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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!

6773 reviews in the archive.

Watch and Learn: Banjo Rhythm and Backup 101

Submitted by five_string on 3/18/2013

Where Purchased: Online from Watch & Learn

Overall Comments

This DVD and book (1st of a series of three) has opened my eyes to learning to play the banjo. For years I have been using TAB to memorize songs. The result has been that I can read Tablature very well, my timing is good because I would practice with "Band in a Box". I had learned the various rolls and even phrasing so that I believe I sounded like a fair banjo player.
The result has been that I am limited to those songs that I have memorized really couldn't participate in jams very well and I would become bored with the songs I know which led to less interest in practice.
I recently purchased this series by Geoff Hohwald and the lights have really come on for me. Geoff is an excellent instructor and the material is exactly what I have needed all along. I am still in book one and am able to hear and play chord changes up and down the neck in the three major shapes and in all keys. This means I can now play along with nearly any song. Practice is exciting now and, although practice songs are included in the video, I can play along with any song I choose when practicing.
As I gain proficiency i will be adding various licks and rolls as I progress into the next two videos.
I would highly recommend any beginning or intermediate banjo player to base their learning on this series of videos.

I now feel I am becoming much better acquainted with the banjo neck. Up to now I have been shy about venturing up the neck.

Overall Rating: 10

Mutes: Mike's Banjo Mute

Submitted by five_string on 3/29/2012

Where Purchased: Online from Mike

Overall Comments

This mute sells for twice the price of the "ultimate mute" but in my opinion is worth many times the price. The mute is extremely quiet and is very rugged. It installs easily with one hand. After experiencing it I would not have any other mute.

Overall Rating: 10

Gold Tone: Orange Blossom OB-250LW

Submitted by five_string on 3/18/2012

Where Purchased: Goldtone

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: 1,200 ($US)

Sound

The sound is excellent which is somewhat of a surprise. I purchased the banjo, which has a maple rim extended in the shape of a tone ring (similar to the Deering Hartford except all Maple). I chose this banjo in order to reduce weight due to issues with my back. I really expected to sacrifice tone and volume. I can't really notice much difference from the OB 275 or even Gibson and Deering banjos I have owned. The banjo is about 4 lbs lighter than a standard Bluegrass banjo and that makes a lot of difference. I really love the tone and the volume is good.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect setup from the factory. I changed to JD Crow light gage strings because that is my preference. The banjo required no adjustments.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The workmanship (fit and finish) is very good for a banjo made in China. In a couple of places the MOP was not top grade but it is not very noticeable at all. A very nice looking banjo.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Good sturdy hardware. The tuners keep the banjo in tune very well. Finish is deep and free of flaws.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The company is the best. I bought an OB 275 from Ross Nickerson (Banjoteacher.com, great to deal with). I found that the weight of the banjo was going to be a problem so I called Wayne Rogers at Goldtone to see what could be done. Wayne told me about the OB 250 LW and offered to allow me to trade the OB 275 for it. The banjos are priced about the same. Wayne is great to deal with ahd will help you in any way he can.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All parts are solid. The wood rim with integrated tone ring shape is the standout part due to the lighter weight wiithout sacrifice of tone and volume.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Just a great experience and I am really enjoying the banjo. I have read where someone was complaining about Goldtone necks being "fat". Not so with this banjo. The neck is very slim and fast and easy to play.

I would recommend this banjo to all those who are like me (just passed 66 years of age) and would like to be able to stand and play for longer periods of time. It is also easier to carry when walking.

Overall Rating: 10

Gold Tone: Orange Blossom OB-275

Submitted by five_string on 12/26/2011

Where Purchased: Banjoteacher.com

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 1,024 ($US)

Sound

Great tone up and down the neck.
The tone ring is made in the US to pre-war metallurgy and manufacture. The result is fantastic.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Setup was perfect. The strings were loosened for shipping. Tuned them up and everything was perfect.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Mahogany resonator, maple neck.
Nice inlay. Not too little, not too much.
No flaws. Nice glossy finish.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Very good hardware, especialy for the price of the banjo.
Chrome plating

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The banjo was shipped direct from Gold Tone.
Ross Nickerson is great to work with. I believe his price deals meet and usually exceed any other seller.
Lots of free stuff with each sale.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All the banjo parts are top quality. The case could be better although it seems sturdy. It looks a little cheaper than some.
Considering the price I think it is fine.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Great deal, great banjo.
Try this one before you spend $2,000 to $4,000 for a banjo.
It is made in Korea but under strict specifications and control of Gold Tone. The Koreans are making some of the best automobiles available in the US for the price. Now, thanks to Wayne Rogers and Goldtone, I believe they are making some of the best banjos as far as tone, playability and value.
I can't say enough about this banjo and I have owned some very nice ones.

Overall Rating: 10

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