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.
Where Purchased: Heritage Music in Akron, OH
Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: N/A ($US)
Nice and bright..Loud...Has a pickup but it's a little weak...I will try and adjust for more volume...however, this is a loud banjo acoustically. This is a 6 string so the low strings do get a little muddy...but that's just the nature of the beast. It fits my needs very well.
Sound Rating: 5
The setup was fine from the Gold Tone office in Florida. The frets were sharp and I had to take it to a local shop to have them filed down. It feels great now but it should have come to me that way. Action is good. I will probably change the head possibly to a Deering Black Diamond. I want to keep the bright tone....Oh Yea.....one of the nuts on the bottom coordinator rods was completely loose...actually rattled...it was a quick fix....oops, that one got by inspector #207. (smile)
Setup Rating: 6
The appearance is all subjective. This has no fancy hardware and the snowflake inlays on the neck are nice...but some filler might have been used. IT IS THE BACK OF THE RESONATOR THAT I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH. The grain of the wood and the finish was very nice. However, on this Gold Tone GT500 there are two very noticable spots on the back which show knot holes in the wood. And, on the inside of the resonator there is a small knot hole but it's so deep you can feel it with your finger. MORE ON THIS LATER ! ! !
Appearance Rating: 5
Gold Tone Hardware seems fine. I would have liked better tuners. I had a Dean entry level before this one and it had Grovers....VERY NICE ! And, this should have come with similar.
Reliability Rating: 7
Customer Service..... Well....um....er....it's like this. With the problem of the knot holes I wanted to switch out the resonator with one that didn't have flaws. (This retails for aobut $800.00) I mean, it's no Mastertone but come on... $800 is almost 4 tanks of gas...(smile). I addressed this with an email to the President at Gold Tone Company. His first response was: "Thanks for the purchase.. Wood does occasionally have knots in the venneer..However send me a picture of the resonator and Ill check it out and perhaps arrange a replacement..
I sent very clear photos showing the flaws. He sent me a picture showing an "upgrade for $50" resonator. And, said I would have to ship the flawed piece to them first for a "re-fit".
After several messages, a lady in "Customer Service" emailed me back saying they would switch out the resonator and:
"Shipping a resonator UPS Ground to your zip code will be $11. Please advise us on your intentions."
I was currently using the banjo for a professional show and did not have the luxury of being without it without a backup. I told them to forget it and that I would just keep the blemished piece. I didn't send in the warranty card...thought it might not be worth the $.39 stamp.
Let me say that the lady in customer service was very nice and responsive....just had her customer services hands tied.
Customer Service: 3
This Gold Tone GT500 Banjitar seems to be a good semi-pro instrument. I would like to see nicer tuners and fewer knot holes in the wood finish for the money. Check Quality Before You Ship Please.
Components Rating: 6
Pat Brooks at Heritage Music in Akron could not have been nicer. The cost to me was 40% off the list price and included a hard shell case. He even had it drop shipped to my house.
There are basically 3 usable "new" 6-sting banjos on the market....
Dean, Gold Tone, and Deering. I believe Deering to be the best choice but with the money issue (see cost of gasoline reference above), the Gold Tone was my choice. With care, I believe it will be a suitable and workable instrument for me. Of course this is a "niche" instrument and is not for everyone. Being a guitarist and an old dog unwilling to learn new tricks, the 6-string banjo works for me. Your mileage may vary. Have a great day!
Overall Rating: 5
Where Purchased: Rufus Guitar Shop, Vancouver, B.C.
The sound of this banjitar is really bright & clear with a loud voice & good sustain. It sounds just like an ordinary 5-strings banjo with the extra benefit of the low base sound on the additional 6th string. Since it is being tuned in the standard guitar tuning EADGBE, all the guitar chords & scales can be instantly played on the banjitar without a learning curve. I've applied the guitar crosspicking technique on it to emulate the bluegrass banjo roll and am very happy about the sound.
Sound Rating: 9
The banjitar has been set up by the Rufus Guitar Shop when it arrived here from Florida. They changed the strings to light gauge from extra light as it was originally shipped from the factory. The intonation & tuning are excellent. It has low action & good playability. I didn't have to adjust the truss rod as the neck is perfectly straight.
Setup Rating: 10
The rim, resonator & neck of the banjitar are all made of eyes pleasing blonde color maple wood. The beautiful wood pattern in the resonator can be viewed through the clear banjo head which is very unique. I particularly like the feel of its rosewood fingerboard which is very smooth to play. The inlays are simple but good looking.
Appearance Rating: 9
The banjitar has chrome-plated hardware, alloy tone ring & heavy duty stainless steel tailpiece. It weighs about 9.5 lbs on the scale. Because of the quality hardware used on it, I feel that it is very durable and can last a long time.
Reliability Rating: 9
The banjitar comes with a limited warranty, but Gold Tone Instruments does not warrant their banjos purchased outside U.S. Warranties are provided by the authorized distributor of dealer importing the banjos to Canada. Anyway, the people who sold me this banjitar at Rufus Guitar Shop in Vancouver, B.C. are very knowledgeable, friendly & helpful!
Customer Service: 8
I've found that this banjitar is very well made with quality hardware & materials. I don't need to do any upgrade at the moment as it is still new. As I mentioned above, I really like its maple wood pattern seen through the clear banjo head.
Components Rating: 9
I have been playing acoustic & electric guitars since 1960's. It's quite natural for me to look for a banjo that I can apply my guitar skills on it. After researching on the internet for a few months by comparing all the features & prices of various brands & models, I've found this banjitar which is perfect for me. I would recommend this to all guitarists who want to play banjo but don't like to go through the trouble of learning completely new chords & scales. The banjitar is a very versatile musical instrument which can be played in standard guitar tuning EADGBE or in open G banjo tuning DGDGBD. If you want to learn a little bit more about the banjitar, I highly recommend that you buy the video called "An Introduction to the 6 & 12-String Banjo" by Mickey Cochran. Have fun!
Overall Rating: 10
'Good Thursday Morning' 31 min
'[FF] String Chickens' 4 hrs