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Thread: Duke10, Deering goodtime or Gold tone But tenor banjo Ukes?

  1. #1

    Default Duke10, Deering goodtime or Gold tone But tenor banjo Ukes?

    Which would you choose and why? Iím considering all three in the tenor size....Duke10 cheapest at $378 with pickup, Deering w/pickup around $517, Gold tone around $400 no pickup available. Price isnít the object for me, the best sounding is what I want. Iím more of a strummer, just starting to learn to pick. Suggestions appreciated.

  2. #2

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    I've been looking at them too. Tried a Deering last weekend, and it weighs a ton and to me feels awkward. I'm a very small person. I asked a question like this about 6 months back and people were great piping in then. Do a thread search for "banjo uke" and you'll find some good info.

    I'd like the bigger one because it's louder and sounds more like a banjo (which I love), but it's just too big. A lot of people had nice things to say about the Duke as well. I may end up with the firefly even though it only has 8" head instead of 10" or 11"

  3. #3
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    Just to throw another player into the ring...






    http://www.magicfluke.com/Magic-Fluk...reflytenor.htm

    Scooter
    Tenor Koa Fluke (rosewood fretboard, Pegheds)
    Concert Tie-Dye Flea (rosewood fretboard, Lucy's tuners)
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    Late 40's Martin Style 1 soprano
    Concert Oscar Schmidt Mousekulele
    Tenor Mainland Mahogany Slothead

    "The way I see it as soon as a baby is born, he should be issued a Ukulele."
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  4. #4
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    It depends a lot on the tone you want. I love the Deering-- it's exceptionally well made and has a huge voice. With it's large pot size, it really emphasizes the bass, and creates a tone that more banjo than banjo-uke. For some, that's great news, for others, not so much. If big, big banjo tone is your thing, I'd recommend the Deering. I'm a huge fan of Deering in general-- a good company run by good people, producing a high-quality product.

    I've been playing a concert Gold Tone (BUC) for years. It's a good all-round banjo uke, with a more traditional banjo uke tone. Gold Tone is neither the fanciest nor the most distinctive, but it's a good solid instrument. Even though I have several banjo ukes, the Gold Tone is the one that goes to jams with me.

    My all-time favorite banjo uke is my 1920's Ludwig Wendell Hall-- man, now there's a cannon! But it's a soprano, not a tenor.



  5. #5
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    This is really hard to answer because we all weigh the various factors differently. The Deering does sound the best. But it is a deeper sound, not quite like the traditional banjo uke jangle. Someone in our club recently made a point of finding a banjo uke with a 6" pot just to get that type of jangle sound, so if that matters, the Deering may not be what you are looking for. It also weighs a ton, and as delivered has no arm rest, though you can apparently buy one from Deering. Between the weight, and all the J hooks, I found it quite uncomfortable to play. And it is LOUD. If you are tying to sing over it without amplification that will be a challenge. For example I would not recommend a Deering for the typical uke jam, as you would overwhelm all the other ukes. Also the tuners are so close to the nut that I at least found them getting in the way. So for me, the better sound did not compensate for the other shortcomings.

    I've not had the chance to play the Gold Tone BUT, so I really can't comment.

    After turning down the Deering, earlier this year I first got a Magic Fluke Firefly Tenor Banjo Uke, and then in a moment of weakness also purchased a Duke 10. I have found the Tenor Firefly to be a delight to play. It is louder than a typical uke, but it is not that overwhelming, and easy to mute if required. The tone is not as deep, with its 8" head, but the design of the hoop makes it very comfortable to play and hold. It's also only 2 lbs, about half the weight of the Deering.

    Then the Duke 10 arrived. With its 10" head it is louder than the Firefly, so loud that I only played it with three layers of quilt batting stuffed in the back. The tone is certainly deeper than the Firefly, and I think most would say it does sound better. But while the Duke 10 is still only 2 lbs, I found it slightly less comfortable to hold and play than the Firefly. I'm sure one would get used to it, but I was always getting the end of one J hook digging into my sternum. If I had not played the Firefly I would for sure have kept the Duke 10, and I almost did. But then reason prevailed and I realized that I would just not get much use out of TWO banjo ukes, so I let the Duke 10 go. (Which as I write this is on its way to a new home in Utah.)

    If you are really all about the sound, I would say get the Deering - unless you like more of a jangle from a smaller pot. (I still wish Deering had gone with more traditional 6", or 8", or even 10" pots for their banjo ukes.) If comfort playing matters, get the Firefly. And if you can find one used (like mine last week.....) the Duke 10 would be a great compromise between tone and comfort.
    Last edited by besley; 12-29-2017 at 01:55 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by besley View Post
    This is really hard to answer because we all weigh the various factors differently. The Deering does sound the best. But it is a deeper sound, not quite like the traditional banjo uke jangle. Someone in our club recently made a point of finding a banjo uke with a 6" pot just to get that type of jangle sound, so if that matters, the Deering may not be what you are looking for. It also weighs a ton, and as delivered has no arm rest, though you can apparently buy one from Deering. Between the weight, and all the J hooks, I found it quite uncomfortable to play. And it is LOUD. If you are tying to sing over it without amplification that will be a challenge. For example I would not recommend a Deering for the typical uke jam, as you would overwhelm all the other ukes. Also the tuners are so close to the nut that I at least found them getting in the way. So for me, the better sound did not compensate for the other shortcomings.

    I've not had the chance to play the Gold Tone BUT, so I really can't comment.

    After turning down the Deering, earlier this year I first got a Magic Fluke Firefly Tenor Banjo Uke, and then in a moment of weakness also purchased a Duke 10. I have found the Tenor Firefly to be a delight to play. It is louder than a typical uke, but it is not that overwhelming, and easy to mute if required. The tone is not as deep, with its 8" head, but the design of the hoop makes it very comfortable to play and hold. It's also only 2 lbs, about half the weight of the Deering.

    Then the Duke 10 arrived. With its 10" head it is louder than the Firefly, so loud that I only played it with three layers of quilt batting stuffed in the back. The tone is certainly deeper than the Firefly, and I think most would say it does sound better. But while the Duke 10 is still only 2 lbs, I found it slightly less comfortable to hold and play than the Firefly. I'm sure one would get used to it, but I was always getting the end of one J hook digging into my sternum. If I had not played the Firefly I would for sure have kept the Duke 10, and I almost did. But then reason prevailed and I realized that I would just not get much use out of TWO banjo ukes, so I let the Duke 10 go. (Which as I write this is on its way to a new home in Utah.)

    If you are really all about the sound, I would say get the Deering - unless you like more of a jangle from a smaller pot. (I still wish Deering had gone with more traditional 6", or 8", or even 10" pots for their banjo ukes.) If comfort playing matters, get the Firefly. And if you can find one used (like mine last week.....) the Duke 10 would be a great compromise between tone and comfort.
    100% agree with everything said here.
    I will add that I had a Gold Tone BUC- they just introduced a super-cheap one earlier this year that also has a tuner/"out" in it. That one was OK but felt budget-worthy.
    The Deering is by far the best quality of the lot in terms of solid-feel/ "quality", but it's heavy and unwieldy. And I think it looks goofy with such a big pot. I too wish they had a 6" or 8" version...
    I love the Firefly series (and Flukes/Fleas too) so I'm a bit of a homer/fanboy for them. And they're made in the USA which is something the Gold Tone does not have going for it.
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

  7. #7
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    I have played and owned several banjo ukes. I finally broke down and bought a really good one. Mine is a Mark Neal, made in Ca. Finding a tenor scale was the issue for me. Another make I would consider is a Bean Sprout/Mya-Moe.
    Keep Strummin'

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SailingUke View Post
    I have played and owned several banjo ukes. I finally broke down and bought a really good one. Mine is a Mark Neal, made in Ca. Finding a tenor scale was the issue for me. Another make I would consider is a Bean Sprout/Mya-Moe.
    Great suggestions, and better than all of the options mentioned above - but also three to five times the cost.
    Last edited by besley; 12-31-2017 at 10:46 AM.

  9. #9

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    Yes those are great suggestions but I’m not looking for that price range for a banjo uke which will just be for fun now and then. I take my regular tenor uke playing much more seriously and spent my money there on a custom Selmer McAferri tenor from Beau Hannam.

  10. #10
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    May 2016
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    Hi, Ed from Dukeuke here.
    Thought that these DUKE10 reviewers answer your questions better than I could ever do.
    http://www.dukeuke.com/duke10---what...ewers-say.html
    If you need any more info I’m here at ed@dukeuke.com
    Cheers.

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