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!
6991 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: BHO memeber
Year Purchased: 2007
Price Paid: 930 ($US) (bought USED)
This banjo had a decent top end when I got it and the bottom was ok, I tried tightening the head up to an Ab from a G and the bottom completely disappeared. Once I replaced the stock tail-piece and the bridge and it improved it greatly and I was able to tune up the head without losing anything, it mellowed out the highs of the banjo and boosted the lows, overall it normalized the banjo's sound and made it ring like a bell and the neck vibrate much more also. It is a maple banjo in all sense of the word, it roars like a lion but with some coaxing will purr like a kitten. The new Snuffy Smith bridge really lets it ring much more than the stock bridge
Sound Rating: 8
Change the original tail-piece!!! It will make an amazing difference. Change the bridge too, I put on a Snuffy Smith, it's awesome. The action was a little high, but nothing a little truss rod adjustment couldn't fix. The tuners are ample, I put on 2 Keith D-Tuners and will probably replace the other two at some point, but they are functional, just not as precise as I would like
Setup Rating: 7
This banjo is a beauty, the back of the neck is tiger striped, the fretboard inlays are nearly perfect, the headstock and finish are excellent, I wish it was a true "Golden" Gold Tone, but the Nickel finish is still really nice.
Appearance Rating: 9
I've only had the banjo for 2 months, but it seems rock solid to me and I would use it without a backup.
Reliability Rating: 8
I haven't dealt with Gold Tone at all but it is interesting to see that they have a lifetime warranty for the original owner and a secondary warranty that is for five years for a second owner if you sell it.
Customer Service: 9
The upgraded tone ring is really nice in this banjo as well as the 3-ply rim, these are the standout parts. The original tail-piece is junk, it was bending when I took it off the banjo, it should definitely be replaced, I put on a Fults Cumberland and it greatly improved the sound of the banjo. The original tuners are ok, but they feel a little cheap to me.
Components Rating: 6
The TKL case it comes with is excellent. For the price I paid I would recommend this banjo to anyone. If this banjo was stolen, I'm not sure if I would buy another, I would probably save up for an American made banjo or try a RK or ODE, but for a Pacific Rim banjo assembled in the US, it's an amazing banjo for the money, I hope to have it for a few years to come and play it often. I played a Gold Star GF-200 before this and they both seem to have the same flaws, I was just able to get this one for about $400 less than the GF-200
Overall Rating: 8
'One of my favorite' 1 hr
'Banjola' 1 hr
'ID these tuners?' 2 hrs
'Old Dangerfield' 3 hrs