Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

393
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!

6919 reviews in the archive.

Gold Tone  Banjolele Banjo Reviews

Submitted by easy (see all reviews from this person) on 2/17/2018

Where Purchased: Gold Tone Factory

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Nice and plunky

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Bought the parts direct from the factory: concert scale neck, brass tone hoop (simple brass ring that sits between the rim and the head) on a stock maple rim. Upgraded to Rickard brass shoes (which do, in and of themselves, improve the sound as well as appearance) and brass grooved tension hoop, brass gotoh tuners, brass Rickard Vega-style armrest and a stock bridge.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Quite pretty, imo. I love the look of brass (which does not come stock), the headstock has a gorgeous grain and nice fleur-de-lys inlay, and the rim has a nice grain as well.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Seems plenty sturdy, but only time will tell

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Excellent! I live in Florida, and was able to drive up to the factory to buy B-stock (slightly blemished) parts which look just fine to my eyes. The factory workers who hooked me up were very friendly, and even let me take a quick look around at their operation. Class acts.

Customer Service: 10

Components

While I haven't tried their stock banjo-uke, I know from experience that Gold Tone produces reliable and good sounding mid-range instruments. I haven't played their higher-end stuff, but they are, in my humble estimation, the best bang-for-your-buck out there. I have found that upgrading to Rickard's brass shoes makes for a great, and relatively inexpensive upgrade (comes in a nickel-plated option as well), giving a more focused tone over the stock (presumably pot-metal) shoes. Likewise, going with Gotohs will save some headaches down the road (don't know what their stock tuners are), but I've had absolutely no trouble with the GT components that I've bought. Came with a fiberskyn head.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I loves me some Gold Tone.  Once again, an affordable mid-range product and good customer service that, with just a few minor upgrades (bridge, shoes, nut, and maybe co-rods) goes from good to great.  Nice, straight neck with close tolerances that allow for a good, low action.  Sounds just like I likes it, clean and clear with a nice plunk, good volume and nice projection. Cheers and thanks to the GT family

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by lindydanny (see all reviews from this person) on 3/30/2011

Where Purchased: Elderly.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 329 ($US)

Sound

A very old-time sound. It sounds different to me than to someone listening. To the player, it sounds very much like the sound a vocalist gets singing through a mute. To the listener, however, it has a wonderful tone with a good balance of low and high ends.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Action is good as setup. It required some adjustment to the head (included a wrench for this). The bridge looks like it is not spaced correctly, but that is only a minor issue.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

The instrument looks great. No flaws that I can tell. It is fairly plane finishing and wood grains. However, it is still a beauty to look at.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Everything is good quality on this. The strings will need replacing within a few months, I'm sure, but that is to be expected. Overall, there isn't anything that worries me or is/feels flimsy.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I didn't deal with Goldtone directly. Elderly (seller) was great and sent it quick.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Maple neck, resonator, and ring and a rosewood fingerboard. Great quality to the tuners (no slip like other reviews have mentioned). The nut is bone which is nice. The bridge is maple with an ebony top. Again, good quality.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

For the reasonable price you get a hard case along with it. It is a great outfit for such a low price. My ratings are keeping in mind that it is not a pro level instrument. I would buy again knowing what I know now.

I would recommend this to other players. Especially guitar or banjo players since the tuning is DGBE. Ukulele players may want to go to one of the smaller sizes where reentrant gCEA tuning will work.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Rwh56 (see all reviews from this person) on 10/27/2009

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Great sound. I have the open back version, so it makes a big difference how you angle the instrument to let out the sound. I put some Martin fluorocarbon strings and they sounded much better than the original strings.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up was largely OK. The tuners slipped and the strings were knotted on the "No Knot" tailpiece. Using knots to anchor the string on the no knot tailpiece led to strings pulling out or cut loose by the sharp edge of the slot. Once you properly install the string, it is reliably anchored to the tailpiece. I am new to banjos, so it took me awhile to see what was wrong. Otherwise the banjo was quite playable.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Very pretty.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Everything but the tuners look very sturdy. The tuners unfortunately were very cheap. The tuners would slip and tightening led to broken plastic washers. I replaced them with Grover Champion tuners which work great. Finish looks very durable. Maybe a little on the thick side.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have not asked for help as yet. I will assume the best.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everthing is great except for the tuners. The contrast between the cheap tuners and the rest of the banjolele is striking.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This is a great banjo ukulele. There are not too many new banjo ukes available. This one is a very good value.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Erin Vanzant (see all reviews from this person) on 8/13/2009

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 350.00 ($US)

Sound

It has a very 'vintage' sound, as if it's coming out of an old phonograph. It has good volume and tone. I've played it along with a traditional four-piece bluegrass band, and it held it's own.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Tom, from Janet Davis Music, went through all the banjolele's they had in stock and found the one that he thought had the best sound and playability. I was very happy with what he sent me! All I had to do was take it out of the box, tune it, and I was ready to play. I decided to put Aquila Nylagut strings on it which really enhanced it's tone.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's beautiful!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I've had a few issues with the tuners slipping, but that's all that comes to mind.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Janet Davis is an awesome company to work with...I recommend them to everyone.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Just the tuners, other than that it is a very sturdy, well-put together instrument.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I do love to play it! I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little different to play around with. It has the ease of a ukulele with the old-timey sound of a banjo, which gives it a sound all it's own.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Gus Bloch (see all reviews from this person) on 10/13/2008

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Good banjo uke sound. I have installed an Aquilla banjo uke string set and lowered bridge height slightly. The third string nut slot is cut for standard strings, so it is too wide for wound third string in this set, but the tone is still clean at all frets.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup adequate.
Action OK.
See "reliability"

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Nice finish, no complaints

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Tuners were low grade. I installed Grover 75W's with the new strings. Tuning is now more stable and user friendly. This instrument deserves better tuners as standard equipment.
I've learned to detension the head and check tightning on all the lug screws before retensioning on new banjos. (I wouldn't expect a dealer to take the time to do this for an instrument at this price point.) Many of these were loose and a couple were crossthreaded. Easy to chase the threads.

Reliability Rating: 5

Customer Service

Both Gold tone and Banjo.com are first rate to deal with.

Customer Service: 9

Components

Neck and pot nice. Brass tone ring a nice touch, but sloppy brazing at seam.
Tuners, see above.
How about using genuine "no-knot" tailpieces?

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

I like it for sure. I have an '20's era Slingerland banjolele which has a good sound, but its intonation and tuning stability have never been up to modern standards even after a lot of work.
This banjo is stable and has a clean tone and should last a long while.
A good uke is tons of four string fun and a banjo uke is a loud uke with a banjo tone and is not a substitute for a banjo. I prefer a standard uke when performing alone. Its tone is sweeter and it is a much more comfortable instrument to hold and sing with. The banjo uke can cut it and not get lost when there are other instruments in the mix.

Overall Rating: 8

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.0625