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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!

6920 reviews in the archive.

Gold Star  Flat-Top GF-100 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Donald Pettis (see all reviews from this person) on 9/3/2005

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 1195.00 ($US)

Sound

This Gold Star has a great sound. I am very impressed. I have a Deering Maple Blossom with a Tony Pass rim. I still like the Deering better but this G F 100 is very close. I try to keep the head at a G or Gsharp for the sound I like. I play mostly bluegrass Gospel. I'm amazed at the quality of sound for the price.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The setup was fine. They installed spikes for me and did a great job. I changed the bridge to a Kat-Eyez two oz and tightened the head from time to time. I also changed to a straightline tailpiece. The origional setup was exactly what I requested from JDM.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This is a nice looking banjo, Mahogany with rings on the resonator. I opted for the wreath inlay pattern which I like a lot. The inlays themself are not the best quality with a few flaws in almost every one of them. The neck is one piece, I heard some talk about laminated necks but this one is one piece. The finish is very nice, high gloss no flaws. The plating on the metal parts is just average I suppose.

Appearance Rating: 6

Reliability

The tuners were poor quality. I put d-tuners on two and three which I had also done on the Deering. I used the two extra Deering tuners to replace the one and four so all I had to do was replace the fifth which I did. The tuners were really the weak link on this banjo. I would definately use this banjo on a gig without hesitation. The finish looks plenty good enough to last the life of the banjo.

Reliability Rating: 5

Customer Service

I've never dealt with the main company but I can tell you that Janet Davis Music was great to do busines with. They did exactly what I asked them to. I highly recomend them.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Without a doubt the weak link is the tuners. I noticed it right away and changed them within a couple weeks. Everything else is just fine, I changed the tailpiece only because I like the straight line better. The bridge is somewhat generic and the Kat Eyez gives me a much better sound.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I couldn't be happier with this banjo. I bought it to keep at my workplace so I'd have a decent one to play there on occasion. It is exactly what I'd hoped for and I would highly recomend it to anyone looking for a decent banjo with a really good sound. My Deering is better quality and I like the sound a little better but I also have a lot more money invested there. My favorite feature is the sound, it's very good for the price. I'm always striving for better sound, thats why the Tony Pass rim in my Deering, but I think I'm there with the GF100. I don't see myself changing anything else. It plays easily just like my Deering, no complaints at all there. This banjo is exactly what I hoped it would be, a good sounding decent quality banjo at a fair price. If you get one figure on changing the tuners but there again I'm kinda picky.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 5/19/2004

Where Purchased: From friend in NC

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is a 1980 GF-100HF. The GF-100 Flat Head has become legendary for it's sweet sound! I play 3-finger style and this suits me very well right now. Nice full sound, rings up the neck. Balance and even all over the fingerboard. Compared favorably with a pre-war RB-3 original flat head I played recently. Not as loud as some, but very smooth. I use a .656 Crowe-spaced bridge.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Set up was by Steve Huber, so no complaints. I am the third owner of this banjo, and have found it has become more lively over the last year. I pulled it apart in the spring, worked on the neck fit to the pot, and got all the tensions right. Much better volume and punch now. I may not ever want to sell it.

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

Great all around- flange not quite as smooth as a Derring or Gibson. Fit is superior to Gibsons of the period.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Hardware can, and has, pitted a little. The wood finish is perfect.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

N/A on this used banjo

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Parts are fine. Tone ring is Tokai-made, based on a pre-war RB-75 ring.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

These are collector's items now, and are becoming better sounding and more valuable as time goes by.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by maf2d (see all reviews from this person) on 11/24/2002

Where Purchased: from original owner

Year Purchased: 2000
Price Paid: 900 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

A wonderful bluegrass banjo. Great tone at an affordable price.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The bridge it came with was fine, but I wanted to experiment a little so I replaced the bridge with a Gary Sosebee bridge; I also tightened the head. It's loud like a bluegrass banjo should be, (but not so loud that my co-jammers want me to play outside), and the tone is everything I wanted --rich low notes, not too nasal on the higher stuff.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This banjo was in practically new condition. I was very lucky that my teacher stumbled across it and knew I was looking for a banjo just like his--hearts and flowers inlay and all! It's good lookin' for your average bluegrass banjo. (I just got done browsing the Turtlehill banjo site and was drooling over some mega-gorgeous banjos -- Stelling masterpiece, the OME bright angel, the Stelling

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The finish is great. My frets are showing a little wear. Dependability? I wouldn't drop it from the second floor. :-) But it will last long enough for me to play it as a grandma, I'm sure.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A
My teacher made me figure out how to position the bridge correctly on my own. Grrr! Does that count as bad service?? :-)

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I love my bridge. I need a new strap. Not sure when I'll need new frets...

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Absolutely I would recommend this banjo, if you can find one. (I hunted for quite a while, found one on ebay with a different inlay, which I bought, and then 1 month later my teacher found the H&F so I bought it and sold the other one). I'm told both Tom Adams and Ron Block (two of the three bluegrass players I strive most to emulate) play(ed) Gold Stars. I got quite a few compliments on its tone while playing it at Banjo Camp North. It's a keeper. If it got stolen, I'd hunt for another one just like it (which would make me cry, because it was hard enough to find this one, especially in such good condition!!)

Overall Rating: 9

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