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!
6942 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: Banjoteacher.com
Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: $560 ($US)
I am very pleased with the sound quality. It certainly doesn't compare to some high end model, but it has a clean and warm sound that seems ideas for beginners and those trying different styles.
Sound Rating: 9
This is my first banjo and I have had no experience prior, so I can't really knock it or rave about it. It plays. Nothing rattles or moves around. I did have to tune it up when I got. I am sure something could have been done better for shear probability so I will give it a 9.
Setup Rating: 9
I was very concerned about the finish. I had seen so many different pictures where the finished seemed so dark it is almost black, to brighter and almost cherry in appearance. I spoke to Ross Nickerson from Banjoteacher.com about it who didn't really confirm or deny my concerns but reiterated how nice it looked and I would be pleased. I also wrote to Gold Tone to inquire twice. On the second email, a young lady went and took photos of the instrument an I felt sure of what to expect, although I didn't think I would be impressed. I sure was wrong. It was darker than most other beginner to intermediate banjos, with a matte appearance but it really is quite nice. It seems to have some character to it.
The features on this model for the price really make it a worthwhile investment.
The one disappointment I did have was a few minor defects in the fretboard and the tension hoop. The fretboard had a couple of spots on it that were like indentations as if something had knocked against it or been pressed up against it. The tension hoop had two small rust/corrosion spots. Both of these problems were fairly minor, however I had seen Gold Tone banjos being sold on e-bay as B-stock with similar minor flaws. Considering it was being shipped directly from Gold Tone, it makes me wonder if they were pushing their B-stock out from/for dealers with the lowest prices.
It wasn't so significant that I wanted to go through the trouble of calling to complain or send it back. Though I feel in the back of my mind like I may have either been taken or the unfortunate end user on a day when quality control was having a bad day.
Appearance Rating: 7
The parts overall seem like they would stand up to regular play or heavy learning. I expect it to last the rest of my life.
Reliability Rating: 9
Banjoteacher.com had the best deal for this banjo. I got the impression from seeing and talking to Ross Nickerson that he loves the banjo and wants others to feel the same, and try's to show that through his sales and service.
This was given to me as a Christmas gift from my wife. She had ordered it with a hard case (which is why the price I stated above was more than the $479 shown on the website.) When I opened it on Christmas, it was in a regular gig bag. The gig bag was horrible. No banjo, no matter how beginner, should be put in such a bag. I contacted Ross over the week following about it. He said he was on the road but would have it taken care of and I should get the case the week after New Year's. A couple of weeks passed and I hadn't received anything. I got in touch with Ross again and he got it cleared up and I had the case within a week. I waited till the whole order was fulfilled before writing my review.
Customer Service: 7
I liked the scrolling on the armrest and the planetary tuners. I especially like the easily removable resonator.
Components Rating: 9
Anyone just starting out, especially those uncertain about which style they want to play, should get this model. It's versatile, sounds great and seems like a solid product.
I gave Banjoteacher.com a 7 here based upon this, my first experience. However, I think his prices, service and the items offered on the site make him worthy of repeat business and I plan to make future purchases from him.
Overall Rating: 8
'UK ebay Goldtone' 14 sec
'Banjo type' 1 hr
'Missing tabs' 1 hr