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: traded-private individual
Very bright and loud. Full sound and getting better as I tweak it. Wide difference between x and y positions. I want a little deeper base and I think a new bridge will do it. Love the sound and was amazed at how good it was.
Sound Rating: 9
Better setup was needed. I tightened the head, put on new strings and have ordered a new bridge. Significant open 4th string buzz when I got it, but remedied by head tightening and strings.
Setup Rating: 5
Very nice looking. Love it.
Appearance Rating: 10
Everything but tuners is excellent. Tuners will be changed soon.
Reliability Rating: 7
Haven't dealt with Goldtone, but I will give them an 8 because I really like the banjo
Customer Service: 8
As mentioned before, the tuners are poor. Everything else seems heavy-duty and high quality.
Components Rating: 8
I have had several Goldtone's and have enjoyed them. I had heard an AT a few years ago and liked the sound. This one is miles better. This is the best banjo I have owned and am extremely happy with it. If you like an arch top sound, this is a good one to consider without breaking the bank.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Home Office
Sound Rating: not rated
The setup was very easy just had one of the guys in the shop bring the action down a little tighten the head and install the spikes all at the same time.
Setup Rating: not rated
The appearance of this banjo very nice, I cant really seem to find any flaws in the finish or how it is made.
Appearance Rating: not rated
Reliability Rating: not rated
The staff was very friendly and also patient and helpful, all i have is very nice things to say about my experience with all the folks at goldtone. The owner even came up to the showroom just to say hello.
Customer Service: not rated
Components Rating: not rated
I am only a couple of years into playing banjo and this is my third. I have had a cheap ebay banjo then a fender FB58 and now this Gold Tone . And man what a difference. I would advise anyone who is not looking to spend a fortune for a great banjo to at least look at one of these.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Weatherford, Tx.
Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 650 ($US)
Bluegrass. Full Bright Loud. Set up at the store. Great, smooth neck. Rings like a bell.
Sound Rating: 8
I would make no changes
Setup Rating: 8
Stands out in the crowd. classy.
Appearance Rating: 8
reliable hardware. dependable. I use this banjo as a backup.
Reliability Rating: 8
excellent customer service. Very responsive.
Customer Service: 10
For the price , I wouldn't change anything. It is a great banjo just stock.
Components Rating: 8
For a banjo in the 1000 dollar range. This beats them all. Parts and accessories are available by many companies. If it were stolen, I would get another.
Overall Rating: 8
Where Purchased: Janet Davis
Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 1011.75 ($US)
This banjo has a bright, clear, sparkling timbre. As soon as I picked my first song, I knew it had the exact sound I had been searching for. The note separation is distinctive; it's easy to bring out a melody with this instrument. Also, the OB250AT is a very loud banjo and has the capability of carrying a powerful voice in a jam session. Its power is not harsh but finely balanced and crisp. I had anticipated the bass to be subdued on an arch top, but that is not the case with this banjo. It barks when you dig in!
Sound Rating: 10
The tailpiece was mounted a bit too low but that was easy to adjust. I replaced the adequate Grover with a Snuffy Smith bridge. The head was spot on. The action was just the way I like it. Janet Davis did a fine job on set-up; they put in two spikes as requested.
Setup Rating: 9
The banjo arrived via UPS safely; it was packaged very carefully at Janet Davis for shipment to New York. But this banjo was not without certain quality control issues which I shall describe: 1) The nut securing the tailpiece was making contact with the inside of the resonator. The wood was gouged in that area and the flat black finish scraped off. 2) There was a rough edge along the binding between the first fret wire and the nut. It resembled the edge of a serrated knife; very uncomfortable on the index finger when playing! 3) This defect was the most serious and most obvious to me: the first thing I saw when I looked at the banjo for the first time was a blemish on the binding near the 5th string tuning machine. The binding looked cracked and there was a spot that exposed the darker wood of the fingerboard. This specific area of the binding looked sloppy despite the fact that this poor craftsmanship was covered in glossy lacquer. Every time I pick up the banjo, this spot is right there for me to see. It's ironic that the binding on the rest of the banjo is applied flawlessly. The finish on the rest of the instrument is outstanding too, and the resonator is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen on a banjo. All the wood on this banjo has striking grain patterns that never fail to impress. But that neck has an ugly spot and a rough edge!
Appearance Rating: 2
All hardware seems adequate; the banjo is solidly assembled and the plating is very satisfactory. I will, however, replace the tailpiece in the future. Tuners work smoothly.
Reliability Rating: 10
I e-mailed Gold Tone about the neck issue and they asked for pictures of the alleged flaw. In their response, they said that all OB series banjos have a split in the binding because the wood cannot be bent in that area of the 5th string peg. That is understandable, but it is not the split (although that looks sloppy on my banjo, too) but the spot where the dark wood shows through the binding that is unsatisfactory. They terminated communication with me at that point and I have heard nothing from them since.
Customer Service: 1
The neck is sub-standard on this instrument. I'm amazed that they even assembled this neck onto a pot. The rest of the banjo is outstanding.
Components Rating: 5
From a musician's prespective, this banjo has absolutely fantastic sound, and ultimately, that's what an instrument is for. But as a consumer, I am disappointed with the final assembly quality of this OB250AT(specifically the binding) and the way in which Gold Tone handled my concerns. There are other banjo companies. Added 4 years later in 2012: Despite some issues when I first bought it, this banjo has evolved into the best sounding banjo I have ever played. I also have two top-level American-made banjos. The Gold Tone is the banjo I most often reach for. It sounds beautiful, clear, and crisp. It feels "of a whole", like all of its parts have melded into perfect unity. It is my favorite banjo. Added 12/8/12 I have added a Bart Veerman "Archie" bridge and a Fults 1934 tailpiece. This banjo just keeps getting better and better! It is an atomic cannon! Loud and crystal-clear! Sparkling clarity. Awesome banjo!
Overall Rating: 10
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