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.