The Gold Tone HM-100 “High Moon” old-time banjo was designed to satisfy the modern clawhammer banjoist’s desire for a full-featured and wonderful-sounding banjo at a most affordable price.
This project is near and dear to Gold Tone’s heart. Our very own Chris Pariso, shop luthier and banjo extraordinaire who has been with Gold Tone since 1995 brought this banjo to life. Chris has helped develop many banjo models during his years here at Gold Tone including but not limited to BC-350, OT-800, OB-Bela, CEB-4/5 and has custom built thousands of banjos out of our Titusville shop. There was no machinery involved in the conception of this banjo or on any of the 60+ pieces that he hand built out of our shop. Experimenting with different hardware and finishes; Chris modified, altered, and used many Gold Tone hardware pieces throughout this entire undertaking. The construction process of the High Moon was ever changing and evolving, taking the best features from the different models, and eventually having enough unique qualities to make a banjo so distinctive we had to put it into production.
The HM-100 sports many of the custom touches found on some of today’s finest “boutique” banjos. These include a fingerboard scoop; a single-rod neck-angle adjuster enclosed in a machine-turned wooden dowel; just fourteen hooks mounted in spherical (or “pawn”) shoes to assure full resonance while providing even tensioning; a smooth-playing satin finish; a short and lightweight old-time style tailpiece that provides just enough down-pressure on the strings for balanced tone, and high-quality Gotoh machine heads.
One major departure from modern practice stands out: the truss rod adjustment is on the peghead! While some players might prefer the look of a smooth headstock, a truss rod that adjusts from a socket in the face of the neck heel that faces the pot is impractical AND inconvenient. If one must remove the banjo’s neck in order to adjust the truss rod for seasonal changes in neck relief, how does one know how much of an adjustment to make? The only way to check if the adjustment is too much or too little is to remove the neck again, adjust and re-install it and hope it’s right. If it ISN’T, the neck comes off AGAIN to re-do it. Placing the adjuster on the peghead allows easy adjustment with the strings tuned to pitch, assuring accuracy.
The full, woody tone of the High Moon rim is accented by a rolled flat brass tone ring. The twelve-inch Remo Renaissance head burnishes the sound, making it smooth but well-defined; each note is clear but mellow. Our patented Zero Glide string nut assures better intonation and open-string tone that matches the fretted-string tone. The light carry weight of just six and a half pounds eliminates “festival fatigue” and makes for a lively and richly resonant banjo.