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Dec 6, 2021 - 10:20:18 AM
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BobbyE

USA

2995 posts since 11/29/2007

Last Saturday afternoon, after UPS had hauled it across, over, and through much of the Southeast United States, I had in my possession my latest banjo purchase, a vintage GF100-FE Gold Star 5-string. After having it now for about three days I am still amazed with this banjo and couldn't be happier with its sound and craftsmanship. Tuners that are nearly 40 years old and have absolutely no slop or slip when they are turned must mean something. It is wearing a new Remo head, a Sullivan bridge, and new GHS strings, but other than that it is all original. I did quite a bit of reading in the archives here on the HO and everyone spoke highly of these banjos and I can see why. It has also provided me with a project involving the case that is around 40 years old and needs some restoration work done on it, but I must say it has character. Don't know what your experience would be with a Gold Star in its late 30s but if it is similar to mine, you won't be disappointed.

Bobby

Dec 6, 2021 - 10:24:40 AM
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4070 posts since 5/29/2011

I've never been disappointed with a Gold Star but all the ones I've played have been from the same vintage as yours. I have never played a new one to see how they compare.
Remember that when Gold Star first hit the market they were better banjos than what Gibson was turning out at the time.

Dec 6, 2021 - 11:00:18 AM
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heavy5

USA

2013 posts since 11/3/2016
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Have an 85 that sounds better than several Granada's I've owned .

Dec 6, 2021 - 11:11:40 AM
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2250 posts since 1/4/2009

i recently pickup a 78 gold star and im blown away, i had planned on flipping it but im now selling one of my prewars and keeping this.

Dec 6, 2021 - 11:52:20 AM
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12570 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

I've never been disappointed with a Gold Star but all the ones I've played have been from the same vintage as yours. I have never played a new one to see how they compare.
Remember that when Gold Star first hit the market they were better banjos than what Gibson was turning out at the time.


The only Gold Star from their initial made-in-Japan era that I've played was a GF-85 that Hangout member Steve Davis used to own. I visited him on a trip to Maine in 2012.  Besides sounding great, it had the most comfortable neck I've ever played. A soft oval profile that just laid in your palm. Not too thick (front-to-back), not too thin, and no excess "cheek" or "shoulder" down the sides. I think he later sold that.

It was also my memory from decades ago that when Gold Star came out with the GF banjos, they were the first production banjo in many years to feature a 3-ply rim, one-piece flange, and pre-war alloy tone ring.  So, yeah, it was probably better than what Gibson was selling.

Dec 6, 2021 - 12:21:18 PM
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leehar

USA

42 posts since 2/18/2018

I’ll probably end up with a couple of naysayers here but I recently purchased a brand new GF100 FE and I LOVE it! Not as loud as my Gibson but the playability and workmanship are flawless. It has a beautiful warm tone but will bark when I want it to. The neck is slim and has a slightly matte finish so you can move around easily. I have been playing it about an hour each day since March and am thoroughly impressed by it.

Dec 7, 2021 - 2:30:33 PM
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O.D.

USA

3630 posts since 10/29/2003

I agree
I've owned several including a 81 Crowe from the first batch
Presently a 78 model
If there good enough for
JD,Tom Adams,Marc Pruitt,
Russ Carson,Mike Kropp,etc,they are good enough for me

Everett

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:20:05 AM
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1569 posts since 11/27/2005

They are great!! Try putting a pot metal flange on one and watch out!!!

Joe

Dec 8, 2021 - 5:07:32 AM

1175 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by RB3WREATH

They are great!! Try putting a pot metal flange on one and watch out!!!

Joe


What kind of flange do they have?

What difference does changing the flange make?

Edited by - jason999 on 12/08/2021 05:08:03

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:44:05 AM
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75309 posts since 5/9/2007

I've owned 5 Gold Stars over the years and like them a lot.
My '76 G-11 Wreath had a plywood rim and archtop ring.
I changed that one to a StewMac 3 ply t&p rim and one of their no-hole flatheads of 1978.
This strengthened its power and depth of tone a lot.
The last 2 I bought were in 2010 from the HA Auctions out of Dallas.
I bought them for 550 and 600 and doubled my money on resale.

Goldies have a great track record.

Edited by - steve davis on 12/08/2021 07:46:47

Dec 9, 2021 - 3:22:52 AM
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1569 posts since 11/27/2005

The Goldstar flanges are made from brass. A good pot metal flange increases the decay and allows for more separation between notes.

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