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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!

6966 reviews in the archive.

Gold Tone: Little Gem banjo uke

Submitted by George Flink on 12/20/2018

Where Purchased: Elderly

Year Purchased: 2018
Price Paid: $149 ($US)

Sound

I play percussive rhythm in old time music using closed chords. I have a number of high priced banjo ukes, Gibson, Bacon, Vega etc. This sounds as good for my style as any of them.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up was OK. Rear coordinator bolt had fallen off.
The uke had a thick, clear head which I changed for a Renaissance head. I put on Fremont black fluorocarbon strings and a new bridge and a strap. Added a small piece of foam under the head near the heal. These changes were to fit my own preferences for feel and sound.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Its cute and eye catching. The shell and resonator are clear Lucite. The neck is maple with black fingerboard markers and side dots. Black binding on the edge. I don't know if it has a separate fingerboard or not. No finish flaws. Surprisingly nice for the price.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Hardware seems fine as do the tuners. I will need to get the fret ends filed as the fingerboard shrinks as I live in Arizona and have done this with all my stringed instruments.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Don't know yet.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The Lucite shell and resonator are standouts. I updated the bridge, head and strings by personal preference.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Amazing to be able to buy a banjo uke for $149 including case and shipping that feels and sounds good.  Its cute and invites comments.  The dimensions fit my preferences for banjo ukes for OT rhythm.  It comes in four transparent colors: clear, blue, red, and purple.  You could match your outfits if you were so inclined.  Start a new old time tradition.

Overall Rating: 10

Gorden Groves

Submitted by George Flink on 4/15/2018

Overall Comments

Gorden is a guitar maker but has worked on a number of my banjos and banjo ukes.  He does excellent work at reasonable rates and in a timely manner.  His shop is in Tucson, AZ.

Overall Rating: 10

Buckeye: Custom 6 string

Submitted by George Flink on 6/12/2016

Where Purchased: from builder

Year Purchased: 2016- #166.
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play clawhammer style. This banjo has great depth from the Balch skin head and 3 in. deep, 12 in. pot, and brightness from the Whyte Laydie tone ring.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Perfect set up as delivered. I may experiment at some point with different bridge and head just because I like to tinker and I'm curious.
I also added a leather covered arm rest.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Extremely beautiful. Figured walnut with brass hardware. Greg is a master inlayer and engraver as well as heel carver, The banjo has inlays modeled after a Cole's 5000 and a lovely carved "boat heel".
It has a Rickard tension hoop with a central groove which is very neat. Gotoh brass tuners with amber tuners from Bob Smakula. No flaws at all. Greg's detail work is terrific.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware is all excellent. It has a Romero 6 string tailpiece and Rickard tension hoop and tone ring. Gotoh tuners. All top notch. I opted for EVO frets and carbon fiber rod instead of an adjustable truss rod.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The best. See overall comments.

Customer Service: 10

Components

All excellent.See "reliability"question above.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This was a three year project to design and build what will be my last 6 string banjo and it was worth it.  I've designed and ordered a number of 6's over the years and my experience with Greg was outstanding. He not only was open to my ideas, he added his own design skills to make this a masterpiece. The communication back and forth was great including a number of pictures along the way and update reports.  His questions were also very useful in developing the final outcome. You can see this banjo,#166, on Greg's website.

Overall Rating: 10

Richard Brown: Concert Banjo Uke

Submitted by George Flink on 2/6/2013

Where Purchased: from maker

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 1400 ($US)

Sound

I play banjo uke for rhythum in Old Time music. The sound is bright without being strident. It has a fuller sound than some other ukes. I switched a fiberskin for the renaisance head and put in Aquilla 7u all nylgut strings.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up was fine. The head switch and string change is personal preference.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Just beautiful! Mesquite neck and pot. "Texas ebony"trim and fingerboard. Matte finish. Antiqued brass hardware. Inlay of pearl star surrounded by tourquiose and copper with pearl crescents. Side dots. Peg head geared tuners. No flaws. Could not have asked for more.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

The hardware is first rate. The uke should outlast me. I would use it without a back up at a gig.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Dealing with Richard is a real pleasure. Very available by phone and email.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The geared pegheads are great.Top quality all the way.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

One of the nicest banjo ukes I have ever seen or played.

Overall Rating: 10

George Banjos: banjo uke

Submitted by George Flink on 12/9/2011

Where Purchased: Maker

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 800 ($US)

Sound

Sound is great. Bright. Good for OT rhythm

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

It was set up well. I sanded down the bridge for a lower action and put on higher tension strings.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

Beautiful. 5 piece curly maple neck with ebony fb and abalone dots. Bound maple pot. Nicely shaped peghead. No flaws. Interesting bracket band.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware and finish seem first rate. Rickard(?)4 string tailpiece.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Tom was very accomodating and responsive to my wishes. He provided pictures along the way to keep me informed.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No cheap or weak looking parts. Nice tp.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Exceptional uke and process with the builder. Much nicer than I expected for the money.

Overall Rating: 10

Wickland: Banjo uke-tenor

Submitted by George Flink on 10/12/2011

Where Purchased: From maker

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: 1200 ($US)

Sound

I'm just getting into banjo ukes and this is my second. I use it as a rhythum instrument in OT. Wonderful sound, loud and deep because of the 10 in. pot.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

I changed the head from Renaisance to Fiberskin to deaden the sound somewhat. Put on standard Aquilla nylgut strings without the wound third. Set up changes were very easy. The head was changable without removing the neck.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Beautiful. Hardware is unplated brass. The wood is Bolivian Rosewood. It has a block rim of the same rosewood. Fit and finish was impecable. No flaws.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Should outlast me. Gotah geared pegs are very nice,

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Excellent. very responsive to emails and by phone.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Hardware is first rate as are the pegs. Coordinator rod and tailpiece are home made and very well done. Nice hand carved bridge.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Great instrument. I'm looking forward to visiting the maker and checking out his regular banjos at some point.

Overall Rating: 9

Ramsey: Woody Custom

Submitted by George Flink on 5/18/2009

Where Purchased: From maker

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Bright and loud with a good bass and mellowness of a wood tonering

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Well set up. I added a banjomate armrest, different bridge, strings and bridge. None of which was really necessary.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Dogwood blossum and star etc.(all engraved)on peghead. Inlays are Fairbanks like and nicely engraved. Dark stained maple neck with wonderful curly grain. Side dots. A few very minor finish flaws.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Solid hardware. Gotah tuners. It will probably outlast me.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Mike is great to work with. Very helpful and accomodating.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Great tuners. The parts I replaced were my preference, not due to any problems.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Excellent banjo. Love the light weight and the inlay work. Would have prefered closed end nuts but I didn't ask(my fault).

Overall Rating: 9

Romero: 12 in. 6 string(low bass)

Submitted by George Flink on 3/29/2009

Where Purchased: From maker

Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Rich, full, deep and bright. Loud. Like most sixes, it has great resonance and sustain. very rich, very full.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up well. Jason suggested heavier strings than I sent him and he was right. The action is quite low and needs a heavy bass string so as not to buzz.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Jason's finish work is impeckable. No flaws. Beautiful wood, stain and hardware. he made the bridge, tension hoop, shoes and tailpece and they are 1st. class. Inlay work was lovely. He is a master.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Finish and hardware look very durable. Should outlast me.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warrenty. Jason was great to deal with. Very responsive as well as making suggestions and paying attention to my specifications.

Customer Service: 10

Components

No need for upgrades. the 12 in. tubaphone tonering looks and sounds great. Pegs are Gotah with ebony buttons.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I love it. This and my Brooks 12in. 6 string will be my go to playing banjos.The neck is particulary wonderful. the shape is just right. Jason's detail work is beautiful. The closer you look, the better it is.

Overall Rating: 10

Gold Tone: OT-6

Submitted by George Flink on 9/8/2008

Where Purchased: Elderly Instruments

Year Purchased: 2008
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I play clawhammer and mostly 6 string(low bass. I have some other 6 strings. The sound is loud, deep and bright with the particular resonance that you only get from a six.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The set up was fine. I changed the bridge and strings but neither change was really necessary. I also removed the arm rest. The tailpiece was damaged in transit due to poor packing(unusual for Elderly). I had another 6 string tailpiece from Gold Tone so I replaced it.
Feel of the neck and fit to the pot was excellent. They really got this one right.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Finish is good. The peghead and fingerboard are bound as is the heel and the pot on the inside and outside. It has a nice curved scoop and some tastefully engraved inlays. I would have rather had a dowel stick than the coordinator rods. It comes with a nice HSC

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Looks to be reliable. I would use it on a gig.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Unknown as of now.

Customer Service: 8

Components

Parts all look first rate. Pegs seem surprisingly good and smooth. Shape and fit of the neck is perfect for me. The tail piece works well and looks handsome considering its size.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

If you like or think you would like to play a 6 string, this is the only game in town other than ordering custom which I have done in the past. The banjo is huge(14 in pot)but comfortable to play. the sound is great and it looks good as well.

Overall Rating: 9

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