View Full Version : $1,000 Bluegrass Banjo

Rick Albertson
Apr-23-2016, 9:11am
I'd appreciate recommendations for a bluegrass banjo costing no more than $1,000. Is there anything that plays well and soungs good for this price? Is the Gold Star GF85 a contender? Thanks for advice.

Mike Baker
Apr-23-2016, 10:56am
I have not played one, but the banjo in that range that comes up most often with the most positive reviews is the Recording King RK-35. The Gold Star also gets lots of recommendations but it seems like it is a little over $1000.

Jim Pankey
Apr-28-2016, 1:34am
Agree on the RK-35. Might consider the RK-36 too...

Apr-29-2016, 2:29pm
I'll third that.. Greg and co, did a great job on the RK-35 and RK-36. Playability will be somewhat dependent on setup (as is sound), more than anything, but the RK-35 is a great banjo. Yes the GF-85 is also a Contender. :)

Ivan Kelsall
Apr-30-2016, 12:35am
I bought a Gold Star GF85 going back around 11 years ago & in all honesty,it was superb in every way !. I'd owned my Stelling Bellflower for close to 20 years at the time (i still own it). Mine was the first one imported into the UK,so i'd not had the chance to see or play one,so it was something of a gamble. I needen't have worried.As soon as i opened the case,i saw a quality banjo,& when i played it,i heard a quality banjo. My friend who owned the music store in Liverpool UK,allowed me to play it back to back with 2 brand new Gibson banjos,an RB-250 & an RB-75,& the GS was way better,both tonally & in the way it was put together. I kept if for close to 4 years & only sold it because i'd begun playing mandolin just before i bought it,& mandolin sort of took over & i wasn't playing banjo much at all.
At the time,the general consensus of opinion was that the new Chinese GS banjos were even better than the original Japanese ones. I had heard the ''Tokai'' banjo played by Tony Trishka when he came over here & it was stunningly good. TT told us that the banjos were named ''Tokai'' in Japan ( made by the Tokai Guitar Co.) but in the US they were 'Gold Stars'. At one time,i put a spare Stelling bridge on the GS & it was so like the Stelling it was scary !.
I haven't personally played (or even seen) a Recording King banjo in the UK,but i do know of their reputation.However,do check out the GS banjos,

May-02-2016, 4:53pm
For what it's worth I just bought a Gretsch G9400 Broadkaster Deluxe from Elderly's in Lansing. Paid about $650.00. Now I've been playing banjo for some time, had a Gibson Mastertone and Deering Maple Blossom, lost them in a divorce. At any rate now that I'm getting back on my feet i wanted to get a banjo and start picking again. I went to Elderly with the $1,000 price point in mind. Played probably a dozen banjos in that price range. Just before selecting one I grabbed the Gretsch. I didnt try that one ealier due to I've never heard of them. Much to my suprise it was a "knock it out of the park" sound. Further testing showed it was in tune with itself all the way up the neck, great sound, and had the weight I was looking for in a bluegrass banjo.
For the price you wont go worng. I left that day with the Gretsch G9400 Broadkaster Deluxe although I went in looking at others to take home.


Sep-16-2016, 7:54pm
RK. Much bang for the buck.