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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  CC-OT Banjo Reviews

Submitted by shane_lxi (see all reviews from this person) on 5/12/2013

Where Purchased: Ebay

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 420 ($US)

Sound

This is my first banjo and I actually like it alot. Since purchasing it I've played a few other banjos including a Sagmoen, an Enoch Tradesman and a Vega. Does it sound as nice as a high dollar banjo? Actually, it sounds pretty damn good! Seems like what GT was going for was a kind of neutral/generic old-time sound. The Enoch is very "earthy", the Sagmoen with a Dobson ring was very bright, and the CC-OT is somewhere in between. And I think that's the point, really. It's an inexpensive, mass produced, generic (but very good quality) old-time instrument designed for learning frailing and old time music, while being neither extremely bright nor extremely earthy. The neutral sound gives a newbie like me a starting point to decide what sounds I like and don't like for my next upgrade. Or if you are happy with a neutral sound, that's fine too! The only thing I've changed is the strings to a set of brass wound GHS's. I'm very happy with it.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The banjo was setup pretty well. Even though the assembly of the instrument is in China, the final setup is done at the Gold Tone facility in Florida, and they did a decent job. No buzzing which is nice. Action seems a bit high, but I kind of like it that way for frailing. One of my rim hooks was cross threaded and I had to remove the shoe from the rim so I could break it loose. I had to run a thread chaser on it to get it to thread properly, but it wasn't too bad. I was a bit dissapointed because this was right out of the box. Intonation was way off, but that's easy.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

It's not a bad looking banjo! The veneer on the rim is nice, but the seem is a bit ugly and poorly executed. The neck is stained dark with black paint faded in from the headstock and heel and a nice matte finish that I like. My only major complaint is that the "Gold Tone" lettering and the star on the head stock are decals, not inlaid. It's obvious and very cheap looking. The star isn't even symmetric. Other than that, I really like it aesthetically. I tend to be partial to a dark finish though :).

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Ive played it every single day since I bought it, and it hasn't let me down yet. I bought mine with guitar tuners, and I would definately recommend upgrading to planets. Also the tension hooks kind of suck, both aesthetically and in quality. Like I said earlier, one of mine was even cross threaded. I have one that looks like its starting to give that I need to contact GT about soon. I've heard that people have problems running them at higher tension, but I haven't tried, so I can't attest. Finish is a nice matte texture and seems a fair quality.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I have never dealt with Gold Tone about this instrument, but will soon about the crummy tension hooks!

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I would upgrade the tension hooks to some better quality, stronger hooks. Also, I would upgrade to planets, but the guitar tuners work fine. The bridge is interesting, it has a recession on the 3rd string, supposedly to assist intonation when frailing on the neck scoop. I don't know if it really helps, but it's there, lol. I wish the scoop was a bit bigger, but I understand why some players would want those higher frets, so don't blame Gold Tone for making it so small on a mass produced instrument.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I think the CC-OT is great! Just don't expect a $1000 instrument for $400 and you'll be happy too. It serves it's purpose as a generic-oldtime-sounding instrument well and gives new players a great starting point without being extremely one way or the other as far as sound is concerned. It's a decent quality instrument that doesn't break the bank, and even looks great! It's got some negatives, sure, but waay waay more positives. I would recommend one to anybody just starting out and not wanting to spend too much money.

Here's a mp3 I made on my CC-OT so you can hear how it sounds! (keep in mind I'm just learning, lol)
http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/music.asp?id=87251#

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by spencesrye (see all reviews from this person) on 3/30/2013

Where Purchased: The Music Center

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Suits my style fine. Kinda tinny sound, but that sometimes fits my sound well. Everything stock. Bridge height shaved gradually lower in the low register to higher in the upper register.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup fair upon purchase. Action was a bit low for my preferences, but I typically like the action a bit high.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Fairly plain-jane. Get comments from passersby about the "old" banjo.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Hardware is functional, it is mass production at its finest. Have used the banjo on several gigs. Every time I am gigging with it and I really get on the drone string it snaps at the bridge, but I believe this to be resultant of the bridge mod that I had done.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Very friendly/helpful. Never needed to get it repaired. Not sure about warranty.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Very friendly/helpful on the only occasion that I dealt with them.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Overall a good back-up gigging or practice around-the-house banjo.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by BrennanU (see all reviews from this person) on 12/16/2012

Where Purchased: Smakula Fretted Instruments

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 399.99 +40 for ship ($US)

Sound

I have had this banjo for a little over a week now and thus far I am entirely impressed. The sound has a rich softness to it that rings out when the banjo is unstuffed and easily holds its own in a jam circle, but also can be very mellow and sweet when played over the scoop. After placing the bridge in its correct location all the way up and down the neck the intonation is perfect.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Having purchased this from Bob Smakula at smakula.com, I couldn't have been more impressed. He not only sets his banjos up according to how he would want it to play as a well advanced and knowledgeable claw hammer player, but also replaces the five stock tuners with Gotoh planetary tuners and a 5th string gear Gotoh tuner included in his 399.99 price. Additionally free of charge he was willing to add railroad spikes in all my requested locations for free. Most places will charge you outrageous amounts for even that small procedure. Beyond that, I am a fan of tiger striped rose wood and like to have as lovely a fret board as can be made available. Bob specifically picked one out of his stock with care that had the tiger striping and coloration that I desired. Now that is service!

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

For my preference I find the antique stain to be rich and reminiscent of many old time banjos. Although the dot markers appear to just be a cheap white plastic or something, the 5th fret star actually looks to be MOP or a really good imitation of it. The grain of the maple wood on the neck was gorgeous as in the rim. However, this 1/2 Maple multi-ply rim appears to have a maple veneer cap. I hear plenty of people complain about the so called "cheesy" peg head but truthfully I didn't find it that offensive.

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

This is a solid banjo. You pick it up and you will go "Wow, now this is an instrument!" Even at weighing just five pounds, it still has that solid feel and presence that lets you know you have a reliable instrument in your hands. I have no experience with the stock tuners because once again Bob Smakula sets his CC-OTs up with Gotoh Tuners and they are the boss. The brackets and tailpiece all seemed in good condition, nothing bent or dented. However, they are not the high level hardware Gold Tone has on their higher level banjos, so no doubt adjustments on this banjo won't be as forgiving as with one of Gold Tones higher level banjos. My friend is a life long wood worker and finish connoisseur and even he, the skeptics of skeptics wasn't "unimpressed" with this banjos finish.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

I bought it from smakula.com, and therefore haven't dealt with Gold Tone directly. I am fairly certain this comes with a 5 year transferable warranty though.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Gotoh tuners through Bob stand out. Brackets should be handled and regarded with due caution/

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I love this banjo, the included strap and case may not be the hot set up, but the DVD is fairly nice for getting back to the basics or starting and Gold Tone is overall just a kick butt company and banjo maker. Happy picking!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by nuncanunca (see all reviews from this person) on 8/26/2012

Where Purchased: ebay

Year Purchased: 2/2012
Price Paid: 290 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Sounds excellent for an entry level banjo. Plenty of volume and clarity. I haven't experienced any echoes or overtones. My rating is for a banjo in the $400 price range with a brass tone ring. I have other inexpensive banjos and this one blows them all away.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Banjo was set up very well when I received it. Mine was used, but likely plucked only a few times and put away. Or maybe it was an unwanted gift, because it looked untouched. Setup likely hadn't changed from original. Action is perfect height for clawhammer.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Dark wood finish. Unassuming, nothing fancy. There were a few very minor finish flaws on the inside of the pot, but I suspect this was originally sold as a "blemish" because of them. Simple dot inlays with a star at the 5th fret.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I have played the heck out of it almost daily for the last 6 months, and have never had a single problem. Mine came with inexpensive planetary tuners - not great, but they get the job done.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have spoke to gold tone reps on the phone on several occasions because they are the distributor for my area. They are always friendly and helpful, and willing to go the extra mile. I have a cc-50 as well and I asked them about putting a CC-OTA neck on it. They were open to the idea and quoted me a price range that was very reasonable. Everyone I have spoken to that has dealt with Gold Tone has the same high opinion of their customer service - it is top knotch.

Customer Service: 10

Components

There isn't anything I can complain about at the price point. I would prefer nickel plating to chrome, but I wouldn't be willing to spend the extra $$ to pay for it. This banjo feels very solid and after six months of daily use and knocking around, it plays the same as when I first got it. No indication that any parts are wearing out.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

For a beginner/entry level banjo, I can't say enough positive about the CC-OT and Gold Tone.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by thisoldman (see all reviews from this person) on 5/19/2012

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 390 ($US)

Sound

This is my first banjo, so I don't have anything to compare it to. I do hear that the sound gets "fuller" and louder as you move from the bridge towards the neck and is at its best (in my inexperienced ears) in the scoop. Will be using this for two finger style and clawhammer/frailing.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Tuned up quickly (every string was about a tone down). Action was correct (1/8 inch at the 12th fret). Intonation is good. Haven't had it long enough to decide if I need to make any changes.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This is a pretty "plain Jane" instrument. A couple of small finish flaws; not real noticeable. Couple of pin sized imperfections on the fretboard; nothing to impact playablility. Frets dressed nicely. Binding on neck/fretboard done well - have to really look to see that it is there. Mine has a flat black headstock and heel which blends nicely into the brown on the neck. Can overlook the star and name on the headstock. Quality of plating on hooks could be better. Rim is to be 1/2 inch, but it really measures 3/8 inch. A couple of the J hooks were very slightly misaligned, as was the tailpiece, but this is a very minor issue and easily fixed. I am rating this a "6" because I have seen pictures of high end banjos and this is not up to that level of quality

Appearance Rating: 6

Reliability

Seems like it will hold up for me. I will just be playing it around the house. Finish on wood is satin, which gives it an understated look (along with the black headstock and heel of the neck).

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Have not had to deal with Gold Tone

Customer Service: 5

Components

Compensated bridge seems to do its job. Really like the scoop, which is one reason why I chose this banjo - and I have found that the neck seems to provide a natural stopping/anchor point for my thumb. No-knot tailpiece works for me. J hooks may be the weakest component. Guitar-type tuners do the job - tunes up easily and banjo stays in tune. Has a capo spike, which is a nice touch and will be useful as I grow as a player.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

This is a first impression, as I am new to the banjo. May update the review after I have had the OT for awhile I know this is a beginner's banjo and not a high end instrument, but it appears that this instrument will meet my needs. Upper end ($-wise) beginner banjos seem rather "pricey" compared to other beginner instruments. This is my first, and probably only, banjo and I think I made a good choice. Padding on gig bag is very thin -- more of a dust cover than a bag to use for traveling. Had a good experience working with Banjo.com on this purchase. And they threw in a $15 tuner for free in the deal. And good job, Gold Tone.

9-10-12 update: Still happy with my CC-OT. Only change I have made is to put in a spillway dam bridge, which made an improvement on both the high (less shrill) and low (not as muddy) ends - the overall sound is more "mellow" now.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Bobby Langdon (see all reviews from this person) on 2/2/2012

Where Purchased: little music store in washington state

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

Sound

I really like this banjo, I bought it on a whim as something to knock around. I wasnt expecting much sound wise, but have been really surprised with the sound i can squeeze from it. It has a really nice "pop" sound to it, but can be really sweet and delecate too.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup when purchased was ok. bought from a little guitar store, so I really wasnt expecting any magic. I adjusted the action, as it was a little to high for my taste. Added some medium guage strings, and replaced the no knot tailpiece with an old presto copy I had lying around (still on the fence about which one i like better). Most importantly, I tightend the head as tight as the hardware would allow (which isn't super tight). this banjo is my clawhammer banjo, so I dont require blugrass tightness anyway, just enough to get the "plunk" out of the banjo.

Setup Rating: 6

Appearance

The banjo looks like a cool old time banjo, and even better the Maple in the neck actually has figure. About a quarter of the neck, between the third fret and the seventh is tiger stripe (WOW, go figure). I really like the color, and the satin finish, BUT, i really could have done without hokey painted on star "inlay" , and "Gold Tone" on the peg head (nothing a black magic marker didnt fix).

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I really like this banjo, But the hardware is really cheap. The brackets are TERRIBLE!!! They bend out of shape while trying to tighten the head (on the bright side Dont ever have to worry about busting It). The tuners are cheap chinese guitar tuners that do the job, but wont last. The finish has a few spots that aren't perfect, but really, who cares, its a cheap import banjo.

Reliability Rating: 6

Customer Service

Have not dealt with them

Customer Service: not rated

Components

please see above

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

Overall, this banjo for the price is a great buy. I actually think the American made banjo that looks like a toy, would probably be a better investment, but for people like me, that need a fingerboard, and stain. I feel that you cant go wrong with one of these banjos, sound and playability wise.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Tinfoot (see all reviews from this person) on 10/10/2011

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2011/09
Price Paid: 337 ($US)

Sound

Warm, note clarity with a little plunk with the Fyberskin head/brass tone ring. And all it takes is to angle the pot out a tad from the chest to drown out a guitar sitting next to me. Hammer-ons good, and pull-offs full volume. Scoop sound full and rich.

For me personally, the sound fits the bill exactly what I was looking for.
----
A month has passed - a pronounced twang has developed in the sound, especially over the head and on the 1st/2nd strings, as the head/strings have settled in.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The setup was done by Banjo.com - the bridge used is fantastic. Keep meaning to send them an email to find out what they used - its a straight bridge with a small compensated circle cut-out for the 3rd. It came with everything up and intact, just tweaks (naturally) on the guitar tuners. Head was/is on tight - when I finally tapped it (after about a month), was D#.

One issue was that the included vega-style armrest was kinda sloppily put on. Two hooks of a slightly different flat-style were used to affix the armrest, and looked like someone used a machine drill to tighten them - denting the armrest underneath the hooks, and slightly bending back, creasing the hooks themselves.

2nd issue is the flat hooks themselves won't allow dovetail armrests (e.g. Thinline Armrests) to be fitted on. The flatten flange part along with the style of shoe brackets simply will not allow the dovetail pinions to fit on. Makes me sad I can't put on my beautiful 80 dollar armrest on it - but all other styles of armrests are perfectly fine (I ended up with a Wire Rest).

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I love dark wood cosmetics, so the dark, MATTE (I emphasize matte ... no shiny save the metal bits) wood look of the CC OT is perfect in every way - except, yes, the peg-head is just a tad cheesy looking with the matte black, white Gold Tone name and star in the center. Honestly, if they had used something other than that name/single star design on the peg-head, it would look better.

If I look closely, I can find a minor finish issues. Light lines around the frets (possibly they put the frets in first then stained the fingerboard), but that is looking intently - from a normal distance, don't see it at all.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Aside from the two j-hooks, I haven't done a thing to the hardware. Have had it for 6 weeks now, daily use, absolutely no issue - I have been using it to practice on as well as travel/play for hymnal singing... very easily drowning out the guitar if I am not careful.

With my first banjo, I have swapped and tinkered with nearly every aspect of banjo set up... with the CC OT, only thing I want to do is change the armrest. Everything else is rock solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Concerning the two bent j-hooks, I sent an email on a Thurs. evening to Gold Tone with the situation... Friday, had an email from Wayne himself, saying he forwarded my email to Brenda and just needed my shipping address, and on Monday, Brenda sent an email saying the two hooks were in the mail. Now that is service!

Customer Service: 10

Components

I really like the "compensated" bridge used (not sure if it was banjo.com supplied or Gold Tone), and the scoop was (along with the dark wood cosmetic) the reason why I chose the CC OT.

As mentioned, the two j-hooks used on the armrest were in fact different than the factory defaults (confirmed when Gold Tone sent me two new ones) - making me suspect the armrest was likely put on at banjo.com. So I don't hold that against the factory installed components.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

All in all, great open back banjo that satisfied everything I was looking for... dark wood matte, scoop, sound (with brass tone ring). Peg-head design is meh - but if it wasn't for the flat head hook/shoe bracket shape issue with my Thinline Armrest, be a solid 10... yes, I have a good-looking wire rest on it now, but man, I really really wanted my dark brown, deerskin leather armrest on it. The two torqued j-hooks on the original armrest doesn't impact my over all impression since it was so easily fixed by Gold Tone.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by JimThorn (see all reviews from this person) on 4/19/2011

Where Purchased: Amazon.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 367 ($US)

Sound

The sound of this banjo is great for clawhammer, that is after you replace the cheapie bridge. This banjo has the potential to be plunky and mellow. Also, It sounds awesome picked bluegrass style. When picked, the plunk seems to translate into a nice twang that is not too bright.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was surprisingly good. They advertise that setup is done in Florida, and I have to say they do a good job. Action is well set for clawhammer.

Note that you'll definitely have to replace the bridge on this banjo. Like most imports it comes with a super cheap bridge that produces an echo sound. It really does the banjo a disservice. I put on a Donald New Spillway bridge, and the echo disappeared.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This is a no frills banjo, but its simplicity is attractive to me. There were no finish flaws on my CC-OT.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The hardware is basic, no frills, like the finish. Plating on the hardware seems durable.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Never dealt with Gold Tone

Customer Service: not rated

Components

There are no standout components, but then there are no really cheap components either. The guitar-style tuners are surprisingly good, and the fifth string tuning peg seems to be quality too.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would certainly buy this banjo again. I think Gold Tone is doing us a great service by offering this instrument to those of us who can't afford to shell out large sums, but still want a quality instrument.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by brudford (see all reviews from this person) on 12/31/2010

Where Purchased: Ederly Music

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 350 ($US)

Sound

I expected a little more brighter tone with the simple brass tone ring . Really borders on a old time plunk sound . Action is very low as a result not very loud . Will raise the action with a 11/16 bridge to increase the volume . Intonation at 12 th fret is decent .

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Bridge was flat for shipping . The action was very low , even with the standard 5/8 " bridge . All the shoes and screws were tight , however all hex nuts were fairly loose . Coordinator rod was also a little loose .

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Neck is advertised as dark stained , however there appears to be a sprayed on flat black paint to the head stock which ran over to the neck . The neck almost has a green hue to a very light almost blond/brown color . Wood rim finish is consistent . Also there are marks and scraps and indents from where the guitar style tuners were removed so planet tuners good be installed .

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Planetary tuners are functional at best . Hex nuts and shoes are ok quality . The brackets hooks are just junk . The Vega style armrest was bent in two places , I removed it and pounded it flat with a plastic mallet . Armrest is junk also . No -Knot tail piece is also junk . Will the banjo as a whole hold up ? Time will tell .

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Yes, spoke with someone who is involved in all aspects of the company about my concerns . Very good people with great service . They are currently in the process of updating their photos to match what is in the catalogs .

Customer Service: 10

Components

Neck , fretboard and neck binding all very good and well matted together . Remo head is good also . Frets are also well dressed . Will upgrade the following , banjo bracket hooks ,armrest , No-Knot tailpiece, plastic nut to be replaced with a bone nut . Replace bridge with a 11/16 " Moon bridge .

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Bob Smakula of Smakula Fretted Instruments in WV is selling the Gold Tone CC-OT for 340.00$ and putting Gototh planets on. I think Ederly is just using Gold Tones basic planet . At this
price point of 350.00 $ buy it without a doubt . The CC-OT
is 3-4 steps above the Saga's and the Fenders . I also own a Deering Good Time , sorry the Gold Tone beats it hands down . I would just upgrade the following . Bone nut , armrest , No-Knot tailpiece Moon bridge for better intonation and bracket hooks . I was really impressed with the quality of the neck and the action was to low for my style . Not a single fret buzz anywhere on the entire fretboard .Almost as good as my Enoch Tradesman neck . I also just realized that the headstock in Ederly's photo has a brown stained back ,mine came with the black finish on the back of the headstock as well as the front . Also the neck heel on mine is also stained black ,not like the photo with the brown stained heel . I also just realized that the hex nuts are very close to the top edge of the rim and they seem to cut into your leg . They will also need to be change out for shorter ones . I also like Wayne Roger's business model , owner of GoldTone . Yes all the parts are made in China , however he also has a shop in Florida where he then builds the instruments and sets them -up . Most of the companys selling imports just simply drop ship the instrument to your door . I would give a rating of 8 out of 10 . To upgade the above componets by the factory would just destroy their great price point . Buy the CC-OT and upgrade yourself or not .

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by Miguel MC Dowell (see all reviews from this person) on 10/11/2010

Where Purchased:

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

Sound

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components Rating: 6

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by pickinchik (see all reviews from this person) on 9/2/2010

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 10/09
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Almost a year later I still love my banjo. See my other review right after I bought it.

The sound is nice and plunky (due to the skin head). It doesn't sound like my friends $1200 Recording King banjo with the Whyte Ladie tone ring in it, but it shouldn't.

I feel comfortable playing the banjo and the sound is fine for an under $400 banjo. I am still very happy with it. My rating is based on other banjos in this price range that I have heard and or played.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was fine.

I've changed over to a Gary Sosebee bridge, changed out the tuners to planetary ones and added ebony tune keys. I've also taken the armrest off and added a wooden one that I love.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nice looking banjo!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Everything is great on this banjo and it is worth the money asked for it. I would recommend it to anyone in this price range.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

fine

Customer Service: 9

Components

Well actually the planetary tuners that Elderly added (paid $40 more for them to add) are cheap crap. They are a pain and I will be changing them soon. They come loose and need tightening a bit, so I would recommend if you get it from them to get it with the geared tuners that come with it instead. They are probably better than the crappy planetary ones they give you. I just wanted them for looks anyway.

Other than that all components are fine and have withstood all I can dish out. I have a toddler and it's been banged around and had stuff piled all over it on car trips and it's got dents and dings in it and is still a great banjo. I take it outside and play all the time in different weather and it stands up to it.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

Great beginner banjo that has good sound. I think the rolled brass tone ring is a great component for it. I would recommend this banjo to anyone in this price range. I've played a Deering Good Time and while everyone raves about them I personally did not like the sound of it compared to this one. The Good Time is also more expensive.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by pickinchik (see all reviews from this person) on 10/13/2009

Where Purchased: Elderly (comes w/planetary tuners)

Year Purchased: 10/2009
Price Paid: 340.00 ($US)

Sound

I am learning clawhammer and this banjo fits the bill nicely. The sound is wonderful for an inexpensive banjo and I really am enjoying it. The brass tone ring sounds wonderful.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Banjo was setup fine, I had to install the bridge (of course) because they don't install it for shipment reasons. I installed the bridge and tuned her up and was off and running.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

This banjo is very nice looking and really mimics much costlier banjos in my opinion. I looked at a bunch of banjos in my price range and I really love the dark color of this one. I'm just not fond of those light maple banjos out there. The head is very attractive also and adds to the old time look

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All hardware seems fine. I will be replacing the nut because it is plastic, but that was expected and it operates fine. Very nice banjo!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Haven't had to contact elderly for anything ever and this is not my first purchase from them.

THE BANJO CAME WITH FREE SHIPPING!! very nice touch from Elderly.

Customer Service: 10

Components

To me the standout component is the fretboard. I've played rosewood fretboards and ebony fretboards on other instruments before but this compressed rosewood is wonderful!! I love it. It mimicks the smoothness and soft feel of ebony in my opinion. I opted for the planetary tuners.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend this as a starter banjo to anyone. It is attractive and does not feel cheap in any way, the sound is wonderful, the components are solid, and it makes beautiful (or not so beautiful) music! Great banjo for a great price!

Overall Rating: 10

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