I bought this in June after playing guitar for four years and mandolin for one, I figured I'd give the banjo a shot. I found it very easy to play, and with no defects like buzzing frets or loose tuners that seem to plague the imported brands of instruments. The Gold Tones are actually assembled in the US, although the parts are made overseas, and mine was set up at the factory in Florida. So far, I have had absolutely no problem with it, and even if I did, Gold Tone offers a lifetime warranty on all of their banjos. Th tone is very good, better than the comparably priced Deering Goodtime banjo because of a heavy tone ring around the circumference. The banjo itself is heavier than many in its price range, which is good for a banjo, and is very well consturcted throughout. The tone is great, similar to many higher-priced banjos. It does have a bit of a volume problem inherent in open-backs; however, it sounds just fine in a small setting and sounds beautiful mic'ed. All in all, a great banjo for beginners or for someone who needs an inexpensive banjo that sound great!