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Author Topic: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping  (Read 2781 times)

Tom

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Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« on: May 04, 2012, 08:55:28 PM »
I'm sitting here surrounded by 9 ukuleles, including 3 banjo ukes (aka banjoleles), two of them borrowed. The borrowed instruments were made by Gibson and Gold Tone. The Gibson is an antique, and I'm almost afraid to play it, but it has a really good tone.

I've seen Gold Tone products on a number of dealer sites, and mentally thought of it as possibly a Korean company. But, it turns out they're in Titusville, FL, not too far from some of our forum members and staff. Their current banjolele offering is here. However, the soprano size (shortest neck) isn't my favorite, and I'd prefer a concert-size alternative.

I'm currently shopping for an alternative to my Firefly banjo uke, because the latter really doesn't have sufficient volume and lacks some of the 'metallic' sound of a banjo.

One thing that comes home loud and clear from playing the borrowed banjo ukes is the huge difference in weight vs the Firefly. The latter has no metal, an open back (no resonator), and is a featherweight. At the other extreme, the Gold Tone is really heavy, and needs a strap (my short neck doesn't do straps very well).

Meanwhile, I'm not about to order something online, sight unseen. A couple of 'local' (read within drivable distance - 100 miles radius) dealers have ordered some banjo ukes for me to try hands-on in their stores.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 09:09:11 PM by Tom »
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donn

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Re: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 09:32:00 PM »
Do you know who invented the banjolene?  If he did not invent it he certainly was one of the best pickers in the world on them.  Fella by the name of Eddie Peabody.  Say him once near the end of his life in the 50's  Man could he put on a show.

Tom

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Re: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 10:20:23 PM »
I've never heard the term banjolene, but Google returns this.
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BadjerJim

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Re: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 06:12:08 AM »
Tom - FYI, Gold Tone instruments were formerly made in Korea, now mostly in China.  I got a chance to play most of their stuff at a recent NAMM Show (National Assoc of Music Merchants).  Across the board, I think they're a good value for the money.

Gottasmilealot

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Re: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 07:18:33 AM »
I just saw Wayne Rogers from Goldtone last weekend at the Merlfest festival. if you call Gold Tone, he'll take the time to explain their products to you.  Elderly is also a good source at http://elderly.com/search/elderly?terms=Banjo+(180U+or+180N) The heavier instruments have a tone ring which will provide additional volume if playing in a group or for others. I'm not a uke players, but do play and work on banjos regularly. Used instruments can also be found on  http://www.banjobuyer.com/. Good luck!
Keith

Tom

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Re: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 09:27:03 AM »
Thanks both for the info on Gold Tone, and thanks for the links. I got to do some browsing.
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Tom

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Re: Banjo uke or banjolele shopping
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2012, 09:29:02 AM »
In my price range, Eddy Finn (aka Morgan Monroe) gets decent reviews.
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