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View Full Version : Banjolele - To Resonate or Not to Resonate, That is the Question



Paul December
01-21-2011, 06:47 PM
I'm looking to buy a cheap banjo-uke on eBay, and they are being sold with and without the resonator. I've read several reviews where people have preferred the sound of their banjoleles with the resonator removed. Should I just skip the resonator and save a few bucks... or will I regret it?
Also, does the instrument have a back if the resonator is not there, or is is open?

On a related note, it seems that many of the banjoleles are coming from the same factory: Rally & Morgan Monroe
... what about the others like Gold Tone and the Mainland?

TCK
01-21-2011, 08:42 PM
I play an open backed 1920's MayBell and I could not imagine her with a resonator...she is LOUD and percussive. In fact, this weeks man cave project is an aluminum adjustable mute for the tone head, as when I record with it, I will be darned if I can find a microphone that can handle her. The mute will sit against the tone head, be anchored to the neck shaft, and adjustable (for amount of mutedness) at least that is what I see in my head....and it beats shoving a pair of my knickers in her to quiet her down.
So yeah- you don't need a resonator...and if you have one, you will have less friends who want to play with you ;)

Papa Tom
01-22-2011, 02:26 AM
>>>>The mute will sit against the tone head, be anchored to the neck shaft, and adjustable (for amount of mutedness)<<<<

They used to make mutes like that (and ALL kinds of mutes, actually) for drums. You might want to visit a drum shop before you spend a weekend reinventing the wheel!

Papa Tom
01-22-2011, 02:27 AM
>>>>Should I just skip the resonator and save a few bucks... or will I regret it?<<<<

So far (and it's been less than 24 hours), I prefer my Rally banjolele open-backed, as it's more percussive and less muddy sounding. It's also noticeably louder.

Tudorp
01-22-2011, 02:42 AM
I like it both ways, just depending on the song and mood. I really can honestly say I don't prefer one over the other. That said, just be sure ya find one with a removable resonator so you can go with, or without whenever ya want. I made one out of Mahogany for my Banjole, and love how it turned out, because it is easily removable when I want to play it without. I have a problem though when playing with it against my body, my body completely closes off the back of the uke so it sounds muddy. The resonator prevents that and lets the sound ring out. I post this picture allot, but here it is again with my home made resonator.

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

DukeOfUkes
01-22-2011, 04:25 AM
I would get it WITH the resonator, as you can always remove it down the road if you want, but it'll be a pain to order one after the fact.

These banjoleles by Gold Tone (http://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/432/BUC-Concert-Banjo-Uke) are really nice & the tuning is the same as your ukulele! Not a bad price either.

Jnobianchi
01-22-2011, 07:16 PM
Neither sounds better to me, they just sound different. I have both. A flat resonator like Tudorp has artfully made channels the sound out and forward. With an openback, the sound goes back against your body, so muting is very easy. You need no mechanical mute, you just hold it against your chest.

A metal flanged resonator will increase volume significantly and direct it forward, while an overlapping wood lipped resonator will channel sound while only increasing volume slightly.

That said, every individual type of instrument varies~!

As for the new Mainland, it has no resonator, nor is it an openback - its a closed back pot. I think it sounds great.

hoosierhiver
01-23-2011, 06:23 AM
Mainland's new banjo-ukes are different from anything else on the market and come from a differnt source than all others out there.

Tudorp
01-23-2011, 06:38 AM
Neither sounds better to me, they just sound different. I have both. A flat resonator like Tudorp has artfully made channels the sound out and forward. With an openback, the sound goes back against your body, so muting is very easy. You need no mechanical mute, you just hold it against your chest.

A metal flanged resonator will increase volume significantly and direct it forward, while an overlapping wood lipped resonator will channel sound while only increasing volume slightly.

That said, every individual type of instrument varies~!

As for the new Mainland, it has no resonator, nor is it an openback - its a closed back pot. I think it sounds great.

Thats true.. the one I made doesn't really make mine any louder. It only redirects the sound keeping it from muting against my fat ass. The sound is "slightly" different, because it does resonate through the mahogany back I made, but very little. It just makes it a little fuller sound, but mostly just redirects it around the home made (removeable) back. It kinda sounds slightly louder, but it's fake, because it is only because the sound is coming up and around vs straight back to my sound absorbing body..

Papa Tom
01-23-2011, 11:02 AM
>>>>Mainland's new banjo-ukes are different from anything else on the market and come from a differnt source than all others out there. <<<<<

Sorry I couldn't afford the Mainland and couldn't wait for the soprano version, Hoosierhiver. Based on your reputation here (and our brief phone conversation), I'd like to have bought my banjo uke from you. Perhaps my NEXT uke will be a Mainland.

What can you offer the OP in the way of advice regarding resonator or no resonator?