Gold Tone cello banjos

Goldtone 5 string cello banjoThe folks at Gold Tone have introduced a number of new banjos – cello banjos, that is.

These jumbos are made with a 24.75” scale, fitted with high-tension nylon strings. They were introduced at the January 2008 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA and Gold Tone co-founder Wayne Rogers tells us that their first shipment of 100 sold out immediately, with back orders for another 100 now in force.

The 4 string model is tuned in 5ths like a cello (C G D A), and designed to play melody lines – though players with large hands could conceivably play chords as well. The 5 string is tuned a full octave below the standard banjo, much like the ones used in banjo orchestras near the turn of the previous century.

Rogers describes how this new set of Gold Tone models was born…

Marcy Marxer with her Goldtone CEB4 signature cello banjo“Marcy Marxer was playing an 1920s Gibson cello banjo for accompaniment. After seeing one of her You Tube videos, I was convinced it would be of great interest to contemporary banjoists.

So since we tooled up for the 4 string, we also did a 5 string and a 6 string Lojo… a short high top string with an extra bass string.”

He proudly notes that the 5 string model has already received endorsements from Béla Fleck, Victor Wooten, Rick Shubb, Bob Carlin and Tony Trischka – who will review the banjo for Banjo NewsLetter.

The 5 string (CEB 5) sells for $1199 and the 4 string (CEB 4) for $1099. Both are shipped with a hard shell case and feature a maple rim and neck (ebony fingerboard) and a brass tone ring.

Here is Marcy playing a spirited version on Angeline The Baker on her CEB-4.

The Gold Tone cello banjos are available from selected dealers worldwide.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.