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!
6920 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Clodhoppers
This is a newly released banjo which is unlike the IT250 open back. This has a resonator, and is based on a their Tenor AT with zinc flange and archtop bell brass resonator.
This baby kicks and will cut through a session without hammering the strings. I use a very light plectrum and I can still be heard.
The sound is loud but with full tone and just enough sustain, even on the heavy (.42) G.
I am replacing a 1927 Bella Voce and it souns like an instument worth many times the price.
Sound Rating: 9
The set up was a hair higher than I liked but was easily reset using the compensator rods. I didn't like the bridge, which was extra wide, and replaced it with a standard tenor bridge,
The tuners were surprisingly good for a Gold Tone. Either a good batch, or better quality than in the past. I replaced them with a set of Stew Macs, but could just as easily kept them on.
Setup Rating: 7
The finish is excellent. The 17 fret neck has a hearts and flowers inlay and the maple on the resonator is absolutely beautiful. The arm rest is engraved as well.
Appearance Rating: 10
All components appear to be top quality, even the tuners. The tail piece is a solid brass Waverly style and should last forever. All in all a solid piece of work
Reliability Rating: 8
Unfortunately, the banjo appears to have suffered some shipping damage, and the fingerboard seperated from the neck during my first gig (in California). I was heading for Florida the following day and returned the banjo to the Gold Tone facility in Titusville. They were the nicest folks and the banjo with a replacement neck is on the way to me.
I have also received excellent customer service for a used Irish Tenor I purchased locally.
The also pointed out Kevin's Seafood, up the road which has OUTSTANDING food.
Customer Service: 10
Gold Tone tuners are notorious but these were as good as the Stew Macs. I replaced the tailpiece with a Waverly and the tuners, because I had them. The only funkyzeit was the bridge, which is no big deal. A new tenor bridge and I was good to go.
Components Rating: 8
After playing a banjo that is worth 10-15 times the value of this banjo, it is amazing that Gold Tone can import and configure an instrument of this quality for less than $2000. The have significantly upgraded the tailpiece and apparantly the tuners.
The beauty of this banjo is that it sounds and plays great, is not expensive and can be replaced if the airlines turn it into spare parts, unlike my other banjos (Gibson Bella Voce and Cliffored Essex Paragon).
I am still getting used to it and will probably be able to coax even more tone out of it once I have time to experiment with strings, heads and bridges.
Overall Rating: 9
'New strings?' 1 min
'Liu Xi Workshop Violin' 3 hrs