Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

426
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!

6936 reviews in the archive.

Gold Tone  White Ladye WL-250 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by Rbodle (see all reviews from this person) on 5/13/2013

Where Purchased: BanjoTeacher.com

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 870 ($US)

Sound

Great, bright traditional sound. Plenty of volume.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup done perfectly by Ross Nickerson, including 5th string capo spikes.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It's gorgeous!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Feels rugged, well-made.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Really a nice transaction. Quick answers to questions, and quick processing and shipping.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Love the neck and tuners.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

My first open-back. Don't think I could have made a better choice.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by AlpacaLips (see all reviews from this person) on 8/24/2011

Where Purchased: banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: $750 historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I'm a new player so I don't have a lot of preconceived notions about what a "good" sound is, but it does sound better to me than a Deering Goodtime and a Gold Tone CC-100R with the resonator off. It has great intonation all the way up the neck.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

No changes have been needed. Everything seems to be where it ought to be. Bridge is set right, action is good, head seems to have appropriate tension.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I love the design of this banjo. It is maple with a dark finish and ebony fretboard with abalone inlays. The banjo had several blemishes: rough spots and grime on the neck binding, a chip in the neck where it meets the ring, multiple pits and rough sanding on the inlays, and bubbles in the chrome. It looks good from a distance.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Other than the chrome bubbles which may flake off over time, everything seems to be solid, and probably long-lasting.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I've worked with both banjoteacher.com and Gold Tone directly to get the blemish issues addressed.

Ross Nickerson at banjoteacher.com has been great: he was genuinely concerned that the banjo had problems and that I wasn't satisfied with it, and he went to bat for me with Gold Tone to get me some satisfaction (I agreed to some freebies rather than asking for a new banjo).

Gold Tone on the other hand has been pretty much a joke. The banjo took almost 3 weeks to be drop shipped from Gold Tone (no excuse for that length of time, even across country by ground). Wayne didn't express much concern about the blemishes in the banjo, or that I wasn't satisfied. He did agree to send a replacement part since I specifically asked for it, but when it arrived (once again almost 3 weeks later), it was the wrong part--one NOT EVEN FOUND ON MY BANJO. After I complained about both the wrong part and the length of time it took to get here, Gold Tone sent 3 shoes by priority mail.

Gold Tone buyers should also beware that the Gold Tone warranty requires the customer (you know--the one who DIDN'T manufacture a screwed up banjo) to pay for shipping BOTH WAYS to get warranty service, even if the problem was in fact Gold Tone's fault. If you live on the west coast, that bill could top $100 depending on how well you pack it, so if the issues are cosmetic it isn't really worth it to have Gold Tone fix their own errors unless you have a $1000+ banjo. But if/when I upgrade to a banjo in that price range, I'll have too much riding on the transaction to trust it with Gold Tone. I'd suggest considering only Gold Tone's sub-$500 banjos if you want an entry level instrument, and even then only if you don't mind cosmetic blemishes.

So in case I haven't been clear, I'm not too impressed with Gold Tone.

My customer service rating is of GOLD TONE ONLY, and does not reflect on banjoteacher.com in any way (except that he sells mainly Gold Tones).

Customer Service: 4

Components

A few of the Chinese parts obviously came through with problems, and if Gold Tone does a better quality control job for you than they did for me, you'll probably be OK.

I'm not used to the planetary tuners. The gear ratio is being touted as a big advantage, but fine tuning is difficult. I'm sure it's faster to change strings, but I do that infrequently, and I use alternate tunings every single day. I may not go with planetaries on my next banjo.

UPDATE: I now have a second banjo that I keep tuned to open-G and the WL-250 is normally Double-C tuned, so the retuning issue has largely been dealt with. Also, I've noticed that the planetary tunes stay in tune better than the guitar tuners on my Goodtime.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

The banjo plays and sounds great.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by pjxndvm (see all reviews from this person) on 6/24/2011

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 742 ($US)

Sound

I bought this to start to learn clawhammer banjo. It sounds good, and so far I like everything about it. I bought it based on reviews here, and am not dissappointed. I will use it until I get a Chuck Lee at sometime in the future.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up is fine, I had a moon bridge put on. Medium. Heavy was out of stock.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

For a chinese banjo, it is finished very nice. I typically don't care to buy foreign goods, but I really couldn't justify spending the high dollar on a Chuck Lee to start with to see if clawhammer stuck with me like bluegrass banjo did.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I just got it last month, but it seems as though it is sturdy enough to last. Only time will tell.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have not had to deal with the company.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Components seem quality. Time will tell.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

For me, this is a nice starter banjo for clawhammer that is a lot nicer than the $350 model. So, it won't have to upgrade as much to a nicer banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

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

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

I've come to love the sound of this banjo. I thought at first it was a bit too aggressive-- I was initially more fond of the more mellow Vega Senator/ Little Wonder sound, and I still would love to own one of those some day, but the sound occupies a fantastic middleground between that type of sound and the Mastertone copies that are meant to cut through the mix and project a ton of sound. This banjo is still quite loud picked or frailed.

I initially played only clawhammer, for which this is intended, but I've been playing 3-finger on the Whyte Ladye, and I recently got a comment from my instructor (who owns a Huber and a Gibson) that it has a nice bluegrass sound. For a bluegrass instrument, I'd want something that has the full 22 frets, a resonator, and possibly a flange, but as is, I can play enough bluegrass and frail everything with a sound that's great, and I can comfortably carry it in a gig bag on my back on a bike to lessons.

There is a little pop to the sound that I don't find desirable, but some people might love it.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

There are two small points about the setup on mine: there's a ton of buzz on the 12th fret on the third string (only that string and that fret), and the 5th string nut is high enough that it prevents easily fretting the 5th string at the 6th fret. Most players, especially frailers, are unlikely to even need to fret the 5th string at the 6th fret, but it bothers me that I can't. The buzz is the obnoxious point. I have minimized it with a higher bridge, but that also puts the action high enough that playing bar chords within my practice routine leaves me with sore left hand knuckle joints after playing.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Beautiful. I love the inlays, love the flame on the headstock on Gold Tones. The finish and binding are to my liking as well.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The tuners are great. So much so that I am bummed out by any banjo I play that has different tuners. I have a banjo that has the stew mac four star (five star?) ones, and I prefer these.

The finish is great, too. It's stood up to some hundreds or thousands of hours of practice so far.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Never dealt with them, but you get a lifetime warranty as the original purchaser.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The tuners, as I noted above are great. It will need a refret immediately after I get a suitable backup, but that's inevitable. Dual coordinator rods are great, and really effective to dial in an action that suits you, as suggested in the setup instructions.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I love this banjo-- it's come to be THE banjo sound I love and want. I recently bought a Recording King RK-R35, which has been heralded for its sound and quality at the price point. I returned it because it was just too different. In time, maybe I could've come to love that sound, as I did this one, but why should I when I can just pick up an axe with a sound I know I'll love?

I am thinking of getting another banjo, and I'm absolutely going to check out the Gold Tone BG and OB lines-- they seem nearer to the sound I'm used to while adding a bit of bite, volume, and a midrange presence that bluegrass instruments usually have.

After a bit of work, and the installation of some railroad spikes or a sliding 5th string capo, it'll be a 10, but right now with the insane fret buzz and the 5th string nut needing a bit of a file, it's a 9.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Mr100BoJangles (see all reviews from this person) on 9/17/2010

Where Purchased: Zepp Music

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 869 ($US)

Sound

I've just started learning to play clawhammer. I don't have a lot of experience with describing tone, but I will say that I really like the sound of it.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

It came perfectly setup as far as I can tell. The action is low enough to be easy for an absolute beginner to play. I haven't made any changes to it. Zepp Music was nice enough to put in a couple of RR spikes on the fifth string for me. It came with the neck already scooped, as well.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

There are some cloud MoP inlays on the fingerboard and more inlay on the headstock. It is made of maple with a dark brown stain, and an ebony fingerboard. There is celluloid binding on the neck and body. All the materials were in good condition with no flaws that I have found. I find it very attractive, but that was a big part of why I chose this banjo.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

It all seems very nice to me, but as I said, I'm new at this. In the three weeks I've been playing it, it has stayed in tune really well, and it feels solid in my hands.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The only dealing I had with the company was ordering it, but they were very friendly to talk to and the ordering process was painless and quick. They got my banjo out to me in a week with no dings or breaks.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I haven't seen anything on the banjo that seems weak or cheap. Everything feels really solid and nicely finished.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This was a starter package from Zepp Music, so the price included a hard case, a chromatic tuner, a strap, and Ken Perlman's "Clawhammer Style Banjo" book. Very good price for everything that I got.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by foggers (see all reviews from this person) on 6/2/2010

Where Purchased: Ebay private seller

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 400 (UK Sterling) (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I know it sounds risky to buy a banjo via Ebay, but the seller had good ratings and I had tried this model of banjo and wanted one, but could not afford the price for a new one. I have grasped clawhammer enough to know that this baby sounds good. It is mellow, with great response and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of sustain it gives too.

My favourite favourite feature is the frailing scoop, which now is a standard feature of this model. It has enabled a quantum leap in the versatility of my playing as I love the mellow response I get when playing up the neck.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It was originally purchased from Andy Perkins, one of THE best banjo retailers in UK whose is a Gold Tone authorised agent and is highly regarded for the set up of his banjos. The set up had not been adjusted by the previous owner and it was perfect - great action, perfect tone and no need to do any tweaking or adjusting.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The pot and neck are dark stained maple, with ebony fingerboard that has cloud shaped inlays as position markers.- These are nicely done but it is a quirky shape that may not be to everyone's taste. The dark wood enhances that sense of age, but the cloud inlays give it a modern feel.

There are no flaws other than an old sticky label mark on the head, but this came off with a little diluted detergent on a soft cloth.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The finish is excellent. The chrome work is flawless and evenly layered. The build quality is robust and feels like this axe could last longer than me!

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

As I bought from a private ebay seller I can't really comment on him. However, Andy Perkins, the original source for this banjo, was superbly helpful when I contacted him to source the proper arm rest for this model. I would certainly recommend Andy's Banjos for excellent and speedy service.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Planetary tuners have good smooth action though one of the buttons appears to have a teeny hairline crack. Tone ring seems perfectly seated. There really is not anything I would change - I just added a Gold Tone armrest as there wasn't one when it came.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

If there was a house fire, this would be the one banjo I would grab of the 5 we have (as long as the people I love were safe already!) If I could only ever play one banjo for the rest of my life I would be happy with my Gold Tone WL250

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by nyartist (see all reviews from this person) on 6/15/2009

Where Purchased: banjo Hangout Classified

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

Sound

I play clawhammer and already had two wonderful banjos: Bart Reiter Round Peak and an Ome Jubilee - both with 12" pots. I wasn't expecting lots from this banjo but I have fallen in love! The sound surprised me. I play it outdoors in a setting surrounded by water yet there is more volume than I expected. Sounds great to me.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

The set up was right on. The seller suggested using a Moon Bridge which I did and couldn't be happier with the results.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

It looks great to me. It also smells great and feels great.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I like the hardware = the tone ring seems seated perfectly well, the tuners are fine. It definitely is a durable instrument and if I lost my Reiter and Ome I would be content to play only this.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've dealt with Wayne before at Gold Tone and have nothing but positive experiences.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Others have mentioned the tuners. I found that after one week of leaving the banjo at this place I described that's surrounded by water the banjo was still in tune. I thought I would change them to 5 Star tuners but right now see no reason.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would absolutely recommend it. I owned one of these WL 250's about 2 years ago but couldn't appreciate at that time its qualities. Now that I'm a better player I can be a better judge of good quality.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by joeblueg (see all reviews from this person) on 6/10/2009

Where Purchased: BanjoTeacher.com

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

Sound

I bought it for Claw-Hammer and it seems to shin on the sound. Love it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Shipped right from the factory set up well, in tune for the most, just a little tweaking.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

All I can say on the looks FANTASTIC ! ! !

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All looks good and seems like it will be very dependable.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Have not used

Customer Service: not rated

Components

No upgrades needed as far as I can see.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

You must noticed I used 10's through out my review. This banjo seems to be very well built, sounds great, and looks great. I use 10's cause in my opinion a 10 it is...

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by DrAce (see all reviews from this person) on 3/27/2009

Where Purchased: Archamboult

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: CAD (699) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Sounds wonderful. It's a great clawhammer banjo

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

It was - although needed new strings.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Very nice to look at. It's beautiful, with the cloud inlays in the neck. No dents, nicks, or scratches.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Seems like it's built to last.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I believe it comes with a year of warranty, although it'd be covered under Quebec's consumer rights laws (it has to do what its supposed to for a reasonable lifetime).

Customer Service: 9

Components

Apart from the strings, which were a little corroded, nothing wrong with it.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I'd recommend this banjo. It's worth a fraction more than I paid too. I feel like it should have come with a tool for tightning the membrane... but otherwise very happy.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Banjolution (see all reviews from this person) on 3/27/2009

Where Purchased: New Hope Guitar Traders

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 625.00 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Very fine sound for my clawhammer style playing.It has a Fiberskyn head,and is brighter than I imagined. Im curious to play one with a Renaisance head(what they come with stock) to hear how that sounds. I love this banjos low end sound,really growls! The tone overall is very clear,and loud. The different notes are very distinct,not at all a "muddy" sounding banjo

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Welp... I actually had to loosen ALL the brackets,and tighten the shoes which where pulling away from the rim. Not a good thing.I know that the person I got this instrument from changed the head,so maybe they loosened up some then? So I dont want to point the finger directly at Gold Tone ;-) Besides this all was well.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This is a very beautiful banjo.The flamed Maple peghead veneer is real purty. It does have some flaws due to poor craftsmanship.Slight flaw in a small part of finish on bottom edge of rim. Minor tool chatter marks in neck scoop(ebony,and binding). Chatter marks on "scooped" out part of tension hoop. All pretty minor to me,and I guess to be expected in an Asian factory banjo. Still a shame when you dish out what these cost new! So from a distance its a 9,right up on it,a 6 or 7. So 8 I guess...

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The shoes that hold the bracket hooks actually look worse than the ones on my Epiphone MB-100 starter banjo! The chrome is bubbly,and looks like they will end up peeling and lookin pretty bad in the future. Overall the finish on the rim,and neck is good,besides the small flaw I mentioned earlier on bottom of the rim. I would say that structurally this banjo is well fitted,and solid.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Limited Lifetime warranty. Have not dealt with GT before.

Customer Service: 10

Components

For cosmetic reasons you may want to upgrade the shoes. Ive heard alot of negative reviews of the planetary tuners on some GT banjos. I also heard at some point they remedied the problems/started using different tuners. I have had no problems with mine,and have been cranking them all over the place for the last several days here. They are smooth,and hold well/no slipping.All other components are fine. Interesting bridge on mine. Is it stock? Looks like Sosbee shape but without the logo? Its really thick,and has a kind of countersink on the face of the third string slot,making the distance of that string from nut to bridge slightley longer than the other strings(intonation correction?). I really like the look and feel of the Fiberskyn3 head.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Seeing as I got a great deal and got the banjo,a HSC,and an extra Ren head for $625.00 I cant complain.If I had to pay $800.00 or so for it new I may just get a US handcrafted banjo without a tone ring instead.
For me personally and where Im at financially,and level of playing experience(15 mos.) this is an awesome banjo,I love it!! If someone stole it...well I would have to let it go I suppose,and maybe put my nose to the grindstone to get the Rickard Tubaphone of my dreams!! ;-)

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by f#dead (see all reviews from this person) on 4/30/2008

Where Purchased: other player

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I bought this White Ladye WL-250 from GW. From his review, it just wasn't his sound. I couldn't be happier. Thnx Peter, it has a good home here. It goes daboink when plucked and kachang when strummed. The sound is full and loud. I play alone but suspect this banjo could hold it's own in a group. Bang for the buck is exceptional. I do plug it in to an amp at times (it has the factory pick-up installed) and get my rock on. Having the scoop adds that sound to the variations and can be haunting and rich. Firm plucking creates a growling pop in the higher strings and the bass is smooth but could be a little deeper.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I have not made any changes to the banjo since I bought it. When it arrived, I tuned the strings and it was ready to play.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

I like the medium level of adornment. This banjo is my "dark horse" in the herd. The finish is thick and without flaws. The chrome is bright and holds up to skin contact well.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Overall I would say this banjo is well made, sturdy and a pleasure to hold and play. It is heavier than many open-back banjos and lighter than a few. I have not compared other Whyie Ladyes. I don't gig ( yet ) and I consider this banjo dependable.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

update, request for parts: Recently one of the tuning knobs on my WL split. I emailed Gold Tone. I needed a new knob pronto for an outing. Wayne replied he was ready to send along a free replacement. Turns out I borrowed one from my other Gold Tone Hoab for that wknd. Bottom line, free replacement. No problems. Good service on this one.

Customer Service: 9

Components

If this banjo lacks any boutique parts it makes up for w/ solid workman grade components in a factory built hand assembled attractively finished product at a bang up price.
update: I have had several tuning knobs split/break but as mentioned quick replacement by Wayne and GT

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

For the price I paid, I am throughly happy and I intend to hang on to this for a good long time. I think the new retail price is reasonable and I would consider replacement if needed. I previously had a cheap aluminum pot resonator banjo and a masterclone. Sold em. My interest now is open-back styles and this banjo is very servicable for that. I haven't played any other Whyte Laydes cause this is the WL for me now. As for me this was a good 2nd stage upgrade after I determined what style of playing I like. I am lusting for some other types of open-back banjo but not to replace my WL. I have given this a solid 8+ in all categories.
update: I did sell my WL-250 but only because I found a WL w/ more of a vintage vibe. I still think the GT WL-250 is a great instrument.

Overall Rating: 8

Submitted by txpick65 (see all reviews from this person) on 4/3/2008

Where Purchased: Gold Tone

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

Sound

very bright if picked that way but can be mellow if picked softly. This banjo is suited for clawhammer and old time style. Nice weight and playablility.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It came out of the box set up perfect. I changed to a Moon heavy bridge only because that seems to be preferred with many CH players. I am not certain there is any major difference than the stock but needs time to settle in.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

beautiful banjo, maple dark stained mahogony color with cloud inlays not overbearing but classy. As far as flaws a couple of shoe brackets had minor finish flaws but nothing to really complain about.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

I believe all the hardware is of quality and will last many years longer than I will. Some have mentioned tuners but I find nothing wrong with the tuners. The fret work was perfect. This banjo will stand up with banjos costing much more.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Gold Tone really shines in this department. This is my second GT banjo and you simply can not beat the service and personal attention Wayne Rogers gives you.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

I think Gold Tones warranty speaks for this particular review. Lifetime to original owner and five years to second. It tells me Gold Tone is more than confident of the quality. You don't make money doing free warranty repair.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone wanting to play Clawhammer banjo without investing a lot of money and still have a banjo to be proud of. I love it and would buy another if stolen.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Geno7 (see all reviews from this person) on 2/28/2008

Where Purchased: banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: 659 ($US)

Sound

Rich, full, clear sound

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup by Gold Tone, Everything set well

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

This is the Chinese build. Glossy finish, but the appearance is great.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Only thing I don't like are the tuners. They are a little fussy. I had to tighten the screws up to get enough friction to hold them to hold in tune. Everything else is built very well.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Good warranty, lifetime warranty against defects.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Only thing I don't like are the tuners. They are a little fussy. I had to tighten the screws up to get enough friction to hold them to hold in tune. Everything else is built very well.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend this banjo. Can't believe the quality for the price. It plays very well. It requires little effort to get a whole lot of sound. One thing I've noticed is the fact I can relax my hand a little more because its so easy to get volume. Relaxed hand is one of the keys to clawhammer.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by DennyK (see all reviews from this person) on 9/28/2007

Where Purchased: Janet Davis Music

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: $645 ($US)

Sound

Beautiful full rich sound

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was perfect as I requested.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

A beautiful banjo to look at. The pearl clouds and the name glow nicely in the light and the dark finish really makes for a good looker.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

So far the Whyte Layde looks and feels like it's going to last for a long time.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Customer service was excellent and I couldn't ask for better. Has a lifetime warranty.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All the components seems to be adequate so far...no complaints...

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

For the price you can't ask for a nicer banjo. I've had my eye on this one for a long time and finally got one and would recommend it to anyone looking for a moderatly priced banjo. I just keep picking it up and playing it and I guess you could call it a love affair. Again, for the money you can't go wrong.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Beanblossom (see all reviews from this person) on 8/6/2007

Where Purchased: Angie's Banjo

Year Purchased: 207
Price Paid: 650 ($US)

Sound

When I received it, it sounded pretty bad. After adding a heavy Moon bridge and a set of medium phosphor GHS strings, I'm really likeing it. Bright, but can be played softly. Tightening the head made it even better. As I play it more, sound continues to improve.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up by Gold Tone and dropped shipped. The bridge was in the right place, but other than that, setup wasn't that great. Head was very loose and the fifth string pip was way to high. I wasn't impressed by the setup

Setup Rating: 3

Appearance

This banjo is a beauty. The finish and inlay are top notch. I love the dark stain.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Tuners seem a litttle weak, but otherwise I believe it will be very dependable. It is very solid.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Angie has great customer service and probably the best communication going today.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Tuners are the only thing I would critisize. They are a little jumpy, but do hold tuning. Otherwise top notch all the way. Amazing quality overall for the price

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I would certainly recommend this banjo, expecially for the beginning clawhammer student. Great value and can be adusted to a really nice Whyte Ladye sound. I would buy another without hesitation. Besides, this banjo is just plain pretty. My instructor was really impressed with it and likes to play it

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by cockneybanjo (see all reviews from this person) on 6/1/2007

Where Purchased: Andy's Banjos

Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 485 (£) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

lovely sweet tone, really rings out but can be played very softly with no loss of tone. This one is a short-neck A-scale one, 23 1/2" scale length, so I haven't tried it on a G tuning yet.

3 years on and the G tuning with heavy strings as recommended, didn't really ring my bell and I've gone back to the A tuning.

I've also found that using a capo above the 5th fret isn't particularly attractive, not that it's something you do very often in a frailing style.

4 years on and now using medium strings and tuned in aDADE, which seems to suit it

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

just fitted the bridge and tuned it.. .. no other changes yet. Feels very natural, easy action and good 'feel'. Swapped to a Shubb compensated bridge and that seems to suit it.

Had it serviced and thoroughly cleaned lately at Andy's Banjos. It came back with a Renaissance head which seems a good thing to have.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

nice old-timey appearance, solid quality finish and good trim.. just looks so good on the stand in the corner!

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

seems very solid

three years on and a lot of travel to various parts of the world, playing under the helideck in West Africa, in a few jams and a lot of time in the erratic climate control found on many vessels. Finish on both woodwork and hardware is still good, apart from noticeable wear on the arm-rest plating.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

can't comment on Gold Tone but Andy's service has been remarked on elsewhere, knows his stuff and makes sensible recommendations, then sends a good instrument quickly. What more do you want?

Customer Service: 10

Components

very nice example of a particular type of instrument. Not a bluegrass 'clanger' but just a quailty item all round if you want that sort of instrument

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Good value, not a cheapie but I felt I was ready for a step up and knew what I wanted... So far, so good. Would I buy another one? YES! If it was stolen? Buy another one! Definitely a step up from the Grafton, but so it should be for the extra $$$.

18 months on and it is now my main travel banjo. The 23 1/2" neck means it is just about short enough for airline carry-ons, and the A tuning suits playing with guitar players with no interest in bluegrass or often, traditional country either; but you can hold your own with the folk and country players of you want to. Good for plectrum-style strumming, too.

now has a Shubb compensated bridge which is really well suited to it.

seven years on and this is still a favourite. Don't play it much but I always look for it when I get home, and it makes some session appearances from time to time

 

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by GW in Ohio (see all reviews from this person) on 5/9/2007

Where Purchased: Clodhoppers Music (Charleston, WVa)

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 650 ($US)

Sound

I didn't like the sound; it was too muted. I tightened up all the head brackets and also tightened up the truss rod and that brightened up the sound quite a bit, but it's still not quite what I want.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

It was set up well, but I don't like the medium gauge strings that came on it. I hope when I change out to Martin light-gauge bluegrass strings I'll finally get the bright sound I'm looking for.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

The maple rim is beautiful. It has the cloud design on the fingerboard.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Tough, well-built banjo. Tuners work well.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Haven't dealt with them yet.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Other than the strings, everything is good. The banjo came with factory-installed capo spikes and a pickup for playing with an amp.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I'm giving it a 9 on the assumption that I'll eventually get the bright sound I want from it.

Yes, I'd recommend it for clawhammer playing, but not so much for finger picking and don't even try playing bluegrass with fingerpicks on it.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by Muddy Roads (see all reviews from this person) on 3/10/2007

Where Purchased: First Quality Music

Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

Real good sound for clawhammer. i put a little pad between the head and coordinator rod because i rings out a bit much with the White Ladye tone ring. Pretty nice tone, i play over the frailing scoop that i made and that gets the best sound for this instrument.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Set up just fine from FQMS. The action is fine even with the 1/2" bridge. Soon after getting it, i scooped the fretboard above the 17th fret. They should start making them this way. the action is nice and low over the 1st 7 frets. Oh, and i added a "no-knot" tailpiece.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Nice cloud inlays, it's a handsome banjo. The rosewood is a nice color for the fretboard since the banjo is stained dark. The only thing i don't like is the 'fiddle' peghead shape. too fancy and i like a simpler look.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Never had anything go wrong with it. it's built real sturdy. the finish seems thick and won't wear off. I've been going to jams with this one for 3 years and it's nice and strong.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

never tried to contact GT for any reason.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The tuners are nice and nothing needs upgrading, i did put a "no-knot" tailpiece on though just personal preference for the sound.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

Great banjo for learning clawhammer. better than a "beginning" banjo. this one is good but if you can spend a few hundred more you can get a handmade or custom banjo maybe. Great price for a clawhammer banjo with a WL tone ring. i've played bart reiters with the WL tone ring at the store and can't tell that they sound any different.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by vrteach (see all reviews from this person) on 9/12/2006

Where Purchased: Music Folk, St Louis

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 622 ($US)

Sound

I play CH & a little 2-finger picking (no picks). It has a loud, fairly bright tone. Mine came with a renaissance head, and I have replaced the original tailpiece with a kircherner, and also have a small piece of masking tape on the back side of the head just under the bridge. These have tamed the sound a little (the 5th and 1st strings were sometimes loud enough to hurt my ears). These changes were not really necessary as it sounded great as it was in the store, but I like it even better now.

It can be played softly, and can be heard just fine with two fiddlers, three guitars, and a mandolin all playing at full volume.

2008 note: I've been holding it a bit differently lately (on the thigh) and I'm getting a warmer bass than before.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

It was set up perfectly. Only changes I've done in the 8 months I've owned it are those mentioned above and replacing the strings. The tailpiece change was effortless.

2008 note: I've had to tighten the Ren head a couple of times.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I like it. No flaws or problems.

2008 note: no change.

2011 note: no change

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

The finish is quite thick and sturdy feeling. It in general feels very solid.

2008 note: Still in good repair. It is my standard banjo if I'm only bringing one.

2011 note: no change.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

I have not had any dealings. This banjo is warrantied for workmanship for an unlimited time.

2008 note: Still no repairs needed.

2011 note: still no repairs.

Customer Service: 9

Components

I don't think anything needed to be changed, not even the tail piece which I did.

2008 note: Since then I have replaced the Kirchner with another no-knot. I'm happier with the no-knot, but I had moved the original one to another banjo.

2011 note: for some reason I now use a small pair of socks stuffed in it. Not sure why I changed my mind.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone who likes the white laydie sound. On the day that I bought it I played 10-15 other very fine open back banjos, and in many ways it was the least "old-time" sounding, but in my hands, to my ears, it really is what a banjo should be. I've been playing for 30 years and can honestly say that I haven't played a better (for me) banjo, although there was a 1915 Bacon with an internal resonator that sticks in my memory. If you are looking for a plunky sound, this banjo will not suit you as well.

2008 note: I'm still completely satisfied with this instrument.

2011 note: I'm still completely satisfied with this instrument.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Two-tones (see all reviews from this person) on 5/16/2006

Where Purchased: Banjo.com

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 650.00 ($US)

Sound

This was the first banjo I ever purchased and I really didn't know anything about banjos at the time, except for the reviews I read. Now I own 3 banjos and I absolutely love this banjo. It is by far my favorite to play, my favorite to look at and the best sounding. If you want to play clawhammer, old-time, frailing, this banjo will make you smile in delight. I've had more than one banjo teacher be surprised at what a wonderful sound this banjo has.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

This was set up wonderfully by Barry and John at Banjo.com. I haven't made any changes at all to this banjo and I really don't think it needs any. However just for curiosity sake, I might try a new head on it one of these days.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Cosmetically this is an absolutely beautiful banjo !!! I'm a huge fan of dark wood to begin with and the high gloss mohogany finish on the maple body and neck gives it a real nice classy look. The cloud inlay on the figerboard was done nicely and looks good as well. The white binding around the rim and up the sides of the fret board also gives a really nice touch. I never grow tired of looking at this banjo, much less playing it.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

All the hardware on this banjo seems to be good quality hardware. So far I've had no issues at all with anything on this banjo.
If I played in gigs, this would be my first choice and I would wear it strapped around my neck proudly. I have no doubt that it would sound and perform like a banjo of more than twice the price in a gig environment.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The people at Banjo.com are great. I've bought 2 banjos from there so far and both times it's been a pleasure to do business with them. They are very helpful and very knowledgable. I would wouldn't hesitate to give them my business for any banjo need.

Customer Service: 10

Components

As stated above, there is nothing this banjo lacks, except someone to play it.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I would recommend this wholeheartedly, especially for the price.
If this banjo was stolen I would have hunt down the SOB and open up serious can of whoop-a_ _ . Without a doubt !!! However, if they couldn't be hunted down I would buy another one in a heartbeat without question.
I spent hours looking for and reading reviews on banjos when I was first in the market to purchase one, and I guarentee you will not find a bad review on this banjo anywhere. Not only will you not find a bad review it's rare when you find someone willing to sell a used one. There is a reason for that...

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by New Kid (see all reviews from this person) on 4/17/2006

Where Purchased: Angies Banjo's

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 650.00 ($US)

Sound

Suits My style of play just fine. ,Works well as a scruggs style but really shines as a clawhammer banjo. What a great sounding banjo has that old timey haunting sound ... at least to my ear! fingerpicked it is bright and alive. I like the overall feel of this banjo ,(very solid feeling) projects very well. Feels Like it will last...

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

banjo set up by goldtone was very well done not changing anything.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

A real looker ! the inlays look old not like the plastic ones on my Fender fb-58. .the finish is a dark stain that looks great. the neck feels fast very comfortable to play.Neck is bound as well as the back of the pot rim nice touch! Mine has the no knot tailpiece 5/8'' bridge ebony fretboard with cloud inlays and optional frailing cutout. Whyte ladye tone ring

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Too early to tell

Reliability Rating: 5

Customer Service

no oppinion as off yet

Customer Service: 5

Components

to soon to tell

Components Rating: 5

Overall Comments

Without a doubt yes recommend it highly.If lost or stolen would buy another ASAP!!!! Favorite feature Whyte lady tone ring. it really sings! I'm glad i got it with the no knot tailpiece and the frailing cutout .To my ear it sounds perfect for me. This is a great value ! Angies banjo's had the best prices and service

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by jugpunk (see all reviews from this person) on 3/29/2006

Where Purchased: Mayberry Music Jonesboro IL

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

This is the best open back banjo I've ever owned thus far. I used to own a Wildwood Troubador, but it failed me too many times. I also owned a Bart Reiter Bacophone, and it too failed me. This banjo comes with a renaissance head straight from the factory. It has a great sounding Whyte Layde tone ring. It sounds great!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The setup was pretty darn good. Although, I had to tighten the head a little (normal). I also added some 5th string spikes. This thing plays like a dream.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

This is a very purty banjar. I really like the simple, yet classy inlays. The rich tones of the wooden pot looks great.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

It hasn't failed me yet.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

The guys were great, and they special ordered this banjo for me. It arrived in only a couple of days. And they gave me a good discount, well below list.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The tuners work good. The tension hoop is great. The tone ring is great. The hoop tensioners work smoothly. The tailpiece is quiet.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I would recommend this banjo to anyone who likes the sound of a Whyte Layde. Probably not the best banjo for Scruggs Style, but perfect for my tastes. It outperforms many of the other banjos I've owned which cost twice as much (or more).

Overall Rating: 9

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.09375