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Penguinofsorts
12-25-2010, 05:34 AM
Any ideas on this one? I've been looking for an open-back and found this on Craigslist for $50 (and that guy got it at an estate sale). I figure it's worth that if I can get it to play, but it will need a new head and proper strings at least. It looks to have not been well cared for...needs a little TLC.

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bobby b
12-25-2010, 06:06 AM
Nice old banjo uke. Nice price too. No idea on manufacturer though. The bridge looks to be in the wrong position, and I would prob swap those metal strings for some Aquila's.
Is the head torn or cracked at all? If not I'd leave it, I kinda dig that old patina.

Penguinofsorts
12-25-2010, 06:54 AM
Thanks! The head has a small tear in it near the bottom part if the A string... Probably from he end of the string poking it. I tightened up the tuners and removed those terrible strings and I have a set of aquilla banjo uke strings and a set of concert size uke strings at home... Should I try the actual banjo uke strings? I really like this instrument, and I can't wait to restring tomorrow! Maybe I'll leave the head be for now... It's just a small tear and I want to see how the thing sounds. :-). Merry Christmas to me!

Tudorp
12-25-2010, 06:55 AM
Looks like a no name by Harmony by the tail piece, hardware and overall look of it. Of course, that hardware was used allot. The bridge is definatly in the wrong spot. Put some real Uke strings on it, and place the bridge about an inch and a half (give or take) from the tail piece, it will greatly improve the intonation. If the head skin isn't torn, leave it alone with it's patina as stated above. $50 is a good deal on that. Thats an $100-$150 Ebayer..

Tudorp
12-25-2010, 07:04 AM
The tuners were upgraded to geared, and the resonator is home made by me from Mahogany, but the rest is very similar to yours, except my skin sits lower in the tension band than yours.

http://l28.sphotos.l3.fbcdn.net/hphotos-l3-snc4/hs695.snc4/63510_188514491164349_100000173975723_753447_72137 66_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1365.snc4/163699_188514504497681_100000173975723_753448_1887 390_n.jpg

Penguinofsorts
12-25-2010, 07:56 AM
Thanks for the comparison!! I'll definitely move the bridge when I put the strings back on. I thought that the tailpiece or whatever that holds the strings was weird because it has 5 notches to hold strings. I'll post a video or something when I get it all strung up! I'll have to look into upgrading to geared tuners...friction ones kind of drive me nuts. Would that be/not be adviseable?

Tudorp
12-25-2010, 10:18 AM
Most all banjos have 5 notches to fit both 5 string blue grass, and 4 string banjos. So, so does the Banjo ukes, because they use the same tail pieces. Just leave the center notch empty. You might have to do what I did with the Aquilas, because they can't be installed like a steel string because the metal tail piece will cut them. I ran the Aquilas through the hole, and made a pin from a nail to tie them to. I'll get a picture, and show ya..

Tudorp
12-25-2010, 10:23 AM
Here's a better shot of how I strung the tail piece. You can get better at dressing them tho, I did a hurry up job stringing these up, and didn't dress the ends of the strings like I usually do. But, you get the gest. using the nail to take the pressure off the strings the tail piece would put on them.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs550.snc3/30110_129145917101207_100000173975723_346810_15342 36_n.jpg

Howlin Hobbit
12-25-2010, 10:30 AM
to place your bridge properly you want to measure the distance between the nut and the 12th fret and then put the bridge that same distance from the 12th fret, plus a wee bit. basically if you get it to the right general distance you have to sort of tune, check the octave note and adjust the bridge position in tiny increments until it sounds right.

once you get to that place you lightly draw around the bridge feet with a pencil so you don't have to go through all that hoorah the next time you change strings or you accidentally knock the bridge over (it happens!) or whatever.

ADD
12-25-2010, 07:39 PM
Here's a better shot of how I strung the tail piece. You can get better at dressing them tho, I did a hurry up job stringing these up, and didn't dress the ends of the strings like I usually do. But, you get the gest. using the nail to take the pressure off the strings the tail piece would put on them.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs550.snc3/30110_129145917101207_100000173975723_346810_15342 36_n.jpg

Hi, Tudorp. Are those Jasper Happy's strings? If not, where did you get them?

Hippie Dribble
12-26-2010, 12:21 AM
Here's a better shot of how I strung the tail piece. You can get better at dressing them tho, I did a hurry up job stringing these up, and didn't dress the ends of the strings like I usually do. But, you get the gest. using the nail to take the pressure off the strings the tail piece would put on them.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs550.snc3/30110_129145917101207_100000173975723_346810_15342 36_n.jpg

aaaaah Bruddah Tudorp

there's that awesome picture again!!! :)

Tudorp
12-26-2010, 12:58 AM
Yep, got those from Jasper Happy in the UK.. They aren't too bad. They sound a little brighter and tinny than Aquilas, but they are comfortable to play because they are pretty thin, and don't vary a whole lot between strings (What Jasper was going for). But, they are fun, and the kids like them because they are colorful. And when I am teaching kids, it's easier for them to learn which string is #1 and which is #4 by telling them "on the number #1, Green string...."

Pukulele Pete
12-26-2010, 01:56 AM
I have a banjo uke that looks similar , I always thought mine was a Gretsch and still do.. If you change your tuners , I would like to buy the old ones if you don't want them. I would not change them. Friction tuners work fine, they might take a while to get used to them but if they are properly tightened they will work fine. I hate to see geared tuners on a soprano, no offense Tudorp, just my preference.

Tudorp
12-26-2010, 02:47 AM
I have a banjo uke that looks similar , I always thought mine was a Gretsch and still do.. If you change your tuners , I would like to buy the old ones if you don't want them. I would not change them. Friction tuners work fine, they might take a while to get used to them but if they are properly tightened they will work fine. I hate to see geared tuners on a soprano, no offense Tudorp, just my preference.

No worries brother, no offense taken. I only changed mine, because when I bought my banjo uke, it was a basket case, and one tuner was missing completley, one was broken beyond repair, and the two remaining were simply worn out ( and one of those wern't even original). It simply needed new ones. I use friction on my Ohanas, and they work fine. I have to agree that the geared tuners kinda make a soprano unbalanced because they are so much heavier than friction, but on the banjo uke, it is heavy anyway, so it's not too bad, but is still noticeable. I would have never changed those to geared if it were a Gibson, or something like that, but it being a fairly common, not so expensive one, I figured, "why not..?"

Pukulele Pete
12-26-2010, 03:35 AM
For me, It's the look of the uke with "ears" that I don't like. Geared tuners are better ,but I don't like the way they look.

Tudorp
12-26-2010, 03:44 AM
For me, It's the look of the uke with "ears" that I don't like. Geared tuners are better ,but I don't like the way they look.

Well, in that respect, I have to agree with ya, they do look odd on a soprano, and I like the looks of friction better too..