical person, and I guess that's why I went with the name brand. But now I know. As a matter of fact, this Gold Tone is on its way out. My new OB-250AT gold-plated archtop will be here tomorrow. Yarhooo!!!!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Goodheart (see all reviews from this person) on 9/27/2003

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: 539.00 ($US)

Sound

As a beginner, I tried several banjos in this price range and listened to several others. The Gold Tone was the only one with a brass tone ring and it has just the blugrass sound I was looking for. Sounds great to me - bright and poppy. A new bridge would surely help the volume but intonation seems fine with the stock bridge even up the neck.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Janet Davis Music did a FANTASTIC job with setup. Everything was ready to go out of the well-packed box. Head tension and action all the way up the neck were exactly what I wanted. Tuned the banjo up and off I went. As I said before, an aftermarket bridge would probably make it a little louder.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

In this price range, this is one of the best looking banjos out there. Inlay work is simple but the banjo only cost $500. Finish looks great with no flaws or defects that I noticed. I'm proud to carry this banjo around

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Hardware seems of the highest quality for banjo in this price range. The finish seems to be sturdy enough. The only place that the chrome plating seems a little thin is on the tailpiece, but that won't see much in the way of abuse.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Janet Davis Music is the best in the business. After a poor experience with another online store (FOTW), I was truly impressed by all of the staff at JDMC and the speed and accuracy with which my order was filled. Prices couldn't be beat either. I will certainly buy my next banjo from Janet Davis Music Center.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Brass tone ring, Planetary tuners, Geared 5th. All of these components are impressive for a banjo in this price range. After comparing it to mainly Fenders and Deerings, there was no question that the components on this banjo are superior. I plan on adding a new bridge at some point (more of an experiment than anything, the factory bridge sounds great).

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I am more than pleased with my purchase! Gold Tone is putting out a great product. So far I love this banjo and wouldn't hesitate to take it anywhere and show it off. The sound is fantastic for a banjo in this range. If it were stolen (and I came across an extra $2500) I'd buy a Hatfield, no question. But things being what they are (and me being poor) I'd buy another Gold Tone in a heartbeat!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 6/12/2003

Where Purchased: Direct from Gold Tone

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: $700 ($US)

Sound

I play Bluegrass Gospel Music. The BG-250F is well suited for this style of music.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Picked up the banjo from the Gold Tone factory in Titusville, Florida. It was in tune and setup well.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I beautiful banjo...

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Seems to be very reliable.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Great!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend this banjo to others...

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 7/29/2002

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music Store

Year Purchased: 2002
Price Paid: $519 ($US)

Sound

Has a great tone, and very LOUD!. Has a very bright sound all the way up the neck. Produces a great Bluegrass sound

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Jant Davis did a great job with the setup. All I had to do was tune it and I was ready to go.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Great looking banjo. Great finish and MOP inlays. Gold Tone does a great job in producing these instruments

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I have had it 2 weeks, but with a lifetime warrenty from Gold Tone, and the support you get from Janet Davis, how could you go wrong?

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Janet Davis is great. I have been trying for months to get a BG250F from other sources with no luck. But Janet Davis had it to my doorstep in less then 2 weeks!!!

Customer Service: 10

Components

I would not change a thing.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to everyone who wants a high quality instrument at a price that most people can afford.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Unknown on 2/23/2002

Where Purchased: Hoosierdads

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: good deal historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Loud and bright, also rings like a bell. Classic Stelling sound.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Action is great. Lowered the tailpeice a tad and tightened the head as is necessary as a new banjo settles in.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Highly flamed maple and beautiful abalone inlays. Finish is perfect.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Great banjo. One Schaller tuner locked up but I replaced it.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Stelling replaced the bum tuner gratis immediately, no questions.

Customer Service: 10

Components

A-1 first class. The maple is perfect and magnificant. Haven't ever seen prettier inlays

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I bought this banjo from 8 states away and was thrilled when I pulled it out of the case and held it up to the light. (Old eyes, well sorta old). Sounds great too.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 12/30/2001

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music Company

Year Purchased: 2001
Price Paid: about 800 for all ($US)

Sound

I love this banjo. It has a crisp sweet sound and fits me like a glove. I bought this banjo to learn on and plan on keeping it for a long time. Has a vey sturdy mahogany resonator.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up very well by the people at Janet Davis. They adjusted the banjo for beginner and intermediate style.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Very easy on the eyes. Has a beautiful finish to it. Maple neck with mahogany resonator. The fretboard is perfect for me. Very pretty M.O.P. inlay on the tuning head and on the rosewood fretboard.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Seems very sturdy. The finish is very well done on this banjo. I belive my hardwear is chrome plated. I wipe it off very well every time im through playing it for the day. I'm sure with time it willwear some if not taken care of.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

The warranty is life long with Janet Davis I believe. I've not had to send it in for repairs yet. JANET DAVIS rates well with me.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Very sturdy mahogany resonator very sturdy chrome plated hardware nicely finished maple neck easy to play. I may upgrade to a better armrest eventually

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I highly reccomend this banjo for the price I paid. It is an outstanding instument for the beginner or the well seasoned pro. Easy to play and maintain. Simple yet beautiful. I love the width of the fretboard and neck. Makes it easy for my big
fingers to make the correct chords. I highly reccomend this banjo to anyone wanting a high quality instrument for a low cost.

Overall Rating: 9

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