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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  BG-Mini Banjo Reviews

Submitted by wtbryant (see all reviews from this person) on 2/25/2009

Where Purchased: Banoteacher.com

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 548 ($US)

Sound

For the size, it's outstanding. It is a REAL banjo -- just child size.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup was fine.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Plain, but, attractive.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

I was surprised. The hardware seems top notch.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Banjoteacher.com was great. Their personal service was wonderful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I think this will perfectly fit any youth wanting to learn banjo, but, too small to play a full size.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would absolutely recommend this for the price. The price I quoted above included a Gold Tone hardshell case. There is no other real banjo made in a youth size that I know of. And, this one is great.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Tooleo (see all reviews from this person) on 6/1/2008

Where Purchased: Hangout classified

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

Sound

This one was a bit overpowering on the 1st and 2nd string, so I switched to a medium 5/8 Moon bridge and it has a very sweet, balanced tone now. This really improved the intonation as well, especially up the neck. I like to play this in B tuning rather than Gold Tone's suggested C.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

As I mentioned, I wasn't impressed with the tone from the stock bridge, plus the string spacing on it is quite narrow. Head was a bit loose for my taste and the strings were kind of hefty. I put on some D'Addario J69 lights and I feel it's plays easier and sounds better now.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

I think it looks great. Nicely flamed maple on the resonator and a tobacco sunburst finish. From the outside everything is fine, but if you are one who likes to strip your banjos down and tinker around, you may find it dissapointing inside. There is some definate funkyness to the rim machining and the lag bolts in mine are pretty far off center, but nothing is bad enough to detract from the sound imo.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

It seems rugged enough. It's pretty tiny and doesn't weigh much, so I would think that even a pretty rowdy child would have some trouble damaging it

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Tuners are a bit rough but adequate. The bridge is ok for a child picker, but adults may have trouble with the small spacing. the bracket hooks are flat and so close to the rim that I can't get a strap mounted to them. Mine has the hardshell case and it is nice . Banjo fits nice and snug

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Cool little banjo. My 7 year old son can pick it whereas my full size is just too heavy for him. The tiny size makes it a nice travel banjo for me too, and the short scale makes some of those tricky chords with long stretches much easier to grab. 1st to 5th fret....no prob

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by APPLEJACK (see all reviews from this person) on 3/1/2008

Where Purchased: Picker's Supply - Fredericksburg, VA

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 427 ($US)

Sound

The sound is what I expected for an 8" pot. It is loud enough for practice and accompaning another instrument, but would probably be drowned out at a large jam. The rolled brass tone ring and resonator gives it a solid Bluegrass sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The head needed to be tightened. Picker's Supply was happy to adjust it.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The banjo appeared to be well made with flawless wood finishes on the neck, peghead and resonator. The hardware was nickle-plated and bright in appearance. The inlay work on the finger board was well done.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The tuners were a little sensitive, as other have commented on. But after getting familiar with them, and setting them with a clip on tuner, they seem to stay put.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I haven't dealt with Gold Tone directly, but my music store, Picker's Supply stands behind everything they sell. Their experienced staff were helpful in making adjustments to my banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

This is a well made banjo for the price. The components are manufactured in China and I believe they are assembled by Gold Tone in the US. This little banjo has a rolled brass tone ring and resonator and gives it a solid Bluegrass sound. I wanted a similar sound to my full size instrument.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I bought this banjo for practice and travelling due to it's small size. We camp alot, so I like to entertain myself around the campfire. When I bought it, I asked my music store if they could restring it to G instead of C, since most of my training CDs, DVDs and instructor lessons are recorded in G. Picker's Supply happily restrung it with D'Addario strings as follows:

1. D (LEO14 Plain Steel)
2. B (LEO16 Plain Steel)
3. G (LEO18 Plain Steel or LEO20W Nickel Round Wound)
4. D (LEO24W Nickel Round Wound)
5. G (LEO13 Plain Steel)

If you a looking for a smaller scale banjo that weighs in at only 5 pounds for ease of travel, camping, practice, etc. and still want a solid sound, check this one out. Even though it comes strung in C, it can be changed to G, if desired. The $427 cost included the gig bag, but I'd also recommend the hardshell case for long term storage.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Mark Stonecipher (see all reviews from this person) on 11/25/2007

Where Purchased: Ciderville Music

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Pretty good for a little 8 inch head. I was really surprised by the tone, not a lot of low end but with a tone chamber that small I would expect that. Comparing it to a regular banjo isnt really fair.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

action was about where I would like to see it, head was a little loose, not bad though. The place where I got it doesnt really do any setup on anything,

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Great wood, really nice dark color. the finish is good, binding looks great too.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

seems to be well built, I doubt that I will be wearing it out anytime soon. I would think that it would even stand up to a child playing it as long as they take care of it.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

It does have a warranty and have never dealt with the folks at Gold Tone

Customer Service: 5

Components

The tuners are very touchy, better tuners would be welcome.
I was glad to find out it does have a tone ring. even a rolled brass tone ring is better than nothing for a bluegrass type banjo.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Having never played a banjo this size I cant really compare it and comparing to a regular bano isnt fair. I would recommend this banjo to anyone that travels much, it is small, the TKL hard shell case would easily fit in an overhead compartment on an airplane as carry on.
For being as small as it is it still sounds like a banjo, it might not ring like a regular sized one but I would not expect that from it. This banjo is not a toy banjo, it looks, feels and plays like a regular banjo. I have a 5 year old daughter that keeps bugging be to teach her but a regular banjo weighs more than she does. The BG-Mini is lightweight but built solid and balanced pretty well, the neck does want to rotate downward a little but much. I would use this banjo on stage for some tunes that require a different sound.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by sidewinder (see all reviews from this person) on 12/17/2003

Where Purchased: Gold Tone Factory

Year Purchased: 2003
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I was surprised by how loud it is and the tone quality is very good all the way up the neck.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up was great - I didn't change a thing

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The workmanship is excellent. It looks great!, even better than the pics on Gold Tone's website. Not one flaw.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Very sturdy. It has held up great. I travel with it extensively and the gig bag is a must - well padded and shaped for this instrument. Fits in the overhead compartment easily.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Gold Tone and Wayne will do whatever is necessary to get you what you want. Great company.

Customer Service: 10

Components

If I had to change anything it would be to put tuners on it that are less sensitive. It takes a light touch to tune, but stays in tune.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This baby is just too cool. A great travel banjo. I even use it sometimes when our band plays onstage. It's tuned in C. If I Lost this one - I'd buy another the next day.

Overall Rating: 10

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