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View Full Version : Impressions on the Gold Tone Cripple Creek Irish Tenor Banjo



Mandoviol
Mar-20-2010, 12:34am
Hi folks,

I've been toying with the idea of possibly getting a Gold Tone Cripple Creek Irish Tenor, as they're not terribly expensive as entry banjos go. Does anyone here play one (or, have you played one), and, if so, what do you think of it?

fred d
Mar-20-2010, 1:06am
I have one and love it played with Sacramento banjos for a couple years with it I did remove the resonator and changed the 4 string to a 43 other than that I really like it my wife has their tenor model also

Mike Snyder
Mar-20-2010, 4:08am
I was very favorably impressed with the one at Janet Davis in Arkansas. Beautifully finished, bright and loud. Action was good. It was showcased, had a front-and center position in their banjo room, so they were obviously impressed, also. The price makes it a real bargain in comparison with vintage tenors. I'm fairly sure that it is a 17 fret neck, which I prefer, but many players would rather have the longer neck. I wasn't buying (a D hole Bighorn mandola stole my heart) but it was worlds better than the open-back parts banjo that I fool with. I didn't get the mandola, either. I see on the Gold Tone website that the tuners have been upgraded on the 2010 model. If you buy, that is significant. The tuners on the one I played were like the StuMac utility grade ones.

JEStanek
Mar-20-2010, 7:37am
I've not seen the Gold Tone ones in hand but I've been impressed with how Deering's good Time banjo's look and sound. When I was hanging out with a guy who had one he said it was a pretty good banjo from all he could tell. His was a 5 string open back model. The Deering one is priced similarly to the Gold Tone one you were looking at, so you have a couple of options, if you can get your hands on some.

Jamie

Mike Snyder
Mar-20-2010, 6:20pm
The Deering is a great little banjo. Two things to be aware of are; No trussrod in the neck, probably not a problem, just sayin'. I don't care for the finger-jointed headstock, the neck/head are not one piece, again, my objection is aesthetic, rather than functional. Also, the fingerboard is the neck, in maple. I guess that makes it three. No ebony. All these things are not likely to effect the playability or tone. Lots of electric guitars out there with that style neck. If there is a problem, you can call Deering and talk to someone who has answers. Not so with the Gold Tone. If players do not buy instruments made stateside, someday no instruments will be made stateside. Best of luck with your purchase, and let us know how it goes.

JEStanek
Mar-20-2010, 6:47pm
Thanks for the observations, Mike. I don't play banjo (but I really like the sound of an open back 5 stringer). I know the two brands are priced comparably. Your information ought to help.

Jamie

Mandoviol
Mar-21-2010, 12:47am
Yeah, the one I'm looking at has the new 2010 tuners shown on the website.

If I end up getting this one, though, I may not have any more room in my house!

catmandu2
Mar-23-2010, 10:53am
If I end up getting this one, though, I may not have any more room in my house!

Get used to it ;)


Gold Tone is one of the better (if not the best) value in a new import--their products are consistently good. Their B stock items are usually listed on ebay for about 30% below retail.

I may be wrong, but I believe the GT has a brass hoop tone ring, and the standard Goodtime hasn't one (Goodtime II has).

Mandoviol
Mar-23-2010, 2:32pm
I may be wrong, but I believe the GT has a brass hoop tone ring, and the standard Goodtime hasn't one (Goodtime II has).

Yes, it does have a brass tone ring, and a resonator (which, to my knowledge, the Goodtime doesn't have as well).

catmandu2
Mar-23-2010, 2:57pm
Yes, right. I do like a resonator on my tenor banjos, especially (as well as a tone ring).

Jim MacDaniel
Mar-23-2010, 3:29pm
Nice looking banjo, and the soundclip on GT's web site sounds good to my ears as well. (Wierd name for an Irish Tenor though; the River Fergus has a much better ring to it IMHO ;) )

catmandu2
Mar-23-2010, 3:42pm
Nice looking banjo, and the soundclip on GT's web site sounds good to my ears as well. (Wierd name for an Irish Tenor though; the River Fergus has a much better ring to it IMHO ;) )

Cripple Creek is their designation for their lower line of banjos. I presume that since this tenor model equates with other CC 5-string models already in production, it bears the designation as well--despite its oddity.

Mandoviol
Mar-23-2010, 5:13pm
Cripple Creek is their designation for their lower line of banjos. I presume that since this tenor model equates with other CC 5-string models already in production, it bears the designation as well--despite its oddity.

Yes; their CC line seems to be distinguished from their other banjos by being unstained (so, natural wood color), and probably some less fancy inlays, etc.

catmandu2
Mar-23-2010, 6:07pm
Yes; their CC line seems to be distinguished from their other banjos by being unstained (so, natural wood color), and probably some less fancy inlays, etc.

But not all--I have a CC 5-string banjo with dark stain.

Mike Snyder
Mar-23-2010, 6:20pm
Brass hoop tone ring and maple resonator as per Elderly website- The Irish is a nice playing, loud, and attractive banjo.

catmandu2
Mar-23-2010, 6:43pm
Speaking of Elderly, I see they still have this, which I posted in another thread about a week ago (NFI):

http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/80U-2225.htm

A standard Sears & Roebuck, or Concertone, or Stewart Student model (all essentially the same). With this skin head, it will produce a very different sound (darker, deeper, more complex) than the GT with the plastic head (very bright)...of course, you can change out a frosted plastic head to a fiberskin which approximates calfskin. I have a GT skin head on one of my tenors, and it's far and away the best sounding head (compared with plastic heads). This banjo comes with a nice case too (hint, hint..;))

northfolk
Mar-23-2010, 7:09pm
I own a Gold Tone Cripple Creek Irish Tenor Banjo and like it just fine. I agree the tuners should be upgraded; I have an older model. I did however take the resonator off mine, so as to tone it down a bit; they are pretty loud.

JCLondonUK
Mar-23-2010, 7:35pm
I can't help with the tenor question, but I've got a Gold Tone open-back 5-string banjo (Bob Carlin model, 12" pot) and it's an really good value banjo. I got it secondhand, and the tuners were upgraded by the previous owner, but I would highly recommend the Gold Tone banjos. Excellent instruments for the price.

mando.player
Mar-23-2010, 7:53pm
When I was at Elderly last weekend I picked up a Gold Tone IT-800 that I couldn't put down. It had that nice plunky mellow tone that I associate with an open back banjo. The scale was just short enough to still be able to play fiddle tunes mando style. It was just under $1000. It was a pretty sweet instrument.

catmandu2
Mar-23-2010, 8:04pm
IT-800 has a tubaphone-style tone ring...will sound a lot different (better, likely in most banjoist's opinions) than the CC tenor.

Wow, GT has really expanded their line. This one would blast: http://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/342/IT-250F-Irish-Tenor ...40-hole arch-top ring.

allenhopkins
Mar-24-2010, 9:53am
Leaving aside evaluation of the instrument under discussion, I'd like to put in my 2 of praise for Gold Tone in general. They have shown themselves willing to design and build a variety of unusual instruments, ones that will be of interest only to a limited number of musicians. These "niche market" instruments are all of decent quality and are reasonably priced. Who else will provide ukulele banjos, short-neck tenor banjos, mandolin banjos, five-string mandolas (I own one of their "banjolas," and it's very nice), resonator tenor guitars, etc. etc.? They kept the admirable Rigel mandolin designs going after the American company had to stop building; they make Paul Beard-designed resonator guitars in an affordable price range. I mean, who else would make a baritone ukulele banjo? Those of us who play "off" instruments should be grateful for their willingness to meet our needs.

Jill McAuley
Mar-24-2010, 10:43am
IT-800 has a tubaphone-style tone ring...will sound a lot different (better, likely in most banjoist's opinions) than the CC tenor.

Wow, GT has really expanded their line. This one would blast: http://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/342/IT-250F-Irish-Tenor ...40-hole arch-top ring.

That GoldTone you posted the link for was the result of them consulting with Andy Perkin's aka AndyBanjo from the UK - I got my very first tenor banjo from him - he's a nice guy and knows his banjos, so I'll bet that new model rocks!

Cheers,
Jill

catmandu2
Mar-24-2010, 7:18pm
I'm really not director of marketing for Elderly, but...speaking of tenor banjos with tubaphone tone rings, here's the real deal: http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/80U-2304.htm

And here's a nice Richelieu with a Whyte Laydie ring: http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/80U-2288.htm

And here's a purdy Leedy: http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/80U-2278.htm

And then of course, there's THIS killer: http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/80U-2234.htm

Okay...I'm done now :redface: (NFI).

Patrick Hull
Apr-20-2010, 1:31pm
I had seriously thought about purchasing a Deering Goodtime 17 fret tenor banjo. But looking at the "Princess" instrument linked above at Elderly, it makes me wonder if that would be a better value. Anyone want to weigh in on that? My intent is to use it occasionally to "plunk" along while singing and maybe to play with some old-time jammers. I realize that a 5 string would be better suited to the latter purpose, but I'd like to get by on one purchase. I currently have an old Beltone, which I believe was converted from 4 string to 5 string, and which I have converted back. It needs some serious work.

catmandu2
Apr-20-2010, 6:10pm
I had seriously thought about purchasing a Deering Goodtime 17 fret tenor banjo. But looking at the "Princess" instrument linked above at Elderly, it makes me wonder if that would be a better value. Anyone want to weigh in on that?

Well, that would be my opinion. But then, I'm the one who suggested it ;).

I like vintage banjos and have rehab'd quite a few--easy to do.

David Casal
May-10-2010, 3:39pm
Two weeks ago I got the CCIT of gold tone, I'm tuning GDAE with a digital tuner guitar at 440hz, but I have the feeling that the strings are not all tense than they should.
is this normal?, or have to change strings on a closer?

thank you

catmandu2
May-11-2010, 10:26am
Is this a standard commercial GDAE string set? Otherwise, what are the gauges of the strings you're using?

David Casal
May-11-2010, 1:35pm
which came with the banjo, I could not tell exactly the gauges but they seems 012 .016 .024w .036w in comparition with the acustic guitar ones

catmandu2
May-11-2010, 4:33pm
Well, that's a common interval set.

mikeyes
May-12-2010, 9:28am
Two weeks ago I got the CCIT of gold tone, I'm tuning GDAE with a digital tuner guitar at 440hz, but I have the feeling that the strings are not all tense than they should.
is this normal?, or have to change strings on a closer?

thank you

Dave,

Subjective feeling of tension is related to several different things including string gauge and setup. If the strings are the D'Addario J63i set (which you seem to be using, 36-12 or so), then they are a little too small (most of the time, if varies with each instrument) for a 17 fret banjo. Tension is dependent on string gauge, height of the bridge, scale length and to some extent head tension. If your instrument sounds good, then it is OK. If the G string sounds "floppy" then you need to get a higher gauge string or tighten the head a little.

There are some banjos in which the tensions are OK but they just feel different. Playability and tone are the two big factors (assuming all four string tensions are in the same ballpark - sometimes one string is way off and that can also cause some problems with feel.)

Also make sure you haven't tuned the banjo an octave lower than it should be (which is an octave below a mandolin.)

David Casal
May-15-2010, 4:01pm
thats the key, the G string sounds as you said "floppy", it's like being tuned two or three tone lower.
i tensioned the head, but just a little, because it seems the bridge is pulling down too much

Steve L
May-28-2010, 1:44pm
I think the Gold Tone CCIT is a very good banjo for the money. It was my first tenor and I have a couple of others I like a bit more, it's still very usefull and sounds and plays very well. I wish now I had gotten a 19 fret neck, but I can deal with what I've got.

I've been having good luck with the following gauge strings: 13/22w/32w/42w