View Full Version : 1950's Kay openback Banjo to Bariton Banjolele conversion

07-17-2010, 09:44 AM
I was wondering if it is possible to change the neck from a openback 5 string banjo to a baritone uke neck. I dont have a bari neck but was wondering if it could be done. Do baritone ukes have a truss rod? If I went with a smaller scale like a soprano would I even need a truss rod?
what do you think I will need to factor in if I go to a soprano scale vs. a concert, or baritone. I'm not sure of the pot size of the Kay Banjo I have but it is larger than a concert banjolele of course so I was thinking it might not work out with a soprano, or look stupid....

Cant afford a banjolele so I thought making one might be cheeper since I have half of it....kind of...


07-21-2010, 04:53 AM

i just restored a turn of the century openback myself, although i kept it a five string. i can probably help you with some of your questions. you should probably take and post some pictures though.

does the banjo have a metal rod going through the pot, or a wooden dowel stick? i'm guessing probably a metal rod?

measure the pot from one end to the other. measure it again, but perpendicular to the measurement you had just took (so start with east to west, and then do north to south) sometimes banjo pots get out of round, so this will help you get an accurate measurement.

you can use whatever size neck you want, as long as you bear in mind that your bridge is going to be placed by measuring from the nut to the middle of the twelfth fret, and then doubling that distance. once you've done that, you pull out a chromatic tuner, play each string open, and then fretted at the 12th. they should register the exact same note. if they don't, you move the bridge toward the neck if it's sharp, away if it's flat (i think? or the other way around..)

bear in mind a lot of standard uke necks have fretboards that will want to overlap the head on the banjo. i would recommend probably getting a tenor banjo neck, and then stringing it with nylgut or what-have-you, tuning it dgbe or whatever.

good luck,

07-24-2010, 01:57 AM
Now I just have to find me a baritone neck/fretboard. Since all these banjo/banjolele ideas have been floating around my head, its got me playing banjo again. I really missed it. I know its not a banjo site. anyways, yeah baritone neck, I have a soprano but it will look dumb on such a large pot. If I get motivated enough i'll try to keep an update on the project.

Thanks for the tips

07-28-2010, 03:20 AM
can you provide some pics of what you've got now?

you may be able to get away with buying a tenor banjo neck and stringing it with baritone uke strings, or tenor uke strings.

what kind of tuning do you want to use?