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View Full Version : Need help identifying an old banjolele



ACowCalledMoo
03-05-2015, 02:56 AM
Firstly -

Hi everyone :0) I'm new here. I got the ukelele/banjolele buzz a year ago when I received one for my birthday..

I have a question, which is primarily why I joined..

Someone gave me a Banjolele as a gift yesterday.. It seems pretty old and came with some 'At-a-Glance learn the ukelele/banjolele' books which have a date of 1922 on them. I appreciate this doesn't mean the banjolele is that old!

I have done some research and it looks very similar to a Roy Smeck banjolele on eBay or a John Grey & Sons banjolele I found on google. It has no markings on it at all except for "UKELELE-BANJO" stamped into the wood on the back.

If anyone can shed any light on this for me I would be very grateful.

Moo :0)

river_driver
03-05-2015, 06:11 AM
Welcome, Moo,
I'm not sure this is particularly old...at the very least it appears to have a recent replacement neck. I've seen that headstock shape before but I can't place it. The back plate design is also unfamiliar to me.

The spelling "ukElele" suggests it's not American made.

You came to the right place for info, though, someone will probably recognize something about it.

ACowCalledMoo
03-05-2015, 06:47 AM
Welcome, Moo,
I'm not sure this is particularly old...at the very least it appears to have a recent replacement neck. I've seen that headstock shape before but I can't place it. The back plate design is also unfamiliar to me.

The spelling "ukElele" suggests it's not American made.

You came to the right place for info, though, someone will probably recognize something about it.

Thank you for your reply and the welcome :0) I hope someone here can help..

Not wishing to disagree but I took it to my local music store and they were of the opinion everything was original..although they could be wrong! The neck is slightly bowed which would suggest some age.

Here's a link to one very similar on ebay:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Antique-Autographed-ROY-SMECK-Banjolele-Banjo-Ukulele-/170665645969?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27bc771791


Here's a pic of it in it's original case if that helps anyone..

ACowCalledMoo
03-05-2015, 07:34 AM
Welcome, Moo,
I'm not sure this is particularly old...at the very least it appears to have a recent replacement neck. I've seen that headstock shape before but I can't place it. The back plate design is also unfamiliar to me.

The spelling "ukElele" suggests it's not American made.

You came to the right place for info, though, someone will probably recognize something about it.

Doh! My mistake river-driver it actually says UKULELE-BANJO on the back...

river_driver
03-05-2015, 07:58 AM
The body design does appear to be John Grey & Sons...the hooks inside of the outer rim is pretty distinctive. And they did some unusual back plates, this would seem to be in their ballpark...

Still think it's a replacement neck though. Maybe not a terribly recent replacement. But I don't think it's original.

ACowCalledMoo
03-05-2015, 10:01 AM
Thanks river-driver i really appreciate your help and input..

I've had a really good look at said Banjolele tonight and I'm starting to think you may be right. The join between the body and the neck isn't very tidy hinting at as you said a replacement.

Here's a close up pic..

76936

river_driver
03-05-2015, 10:26 AM
Regardless of whether it's all original or not, inquiring minds want to know... how does it play?

And will anyone else weigh in with an opinion...?

ACowCalledMoo
03-05-2015, 11:31 AM
I re-strung it with Aquila's and it sounds great! I only have one other Banjolele - a Luna. If I'm honest this one sounds much better :O)