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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  Orange Blossom OB-175 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by bullseye1130 (see all reviews from this person) on 5/30/2012

Where Purchased: Real Guitars, Fort Myers FL

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 1200 ($US)

Sound

Great, fat sound. Gold Tone made the OB-175, now the 275, with a bronze bell ring versus their brass rings in order to make these instruments sound more like a prewar flathead. For an instrument that at MSRP calls for about $1450, the sound is awesome with everything you could ask for. It has a richness to it, and plenty of brightness too with good bells up the neck. The banjo also has plenty of volume and sustain.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Setup is excellent. The OB-175 and now 275 are made in South Korea and then setup/final assembly is done at the Gold Tone shop here in Titusville, FL. After playing it for a few months, I went ahead and put a Huber 11/16" bridge on it (easier to play for me because of the change) along with a Huber Head. I tuned the head higher to about A-A# so I could get a more cutting sound out of it. I also have noticed a boost in volume (possibly due to the higher action, I don't know). I would recommend that if someone were to use a 11/16" bridge or higher on their banjo (basically anything other than 5/8"), seriously think about it and if you really want to go for a higher or lower bridge, consider a neck set. In my haste, I neglected to consider this and may have created an action that's TOO HIGH... I like higher actions but it does seem to get out of tune slightly as a result. Coordinator rod adjustments could fix this but may have an adverse affect on tone.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

I love the simple appearance that the banjo has. It has a maple neck with a mahogany resonator, natural finish with a high gloss and a quasi sunburst on the neck and resonator. It features an ebony fingerboard with the simple yet elegant 1941 Style 75 inlays. No appearance flaws what so ever!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

This banjo is built to last. Some of the nickel plating has already lightly oxidized/pitted thanks to the Florida humidity, but I'd trust this banjo to stand the test of time. I've played it at parties as well, and I've had incidents where I thought I had scratched the finish but nothing happened. It's a tough banjo.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Wayne Rogers is a great guy to work with. I picked his brain for about two weeks about his products. He was always quick to e-mail me back. The warranty is "limited lifetime" to the original owner for this model. Second owners can still get a 5 year warranty from Gold Tone.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The only component I don't care for is the armrest... it has a two legged armrest instead of the old style one leg that you would see on an old Mastertone style banjo. Other than that, no complaints. Every part is compatable/upgradable with most aftermarket parts so that's nice to know.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

If you have the opportunity to buy a used OB-175 or new OB-275, do so! Especially if you are looking for a quality, professional grade instrument WITH A REAL BRONZE BELL TONE RING without really breaking the bank. It's amazing how much a professional grade instrument really does enhance your playing over an entry level banjo. I'm not bashing beginner products as we all start there and have our experiances with our first banjos. My first banjo was a Mastercraft burled maple model and I loved it. But I didn't realize what I was missing until I picked up that OB-175. It has a great, fat sound thanks to the bronze ring, plenty of sustain and alot of power to back it up.
*The new 275's are the same as the old 175's, just with a new model number.

Overall Rating: 9

Submitted by drleaman (see all reviews from this person) on 4/22/2010

Where Purchased: West Chester Music Store, West Chester PA

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Bought this a week ago and can't put it down. If your looking for a quality banjo in the $1000 retail price range, THIS IS THE ONE! The GTR Bronze tone ring sounds fantastic for a banjo in this price range. I played other banjo's in this price range but none compared to this one. It is bright, loud and warm all at once. I'll keep repeating myself, but in this price range, you can't beat it.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up was perfect. When they arrive from Korea, I think they are set up by Gold Tone in Florida before they are sent to the music store for purchase.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Quality of the workmanship from this small Korean shop was flawless. I looked for flaws but couldn't find any. Again, in this price range............stunning!

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Looks like it will last me a long time.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Sent an email to the CEO about how happy I was with my purchase and he replied the same day.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I will probably experiment with different bridges. Might install Keith tuner's in the future but that's about all. It's a beautiful banjo and you won't be disappointed if you get one.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

The GTR Bronze tone ring sounds very vintage for a banjo in this price range.

Overall Rating: 10

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