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Jul 14, 2021 - 10:24:56 AM
201 posts since 3/24/2008

Hey there,

Years back, I had a Deering Crossfire and I really did like it for its purpose. Was in a band with a drummer, so it suited the style and music well. As the years have gone by, I became much more into traditional banjo and sold the Crossfire, but I am once again interested in expanding my playing styles and would definitely enjoy an electric banjo for several reasons.

I'd like to learn some Noam and Bela-esque guitar-ish styles, I think it would be fun to mess around with effects on electric banjo. I do have a drummer friend I like to jam with, so that would help.

I am looking for shopping recommendations. I was considering just going with the cheaper option of the Gold Tone EB5. This is mainly going to be for experimentation and I have several 5-string Resonator banjos that I prefer, so this is really solely for experimenting.

However, I do want a "good" instrument and not something that will sound significantly worse than it's competitors. My question is:

Is the Nechville Meteor REALLY worth the extra $ for jamming, experimenting, and playing out live (potentially) with a drummer. Can I just buy the Gold Tone, get a real good preamp, and get a similar sound for a much smaller price tag?

Any big differences in the Gold Tone EB5 vs the Gold Tone EBM (other than aesthetically, as the EBM has the F style, which I think looks kind of cool, but side-by-side are they virtually the same with regard to pickups and whatnot)?

Any help, recommendations and input would be most appreciated.

I realize I can install a pickup on one of my banjos, but I won't do that on my prewar and I'd rather not do it on my Gold Star. I'd rather have a separate electric banjo for experimenting and messing around. Thanks in advance!


Jul 14, 2021 - 10:33:19 AM



244 posts since 1/22/2005

I have a Crossfire and like it a lot. It's not my main instrument, but I do use it in some gigs. I originally bought a Gold Tone and was a little disappointed. It just did not have the power or clarity of the Crossfire. My Gold Tone was used - and maybe that contributed to the problem - but the Crossfire has been a great electric banjo for me.

Jul 14, 2021 - 10:35:31 AM

841 posts since 11/27/2005

Try out one of these. I use mine through a bank of effects pedals for our electric set.

Rickard Respohinc Banjo

Jul 14, 2021 - 11:20:27 AM
likes this


Virgin Islands (U.S.)

365 posts since 5/11/2021

I haven't played either, but the Nechville and Gold Tone most likely produce very similar tones. They're essentially just electric guitars with a banjo shaped body and 5-string neck on them. As far as tone, they both produce the same basic tone that doesn't sound much like a banjo at all. Once you plug in and run it through EQ/FX, any tonal nuance from the banjo itself will be gone. The electronics will effect tone much more than the body/neck.

If I was in your situation, I'd probably get the Gold Tone. I'd buy a B-stock model that's sold directly by GT through the BHO classifieds. I would get the EBM-5 because it has a tone ring and an additional pickup under the bridge.

I would use the $2000 you save to buy high quality analog preamp and analog single effect pedals. A EBM-5 with high quality electronics will sound better than a Meteor with cheap electronics. 

Edited by - YellowSkyBlueSun on 07/14/2021 11:26:46

Jul 14, 2021 - 11:30:58 AM

1939 posts since 2/4/2013

Originally posted by cheeseforbreakfast

Any big differences in the Gold Tone EB5 vs the Gold Tone EBM (other than aesthetically, as the EBM has the F style, which I think looks kind of cool, but side-by-side are they virtually the same with regard to pickups and whatnot)?


The EBM has a dual pickup system with one under the head which I guess is supposed to make it more banjo like. From the few samples there are I'd say it is a bit more banjoish.

Edited by - GrahamHawker on 07/14/2021 11:31:22

Jul 14, 2021 - 12:32:59 PM

50 posts since 2/25/2020

Hi Dan!

I got to go to the Nechville shop a couple days ago and check out the meteor - it's an amazing banjo! It plays well, sounds good, and it's super lightweight. Nechville also makes a great banjo called the Comet, and Tom described it as a "5-string electric guitar". It's also really light, and you can get great tone with it. It's a solid body, which means it's really quiet when played acoustically, but plugged in, I like the sound even more than the meteor. You can get different inlays for pretty cheap if you don't love the dots. Not sure if that's exactly what you're looking for, but I think the comet's just as good of a banjo for a better price...


Jul 14, 2021 - 12:54:03 PM

12159 posts since 6/2/2008

I can't offer any insight into which are better or best. 

I do want to share something Ned Luberecki said during his session on amplification at last month's online/virtual Midwest Banjo Camp. He plays a Deering Crossfire when he has to be in loud environments with other amplified instruments and drums. To reduce or eliminate feedback from the banjo head going microphonic, he has filled the interior of the Crossfire with foam. I believe it's rigid insulating foam that he was able to cut into a circle.

He's essentially eliminating the banjo's air chamber from the instrument's sound.

Depending on how loud your performing situations will be, you might keep this in mind. Especially if you go to a microphone or transducer system.

Jul 14, 2021 - 1:50:29 PM

2349 posts since 9/25/2006

I like my electric banjos to sound like banjos, not guitars. I currently have a Gold Tone EMB-5. I also like that it looks like a banjo, not a telecaster. I also appreciate the sound. It has a fairly decent acoustic tone (about like a really good mountain banjo strung with steel) and I find the amplified tone pleasing as well. I'm quite a fan. I would however likely be interested in selling if you'd be interested. I'm not looking to sell, just thought I'd throw it out if you decide you'd like to try one. I could give you a good price...

Jul 16, 2021 - 9:15:04 PM

115 posts since 2/16/2008

Nechville is an amazing Banjo. that is the way I would go.

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