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!
6938 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: www.sullysstraps.com
Will one of Sully's straps make you a "pro" banjo player? Perhaps. But if not, at least you'll look like one! Just took delivery of my second strap from Sully - a custom fit Vintage. To my mind, it does exactly what a strap should; it literally makes the banjo a part of you by holding it in exactly the right place, consistently and comfortably, sitting or standing. The vintage leather is as beautiful as it is unique and Sully adds his considerable talent and attention to detail to produce a great looking and most functional strap. Customer service is unrivaled. We exchanged multiple emails and phone calls so that he could be certain of each minute detail and with the strap he included a note reminding me that I could "send 'er back" for any adjustment(s) it might require. If you need a strap, I don't think you can find anything better than one of Sully's harness leather straps.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Turtle Hill Banjo Company
Year Purchased: 2004
Price Paid: 625 ($US)
A great sounding instrument! A true beginner, I don't even pretend to have a music style but I do love Bluegrass, particularly the old Gospel songs. Felt like three finger pickin' was where I wanted to go so I ran my short list down to six banjos in the $300 to $750 price range; this one simply outclassed them all. I've played it every day since I bought it and I never get tired of listening to it. A friend who has played for years asked to play it for a minute and he really didn't want to set it down!
Sound Rating: 9
Dave said that Gold Tones come out of the box beautifully set up and that has proven to be the case. He added capo spikes and may have made one or two minor adjustments that I'm not aware of but other than that we didn't have to make any changes to the stock set up. Because of the construction of this particular banjo, setup changes could be made quite easily if I ever get to the point where I want to try something different.
Setup Rating: 10
This is probably the single factor that most influenced my purchase. The finish work is absolutely flawless and it just perfectly fit my view of what a banjo should look and feel like. There is just enough contrast in the snowflake inlays and the white binding to accent the dark mahogany resonator and to make it a very rich looking instrument.
Appearance Rating: 10
I have no reason to suspect that this banjo won't outlast me. I have seen a couple of instruments that have made me covetous but if and when I decide to move up to an "investment grade" banjo, I will most certainly keep the BG 250F.
Reliability Rating: 9
Have not dealt with Gold Tone but would be remiss if I did not recommend David Schenkman and the Turtle Hill Banjo Company. If you live anywhere close to MD and you want competent, accurate, and professional advice, go see Dave. I don't know of any other place on earth that you could take a list of six different banjos and have them all available to compare. He stocks about two hundred new and used banjos and he stands behind what he sells.
Customer Service: 9
The bell brass tone ring is probably the most noteable feature in this price range. The tailpiece is easily adjustable and although I have not yet had occasion to do so, it looks like changing the strings will be easy because of the way it is built. I don't see anything that needs to be upgraded at all.
Components Rating: 10
Would most definitely recommend this banjo anywhere in the $550 to $650 range. I absolutely love it and would immediately replace it with another Gold Tone if it was stolen. As noted above, look and feel are my favorite features. I would also recommend face to face contact with the seller as well. Appreciate that not everyone has a dealer close by but for my bucks, nothing beats hands on, especially for a novice.
Overall Rating: 10
'Don Bryant Banjos' 2 hrs