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oldrookie
11-03-2018, 01:58 AM
I spotted this Werco Banjolele at a local flea market for $76.00. I can't find any similar images on the web, as none shown have the resonator bowl.

Any idea of the value of this one? Not really a banjolele player, but like vintage/unique instruments.

It played in tune and it is LOUD.

Jerryc41
11-03-2018, 02:27 AM
Lots of references on Google. Basic info -
http://www.banjoukes.com/Manufacturers/Werco/Werco.html

Value? -
https://reverb.com/item/29475-werco-banjo-ukulele-1960-s-blue-sparkle

More -
https://www.google.com/search?q=Werco+banjolele&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS716US717&oq=Werco+banjolele&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60.486j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

oldrookie
11-03-2018, 02:46 AM
Thank, Jerryc41.

I found most of that info, but the resonator bowl seems not to be part of equation for the ones I can find. All the images I can find show the open back version.

Looks like I wouldn't lose any money at the asking price, but the unique nature of it is interesting to me.

Bill Sheehan
11-03-2018, 03:01 AM
Very cool instrument, Rookie! Doesn't look like that neck is going to warp anytime soon! :)

oldrookie
11-03-2018, 05:34 AM
Very cool instrument, Rookie! Doesn't look like that neck is going to warp anytime soon! :)

That's for sure. Thinking I'll head over and pick it up if I get time today.

Jerryc41
11-03-2018, 05:38 AM
That's for sure. Thinking I'll head over and pick it up if I get time today.

With a bit of cleaning-up, that could be a nice uke. Don't wait to long to get it.

This looks very similar.
https://www.elderly.com/dixie-banjo-ukulele-1950-s-180u-2423.htm

spongeuke
11-03-2018, 06:45 AM
Interesting take on banjo construction. I'd say that the resonator bowl was an option, as it was on many from that era. Let us know how that neck feels under your thumb.

captain-janeway
11-03-2018, 06:52 AM
Gee, if it has the blue sparkles I'd definitely snatch it up, but that's me.
I'd probably grab it if it felt right in my hand and didn't weigh a ton (I figure that back comes off).
It's just different. I like it! I have no clue where you live, but I'd run for it if I was in the area

acmespaceship
11-03-2018, 03:23 PM
I have one of those. Open back. It sounds like a machine gun -- but in a good way :-) Great fun. Get it.

DPO
11-03-2018, 07:30 PM
I would say that the resonator was an after market addition.

Jerryc41
11-04-2018, 01:56 AM
I hope you buy this. It could use some TLC, and the price is good. I'm planning to build another banjo uke, and I've spent $78 on parts. I bet this oldie will sound better than mine.

oldrookie
11-05-2018, 02:40 AM
I hope you buy this. It could use some TLC, and the price is good. I'm planning to build another banjo uke, and I've spent $78 on parts. I bet this oldie will sound better than mine.

Found myself in hospital awaiting a stress test over the weekend. Assuming I get the all clear I am expecting...I'll swing by tomorrow and see if it is still there.

Swamp Yankee
11-06-2018, 01:19 AM
I would say that the resonator was an after market addition.

^this. There were any number of companies making accessories like that for banjos back in the day. The resonator you see is just one example. In many cases, those accessories are the only parts on the banjos that have any identifying marks, which leads to Ebay listings for "Elton" banjos and "Remo Weatherking" banjos.

oldrookie
11-06-2018, 03:50 PM
I picked it up tonight. I'm guessing the resonator is aftermarket as well. I base that opinion on the different shape of the neck v. the neck slot in the resonator bowl.

Looks to me like the bridge is a new addition as well. Says Grove on it and it sits too high for the strings to sit properly.

Sounds nice and the metal-flake blue is in good shape.

ukulelekarcsi
11-06-2018, 10:11 PM
The resonator is certainly an after-market addition. There's not much information, other than that the Werco Drum company probably purchased machinery for the necks from Grossman who produced the Dixie banjo ukuleles in the 1950s; but they added there own pots, which was their speciality after all.

http://database.ukulelecorner.co.uk/multi/us-small-dist-45/us45-5

oldrookie
11-07-2018, 11:37 AM
The resonator is certainly an after-market addition. There's not much information, other than that the Werco Drum company probably purchased machinery for the necks from Grossman who produced the Dixie banjo ukuleles in the 1950s; but they added there own pots, which was their speciality after all.

http://database.ukulelecorner.co.uk/multi/us-small-dist-45/us45-5

You can see in the photos that the construction and materials used to add the bowl do no fit those used to make the uke.

113313113309113310113311113312

So--next steps?
Clean the rust (what little there is of it) off
Get the bridge down to a better height
Clean the drum skin and body

Sell it? Not sure on that yet.

captain-janeway
11-09-2018, 07:43 PM
Glad you got it. Clean it up and play with it awhile before deciding to sell. You may fall in love with it.

oldrookie
11-10-2018, 06:08 AM
I have determined that the bridge is WAY too tall, so I attempted to make a psuedo-replacement just to figure out how it sounds with a somewhat close setup. Bright and banjoey (made up word) best describes it.

Had to tighten the screws on the tuners to get it stay in tune, but it sounds surprising good (with a guy who doesn't know how to play more than F-C-A chords banging on the strings.)

The neck takes some getting used to since it has rails on the back rather than a rounded profile. Profile is still rounded, but not in the normal fashion.

Guy at the vintage guitar shop wants to see it. His father had a Dixon and he was unaware of Werco.

This banjolele could benefit from some TLC on the metal work, but that begs the question--restore, or keep the patina.

Thoughts?