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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!

7079 reviews in the archive.

Gold Tone: EB-5 Electric Banjo

Submitted by BEEFUS on 8/12/2021

Where Purchased: Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased: 2021
Price Paid: 600 ($US)

Sound

Banjo style: LOUD, ELECTRIC, FUZZED
Used with: Amplitube iRig for iPad electronic amplifier modeling
Sound: I wouldn't have expected the neck-position humbucker + drumhead to give both a good acoustic AND electric banjo sound, but it really does. I'm amazed at how good this really basic design works for both banjo sounds and electric sounds.
The low-end humbucker isn't great, but it does the job. Electrically, it's maybe just a little dull. I plan to swap it out for an EMG 85 - the wiring is simple enough to where that's easily doable.
Big question most will ask: when I plug in, can I get a good amplified-but-banjoey sound? Answer is yes. Recommend that you set the amp on clean, dial down the tone to about half to avoid grittiness, and you'll get a sweet twangy banjo sound, maybe a little less bright than you'd like but pretty good.
UPDATE: I swapped out the low-end stock pickup for an EMG 85 active humbucker. The difference in sound is extraordinary. Although now I have to duct-tape a 9V battery to the back!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Very solid, sturdy instrument. Plays remarkably easily, tunes well. Action is good and low. Strings were too heavy, swapped for lights. Tailpiece that comes with it is pretty lousy, so I swapped it for a Kerschner, which fit perfectly.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Lovely dark wood finish. No flaws. Looks nice. I plan to make it uglier, but that is the way of BEEFUS!

Appearance Rating: not rated

Reliability

That big ugly stock tailpiece is sturdy enough, but hard to change strings on so I changed it out. Otherwise, tuners are solid, drumhead good, this is well-built.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Ross Nickerson is great, very helpful, shipping was real quick.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I looked under the hood, and the wiring is pretty amateurish. Dodgy soldering, no heat shrinks, little stray strands of wire just waiting to short circuit something. It's also not grounded - less of an issue with humbuckers, but could cause problems with noise in some situations. If you're serious about gigging with this instrument, I highly recommend a rip-and-replace for the wiring; for casual playing, it should be fine.

Components Rating: 5

Overall Comments

A better-than-expected low-priced electric banjo, with a better-than-expected design and sound. Everything is just fine with this, except the wiring job which is relatively poor quality (though no worse than I've seen on some high-end vintage guitars!). Because it's so simple, it has rich potential for modding and upgrading, so I consider that a big plus. 

Overall Rating: 9

Bridges: Smitty Locust Bridge Black Locust

Submitted by BEEFUS on 2/12/2010

Where Purchased: frum Smitty

Overall Comments

This bridge make BEEFUS' banjo blow down th walls! reel nice kraftwerk, reel solid n sturdy, and a awsum LOUD crisp toan!

Overall Rating: 10

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