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.
Where Purchased: BanjoTeacher.com
Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: 1100 ($US)
The OT-10 was the first banjo to really strike my fancy, my main instrument is the 12-string guitar, and though I like the banjo it never really grabbed me. This instrument has a lovely full sound, richer (IMHO) than a 5-string and well suited to solo singer/songwriter and small group playing (it can be a bit muddy in busy mix). It's very loud and has surprising sustain. Not only does is have a great "banjo" sound but stick on a mute (I have a Gold Tone) and you have a very rich instrument somewhere between a guitar and a banjo with nice sustain.
Sound Rating: 9
The banjo arrived as a drop ship direct from Gold Tone (mid week sadly...I was sorely tempted to take a couple of days off work that week...) and the setup was great out of the case. The intonation/bridge placement was good. The only issue was the tension nuts on the tail piece were a tad loose. The frets were well leveled and no prickly ends.
Setup Rating: 8
To me this instrument is very attractive, I like the dark walnut-like finish on the neck and body and I like the inlay, there is a depth to the inlay work that I find very pleasing. There is some finish bleed on the headstock layers but otherwise the finish is fine. The fingerboard is slightly rough around the ninth/tenth string nut but it does not appear to present any structural issues and you have to look to see it.
Appearance Rating: 7
This is one solidly built instrument. The finish is smooth and would likely turn a bullet, the hardware is solid, I have had no issues with any parts on the banjo. The tuning machines are smooth and this thing holds it's tuning *really* well. I have to say I am very impressed with this aspect of the instrument. I have a Rickenbacker 12 string that needs more tuning than an old MG, by comparison the OT-10 is rock solid. Which is good because the ninth string does tend to stick in the tunnel and take a bit of tugging to get into tune. On my model anyway. I would gig without a back up and have no worries (not that I could afford a backup anyway...)
Reliability Rating: 8
I ordered the banjo from Ross at BanjoTeacher.com in late February 2010, fresh from watching the demo videos and full of excitement. Then began the wait...Both Ross and everyone at Gold Tone were great to deal with, my only complaint was the initial lack of information about when the banjo would be shipping. I was not made aware that at the time I ordered it they were still working out some production changes to the instrument. The banjo arrived in September of 2010 and despite my frustrations with the regular delays the good folks at Gold Tone were pleasant and helpful. I have not had any further dealings with the company as the instrument has been solid since it arrived.
Customer Service: 6
The instrument is solid and I have not had any problems with parts at all. The bone nut is clean and well set up, the tuners are smooth and I've not had any problems with any components. One thing to be aware of, the OT-10 is *heavy*, you could crack wallnuts (or heads) with this thing (and still finish the gig). I've affectionately named it the "wrecking ball" (now all I need is a black head for it). It is, I believe, the weightiest instrument I have played, more so even than the aforementioned Ric and a National Resolectric a friend of mine has.
Components Rating: 9
Overall I love this instrument. It's my first banjo and I am still learning banjo style playing, so far I've been adapting my guitar-centric hybrid picking to it with good results but I'm trying to get some clawhammer down. It's great for blues and folk and well...anything I've thrown at it, including some rock (I'm soon going to get a pickup for it). It's an instrument that I expect to have for the rest of my life, I enjoy the feel and sound of it and would truly hate to part with it. It was well worth the wait (and the weight).
Overall Rating: 9
'[FF] String Chickens' 3 hrs