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Thread: Unknown banjo uke - ever seen one like this?

  1. #1
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    Default Unknown banjo uke - ever seen one like this?

    I have a banjo uke I picked up in a pawn shop in Auburn, NY around 1978-79. it was long in the tooth then. One of the prior owners card the name "Stella" in the headstock , similar to the script the old harmony guitars used.

    This impresses me as a home-made instrument, but I could easily be wrong.

    Have any of you ever seen one built in this style? Thanks in advance!

    For whatever reason, I can't upload the other 4 shots I've taken.. I'll try in a different message.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by ksiegel; 12-12-2010 at 01:51 PM. Reason: couldn't upload additional photos.
    Donaldson Concert Cutaway* Outdoor Ukulele * Rosewood Ohana Vita Uke * Waverly Street #38
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    Cordoba 20TM * 1950's Harmony soprano *1920's era Stella banjo uke
    several guitars, and a 5-string banjo


    I need a resonator, don't I?

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  2. #2
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    Default

    The other four shots I wanted to upload...


    banjo uke 8a.jpgbanjo uke 9a.jpgbanjo uke 3a.jpgbanjo uke 5a.jpg
    Donaldson Concert Cutaway* Outdoor Ukulele * Rosewood Ohana Vita Uke * Waverly Street #38
    Ko'Aloha Sceptre Tenor * Ohana Vita Uke * FireFly banjo uke * Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele
    Republic Concert * Fluke Tenor M22 (Mahogany Top) * Kala KA-KTG-CT Cedar Top
    Cordoba 20TM * 1950's Harmony soprano *1920's era Stella banjo uke
    several guitars, and a 5-string banjo


    I need a resonator, don't I?

    My YouTube Channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/euphretes2

  3. #3
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    Stella was a brand name for musical instruments back in the day. From the MOMI website:

    Established in the late 1880s, the Oscar Schmidt company began producing guitars prior to WWI under the trade names of Stella and Sovereign. Stella is best known for their big-bodied 12-string guitars built between 1918 and 1938. The Stella 12-string was a moderately priced, well-made guitar favored by blues legends such as Blind Blake and Lead Belly.
    I don't know if this is the same Oscar Schmidt company that is now based out of Canada but it probably is. I have an Oscar Schmidt classical guitar that is quite well made in spite of not being particularly expensive.

    John
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  4. #4
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    Looks like a "Stella" to me haha.

    And yeah from how many banjo-ukes I've seen, I've seen that style of build quite a bit.
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  5. #5
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    I have a Stella soprano from the 40's I think. I found this description/pictures of another Stella banjolele:

    http://antebelluminstruments.blogspo...lla-banjo.html

    Notice that theirs does NOT have Stella on headstock. They agree with the Oscar Schmidt connection.
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  6. #6
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    Aloha Ksigel,
    Here's another one... http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/34122/34122.php it's a 1927 8 inch pot...$350.00

  7. #7
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    Oscar Schmidt is based out of Chicago, actually, but they have made folk music instruments for 150 years. This is not a "Stella" banjo uke, it is a throw-together from a bunch of spare parts. You are right about a previous owner carving the name in it. For many blues artists, the "Stella" was the poor man's Gibson. Many of those blues artists played the Stella because they were a nice instrument that was inexpensive.

    Today, Oscar Schmidt has ukuleles, for example, that run from $60 (OU2) to $899.90 (OU280SWK). I do like their professional series instruments and have two of them in my personal collection. I don't have a Stella.
    TB or not TB, that is congestion.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pippin View Post
    This is not a "Stella" banjo uke, it is a throw-together from a bunch of spare parts. You are right about a previous owner carving the name in it.
    Pippin, congratulations on your successful surgery. Could you elaborate on which parts were thrown together?

    I was recently given a Stella banjo uke that looks very similar to this one. Mine is blond (maple ?) with brass frets set directly into the neck, no separate fingerboard. It has the same hardware with the two metal bands around the 7" pot assembly. The neck tensioner on mine is marked (PTD) I can't comment about the tuners or tailpiece, as mine had none on it when I got it. The tuners and tailpiece in the OP look like the ones on the ukes in the referred links.

    Bill


    Stella banjo uke 002.jpgStella banjo uke 001.jpgStella banjo uke 004.jpgStella banjo uke 003.jpg

  9. #9
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    The tail-piece is shaped differently, it is not a Stella tail-piece at all. The "drum" itself is similar. The hardware on the bottom cross-member is a different piece of metal, too. the logo is above the tuners on the top example and in the middle of the headstock on the lower example-- like all the Stella banjo-ukes I have ever seen. The tuners are also different.

    At a glance, they might look the same, but examine the pieces closely and you will see that there are hardware differences. My guess is that this guy always wanted a Stella and carved the name into it... or someone is trying to pawn it off as a Stella when it is not.
    TB or not TB, that is congestion.

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  10. #10
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    Yep, I have seen those with the extra metal bands on the bucket like that.
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