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View Full Version : Who is getting a Banjo Ukulele this year?



cletus
01-30-2011, 03:36 PM
I'd sure like one. A vintage one won't do for me, I'm wanting a concert neck, and no age related issues. The Mainland banjo uke is definitely looking and sounding good, but I want to wait until the Magic Fluke models hit the market before I decide.

How about you?

pdxuke
01-30-2011, 03:45 PM
I'd sure like one. A vintage one won't do for me, I'm wanting a concert neck, and no age related issues. The Mainland banjo uke is definitely looking and sounding good, but I want to wait until the Magic Fluke models hit the market before I decide.

How about you?

+1. At the top of my list. I'm waiting on the Fluke to compare the two, but it will definitely be a banjo uke year.

Kem
01-30-2011, 03:45 PM
I just got an unusual one made out of a gourd. I'm quite pleased with it. If I hadn't got it, I probably would have gone for the Mainland.

zac987
01-30-2011, 03:54 PM
I'll be getting the Fluke Banjolele once it comes out. I like how light it seems to be, and the price doesn't hurt either.

mm stan
01-30-2011, 04:04 PM
I'd sure like one. A vintage one won't do for me, I'm wanting a concert neck, and no age related issues. The Mainland banjo uke is definitely looking and sounding good, but I want to wait until the Magic Fluke models hit the market before I decide.

How about you?

I like eugeneukulele's Aron Kleim in his video....sounds nice too...

the52blues
01-30-2011, 04:04 PM
Definitely want a banjo uke but prefer the tenor scale. There is a nice Rally model made by Liang Lu in Taiwan that I may order but I also have a friend who makes banjos here in Ontario and I challenged him to make a banjo uke and he has finally done it. He made 6 - 3 concert and 3 tenor but before I could get one he sold them all (sounds like he succeeded) so I guess I will try again when he has more made.

dkcrown
01-30-2011, 04:14 PM
I agree with the 52blues. Would love to see the Magic Fluke one available with a tenor scale.

ukebeatsguitar
01-30-2011, 04:31 PM
I will HOPEfully be getting my Stromberg-Voisenet back from the luthier that has had it since September and hasn't done anything.

Pondoro
01-30-2011, 04:31 PM
I got mine last October in a second hand shop. Still adjusting the action a bit but I like it.

UncleElvis
01-30-2011, 04:47 PM
Got a Morgan Monroe from Mim earlier this month...

Absolutely worth it!

Like Pondoro, I'm still working on it to make it perfect, but I just love it.

Ukulele Jim
01-30-2011, 05:05 PM
I've owned 4 banjo ukes in the past 5 years and I've yet to find one that I really like.

Wait, I take that back. I actually kept my Terry Mead wood banjo uke. But that's more of an actual uke and less of a banjo.

As far as actual banjo ukes are concerned, I'm not having luck finding one that sounds good, stays sounding good without endless tweaks, doesn't weigh a ton and a half, and is fun to play. I even tried a Beansprout, and while I was happy with that for a few months it eventually started sounding dead and I couldn't get the adjustments right enough to make it open up again.

The Fluke banjo uke looks promising, and I kinda want one, but I feel like my optimism is just inevitable disappointment.

Ukulele Jim
01-30-2011, 05:06 PM
I'm still working on it to make it perfect

That right there is the problem I have with most banjo ukes. They require endless mucking about to make them sound and feel perfect.

Ukulele Jim
01-30-2011, 05:13 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to derail the thread, it just reminded me that lately I've been really frustrated with uke banjos. Still looking for "the one".

Chris Tarman
01-30-2011, 06:31 PM
I've played a couple of Goldtones and other brands in shops. I'm planning to get a Mainland once they get the soprano version in. Unless I see one that really speaks to me next week when I'm at the Denver Uke Fest.

TCK
01-30-2011, 07:28 PM
Jim- once that part of a banjo is taken out of the equation, it really ceases to be a banjo. You can certainly do all right with synthetic heads and such, but they are supposed to be mucked with. From what I have found on the banjo forums, this is part of the love affair with them (glad I was not the only one).
I will certainly be getting another. I got a May Bell Banjo Uke in October and I am wearing her out. She is I am sure by all standards very heavy (I play Accordion too so she is a feather comparatively), excruciatingly finicky, In constant need of some tweak or other...but at 90 years old I find she is still worth the time. Would like to add the 7" version to the stable. I love having to carry wrenches in my uke case- makes it more manly. She is also the only uke I own that can sound like heck when I get up, and great after I shower if I leave the door open.
I LOVE the Beansprout, but will certainly never be able to afford one unless I go back to exotic dancing...sigh
The mainland is pretty, but I saw one in a video that was maple and now that is all I want- plus, I wish it was open backed.
The Fluke did nothing for me- looked like a neck screwed to a plastic tambourine. Even the least accomplished craftsman could make one for $40, and I doubt that is the asking price. We'll see as they start to surface.

BWright
01-31-2011, 12:27 AM
Also consider the Waverly banjo uke. Concert scale.

Papa Tom
01-31-2011, 01:04 AM
I just got my Rally banjolele about a week and a half ago. So far, it's my favorite of all my ukes.

HornedOne
01-31-2011, 01:05 AM
I am concidering it but first a Koaloha concert and a baritone xD

ukeeku
01-31-2011, 02:01 AM
I am currently working on procuring a fluke, Eddy Finn (Morgan Monroe), Mainland, Gold Tone, and a few others for a big article in the next few months. I want to compare them, no real winner since a lot of it is personal choice. I think this is the year of the banjo uke

Nuprin
01-31-2011, 02:25 AM
I think this is the year of the banjo uke

A friend and I watched A-Team last night. At one point in the movie there's a soldier playing a banjo uke. Not exactly featured in the movie but still getting some attention!

bazmaz
01-31-2011, 02:46 AM
I already own an Ozark banjolele which i love, its only a cheapie, but it works.

I then got myself totally decided on a Mainland, cos I know it will be sweet, but have had my mind thrown out since seeing that Fluke Banjo - wowzers!

Leigh Coates
01-31-2011, 02:54 AM
Hi:

I got a Bean Sprout last year, and I certainly don't regret it, no buyer's remorse there! It's a lovely thing and I play it a lot. Mine is green. It gets lots of interest at jams around this part of the country, and everybody loves it.

Chap
01-31-2011, 03:21 AM
Is it wrong that I already bought two this year(month)? :P

roxhum
01-31-2011, 03:54 AM
Me, me, me!!! Mainland or magic fluke. I am leaning towards Mainland as soon as he comes out with a soprano.

Jnobianchi
01-31-2011, 04:57 AM
I bought four last year - and sold one I already had. Would I buy another this year? I'm not ruling it out, especially when I see/hear how good the Mainland and Fluke sound. :)

cletus
01-31-2011, 05:00 AM
How much tweaking, adjusting, tuning, etc. will something like a Mainland banjo uke require versus a vintage instrument?

SailingUke
01-31-2011, 05:05 AM
I have a great 1926 Gibson UB-2, but I would much prefer having a tenor scale.
I am hoping the fluke will be available with a tenor neck.

TCK
01-31-2011, 04:04 PM
How much tweaking, adjusting, tuning, etc. will something like a Mainland banjo uke require versus a vintage instrument?
It all boils down, at least in my limited experience, to the tone-head (age of the hooks and such probably has something to do with it). New banjo ukes have new fangled synthetic tone-heads and they do not react the same way to changes in temperature and humidity. Old ones have skin heads and do. I can make a cup of tea and find my May Bell out of whack, but I love the fight.
Shoot, Jnobianchi has gut strings on one of his, and a skin head...so I suppose I am not alone.
In banjo circles this is a similar debate to our solid versus laminate, at least from what I have read. While laminates are being made that are not only amazing, but also can handle a little bit rougher treatment than solids (and are less expensive), there are those that will always want solid and only solid.
Back to cleaning my old 78's ;)

Nixon
02-01-2011, 04:27 AM
Already have, picked up a 1950/60's Marma soprano from a local charity shop for 75 quid. My housemates aren't as big fans of it as I am though, it's rather loud.

SailingUke
02-01-2011, 05:02 AM
I wrote to Flea Market Music and sadly they told me the Fluke Banjo will only be available as a soprano.
I guess I really did not need one anyway.

PedalFreak
02-01-2011, 05:07 AM
I wrote to Flea Market Music and sadly they told me the Fluke Banjo will only be available as a soprano.
I guess I really did not need one anyway.

It's actually going to be an inbetween. When I ordered them for our store they said that they will be 14" or 14.5" scale length. Can't remember exactly now.

cletus
02-01-2011, 05:08 AM
I wrote to Flea Market Music and sadly they told me the Fluke Banjo will only be available as a soprano.
I guess I really did not need one anyway.

Ouch! Well, that's one to cross off the list.
I'm probably going to wait for a while and see how the "year of the banjo uke" progresses before investing.

nscafe
02-01-2011, 06:14 AM
A friend and I watched A-Team last night. At one point in the movie there's a soldier playing a banjo uke. Not exactly featured in the movie but still getting some attention!

If you're interested, here's some more info about that scene from the uker in question.

http://theukuleleentertainer.blogspot.com/2010/06/ue-41-i-touched-liam-neesons-wig.html

the52blues
02-01-2011, 06:22 AM
I wrote to Flea Market Music and sadly they told me the Fluke Banjo will only be available as a soprano.
I guess I really did not need one anyway.

Here's my custom (Flea look-a-like) boat paddle uke...yes it's a tenor!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDaBCdD1UXk

SailingUke
02-01-2011, 06:55 AM
Here's my custom (Flea look-a-like) boat paddle uke...yes it's a tenor!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDaBCdD1UXk

I have a Fluke Tenor, I want a Tenor Banjo.
Seems like they could put a tenor neck on the banjo.
My UB-2 is a 14in. scale and after playing tenors it just feels cramped. I am ok with it if it is all I am playing, but sometimes during a gig/set I want to play a banjo tune or two and that is when the adjustment is difficult.

Ken Middleton
02-01-2011, 07:06 AM
I played and reviewed Aaron Keim's own Beansprout uke once. I had it for the afternoon. I thought it was sensational. It is the only banjo uke I have ever actually wanted to own.

bgrif
02-01-2011, 07:23 AM
What do you think of the AnueNue banjo uke? I really like the look and finish/quality, but the sound is not as bright as others, in my opinion. Maybe it's an issue with the tightness of the head, as it improved with a little twist of the wrench, but I don't know how tight it should be.

SailingUke
02-01-2011, 07:34 AM
I played and reviewed Aaron Keim's own Beansprout uke once. I had it for the afternoon. I thought it was sensational. It is the only banjo uke I have ever actually wanted to own.

I've thought about ordering a Beansprout, but not sure I really want a another "AAA" instrument.
Most of the time I can use the Mya-Moe resonator and get that old timey banjo like sound.

Jnobianchi
02-01-2011, 08:48 AM
How much tweaking, adjusting, tuning, etc. will something like a Mainland banjo uke require versus a vintage instrument?

I don't think a Mainland, acquired from them directly and set up properly by Mainland, will require much initial adjustment at all. The longer you play it, and under different conditions, you'll want to adjust the skin for different weather/humidity (I think thery'e using a natural skin head, but correct me if I'm wrong).

Still, they're all different. Once I got my Ludwig set up, there's only beem minor adjustments to make - just tuning and occassional changes in the head tension. My remaining Stromberg Voisinet has never had the neck in exactly the right position, so there's always something to do on it! :)

Lori
02-01-2011, 10:18 AM
I don't think a Mainland, acquired from them directly and set up properly by Mainland, will require much initial adjustment at all. The longer you play it, and under different conditions, you'll want to adjust the skin for different weather/humidity (I think thery'e using a natural skin head, but correct me if I'm wrong).

Still, they're all different. Once I got my Ludwig set up, there's only beem minor adjustments to make - just tuning and occassional changes in the head tension. My remaining Stromberg Voisinet has never had the neck in exactly the right position, so there's always something to do on it! :)

I have a Mainland Concert Mahogany Banjo Uke, and it came set-up pretty well. I am no expert on banjos or banjo ukes, so I don't dare do anything to it. It has a synthetic head, is pretty light compared to a Goldtone or Anuenue, but not a light as the Fluke Banjo Uke shown at NAMM. I got it to develop Uke Leash solutions for Banjo Ukuleles, and it is going well. The Mainland Banjo Uke is a bit top heavy, so a Uke Leash is very helpful. I am working on a video showing ways to use the Uke Leash as a full strap on Banjo Ukes with brackets. The new Fluke Banjo Uke has no brackets, but it is also very light, and a standard Uke Leash set-up should work fine for that.

–Lori

dkcrown
02-01-2011, 10:28 AM
I wrote to Flea Market Music and sadly they told me the Fluke Banjo will only be available as a soprano.
I guess I really did not need one anyway.

Wahhhhhhhhh.........

SailingUke
02-01-2011, 10:45 AM
I have a Mainland Concert Mahogany Banjo Uke, and it came set-up pretty well. I am no expert on banjos or banjo ukes, so I don't dare do anything to it. It has a synthetic head, is pretty light compared to a Goldtone or Anuenue, but not a light as the Fluke Banjo Uke shown at NAMM. I got it to develop Uke Leash solutions for Banjo Ukuleles, and it is going well. The Mainland Banjo Uke is a bit top heavy, so a Uke Leash is very helpful. I am working on a video showing ways to use the Uke Leash as a full strap on Banjo Ukes with brackets. The new Fluke Banjo Uke has no brackets, but it is also very light, and a standard Uke Leash set-up should work fine for that.

–Lori

I love it, UAS for research. I think I need to start a business.

Raygf
02-01-2011, 01:28 PM
A friend and I watched A-Team last night. At one point in the movie there's a soldier playing a banjo uke. Not exactly featured in the movie but still getting some attention!

That's Ralph Shaw! Here is his account of the events. Worth the read.
http://theukuleleentertainer.blogspot.com/2010/06/ue-41-i-touched-liam-neesons-wig.html

Regards,
Ray

Uke Whisperer
02-02-2011, 03:35 AM
Got the Gold Tone " standard" Banjolele 2 weeks ago, not to be confused with their Banjo Ukulele line (like the Soprano one "Papa Tom" returned several weeks ago). The Banjolele has the heavy tone ring that really makes a difference. After tuning drum head I really appreciated the sound (even with basic "clear nylon" strings). Until I tuned the head there were dead notes, weird sounding harmonics and too "twangy" sounding. Now I really do like the sound! It compares to my favorites of "sound samples" found on the Net. Can't decide on next set of strings I should try. About decided I should order 3 or 4 different ones to try (over a long period of time). Now, NO regrets buying this instument!

shrink9
02-02-2011, 06:21 AM
I purchased a Stromberg-Voisinet a while back. What a beautiful instrument it is. I was amazed at how light weight it is--nothing like my irish tenor banjo. The condition of this instrument is amazing given that it is from the 20s.

adam2180
02-02-2011, 06:39 AM
I have 3 banjo ukes that i love. My newest is my Jeff Menzies tenor gourd uke, probably the coolest banjo uke ever, very old school. I have a custom built Melrose concert scale that is really great, very new school. I also have a vintage Gretch soprano that is really cool as well. I love banjo ukulele but I set them up for a fatter more old time banjo like tone. I dont like the really bright, shrill banjo uke tone that seems to be associated with the instrument.

cletus
02-02-2011, 06:44 AM
I have 3 banjo ukes that i love. My newest is my Jeff Menzies tenor gourd uke, probably the coolest banjo uke ever, very old school. I have a custom built Melrose concert scale that is really great, very new school. I also have a vintage Gretch soprano that is really cool as well. I love banjo ukulele but I set them up for a fatter more old time banjo like tone. I dont like the really bright, shrill banjo uke tone that seems to be associated with the instrument.

If you could post some pictures of these, it would be much appreciated!:drool:

Total Ukphoria
02-02-2011, 07:06 AM
Is this a bad idea?

adam2180
02-02-2011, 08:21 AM
If you could post some pictures of these, it would be much appreciated!:drool:

Yes.
http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lg08avL8oE1qfmse2o1_500.jpg

barbos01
02-02-2011, 08:24 AM
You can tune a tenor banjo gcea, although you will have to piece together your own string set. It's not difficult though, a standard tenor banjo string set (cgda) and and Irish set (Gdae) will have what you need. Just swap out the top and bottom strings. The tenor banjo (and tenor guitar) is kind of magical in that it will tolerate all manner of tunings.

kenikas
02-02-2011, 08:33 AM
I'd love to get another, but I probably should concentrate on getting the 4 I've got playing. I've almost got my Nu Way ready to string up, and one of the 20's closed back maple is getting close too. Can't wait to try them out!

Lori
02-02-2011, 08:57 AM
Is this a bad idea?

I don't know if you would be gaining much from that. My banjo is way bigger than my concert Mainland banjo uke. Might as well let banjos be banjos. Especially since it seems like 5 string banjos are more available than the more uke-like 4 string banjo.

Just my 2 cents
–Lori

byjimini
02-06-2011, 03:15 AM
I'll be looking at getting a Mainland soprano-sized banjouke when they're available; I've played Mainland ukes since May of last year and have been very pleased by them - I've got lots of great feedback when playing it out and about.

I tell everyone mine's got a tape player in the back. :P

DukeOfUkes
02-06-2011, 04:41 PM
The Gold Tones are really nice! Great fit & finish.

cletus
03-21-2011, 02:24 PM
Anybody have new opinions/reviews on the Mainland banjo ukes? I'm still thinking about getting myself one of them.

ksiegel
03-22-2011, 11:13 AM
When I visited Magic Fluke last week, Dale brought two prototype banjo ukes out - the original, as seen at NAMM, and the newer one - darker in color, with a different neck. The original had the same neck as the Fluke/Flea products, and then there was a extension grafted(glued) on, the go through the pot. It was light, and sounded sweet. As with all of the Magic Fluke soprano necks, the scale is slightly larger than a standard soprano - maybe 3/4" - 1" longer? however long it is, it was comfortable, and my hands didn't feel cramped as they do on many of the soprano ukuleles I've tried.

The second prototype was built slightly differently; the head is a synthetic REMO head, and the pot is also some kind of synthetic material, patented by REMO. Again, a joy to play, light as a feather, and great sound.

The necks are not the standard Fluke/Flea neck - there are several modifications to make them work as a banjo uke.

Dale showed me the new neck they are working on - unlike the prior two, it is a one-piece neck, designed specifically for the banjo uke. There is a true heel, rather than an extension glued on the a standard neck. Same slotted head, which means Pegheds are an option, Also, Dale has designed a one-piece tailpiece, which cuts down on weight (like there is much to begin with!), and allows adjustment of the neck angle.

Yes, there are no j-hooks, and the head tension really isn't adjustable, but the synthetic head is pre-tuned. The bridge is a standard Grover 30 style, and using a farquhar or other hardwood bridge might give a better sound, but as always your mileage may vary.

Either way, I'm stoked - I've got mine on order. I still don't understand why they didn't accept my kind offer to take one (or both!) ofthe prototypes off of their hands... (g)


-Kurt

pdxuke
03-22-2011, 11:34 AM
Me. Mainland Concert being processed now; Mother of Pearl friction tuners and hard case. Ohhhh, baby!

cletus
03-22-2011, 11:53 AM
Me. Mainland Concert being processed now; Mother of Pearl friction tuners and hard case. Ohhhh, baby!

Sweeeeeet! :drool:Looking forward to the pictures:drool: and the REVIEW!:cheers:

tjomball
03-22-2011, 12:30 PM
Already have a 5 string Banjo.. So I'll have to say no..

cb56
03-22-2011, 12:40 PM
seriously thinking about getting one soon.
Was looking to get a tenor necked one tuned gCEA but that doesn't appear doable in my price range (under $350) So looks like I'll have to go with a concert neck and get used to switching back and forth from my tenor ukes to a concert banjo uke.

cb56
03-23-2011, 12:29 PM
Just pulled the trigger on a GoldTone Banjo Uke model BUC. Should be here in a few days, Hope I can get used to the concert scale neck.

cletus
03-23-2011, 12:37 PM
Just pulled the trigger on a GoldTone Banjo Uke model BUC. Should be here in a few days, Hope I can get used to the concert scale neck.

Congrats! I hope you like it, look forward to your review.