View Full Version : Duke 10 Banjolele question

05-02-2018, 03:18 PM
I'm wondering how much of an upgrade in sound and playability (what else is there?) to the original sidekick there is. I have the sidekick and have quickly discovered that I love the banjo uke thing.

I'm a strummer - a jazzer - also like the formby thing but can't do it. I am also looking at the Deering and have enjoyed the sound on the demos I have heard. The large pot seems to make the fret board access limited but I don't know if this is really an issue for the BJ ...

Anyway considering an upgrade so any help is welcome. Looking for tenor scale I'd say.

05-02-2018, 03:25 PM
There are limits as to what I can tell you, since I've never tried the sidekick. I did, however, get a Duke 10 two weeks ago, and I really like it so far. It's very light, is pretty easy to play, and has a nice banjo kick to the sound. I like it better than the Deering I've tried in music shops because it feels a lot lighter.

I didn't love the strap the Duke 10 came with--it's too thin for my taste--but once I swapped it out for a colorful and wide Hug Strap, I'm quite happy with it overall. The only thing that gives me any degree of pause before recommending it whole-heartedly is that one of the strings is going out of tune faster than the other three, and I'm wondering if the string is just settling in, or if I need to have the tuner tightened. Other than that, though, great uke, and I've gotten quite a few compliments at the strums I've been to so far.

05-02-2018, 03:28 PM
Holy strumming Batman, quick reply! Thanks.

I'd be interested in more of your thoughts on the comparison with the Deering ...

05-03-2018, 02:58 AM
Had a Sidekick and a Deering banjo-uke, now have a Duke10. In fact, sold both the Sidekick and the Deering after getting the Duke10. The sound from the 10-inch head matches well with the 11-inch Deering, and is more robust than the 8-inch Sidekick. Being half the weight of the Deering is a plus for the Duke 10.

For the heck of it, took a standard Tone-Gard off a mandolin and tried it on the Duke10. It fit perfectly. The sound is even louder (like that's needed!) and even clearer, as the Tone-Gard keeps the open back away from one's body.

05-03-2018, 05:08 AM
I tried both the Duke 8 and the full size Deering. Deering: much too heavy and very uncomfortable without a custom arm guard. Duke 8: just didn't like the feel of the neck. To me the new Duke 10 is the pick of the litter and saves you $ too. Watch for a slightly used one and give it a try. Good luck.

05-03-2018, 12:56 PM
The Duke 10 are offering lefties for a nicely discounted price.

05-03-2018, 02:36 PM
The Deering has a really nice banjo sound-I think it has more volume. But it's also a lot heavier, and I think people are going to feel the weight if playing for more than 30 minutes. The lightness of the Duke 10 is really nice, and it's so easy to carry around.

05-03-2018, 03:40 PM
The Duke 10 are offering lefties for a nicely discounted price. They advertise that you can restring them and move the arm rest for right handed playing. I am trying to double check this with them but they haven't replied to any of my messages (through FB and the website).

I bought one of the Duke 10s and quickly sold it to someone on this board. I really liked the sound, and the neck, but no matter how I held it one or more of the J hooks just dug into my sternum. In contrast my Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly banjo uke is super comfortable to hold, so I let the Duke 10 go. The buyer mentioned that he was a lefty, and I assured him that yes, you would be able to switch the armrest. It's held in place with a single bolt, and all it will take to move the armrest is to drill a matching (or is that a mirror?) hole on the other side of the pot.

05-03-2018, 04:55 PM
Great info, thanks.
BTW I did hear back from Ed about the Duke 10 - my email is screwy!
Seems like the leftie is easily converted.

05-03-2018, 05:09 PM
Looks like the Duke is winning. Another option I spotted a while ago and forgot about is the Gold Tone Baritone BJ: BUB. I do like the scale length so it caught my attention. Might be able to tune it up somewhat. I have a Bruko baritone that I've tuned up to Bb (tenor strings) and it's fab.

05-04-2018, 06:01 PM
OK Duke 10 incoming, I pulled the trigger. Will report back here if anyone is interested ...

05-05-2018, 02:08 PM
Me too. I'm hoping it won't prove to be too big, but I guess I could always sell it. Love the sound of it.

05-05-2018, 02:37 PM
Cool! Good luck, and I hope you enjoy them, ukulately and captain-laneway! :) Please do report back and let us know what you think. :)

05-06-2018, 05:42 AM
Check Barry's reviews of both.