- Guitar Style Neck (Radius Fingerboard)
- Mandola F-Style Body with Matte Sunburst Finish
- Passive Bridge Pickup
- Form-fit case with shoulder straps
Gold Tone Music Group was established in 1993, but in 2016 the Titusville, Florida company began placing their hybrid instruments under a line they call “Folkternative.” The series is aimed at musicians who are looking for different tones or sounds but can’t make the time investment to learn an entirely new instrument or the chords/scales required.
I purchased one of the 6 string Banjitar models to back up my daughter at a recital and provide realistic ragtime sound. Previously I had a budget 6 string banjo, but I was seeking better quality build and a built in pickup with volume control which the GT-750 provided.
For added accompaniment at church I started researching Gold Tone six and twelve string mandolin guitars, and then they released their new F style models. If you’ve ever wanted a mandolin sound without the learning curve, these are the instruments for you. All of my musician friends that play one want one, and I’ve been receiving rave reviews from the church congregation since adding them to my instrument vocabulary.
The F-12 and F-6 models (end number denotes number of strings) are essentially octave tuned guitars with a guitar style neck and a mandola F-style body. The F styles have a longer scale, matte sunburst finish and a radius fingerboard (which is easier for a guitarist to navigate). It also comes equipped with a passive bridge pickup installed and a nice form-fit case with shoulder straps. Both models are a lot of fun to play and jam with, although the F-12 provides more mandolin-ish tones while the F-6 is easier to play and chord on. After using both of them in praise music situations I find myself using the F-6 more frequently as it fills the middle ground between the guitar and piano tones.
If you are seeking some new textures for your worship or praise music I think you will be surprised how much listeners will notice and appreciate the added sounds. If you can find them locally, play both instruments and compare them. The F-6 lists for $699 and the F-12 is $799.
To check out their full line visit www.GoldTone.com. A friend of mine that owns a studio in Nashville said more and more studio musicians are bringing in at least one of these hybrid instruments to add diversity to their sound.