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!
7016 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Gift from Folkladen (Germany)
Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 0,00 ($US)
First the sound was not optimized (in my opion). There was nothing that I expect from a bluegrass banjo with that reputation from the past. This is the really first one of the new gold star line. It was a present which comes in detour from Richard Keldson from Saga to my hands. The banjo looks like played a lot. Later I read in the net, that this piece was on Namm-Show 2005 and was viewed by a lot of players.
Sound Rating: 8
I had to do a lot of set up (and I'm not a practitioner in banjo set up!!). The sound comes not out of the box - no typical twang that I want from it. After I study the "Killer Tone" DVD from Steve Huber I'm more courageous to "deconstruct" the banjo completely. With a new snuffy smith 5/8 bridge and a better worked tailpiece (a prucha Presto-style!) and better tuning of the head the banjo sounds good....., but not perfect?! Why? As I dissmantle the banjo I could see that the tonering don't fit the rim perfectly. Shocking!! There is a big space between the ring and the rim to put in a credit card - for a length of maybe 20cm!!! As I could see on the back of the tonering there was a flash which I could work on with sanding. So the ring fits better but allready not perfect. Also the rod which held the neck was too tighten as I get the banjo. So the whole pot was compressed by it. Well...., now all this unbelievable mistakes was revised but the there is already space between ring and rim because the pot outside is not good milled - so the ring contact first out side of the pot before it could reach the rim. I have to bring it to a good luthier to bring out the complete sound of it! Installed tuners were absolutly crap - they do nothing for which they are buildt! I installed new schaller tuner (they are also bad, but a little better).
Setup Rating: 4
The banjo looks awesome. Very nice looking flamed maple. Absolutly perfect (except the namm-show dirt...., iiiih!!)
Appearance Rating: 10
With all of the sad, sad components that were installed it was a complete failure! No clean tuning. With new set-up, better tailpiece and tuners it works fine.
Reliability Rating: 6
Customer Service: not rated
brazillian rosewood finger board, flamed maple neck and resonator, 1 peice flange goldstar engraved tuners, hearts and flowers inlay, geared fifth tuner, nice binding all around very well made banjo,
Components Rating: 7
If all the parts from this prototype were better it has to be a very good banjo for a good price. There were a lot of big mistakes on this "number 1" that belittle the first impression of a new to astablished banjo. I would hope they do it better in present time.
Overall Rating: 7
'Oldwoodchuck (RSB)' 7 hrs
'The Grey Ghost' 8 hrs
'Cowboys and Indians' 8 hrs