It is a little-known fact that at the dawn of the banjo era, not all banjos had 5 strings (4 long strings and a short thumb string). One common variation was the 6-string banjo. Unlike banjo-guitars, these 6-stringers had an additional long bass string running next to the usual short thumb string. The first time we heard one, it was being played by Florida Banjo Champion, Chuck Levy and we were frankly astounded. By tuning the bass string down to G or an A, Chuck could match the fiddle tone-for-tone no matter where the tune led. No more thumping on a chord, waiting until the fiddle returned to the D string for Chuck.
Next we watched as Chuck used the extra range of the 6-string to extend the melody into the lower octave creating whole new variations that we never knew were possible. Finally, Chuck showed us how the bass string could be used as low drone, adding amazing and unexpected punch to a tune. Well, we decided then and there to add a 6-Stringer to the Gold Tone catalog.
Wayne and Chuck bounced ideas back and fourth for over a year to create the OT-6 LoJo. We started with a 14” diameter rim, 1/4” thick, with a Renaissance head to broadcast the bass strings while keeping the treble bright and lively. Then we decided on the neck angles and dimensions, string spacing and gauges to create a banjo with low action for effortless travel along the neck, and added an “S” scoop, to encourage a secure, confident strike to the strings. A banjo this cool had to have first class appointments, so we wrapped the fingerboard and the peg head in a textured ivoroid binding.
To top it all off, we finished with inscribed mother of pearl inlays based on the best of the classical period. The result is the Gold Tone OT-6 LoJo, a banjo unlike any you have ever seen or heard, yet the instant you lay your hand on one, you know it is precisely what you have been looking for.
Banjos come set up and ready to play
Each banjo is played before it leaves the shop!
Along with the strict quality control that Goldtone is known for and the banjos being checked very carefully before being shipped, each banjo is given a 12 point inspection, full head tuning, setup and will arrive tuned and ready to play
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