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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!

6941 reviews in the archive.

Gold Tone: CC-IT

Submitted by irishtenor on 1/2/2015

Where Purchased: Long and McQuade - Burlington, Canada

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 580 (CAD) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

The sound is great. This is a short scale 17 fret neck, so intonation is tricky due to the length of the strings. But the G string isn't too flabby despite of this. I use D'Addario J63i strings which are made for this tuning. This banjo has a brass tone ring, which helps in crearting a rich sound with overtones.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

The action was a little high to my liking, so I sanded the bridge a bit in order to lower it. This banjo as a truss rod, which helps in adjusting the neck and action. No fret buzzing.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

This banjo is very pretty, all maple in natural finish. And the snowflake inlays on the fingerboard adds to the apperance. Most banjos of this price range only have dots.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The hardware seems very good and the finish is also nicely done. The tuners are decent, with plastic knobs, and keep the tuning. I have no problem in using this banjo for gigs without a backup, apart from carrying spare strings.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Everything in metal and wood seem of good quality for that price.
The nut is made of cheap plastic but this is an easy upgrade to make, if required.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Gold Tone is hard to beat for instruments of less than $1000. Sure they are made in Asia but they seem to set them up before shipping them, so there is a fair amount of QA done. This is a very nice instrument that should give me years of good service. Compared to  Deerings of the same price range, the Gold Tone has a few more features including a brass tone ring which makes a difference, unless you like a soft tone. This banjo is way better than any import with aluminum pots that are solds by most other makers. 

Overall Rating: 8

Gold Tone: Cripple Creek CC-100R

Submitted by irishtenor on 2/18/2013

Where Purchased: Long & McQuade

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: Rental historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

This model is still around and going strong! Forget the Fender, Epiphone and other brands of the same price range, the Gold Tone blows them all out of the water with its maple rim and brass tone ring. Nice sound with light or medium-gauge strings. Not very powerful but very nice with crisp highs and good lower notes.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

It was fine when I got it, I just spent a little time tweaking the bridge height, but that's just me. I did not want to mess with the adjustments rods.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

All maple, as other have commented, she is blonde! Looks very nice with the nickel-plated hardware.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Don't look too closely at the hardware, you will find little details like rough edges, but hey, what you get for a sub-$500 instrument is still amazing. The finish looks good and the quality and thickness of the varnish should be fine.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The maple rim is a winner point compared to the metal pots of other instruments. The tailpiece is fine but could be improved. The basic guitar-style tuners are fine. The fretboard can benefit from a little lemon oil once in a while, like any instrument I guess.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

All in all a stunning banjo for that price range. Much better than any other Chinese-made instrument of the same or higher price range and/or brand names. Best instrument to learn to play 5-string banjo for that price. Go get one!

Overall Rating: 8

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