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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:

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


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


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


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


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


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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