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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  "Pat Cloud" Banjola Banjo Reviews

Submitted by robroy103 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/22/2011

Where Purchased: Muscians Heaven

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: GB () historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Poor Volume

Sound Rating: 1

Setup

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

After reading all available reviews of the new Pat Cloud Banjola I decided to order one. This was my first Gold Tone purchase as I have only ever played Deering banjos.
I was very disappointed with the instrument I received. The first thing I noticed was a label on the headstock stating ‘Made in China’ this was a surprise as I had imagined the instrument would be made in the US by the Gold Tone factory.
I expected a solid top as advertised but I got a laminated top. OK it is Solid Sitka Spruce but made pointless by a second skin of plywood glued to its underside making a finished top thickness of approaching 1/4 inch. this is poor construction and does nothing for the resonance of the instrument. The general finish (apart from the ‘one and a half inch’ long nut and bolts extending into the resonator to hold the pick-up on) and woods seemed fine and as I would have hoped but again somewhat spoilt by a super thick, all over layer of lacquer, common to the lower end of the market. Playing the Banjola was a challenge, unless amplified it is so quiet as to be almost useless for anything other than private playing. All in all I was so unimpressed that I returned the instrument to the supplier. Emailing Gold Tone brought a deafening silence as my email was totally ignored, there’s a lesson in that.
I am sorry this seems such a scathing review but I have to say that I have never played such a poorly conceived instrument, for me it just didn’t work and was an expensive mistake.

Overall Rating: 2

Submitted by Tom-B (see all reviews from this person) on 5/2/2007

Where Purchased: Ebay UK

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 300 (Pounds) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

It is quiet but has sweet tone with a long sustain makes it very good for playing blues or slow melodies. Has a built in pick-up for use with an amplifier if desired.
Difficult to rate the sound against other banjolas as this is the only one I have heard and of course it cannot be compared to a banjo

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Very well set up with a low easy action. It has a built on guitar style bridge.so there is not much additional setting up an owner could do.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very nice looking with MOTS inlays along the side of the fingerboard and body.. Has two strap buttons built on. Came with a solid case.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Gold geared tuners seem sturdy enough. The light weight mandolin style body is obviously pretty fragile so I will be careful where I put it.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

No contact with company so far

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The general appeareance and finish is much better than I expected

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I'm very pleased with it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an instrument with a different sound. It is quiet for practice but is not really suitable for playing fast rolls etc as the longer sustain tends to knock out your timing.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by travis_towle (see all reviews from this person) on 11/18/2006

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 1,000.00 ($US)

Sound

GREAT light sound - but you will need to amp it if you want to play with others. - comes with the pickup for the amp - sounds great with a roland micro cube.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Nice - no problems with the set up.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

When it came in the face finish had a 2-3 inch long crack in it that was only in the finish "like a nitrocellulose lacquer crack". When I called the tec at JDMC they said it was nitrocellulose lacquer and said to buy some and spot repair and buff. NOPE... Not a nitrocellulose lacquer finish.

I called Gold Tone and they said it was a finish like super glue and said to ship it to them for repair, so I did. Today it came back to me and the crack is still there!!! They "tried" to fix it but damn, I have a grand in this new Banjola and it is cracked!!! GRRRRRRRRR You can see the crack and now where they buffed it is dimpled from the buffing wheel, not to mention they also scratched the back of it now while fixing it!!!

The new one they sent me is GREAT = but again has a finish flaw in the front - for the money I would expect perfict!

Appearance Rating: 4

Reliability

Great - no problems - but hard to keep in tune and kinda hard to get in tune - but can be done - just takes a little longer. Still a 10.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Great - they worked with me on the first one, no problem - just hate to WAIT for my toys!

Customer Service: 10

Components

Great - no problems.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The quality of the Pat Cloud Banjola was GREAT - it looks nice, it plays nice - only problem was the crack from someone slaming it down in the case with the packing around it when they shipped it to me. That caused the finish to crack on the top face of it, right where people look when you are playing it!!!

Janet Davis Music company worked with me on the Banjola and replaced the Banjola. The new one is GREAT and plays GREAT too!

It is GREAT to have another instrument and sound to play with out having to learn new cords and keys - totaly new sound - would buy one again.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Unknown on 3/4/2006

Where Purchased: Private Trade

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Nice delicate sound with ability to be amplified.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up well. No adjustments needed.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very good quality workmanship. No known defects. Abalam and wood binding, very nice unique inlays.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Seems fine. Tuners are nice and tight without play.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

None needed

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Seems like good quality.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I owned a Banjola Deluxe in the past, and sold it due to lack of volume. Gold Tone has really got it right with this one. The dual pickup setup now allows for amplification if used for performance, or without for late night practicing. All components seem upgraded, and this model has a bridge like a guitar instead of a floating bridge like the other models.

Overall Rating: 9

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