(USED) This is a (very early) vintage (1976) Gold Star banjo made during the first year of production for Gold Star. The introduction of these Japanese (initially Sumi, then Tokai) banjos into the American market generated lots of attention, and they soon became regarded as superior to the American-made Gibsons of that era. Their quality in tone and high production standards became legendary. In the first few years of production This model G-12W arch top combines the projection of the arch top style and the clarity and sustain of maple. The tone is quite different from a standard flat top banjo and many payers including Ralph Stanley and Doug Dillard were known for their dynamic archtop banjo tone.
Gold Star was the very first maker to build a banjo with a Pre War style flanged maple rim and cast bronze tone ring outside of the Gibson company, and they managed to do it with amazing accuracy.
This G-12W Gold Star is very well-preserved. The maple finish is beautiful, the frets are in great condition, with minimal fret and fretboard wear. It plays well. With a rim of multi-ply rock maple, original bronze tone ring, two piece flange, fiddle cut headstock with the traditional wreath pattern. Ebony fretboard and headstock overlay. Maple neck with a band of dark ebony down the center. Adjustable truss rod, adjustable coordinator rods, presto tailpiece, compensated 5/8" bridge, tarnished nickel plating and beautiful soft gloss patina on the wood parts.
The case appears original and it has RR spikes installed at frets 7 and 10. The head is a 5-Star, with obvious signs of use. The bridge is a Presto-style. The armrest is tarnished nickel with an overlay of maple. We’ve not seen this (wooden) overlay on other Gold Stars of this era, so we assume it’s been added. The action is low and it plays easily. Now: We’ve been selling banjos for thirty years and messing with them for forty. We are here to say: This is one incredibly loud banjo! This thing can peel paint and stop a clock. If you’ve been looking for a banjo that can “cut through the mix”, we’ve found your banjo. :-) Yee-haw!
Serial # 760247 (1976)
AMW Price: $1,800
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