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Ken608
12-26-2015, 10:08 AM
I'm considering buying a Banjo Uke Sidekick. I like that it is a tenor, very light, and I can use my uke chord shapes since it is GCEA tuning. I have two areas of "concern."

I'd appreciate input on this banjo uke from anyone who has one or is familiar with it. All the comments I've seen have been favorable.

Perhaps a bigger concern is how to find good resources on playing a banjo uke AND banjo uke type of music. I'm concerned that it's use may be restricted to a very small (relatively speaking) group of songs. Are there any sites or music books geared specifically to banjolele style music? I really don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on an instrument and be limited to tin pan ally songs.

igorthebarbarian
12-26-2015, 10:52 AM
I think anything folk-y or country sounds good on a banjolele. I personally don't strum mine that hard and like the twangy old timey feel to them

Luke El U
12-26-2015, 12:39 PM
...how to find good resources on playing a banjo uke AND banjo uke type of music. I'm concerned that it's use may be restricted to a very small (relatively speaking) group of songs. Are there any sites or music books geared specifically to banjolele style music? I really don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on an instrument and be limited to tin pan ally songs.

IMO, the closest thing to authenticity would be Rob MacKillop's arrangements of the Briggs banjo music - real roots, African-American banjo music from the mid 19th century. I did a follow up to that about which you can find in this thread:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?101834-20-More-Pieces-from-Briggs-Banjo-Instructor&highlight=Briggs+banjo

In addition to that you could go with Fred Sokolow's Bluegrass for ukulele book.
8679786798

PhilUSAFRet
12-26-2015, 02:31 PM
I'd have a good look here: http://www.banjohangout.org/ Some good stuff on Aaron Keim's YouTube page

kypfer
12-26-2015, 10:19 PM
Other than suggesting "any clawhammer arrangement", if it's just strumming you want, a banjo-ukulele responds very well to the use of a felt plectrum, IMO. The inherent volume of the instrument (compared to a conventional ukulele) can more than compensate for the slightly "muffled" sound from a soft plectrum, if you consider that to be a problem.

I have a preference for the Jumping Cow branded artificial felt picks. I do find the "natural" felt plectrums a little unsatisfactory, but that may be just me!

As always ... YMMV ;)

UkerDanno
12-27-2015, 03:34 AM
A guy in our club used to play a banjolele every meeting on every song because that's what he liked to play. Now he plays a tahitian uke, which I personally don't really like the sound of, but, who am I to say what he should play.

SteveZ
12-27-2015, 05:17 AM
Had my SideKick since they debuted. Have it tuned CGDA just like my tenor banjo and Deering banjo uke. Have to admit that the SideKick gets more play time lately than the other two.

As far as music goes, it's whatever you feel good about playing. Was on the Sidekick this morning and the tunes were: Up on Cripple Creek (The Band), Toes (Zac Brown), One Particular Harbor (Jimmy Buffet), The World (Brad Paisley), Sultans of Swing (Dire Straights), Wonderful World (Jimmy Cliff), Heart of The Matter (Don Henley), Oh Holy Night (Christmas Carol), and Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen). That covers from rock to reggae and much more. So, there is no "packaged" genre for banjo uke.

Papa Tom
12-27-2015, 11:09 AM
I typically only bring my banjolele out at Christmas time, but MAN, it kicks butt at our family holiday singalong!

UkieOkie
12-27-2015, 12:33 PM
Had my SideKick since they debuted. Have it tuned CGDA just like my tenor banjo and Deering banjo uke. Have to admit that the SideKick gets more play time lately than the other two.

As far as music goes, it's whatever you feel good about playing. Was on the Sidekick this morning and the tunes were: Up on Cripple Creek (The Band), Toes (Zac Brown), One Particular Harbor (Jimmy Buffet), The World (Brad Paisley), Sultans of Swing (Dire Straights), Wonderful World (Jimmy Cliff), Heart of The Matter (Don Henley), Oh Holy Night (Christmas Carol), and Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen). That covers from rock to reggae and much more. So, there is no "packaged" genre for banjo uke.

Dude, that's an eclectic mix there. Well done.

ksiegel
12-27-2015, 01:08 PM
Perhaps a bigger concern is how to find good resources on playing a banjo uke AND banjo uke type of music. I'm concerned that it's use may be restricted to a very small (relatively speaking) group of songs. Are there any sites or music books geared specifically to banjolele style music? I really don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on an instrument and be limited to tin pan ally songs.

Well, I don't know the Sidekick, but I have a Firefly, and a 1920s Stella banjo Uke, andI'll be honest - play whatever you want. There is no "style" of music that you have to play on the banjo Uke.

I do some bluegrass, folk music, some old-timey stuff, and whatever else comes to mind.

I was playing at a Farmers Market today, and had just finished "Glendale Train" - a folk-rock song I do on the banjo uke - when a couple came up with their young child (I'm guessing about 3 years old), so I just started playing "Baa-baa-black sheep/twinkle twinkle little star" (it is the same melody), and it sounded fine. When I was done, I went into "simple gifts/Lord of The Dance", which is the medley I use to test any uke I play. And you know what? They all sounded good.

So don't worry about restricting yourself to one genre of music - if you are going to buy this thing, play anything and everything on it, and decide what sounds best to you.


-Kurt

UkerDanno
12-27-2015, 03:10 PM
The ones I enjoy most on my banjolele are "Ain't She Sweet", "Mr. Bojangles" or anything country/folky/vintage...or anything you like to play, a banjolele makes it even more fun than an ukulele, if that's possible. :shaka: