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adellethegreat
05-20-2008, 03:31 PM
Anyone know anything about vintage banjoleles?

I recently bought one from ebay... I've been wanting one for a while but when I saw this one, I instantly fell in love with the artwork & HAD to have it.
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h197/adellethegreat/banjulele-1.jpg

The lady selling it had no idea what she had- even referred to it as a cello- and I got (what I think) is a great deal on it. It needs a bit of work, but I've got time. Now here come all my questions...

There's a sticker on it- Mele B&J NY. From what I've been able to find, they're only a distributor, not a manufacturer- but I can't find any other markings on it. Is there some secret spot I'm supposed to look? Any idea of when it was made or who might have done the artwork?

Replacement parts... any ideas? It's missing a peg, which are the old wooden ones... and also the bridge. And the tailpiece. And strings. Okay, pretty much everything but the body ;)

Any help would be much much appreciated. Like I said, it was love at first sight... even if I can't get it in playable condition, I still wanted it to be mine, if only to hang on the wall to gaze at :)

seeso
05-20-2008, 03:52 PM
That is one sweet looking banjolele.

The below is all I could find:
http://www.ukulele.org/?Vintage_Ukulele_Q_%26amp%3B_A


B & J stands for Buegeliesen and Jacobson. B&J was an instrument distributor based in New York City. The company formed in 1901 and was in business until 1975. They did not manufacture their own instruments. Instead, they sold instruments made by an assortment of different companies. Their instruments were sold under a number of brand names, including Serenader, Mele, and SS Stewart.

UKISOCIETY
05-21-2008, 06:55 AM
Anyone know anything about vintage banjoleles?

I recently bought one from ebay... I've been wanting one for a while but when I saw this one, I instantly fell in love with the artwork & HAD to have it.
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h197/adellethegreat/banjulele-1.jpg

The lady selling it had no idea what she had- even referred to it as a cello- and I got (what I think) is a great deal on it. It needs a bit of work, but I've got time. Now here come all my questions...

There's a sticker on it- Mele B&J NY. From what I've been able to find, they're only a distributor, not a manufacturer- but I can't find any other markings on it. Is there some secret spot I'm supposed to look? Any idea of when it was made or who might have done the artwork?

Replacement parts... any ideas? It's missing a peg, which are the old wooden ones... and also the bridge. And the tailpiece. And strings. Okay, pretty much everything but the body ;)

Any help would be much much appreciated. Like I said, it was love at first sight... even if I can't get it in playable condition, I still wanted it to be mine, if only to hang on the wall to gaze at :)

For the bridge: You can order one from Gold Tone - Look here (http://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/185/B1301-4-String-1-2and%2334-Height).

As for the tuners, you could swap out the old ones for a new set - with the screw tightener, etc. I had to do that on one of my pegs on my TV Pal soprano. They're available on Ebay. I used a tuner from an old uke of mine that is unplayable.

Tail piece i don't know. I just bought some new strings for my banjolele from Elderly.com. They should be here today!

Good luck - I want to see a video of you playing it soon!

deach
05-21-2008, 06:59 AM
I don't have any experience with StewMac (http://www.stewmac.com/) but some members recommend them.

adellethegreat
05-21-2008, 02:27 PM
Thanks guys so much for the info! I checked out Gold Tone's site, and the Stewmac one too. Looks like the bridge & pegs shouldn't be a problem... but the tailpiece may be. I think what I really need is some crazy old dude in a cabin somewhere that's a banjolele enthusiast that I can mail this to to fix :)

I really don't know anything about them, which is making this a lot tougher. It may end up being more of a long term project than I had envisioned... but it'll be worth it in the end. How can you not absolutely love the man in the moon? I love antiques anyway, and this is a great one. Who's hands have strummed across this? What songs have been sang with it? I don't know- but I'm so so happy to add myself to the list ;)

Howlin Hobbit
05-21-2008, 06:10 PM
I think what I really need is some crazy old dude in a cabin somewhere that's a banjolele enthusiast that I can mail this to to fix.

He's not a crazy old dude in a cabin, more like a very hip and talented dude in LA, but if you get in touch with Dan "Soybean" Sawyer (check for him on CDBaby) he might be able to point you to somewhere that has tailpieces for this kind of banjo uke.

Jack33@
05-21-2008, 10:26 PM
I did a similar purchase many years ago, when my friend heard my playing on my 'character-ful' Banjo uke he pointed out the fishing line strings, the perspex bridge and the fact that the tuning pegs unwound themselves when I played. He said it sounded like Rabbit poo being shaken in a tin can. I am ashamed to say the instrument went into a cupboard and did not see the light of day for many years.

Last night I finally got my old Banjo uke out and after 18 years of neglect and ignorance I gave it a bit of TLC.

I cleaned it down with a dry cloth, replaced the bridge with a new one from Grover, the tuning pegs with Grover Juniors and the strings with a nice set of Aquila Concerts (I was advised to use these as they have the extra length to get over the bridge)

After an hour of noodling about I finally got the old girl playing again.

She still sounds like rabbit poo being shaken in a tin can but I think I can only blame that on my playing now.

Jack33

PS I can see why you bought that little gem, very pretty!

Turtle
12-18-2010, 02:48 AM
Hey Adellethegreat,

I know this is an old thread but I was just contemplating the purchase of a similar banjolele as yours and wondered how yours came out. Were you able to make it a playable instrument and if so, was it worth it? I've seen many banjoleles that are based on this pattern of being solid wood and with fun graphics and I wasn't sure if they were more for show or if they were playable instruments.

Thanks,

Turtle