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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!

6979 reviews in the archive.

Banjo.com

Submitted by banjoec on 12/26/2019

Overall Comments

A banjo should fit a case without room to knock around inside the case. I was very pleased with the banjo but not the fit of the case. Now I take some of the blame because I ordered the case thinking a Gaurdian case for a resonator banjo should fit a Goodtime 2. But it didn't. There was only 1 neck support, not 2 as in better fitting cases. The neck and headstock had room to move from side to side knocking the tuners against the side of the case. Every time you picked up the case you heard a clunk. 

I give only a 5 rating because of the lack of effort to correct this. It was expected I pay $30 shipping for both the return of the case and another $30 shipping on its replacement. $60 shipping on an $80 case. I just kept the case, donated it to my local music store who has banjo students and ordered another case from another dealer who offers free shipping.

 

Overall Rating: 5

Gold Tone: OB150

Submitted by banjoec on 9/17/2019

Where Purchased: BanjoTeacher.com

Year Purchased: 2019
Price Paid: $952. ($US)

Sound

I am returning to the banjo after a 6 year absence. I have owned decent banjos in the past. A Bishline custom and a few Deering models. So I have an idea what I wanted in sound. Now sound is subjective and everyone is looking for something different. So I'm not knocking another banjo brand. I like this OB-150 better than a Deering Sierra I owned in 2005 but not as much as the Bishline. The Sierra rang too high pitch for my ears. This OB-150 is easier on the ears, has a good low end and seems balanced. I'd say it has a fuller sound. The Bishline got all 10 ratings in my review. It also cost quite a bit more than this banjo. I think a 9 sound rating is excellent for an under $1000 banjo.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

The setup was perfect. I've since tightened the head as all new banjos settle in after a few weeks of playing them.
Update after 4 months...... I've adjusted both the coordinator rods and the truss rod to get a perfect low action without buzzing. Also changed the gauge of the strings. The originals were 11-24s, I now have DAddario EJ61s which are 10-23s. They feel better and sound crisper than the Gold Tone brand strings which are expensive for what they are.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

The 10 rating is for how clean the banjo arrived. The hardware shining and spotless clean. As far as looks of this banjo, I like the simple gloss finish. Others may not.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Time will tell. But I am not worried. Everything seems solid.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Ross Nickerson from BanjoTeacher.com was a pleasure to do business with. We had a long conversation on the phone. We discussed different model of banjo.He gave me some very useful playing advise as well as set up and maintenance advise.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I am happy with all the components except the planetary tuners. The banjo stays in tune very well with the stock tuners. My opinion is they aren't as smooth as other banjos I have owned. I may be changing them in the future.
Update after 4 months....... I still think the tuners are a bit stiff but they keep the banjo in tune for long periods. I'd say they function very well.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I wanted to get back to picking without spending $3000. This banjo pleasantly surprises me what you can get for $1000. I am happy and don't feel the need to upgrade any time soon. I would play this anywhere. 

Update after 4 months....... I am still happy with this purchase. It seems the sound has improved with time.

 

Overall Rating: 9

Bishline: Custom Salty Dog

Submitted by banjoec on 6/6/2006

Where Purchased: Rob Bishline

Year Purchased: 2006
Price Paid: 2645 ($US)

Sound

Mahogany with the Tony Pass Thin Skirt Rim & Kulesh Big 10 tonering, this banjo has a very warm sound. Rings clear up the neck, but has some growl down low. Banjo stays in tune and sounds great Melodic or Scruggs style.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Set up just the way I asked. Fast & low action.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

I e-mailed Rob my signature and he inscribed it into a pearl truss rod cover.
I made a few other choices. Instead of the Salty Dog inlay in the 21st fret, Rob put a Bishline banner.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Tuners are Gotoh, and the tailpiece is Kershner. Shouldn't be any problems.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Lifetime warranty. Rob has called to just ask how I liked the banjo.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Kulesh Big 10 ring, TP lost timber thin skirt rim, Gotoh tuners, Kershner tailpiece. The most standout feature is the fret job. This banjo frets true all the way up the neck. No buzzing. Sides of frets are smooth. Nicest fret job I've seen.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Compaired to other banjos available today, I think it was a very fair price for a banjo with top of the line components. If you want a truely Custom banjo, talk to Rob Bishline.

Overall Rating: 10

Deering: Sierra

Submitted by banjoec on 2/28/2005

Where Purchased: Jack Hatfield

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: 1400 ($US)

Sound

Can't quite give it a 10, but love the sound. Full sound with a 4th string that growls w/ medium strings.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Jack Hatfield did an excellent set-up. We spoke on the phone and he pretty much knew how I wanted it. Even called me back to double check something.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Sierra is a basic looking banjo, but thats what I expected. Didn't buy for looks. No Flaws.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

Very Solid.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I've asked Jack a few questions since, and he was patient and helpful.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Obviously, the tone ring is the same on more expesive Deerings. I have replaced the stock Deering bridge.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Definately would recommend it. If banjo was stolen I would call Jack to re-order. Favorite feature is the feel of the neck, and the ability to get low action without any buzzes. Pretty much asked a lot of questions before purchasing.
I owned a Golden Era a few years back that I wasn't as happy with. But I didn't know much about set-up then, and niether did the company I bought it from.

Overall Rating: 9

Gold Tone: Banjola Deluxe

Submitted by banjoec on 1/7/2005

Where Purchased: FOTW

Year Purchased: 2005
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This is the ultimate closet picker banjo. Not loud, but beautiful sound.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

perfect set-up when arrived.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Nothing the polishing cloth counldn't take care of. Looks beautiful with the gold hardware and dark/light woods.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

Hardware looks and feels durable. Finish of wood looks a little more delicate.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Happy with the parts

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

If I could make some recommendations for improving this instrument....You cannot access abouve the 14th fret. Thumbing the 5th string above the 12th is tough. How about a spot on the body to anchor you ring and pinky. Like a pickgaurd type thing so your hands aren't on the wood. Otherwise nice instrument, there's nothing else like it.

Overall Rating: 9

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