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!
6920 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Gold Tone Factory
The sound of this banjo is what I have been looking for! It is very loud, full, and has that classic Tubaphone sound through and through. Playing all the way up the neck sounds great. When capoed at the third for a regular G tuning it sounds like the regular OT800.
Sound Rating: 10
The setup could not have been any better. I called while on my way to the factory and they did the setup as soon as I got off the phone.
Setup Rating: 10
The appearance is stunning. Gorgeous inlays, beautiful maple and a nice headstock. There is not a single thing wrong with the appearance. The heavy gloss makes it shine and brings out all the details.
Appearance Rating: 10
I would depend on it even if World War 3 hit!
Reliability Rating: 10
They instantly greet you with respect as a musician the second you walk into the factory. Everyone helps you out and is very nice about letting you walk around and see EVEYTHING. Wayne Rogers is a VERY nice guy and always seems happy to help. Last time I bought a non-longneck OT-800 he even jammed with me! A great honor that was.
Customer Service: 10
The hardware for the most part seems great. I might upgrade the stock bridge to a Sampson or a good old time one. But it does still sound good. The bracket band is solid, nice Tubaphone tone ring, the tuners work very good and seem to hold tune for eternity. No complaints here.
Components Rating: 10
Overall this is my favorite banjo that I have EVER owned! I would recommend this to anyone looking for a longneck or even a regular scale banjo. Just capo up 3 frets! It just has THAT sound I have been wanting. Before I bought it I couldn't sing and play and almost instantly I changed that when playing it. Never will I ever sell this banjo. My grandkids will play it someday!
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: banjo.com
The sound is solid and powerful.
Sound Rating: 9
I get some annoying buzz on the fifth string. I think this has to do with the fact that although it’s tuned lower than a standard, the distance between the fifth string peg and the tailpiece is the same as on a G-scale. The string is a little slack, therefore, and bounces around. I tried a heavier string gauge. Sure enough, the buzz went away; however, it made it tougher to retune in other keys. Also, the 5th string peg falls out every time I replace the strings.
Setup Rating: 7
The inlay is nice. When it arrived, however, the neck and body binding were a little smudged and chipped. The fingerboard had some tiny circular scratches, as if a slightly-too-heavy sandpaper was applied just prior to shipping. The whole thing looked gently used, actually. I’ll concede that my aesthetic standards might be a little high, so take my commentary accordingly.
Appearance Rating: 7
It's too early to tell.
Reliability Rating: not rated
Customer Service: not rated
The tuners are very nice.
Components Rating: not rated
I find the long neck essential for vocal accompaniment—this one certainly does the job. It sounds pretty good, and will have to suffice until I can afford a Vega.
Overall Rating: 8
Where Purchased: The Folk Shop
Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 900 ($US)
suits a poor old folksinger as perfect as possible...set up just right, very rich and loud...lotta sustain...longer I have this banjo the more I like it...sound is loud and full...1 year later...changed the Renasance head out for a white frosted...much brighter!
Sound Rating: 10
set up fine as recieved...all the tools you need to get into trouble come with...I made some changes that I needed to do myself...dealer was very helpful and the banjo is very, very easy to set up to any playing style...adjusted coordinator rods to raise the string height and went to a 11/16th bridge...action was really low...I finally made my own bridge by adding a thin ebony strip to the base of a Snuffy Smith 11/16th bridge...I would add that the truss rod adjustment requires VERY SMALL adjustment to get the action/neck to move...1/8 turn at a time
Setup Rating: 9
very pretty with a high gloss finish...I don't know!(panda wood?)...the inlays were really done nice...THE INLAYS WERE REALLY DONE NICE!
Appearance Rating: 10
seems like it is well made...never had any problems with Gold Tone products though having read some of the other reviews, I will keep an eye on the tuners and knobs...very good so far. will I use it at a gig without back up? I had 2 Vegas so I bought 2 of these...I like back up....SOLD 2nd one...these are rock solid/YEAR LATER...see components!...replaced the tuners with Grover guitar pegs(livin' in the past)
Reliability Rating: 9
read my review of The Folk Shop...Easily one of the best sales experiences I have had...just great people
Gold Tones warranty reputation is excellent although I have not need ed it yet
Customer Service: 10
I didn't see any weak parts. I would point out the excellent tailpiece...you know the case is not an American Vintage but it is fine for now....GOT RID OF THE CASE ...GOT A TKL...the reason the tailpiece was excellent is that it is not stock...my 2nd banjo had a no knot on it and the sound was not near as full...put some downward pressure on the strings with an optional t/p ...rating goes to 10 with Kirschner t/p...banjo gets a 10...case gets a 4...HAD BANJO FOR A YEAR NOW! I replaced the cheap brackets and nuts. Anyone who has one of these will need to do this. The thread on the nuts is so sloppy when screwed on the brackets that you are tightening the head all the time.TRUST ME! get some nice closed end nuts and brackets from Elderly or Stew-Mac. I junked the cheap Vega style arm rest for a 5 star bolt on...much better. I still love this banjo but the components I have changed were not too hot.
Components Rating: 9
for folk music, vocal back up and playing around the campfire, I do not see how you could beat these banjos...if your looking for a tub-a-phone, you gotta try the OT-800...month later/make that year later, my opinion is the same...It is the best long neck I have ever played...(that I could afford)...rating goes to 12...200 gigs later rating at 14...supplied case really sucks(see review on new Gold Tone cases) so i bought an American Vintage. Even with the case and the components I have changed out, I still believe that this is a great value considering what a Deering or Wildwood would cost. I installed (very carefully) a stainless eyebolt on the neck at the 13th fret for a strap...I would have liked that to be a about the 15th or 16th fret but I guess body size will determine this
Overall Rating: 9
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