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Oct 3, 2020 - 4:01:38 PM
293 posts since 7/11/2014

I know some of you have not been able to resist the hype and purchased a Gold Tone Ob3 Twanger. I recently bought one and thought I'd mention a few small issues that I'm working on. Overall it has a very fine sound out of the box. It comes with a zero glide nut, basically a fret up against the nut. The nut itself was OK but had fairly sharp edges either side which tends to catch of the lower side of the neck. I rounded the edges carefully with a file and sandpaper for a smooth feel and am taking the nut height down as the top of the nut is 2 mm above the string slots which adds unnecessary height and I guess possibly some resistance to free resonance. FYI the nut is 1.25 width. I find it a nice size compared to my Gibsons with slimmer nut and profile based on pre war specs (I know these vary). The tailpiece is a Presto copy and whilst OK has two screws holding the hinge on, these needed tightening and rattled a bit so I put a Prucha presto on it. The tailpiece bracket is not an L shape attached to the coordinator rod, instead a slightly different attachment which I'll show on the pics attached. Other than that there were a few small finish issues on the binding which came out with fine sandpaper & wire wool. The no hole ring and pot fit feel good, it resonates into your chest and rings clear as daylight! The tuners, GT master planets hold tune but unfortunately the knobs are not very nice and it seems GT tuners cannot accommodate any of the standard replacements like gotoh or schallers buttons, it's a small issue but a pain so it might benefit from gotohs or Rickards if I save up! Finally I noted that the upper coordinator rod washer covers the pot - tone ring gap, not a problem but different to my other instruments.
See my full review in reviews section. Happy picking. Tim


Oct 5, 2020 - 1:10:42 PM

1816 posts since 2/12/2009

To my eyes that nut/zero fret looks totally hideous, like a badly repaired accident.

Oct 5, 2020 - 3:18:30 PM

293 posts since 7/11/2014

I agree it looks uuugggly but funnily enough it sounds great. When the nut needs replacing I may well swap it for a homemade bone nut just cos I'm old fashioned but for now it works great and importantly rings clear and deeply.

Oct 5, 2020 - 5:02:56 PM

13476 posts since 10/30/2008

That little bit of tailpiece hanger being cast right into the flange looks like an ok idea.

Oct 5, 2020 - 11:40:05 PM

293 posts since 7/11/2014

Thanks Old Timer. It's a separate piece that clamps onto the flange under the nuts rather than cast but it works OK. I guess it may put less tension on the rod but I also wonder if the sound transmission is same as normal. I guess it's just different.
Tim

Oct 6, 2020 - 7:23:31 AM

KCJones

USA

969 posts since 8/30/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Waltraud

It comes with a zero glide nut, basically a fret up against the nut... FYI the nut is 1.25 width... The tailpiece is a Presto copy and whilst OK has two screws holding the hinge on, these needed tightening and rattled a bit so I put a Prucha presto on it. ...The tailpiece bracket is not an L shape attached to the coordinator rod, instead a slightly different attachment which I'll show on the pics attached.... The tuners, GT master planets hold tune but unfortunately the knobs are not very nice and it seems GT tuners cannot accommodate any of the standard replacements like gotoh or schallers buttons...


Selected quotes to illustrate my point.

This is my issue with Gold Tone. Trying to confuse the market and trick people into thinking they've made a banjo to 'prewar specs'. In reality, it's just another Gold Tone. Non-standard hardware, non-standard geometry. You can't swap things out like you would with a Gibson, RK, or numerous other domestic Masterclones. It think it's ridiculous how Gold Tone has been marketing their products lately, using "Mastertone" in their marketing, and using JD Crowe's name without permission. Shameful and deceptive.

Is it a good banjo, for a decent price? Yes.

Is it deceptive to include the terms 'Mastertone', 'RB-3', and 'JD Crowe' in their marketing? Yes. 

Oct 6, 2020 - 7:37:21 AM

293 posts since 7/11/2014

@KCJones. I agree somewhat, it's a great banjo. The attention to detail would be nice and it doesn't feel like just another Gold Tone. To be fair to them it was actually designed by @banjoben and @robbieboone but assembled (in China) I assume by goldtone. Frankly there is great Chinese made stuff and cheap Chinese made stuff just like in the US & Europe, I judge on experience and tone. I was dissapointed at little things like the tailpiece hanger and the nuts being solid rather than shaped like prewar.

Tim

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