The legendary quality of the first run Japanese Gold Star banjos is well known.
Though decades have passed since their manufacture, the quality remains. That’s why it’s well worthwhile for me to find one of these that have good bones so to speak but might need some help otherwise due to time and storage. I’m Dave Bloxham of Beyond Guitars- banjo player, teacher and rebuilder. This is about my 21st early Gold Star banjo to be refurbished, yet only the first one to be finished in black guitar lacquer. None of them were originally finished in black lacquer, so this one is now very unique.
In the day these original mastertone copy banjos were made, they were obviously superior to their contemporary Gibson banjos.
First manufactured by the legendary mandolin maker of Japan- Sumi, and later production came from the Tokai company of Japan. This particular banjo, being from 1977 falls into the period when it was most likely made by Sumi.
All the repairs and reconditioning procedures that have been done to this banjo include:
New genuine Remo head
Neck heel replaced with ebony
new vintage amber binding on neck
New neck angle set
Replaced and leveled all frets
New Golden Gate compensated bridge- I’ve tried many yet keep coming back to these for the G-11 arch top banjos, so they are my standard bridge for these banjos.
New Black Diamond medium strings
Railroad spikes installed at frets 7, 9 and 10 positions for playing in the keys of A, B and C.
Full black lacquer refinish and restoration of resonator. Original double concentric rings maintained.
Replaced lag studs in neck
New coordinator rods in the pot
Refinished banjo wood rim in black lacquer
Cleaned all nickel plated hardware- hooks and nuts, tail piece, arm rest and flange.
All of the nickel plated hardware is original. It has some tarnish and pitting which is not uncommon for these banjos, depending on the climate in which they are kept for decades. The original patina is often valued as a testament to it being a true vintage instrument. Sometimes if the plating is in high condition I might replace a tension hoop or flange, but this one looks better with everything matching.
The features of this banjo are:
The original accurate copy of the Gibson Mastertone banjo- the very first!
Mahogany neck and resonator
Black Ebony fretboard
Wreath style inlay pattern
Rock maple multi ply rim
Bronze arch top tone ring
Two piece flange of the Mastertone design type.
Nickel plated presto tailpiece for vintage tone
quality, original planetary banjo tuners
Serial number 770455 denoting 1977 production year.
With all the technical information behind us, I’d like to add that this banjo has all the traditional arch top tone it was designed to have. The first Gold Star banjos with the arch top tone rings were very popular for their bright tone and power. Be sure to listen to the recording using the player at the top of this ad. it may not work with a smart phone, so try to get to a computer and listen to it with headphones or good speakers and you will know why this fantastic arch top tone has had so much success.
This would make a great first professional quality for someone, as the price is reasonable for possessing the original tone and power you will have at your fingertips. If you already have a quality flattop banjo, This could be the arch top banjo you’ve been wondering about as this would make a great addition to your musical arsenal. It is well suited to some songs and outdoor situations where the Gold Star arch top carrying power shows it is superior!
This banjo is equipped with a used TKL case that is in great condition and has many years of use in its future.
It is also covered by Beyond Guitars’ 14-day customer satisfaction guarantee and FREE SHIPPING to you within the 48 contiguous United States!
We will ship to AK, HI and Puerto Rico at an additional charge.
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