Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

427
Banjo Lovers Online


Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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!

6918 reviews in the archive.

Gold Star  GF-100HF  Banjo Reviews

Submitted by wbalsam1 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/7/2011

Where Purchased: Traded for it

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The banjo is about 2 years old and I traded a valuable violin for it and a mandolin. It is very suitable for hard-driving traditional Bluegrass. The frosted 5-Star head really helps, too, as I don't care for Remo heads. When I got the banjo, I took it apart and made sure the tone ring was properly seated (it was for the most part and only needed a little tweeking), I changed out the bridge to an old Grover (narrow, sanded-down one I had been saving for such a banjo) and I tightened the head almost to the breaking point, adjusted the neck action a little and wow! The thing came to life. It has a cast bronze tone ring in it and it really pops.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Since I did not purchase the banjo new, it's really hard to say whether a new banjo would come all set up and not need any tweeking. Also, I'm fussy about the sound, so I'd probably tweek any "new-to-me" banjo upon first receiving it.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The Gold Star GF-100HF is gorgeously beautiful!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The finish is great and the tuning keys seem to be fine, too. The flange is substantial and the rest of the hardware seems very well made.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have no experience with Saga.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I can't think of a thing they could do to the banjo to improve it at the present price point.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I play this one most of the time when I'm out and around jamming each night. I've been leaving the "Bowties" at home because the sound of this (as I've tweeked it) is so close and the looks are so flashy, it's just the banjo to take with me.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by banjerinepickinjerry (see all reviews from this person) on 11/22/2010

Where Purchased: Martin Music, Morrilton, Ar

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 1025 ($US)

Sound

I have many banjos, mostly Gibsons, three of them prewars. The Gold Star sounds more what I want a banjo to sound like. This banjo sounds like the one J. D. used on "Old Home Place". It's not the loudest of the bunch but plenty loud. It is sweet and has that hollow but bright sound similar to a bright switch on a SUPER REVERB

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The action was a bit high at the beginning for my liking. I slightly shimmed a little more tilt into the neck, allowing me to use one of my own 11/16" bridges. I tightened the head to a average reading of 88 psi.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The Hearts and Flowers inlay is flawlessly executed. The pearl especially in the fretboard is very colorful and full of fire. The inlay in the headstock unlike most imports, appears to be truely inlayed, as you can see the lines around the pearl since the finish has shrunk some, instead of layed on inlay, which would be an "overlay" rather than an "inlay".

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware on this banjo is interesting. The nickel flange, tone ring, hoop, armrest, hooks and nuts, all look like quality pieces. The Presto tailpiece is very thin metal. It does not look as if it will last. But with the sound this rig has, nothing will be changed until it pops. The planetary tuners also feel kind of weird. This banjo will run with the big boys with a tailpiecs and tuning machine upgrade. It is definately worth the expense of upgrading these parts. The finish itself is probably of the new poly variety. It seems durable enough and very resistant to scratching. I would not be skeptical in using this banjo as my main instrument with no back up.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

n/a

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The tailpiece and tuning machines are the only parts that need attention in my opinion.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Presently my favorite banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by stringplayer07 (see all reviews from this person) on 3/2/2009

Where Purchased: Calvin Music

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Traded bass ($US)

Sound

The Gold Star GF-100 HF is a great sounding banjo. This is a very crisp, clean sounding banjo. And the one I played was really a BOMMER! I play a Prewar RB-1 Gibson and I like The sound of the Gold Star almost as well. It just doesn't have that vintage puch I wanted or I would still be playing it...

Sound Rating: not rated

Setup

I set up all my banjos because I think that who else counld get the thing to play like I want besides me...

Setup Rating: not rated

Appearance

It is a beutiful banjo... I love the ceramic rings on the back.... It looks just like a Gibson.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

I think that these banjos are good enough to last.. even if they dont for the price, you cant beat it...

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Nope, the whole thing was great.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I would recamend this banjo for beginners or professinals!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by MTBanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 2/28/2007

Where Purchased: Hangout from private member

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 900 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

It sounds great. I had a Deering which I wasn't too happy with, and this has the sound that my last banjo was missing. Not sure how it compares to new Gibsons, but I've played around a couple pre-war and a 50's Gibson with it. It's not the same as them, but it's really very similar. Great bass and volume, good crisp sound. You can get a more full and rich sounding banjo, but not in this price range.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up was great, but Arthur Hatfield went through the entire banjo and shaved the neck heel, adjusted the tone ring fit etc, so what else could I expect?

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Looks very nice. Still understated, but I like the double cut peg head and the inlays. Fancier than my Deering Sierra, but not overy fancy. Very tasteful.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Should hold up well. I'll be using it at gigs. Would be a great backup if I had a really really nice banjo.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

NA

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Tuners and tailpiece should be upgraded. Mine already were. Otherwise, everything seems very high quality. The attachment for the tailpiece is somewhat off center, so the tailpiece screw has to be at an angle from the flange to tailpiece..hopefully that doesn't affect the sound. The resonator screws have a tendency to loosen up, and the nuts on the resonator they screw into are a bit off center. I was surprised at how fast the armrest began to tarnish. It was almost immediate, where with my Prucha it took well over a year to start to look obviously tarnished.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

For the price, these banjos seem incredible. Better (if you're looking for pre-war Gibson sound) by far than my Deering Sierra, which cost much more. It seems as though, if you want one of these, you need to be prepared to upgrade the tailpiece, tuners, and have the neck to rim and tonering to rim fit looked at by a pro set-up person. Once those issues are taken care of, the banjo is great. I've been playing a ton lately just to hear the way it sounds. I really really like it. The fit and finish are not what they could be..there aught to be better quality control on these. I suggest either playing one (rather than internet buying) and looking it over to make sure it all fits together right, or getting a used one that's had any issues addressed by a luthier. Otherwise you should not be surprised if you need to spend some $$ getting everything right. If you get a good one, or address any issues, they are then great banjos..

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by moreloci (see all reviews from this person) on 2/7/2007

Where Purchased: AndyBanjo (Andy Perkins)

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 1195 ($US)

Sound

This banjo sounds great (for Scruggs style) ... I'm not that experienced (yet) but I like it very much. Bruno van Hoek told me that this banjo realy has potential (if I tightened the head somewhat to bring out the sound), and he owns an RB-1 ;)

After I changed the head to a 5-star (tightenend it somewhat ... thanks Bruno), the bridge to a Scorpion, made the tone-ring slip fit and bended the sides of the Presto so that it "huggs" the cover better ... it's a blast. Very powerfull, almost too powerful. Nice bass, sustain and a choice between piercing highs vs mellow rounded tones.

It's still breaking in so the sound still changes ... but it vibrates all over and that's a good sign :)

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

When I received the banjo, I only had my old Goodtime 2 resonator to compare to ... and it sounded and played great that first weekend. But after the initial wow stage, I found some imperfections in the setup.

Not all frets were level, the crowns up the neck were rough, the bridge slots were pinching some strings and the 5th pip was a bit to high. I wrote Andy about these problems (mainly about the frets not being level), but got no response.

After getting some advice here on the hangout I bought some 0000-steelwool and polished the roughness of the frets (without taking too much off ... thanks Richie). Wim v/d Weg (dutch banjo repair guru) installed spikes and filed the pip to the desired height.

When preparing to install a 5-star head, I found out that the tone-ring was a bit tight on the rim. So out came the fine sanding paper, some patience and not It's now a perfect slip fit. The bolt that attaches the arm rest was digging a bit into the tone-ring so I removed 2mm to stop that from happening.

According to Andy, he swapped the stock bridge with a 'better' one ... the stock must be very bad, because this one isn't that good either. So I contacted Silvio Ferretti (Scorpion bridges) and he shipped me a bridge that should help me achieve the sound what I'm looking for (and he was correct).

The only thing I need to get fixed is the fret leveling, after that it's perfect.

All in all the setup was not up to par (shame on you Andy).

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

Appearence is perfect ... no flaws except for two faulty tiny drill holes in the rim that isn't visible except when you take of the resonator. The only thing I didn't like was that the rim colour didn't match the resonator and neck. So when I had the banjo taken apart for the head change, I carefully sanded the visible part blank and stained it to match the mahoghany more closely.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The tuners are not top notch, but they will do for now. After I performed some bending work on the presto, it performs without problems, before the cover made buzzing noises.

The finish is good and I personally don't care much if it wears a bit ... it's an instrument ya know. I would take it to a gig without a backup because I disassembled and put it back together a few times to know what makes it tic. But since this is my first real banjo ... what do I know.

I rated 7 because of the tuners ... not counting the tuners it would rate an 8 easily.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

I purchased this banjo on the internet without hands on experience. The GF100 got good critiques here on the hangout and since it's a couple of hundred dollars more expensive here in the Netherlands ... I bought it in England at Andybanjo.

As you can read at the "setup section" I'm not totally pleased with his setup job. There are no major construction flaws so I probably won't need warranty. It's only 12 months anyway. In case a major flaw does pop up, I'm sure Andy can deal with it or otherwise the European Saga distributer could (I hope). Most things I can fix myself or otherwise a good luthier is quickly found.

Customer Service: 5

Components

I upgraded the bridge because the one that was on (not factory default) was muting my sound. I replaced the head because I was curious to what extend it influences the sound. I'm pleased with the 5-star (tuned to A) for now, but who knows I will go back to the Remo WK sometime in the future.

I don't have major problems with the tuners (yet), but they probably could do with an upgrade in the future.

The plating on the tone-ring, flange and tension ring could be better, but as long as it doesn't influence the sound, I doesn't care that much.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I can recommend this banjo to anyone looking for a sub $1500/$2000 instrument.

If if gets stolen or lost (something I don't hope to experience), I can't say I would buy a GF100 to replace it, that will depend on the market there and then. But I can say that I don't have any issues that will keep me from buying one.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Unknown on 2/17/2006

Where Purchased: Wires on Wood

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 950.00 ($US)

Sound

Right out of the box with a little tuning and a couple of new tuners(see costumer service).This thing is a cannon.It has a full rich sound that has a loud booming bass and rich upper end.Holding it up when you hit the 4th string you can feel it vibrate right through you,you even feel the notes in your left hand on the neck as you play.Up the neck theres plenty of seperation and clearity,it's just plain fun to play!

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

For a factory set up it wasn't bad,a new bridge is a must.The action was low and everything was tight and had a good fit.I was very happy with everything..no complaints here.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Oh as much as I like the way it sounds I love the way it looks.I can't see anything wrong here,the finish and fit make it a real winner...even the Goldstar tuners look good.Once you open the case at the local jam I'm sure it will turn heads.The case is first class with heavy hardware and plenty of padding.A first class combination!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All things concidered I would take it to a gig without a back up.It seems solid and shouldn't cause problems.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

FIRST CLASS!! I got my new GF-100 and 2 tuners wouldn't hold tune.1 call and new tuners on the way.The same day..couldn't ask for anything better.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Nothing seems to bad and it just feels good,I wish I could find alot to complain about but I can't

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

For the money Goldstar has a winner on it's hands.The GF-100 is great right out of the box and I look forward to many years of great service from it.The sound is warm and clean,but if you need it it can have some brightness to it..it's got a great ring with lots of sustain,and a slow decay.It really takes to being being played hard and has a pop to it.I played several different makes and this one just plain had"IT".Going to move up??Try a GF-100 and you won't be dissappointed.If mine was stolen..after I hunted the person down,I would be right back ordering another.

Overall Rating: 9

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.15625