The Soundbird is a new 4-string banjo
Designed by Wayne Rogers of Gold Tone and Paul Roberts

Soundbird Tenor Banjo

“A great, bottomless sonority comes out of that banjo, ably evinced through your evocative melodies and expert performances. Well done. Takes the banjo in a wholly original direction.” ~Don Borchelt
  Soundbird Neck-Lift      Soundbird Price & Options  

The Soundbird is a new 4-string banjo designed by Wayne Rogers of Gold Tone and Paul Roberts. Optimized for nylon strings the Soundbird features Paul's innovative Neck-Lift design, which liberates a colorful palette of timbre-rich tone. By raising the fingerboard 3/8-inch above the head and aligning the strings on a parallel plain with the head, the Neck-Lift makes the strings fully accessible between bridge and rim, and uncovers a treasure of jewel-like tones along the banjo's full variable tonal spectrum.

Adam Hurt






Personalized international service for the purchase of all Gold Tone stringed instruments provided by Paul Roberts




what banjo players are saying about the new Soundbird Tenor Banjo:


Never heard anything like that paul you are amazing buddy I just love that
Jim Reed

Very fine playing, Paul, deep and resonant. You make some great music with that banjo, music that demonstrates the great emotional and spiritual potential of the banjo, needing only to be unlocked by a thoughtful player.
_Don Borchelt

Must be a thrill to have your own model and a testament to your playing. I would like to know more about how the neck lift works. I have a banjo from a different maker that allows me to get the strings way off the head. I'd like to see how that works and definitely puts this banjo on the WANT list.

Thanks for posting the samples and varieties of tunes on this unique tenor banjo.
Janet Burton

Brilliant! The new banjo is elegant and beautiful, and sounds GREAT.
Ho C Ying

I'm curious as to what tuning you're using, Paul. You're getting an enormous range from top to bottom. Does the 12" pot have anything to do with this, or is it common tenor banjo tuning? I need some education here.
Janet Burton

This stuff is really good - both the instrument and the playing of it!
Marc Nerenberg

One of the nice things I like about this banjo is that you can tune it in a wide range of notes, an octave lower, for instance, and still get a great sound with the same nylon(ish) strings. It allows you to play a tune with a different timbre which, in turn, changes the way the tune is perceived making it an entirely different experience.

John Carty and others do this with Irish tunes, i.e. play them in different keys to achieve different feelings in GDAE tuning. Banjo players can get away with doing these out of the box things because of our reputation for being off the wall. The Sonundbird seems to make this an even more exciting venture because of its tuning versatility!
Mike Keyes

Congratulations with the flight of your Soundbird banjo, Paul!!! it sounds great and very unusual, it has its own special sound I hear and especially in your hands! I like the tune you compose and the other tunes you played on Soundbird, I'm so happy for you and wish you all the best wishes, hope your banjo will become one of the most popular instruments someday soon!

Janna Kim


soundbird tenor banjo

Price: $969 (free shipping to lower 48 US states)


Resonator 14” Maple $239

Notched Counterhoop with J-hooks $112

Padded Gig Bag $35

Hardshell Case $85

SMP+ Pickup $129


Soundbird Specifications

Rim – 12”

Maple Neck – Maple with 2-Way Adjustable Truss Rod Fingerboard

Rosewood Bridge

Maple with Ebony Cap Finishing
Touches:Wood Finish

Vintage Brown Neck Binding

Celluloid Fingerboard Inlay

Hearts and Flowers Body Binding

Celluloid Fiddle Headstock

Parts and Hardware:Tone Ring – Rolled Brass Tailpiece –
Heavy Duty German Made Tensiator Nut –

Zero Glide Dual Coordinator Rod

Configuration Tuners - Gold Tone Master Planets Plating –

Chrome Strings: .048w .034w .028w .028p tuned GDAE (octave below violin) or lower

Flat Hooks with Ballend Nuts

Steel Rod Tension Hoop

One Leg Armrest

Engraved Dimensions:
Scale 22-5/8”
Nut Width 1-3/16”
Bridge ¾”
Total Length 35-1/2”
Rim 12”
Weight 6.2 lbs

Frets 19

Head Size 12” Remo Renaissance, High Collar



Soundbird Videos

View Paul Roberts playing the soundbird
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Soundbird Necklift Soundbird

Custom design for Paul Roberts
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order a soundbird tenor banjo

$969.00 with free shipping to lower 48 US States

Soundbird Reviews and Quotes Reviews and Quotes
What players are saying about the Soundbird
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Paul Roberts Soundbird Irish Tenor Banjo

Soundbird Blog
video compilation featuring the Soundbird
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Soundbird Orders

We ship all over the world with personalized service
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Soundbird Tenor Banjo


Brilliant! The new banjo is elegant and beautiful, and sounds GREAT.
Ho C Ying



About Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts is a freelance musician and independent product specialist and retailer of Gold Tone stringed instruments. Paul recently designed the Soundbird tenor banjo in collaboration with Gold Tone President Wayne Rogers.

Paul Roberts Soundbird Banjo

In addition to the Soundbird, Paul is very inspired by the Gold Tone CEB-5, the company’s revival of the 5-string cello banjo after the instrument’s disappearance for almost a century. Having re-emerged as very playable instrument with nylon strings, Paul finds the cello banjo offers a wide open territory for exploration, and he likes to compose, improvise and arrange for this majestic instrument.

Paul comes from a background classical, folk, bluegrass, East Indian and Middle Eastern music and an expansive interest in plucked string instruments and musical styles from around the world. Paul’s musical experience includes decades of concert touring, working as a music therapist, concert producer and promoter, recording, composing, school music assemblies and residencies, and teaching.

Paul’s innovative Neck-Lift design is a significant contribution to the art of banjo construction, for the manner in which it expands the tonal spectrum and Paul believes this concept can be applied to any banjo (retrofitted or made to order) with positive results. “I like to use Neck-Lifts on all my banjos,” says Paul.
“Once you have access to that much more tone, it feels too limiting to go back.”

Shifting from the life of a touring artist, to the life of an artist who lives by a forest in Colorado, Paul stays close to nature while maintaining contact with humanity through his musical instrument business and his prolific video offerings on YouTube, which show what he’s up to in his adventures plucking the strings of his Gold Tone banjos.


In Concert....
In 1962, at age 16, Paul plunged into the California folk music scene as a bluegrass banjo picker and has been on a musical odyssey ever since. He has contributed to the awareness of the therapeutic effects of music through his work as a music therapist. Those who attend this Sunday’s Sunday Night Unplugged will discover first hand how Roberts’ music can soothe the soul.

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