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View Full Version : Is this really a banjo uke?



Skitzic
06-22-2010, 04:15 AM
I stumbled upon this (http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Dallas-Banjo-Ukulele-/350367946415?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51938e96af) on eBay.

A 'vintage Dallas banjo ukulele.'

A few things seem strange to me...the double marker at the 7th fret, and it looks like it has steel strings...I tried looking Dallas up on Google, but I kept getting a different company with a different logo and headstock design...

So what is this?

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 04:22 AM
No, that is a "Tenor" banjo... I think they are simply making the reference to bring in lookers looking for banjo ukes, because banjo ukes are gaining popularity very fast. So, they took that liability of making that claim by saying "we think", at the same time, making it searchable under "banjo uke". Nice trick by them, and really nothing wrong with that, the point is, the buyer needs to know what it is they are getting.

So, to answer your question, it is a Tenor Banjo, and still not a bad price tag.. Should sell for around $100, maybe up to $130-50.

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 04:26 AM
No, that is a "Tenor" banjo...

I didn't know they made tenor banjos...thanks!

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 04:29 AM
this is a Dallas Banjo Uke.

http://i.pbase.com/o6/20/42620/1/86408286.pjr2yBoB.dallasukebanjoSide.jpg

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 04:38 AM
this is a Dallas Banjo Uke.

http://i.pbase.com/o6/20/42620/1/86408286.pjr2yBoB.dallasukebanjoSide.jpg

That's what had me so confused. I kept seeing pictures of those.

...I still almost want to buy it though.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 04:44 AM
Its worth buying if you can get it for around $100 including shipping. Looks to be in decent playable condition. It is an "entry level" banjo, and It isn't so "vintage" though. It looks to be around 1970s, 1980s era. I guess that could be considered vintage, but my frame of reference, vintage is older than that, lol.. An age thing I think, hahha.. I restored several "vintage" banjos, 1 being a banjo Uke, a tenor, and a 5 string jazz banjo are three of them you can see in my sig. All three of those are 1920s 1930s. They are tons of fun...

Doctroid
06-22-2010, 05:41 AM
On eBay, "vintage" means "I'm pretty sure it existed last week".

DaveVisi
06-22-2010, 05:50 AM
I didn't know they made tenor banjos...thanks!

Oh yes. Some Tenor Banjo enthusiasts shun the five string Banjo as an abomination. They think only four string Banjos are worthy of the name Banjo.

Tudorp,
What makes this tenor a banjo uke? Scale length? Reentrant tuning? Or simply cross-marketing?

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 05:50 AM
Yup.. Its one of those words that is so overused, it really has no meaning anymore. Like the word "Rare". I crack up at the use of that word allot on the bay. I actually seen a seller that used it in every single listing his listed. On one occasion, I seen him list an item as rare, and at the same time, he had several different listings for the same item. He apparently had 10 or so of that item. How lucky can you be possessing 10 of the same very rare item? hahha..

Ebay is what it is. I use it allot to find things. But like I said, it all boils down to knowing what it is you are looking for, and/or looking at, knowing it's value, and what it is worth to you.. Doing the math, and deciding to go for it, or not..

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 06:11 AM
I'm too lazy to learn new chords though. It's cool, but I've got my hands full with guitar and uke...ah well. Someday I'll have my Gold Tone...

UncleElvis
06-22-2010, 06:39 AM
Could this be tuned GCEA, though? I'm assuming so... don't see why not.

Just curious...

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 06:46 AM
To be totally honest, I am not sure what exactly draws the line between banjo, and ukulele. I'm not so sure it is the scale length, because how would you explain a baritone uke? I think it has more to do with the way it is tuned. Banjo strings are a completely different tuning than a Uke. I am SO far from being a pro. I don't even know, or even understand music theory. I am simply a musician/music enthusiast. I gone down the musician path of most resistance. We have had this conversation before about "therory/no therory" is it needed or not? I believe not, even though, with it, my journey would have been much easier. My abilities are raw natural abilities, and being able to pick up melodies from the sense of hearing. I can hear something and just tell if it is sharp, flat, or the wrong note, or key, even if I don't know what that note, or key is. Not so fantastic though, many can do that. It's just a tuned ear I guess. As far as restoring vintage banjos, I just love to do it. I am no Luthier, but I love to restore banjos because they, unlike any other string instrument are pretty modular. I think they are the only one you can just take completley apart, repair/replace/clean individual parts, and put them back together and play them. I have restored several over the past few years, and love it.

But at any rate. Again, I am not sure what makes a banjo Uke a banjo uke and not just a banjo. My Banjo uke is small like you would expect (about 22" long), and it is tuned just like a Ukulele but has that fun tinny, banjo sound. So, I would think that being strung like a Ukulele, and ukulele strings, and tuning, is what makes it a banjo uke.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 06:49 AM
I dont see why not either. In fact, I have thought about doing that with my Gretcsh tenor banjo. Just hadn't yet. I think you need to do some experimentation with the string gauges to get the right tensions, but, sure, I dont see why it can't be done, and I have thought about taking my steel banjo strings off of "Jed" and putting some baratone uke strings on it.. Just to see how it would do.



Could this be tuned GCEA, though? I'm assuming so... don't see why not.

Just curious...

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 06:55 AM
I dont see why not either. In fact, I have thought about doing that with my Gretcsh tenor banjo. Just hadn't yet. I think you need to do some experimentation with the string gauges to get the right tensions, but, sure, I dont see why it can't be done, and I have thought about taking my steel banjo strings off of "Jed" and putting some baratone uke strings on it.. Just to see how it would do.

...you just had to post this...I had decided to keep saving my pennies and you go off about how easy it is to restore and in theory this should work...

...now I'm pondering picking it up again.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 06:57 AM
hahhah.. Sorry about that.. lol.. But, if you do, it will be fun, I can assure you that.. Banjos are fun to play, and they bring smiles much like the Ukulele does..
And besides that, there aint nuthin sexier than seeing a gal playing a banjo.. <wink>

As a side note. You may have do "some" modifying the tailpeice of the banjo. Since banjo strings are steel, and how they wrap and terminate at the tailpeice may very well not be so plastic, or nylon string friendly. I dont' think it would be hard to do, but you do have to think about that, and how the strings terminate, and leave the tailpeice so the strings dont get cut.

UncleElvis
06-22-2010, 07:06 AM
Let me know if you're going to start bidding, Skitzic, and I'll cancel mine. I kinda wanted it, but you had first dibs.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 07:08 AM
Ebay is FULL of those entry level tenor banjos, so just do a search and you will find several to choose from...

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 07:13 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/TENOR-BANJO-UKULELE-/220626113425?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item335e575391

http://cgi.ebay.com/BACON-BELMONT-4-STRING-TENOR-BANJO-/220626126420?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item335e578654

http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-1920s-Tenor-Maple-Banjo-w-Resonator-BEAUTY-/350368835445?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51939c2775

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-4-String-Tenor-Banjo-/330444160410?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf001bd9a

Here are just a few. Now I need to thank YOU, because now I am looking at more of them.. lol.. I need another banjo like I need to put on a few more pounds.. lol

ukeeku
06-22-2010, 07:17 AM
Have you seen these from morgan Monroe
http://www.morganmonroe.com/MMUB2_7e75acdcf82515.html
Just played one at NAMM in Nashville this weekend
http://ukeeku.com/2010/06/22/summer-namm-2010/

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 08:11 AM
Let me know if you're going to start bidding, Skitzic, and I'll cancel mine. I kinda wanted it, but you had first dibs.

Don't cancel yours. It's pushing my limit right now anyway. But thanks for the thought!

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 08:16 AM
I've been fascinated with the banjo uke for awhile now...but I'm saving my pennies for an 8 string...I just really liked the looks of that one. If I could have nabbed it for <80 I would have.

Someday I will have a banjo ukulele...

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 08:35 AM
Have you seen these from morgan Monroe
http://www.morganmonroe.com/MMUB2_7e75acdcf82515.html
Just played one at NAMM in Nashville this weekend
http://ukeeku.com/2010/06/22/summer-namm-2010/

Hm. I like the vintage look, but I suppose in 50 years it would look vintage...

Those are a really good price though. I like the chrome around the outside.

http://imavex.vo.llnwd.net/o18/clients/shsaudio/images/morgan_banjo/MMUB2F.jpg

UncleElvis
06-22-2010, 09:15 AM
Mine was $75. Looks like someone else REALLY wanted it! *grin*

Next time!

(*looks into the other old ones on ebay*)

UncleElvis
06-22-2010, 09:19 AM
And Tudorp?

Thanks for all the links and all the info... Appreciated!

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 09:35 AM
No problem. Keep in mind that most of those entry level banjos like that ussally end around $100. I have seen some go for around $75 tho. I was watching one several weeks ago that stayed fairly low. It was not in the best condition, but it was playable. But I was watching it mainly for the tuners. The seller was just a re-sale person and didn't know allot about it. But it had what looked like brand new sealed geared gotoh tuners. Those tuners were worth $75 alone. I fell asleep and forgot about it ending. Next morning, I was PISSED, because it ended and sold for just $35. Man, was I mad at myself, hahhah. You get lucky fairly regularly and see them sell for around $50, but most go for near $100 plus or minus.

UncleElvis
06-22-2010, 09:41 AM
Cool. Entry level is all I need.
I got the part of Deputy/Narrator in "Best Little Whorehouse In Texas" and thought it might be a good excuse to cater to my UAS... WAIT! I mean!... It might be an interesting bit of business to be playing a banjo as part of the character, or at least to offer it up to the director as an option.

Did that sound even a little bit believable?

I can't afford any more than around $100 all told, which leaves me at around $75 after shipping.
Plus old and busted is kinda cool!

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 09:59 AM
Cool. Entry level is all I need.
I got the part of Deputy/Narrator in "Best Little Whorehouse In Texas" and thought it might be a good excuse to cater to my UAS... WAIT! I mean!... It might be an interesting bit of business to be playing a banjo as part of the character, or at least to offer it up to the director as an option.

Did that sound even a little bit believable?

I can't afford any more than around $100 all told, which leaves me at around $75 after shipping.
Plus old and busted is kinda cool!

We had the same limit! Ha! Actually my limit is 80 because I can drive to pick it up and only pay the $4 handling fee. But I'm watching a non-banjo right now that I really, really want...so I will continue to follow the plan. Right now my pennies are going to go towards an 8 string...after that my pennies will go towards a Morgan Monroe. Thanks again for linking to those ukeeku! And thanks Tudop for all the info! I will have to keep my eyes out for another vintage banjo. If one catches my eye enough who knows... :D

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 10:08 AM
Sure that makes sense. As a business expense. However it can be justified is fair.. hahha..
I like the entry level banjos, because you can mess with them, without worry that you are ruining something rare, or expensive. Just keep an eye out, you'll find one in that price range easy. It may need some cleaning up, a bridge and strings, but they are out there fairly regularly. I try to get them as cheap as I can, and just completly tear them down replacing even the tuners to upgrade them. I also adjust the action so they play very smooth. I always replace the strings of course, but if you can find the attic finds that need the cleaning up, strings and a bridge, I see them all the time sell for under $100. Good luck with it. I may pick me up another one, just to comit and rebuild it, re-work the saddle and everyting to build and tune it specifically as a Uke.

Even if it has a torn headskin, don't rule it out if the price is right. Those can be bought fairly inexpensively. I have replaced real hide skins, and that is messy, and can be kinda tideous, but fun and challenging.



Cool. Entry level is all I need.
I got the part of Deputy/Narrator in "Best Little Whorehouse In Texas" and thought it might be a good excuse to cater to my UAS... WAIT! I mean!... It might be an interesting bit of business to be playing a banjo as part of the character, or at least to offer it up to the director as an option.

Did that sound even a little bit believable?

I can't afford any more than around $100 all told, which leaves me at around $75 after shipping.
Plus old and busted is kinda cool!

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 11:42 AM
I have decided to go for this banjo. I was watching a Fluke, but I was thinking about it...I already have a Fluke, and while I like the Tiki design...it's the same instrument. It will sound the same, play the same...you get the idea.

So while it will take some working to make it a working banjolele, I think in the end it is a better decision for me.

...so I guess it's a good thing you hit your cap UncleElvis!

I just like the look of that better than the real banjoleles out there...sooooooo cross your fingers for me!

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 11:45 AM
Good luck on it. And if ya miss it, there are lots of others to choose from. I am looking for strings long enough to convert one of my tenors to Uke "C" tuning. I have a call into Jasper Happy in the UK. He makes strings (I have gotten strings from him before). Im sure he can and will cut me some custom length for the tenor banjo.

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 11:48 AM
Good luck on it. And if ya miss it, there are lots of others to choose from. I am looking for strings long enough to convert one of my tenors to Uke "C" tuning. I have a call into Jasper Happy in the UK. He makes strings (I have gotten strings from him before). Im sure he can and will cut me some custom length for the tenor banjo.

Thanks! I won't be crushed if I don't get it, but I figure I'll give it a shot. What about the guitar strings everyone uses on their ukes? Think they would work?

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 11:52 AM
Not sure what they are using. The key is to get the proper tension. Any string will work as long as it's long enough, but to matching the tensions between each string is the challenge so they feel and sound right. Jasper has been experimenting with string gauges to do this, and make the strings more comfortable. All his strings are very close in gauge, even the #3 "C". It is slightly larger diameter, but hardly noticeable. His strings are nice, I like them. They sound very bright. Not the sustain as Aquilas, but they have a bright happy tone that sounds good on my Banjo Uke.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 12:08 PM
By the way. Don't forget to take in consideration the shipping with your budget limit. With that, that one is already at a $100 bill. I wouldn't go much higher than that. Maybe another $20-$30 and that would be my limit for that one.

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 12:29 PM
By the way. Don't forget to take in consideration the shipping with your budget limit. With that, that one is already at a $100 bill. I wouldn't go much higher than that. Maybe another $20-$30 and that would be my limit for that one.

Thanks for the tip!

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 12:57 PM
Good news. I just got a reply from Jasper Happy over in the UK. He said he will make me a set of strings to convert a tenor banjo to a Uke. He mentioned something I didn't think about tho. He said he is concerned about the volume. Said it may not be as loud as I would want it, due to the gauge of the strings. His strings are sort of thin, which makes them very comfortable to play, and not a problem on a smaller Uke, but on the longer scale, it may affect the volume. But, we'll see how they do..

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 01:16 PM
Good news. I just got a reply from Jasper Happy over in the UK. He said he will make me a set of strings to convert a tenor banjo to a Uke. He mentioned something I didn't think about tho. He said he is concerned about the volume. Said it may not be as loud as I would want it, due to the gauge of the strings. His strings are sort of thin, which makes them very comfortable to play, and not a problem on a smaller Uke, but on the longer scale, it may affect the volume. But, we'll see how they do..

Let me know how it works! I plan to convert one eventually even if I lose this one.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 01:23 PM
Will do....

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 01:26 PM
I've been doing a little more research on this tenor banjo morphing into a uke thing...and apparently there is a string company in Boston called Catlines that has helped other people string their tenor banjo with nylon strings for GCEA.

Tudorp
06-22-2010, 01:43 PM
ya got a link, or contact?

Skitzic
06-22-2010, 01:51 PM
It looks like they don't have a website. I found the contact information by google

Olav Chris Henrikson
Boston Catlines
34 Newbury Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Tel/Fax: (617) 776-8688
catlines@aol.com

Looks like they do gut strings.