View Full Version : Banjoleles?

03-01-2011, 09:03 AM
My UAS has taken a new turn, I really really want a banjolele! Have been looking on ebay at quite a few, are there any things I should be looking out for that could cause me serious problems? Any good inexpensive ones to recommend looking out for?

Many thanks,


03-01-2011, 10:32 AM
I'm kinda leaning towards the new Mainlands.

03-01-2011, 10:34 AM
Fleamarket music (Fleas, Flukes) is releasing one this month for about $229 according to Aldrine's interview with them at NAMM :)

Papa Tom
03-01-2011, 10:43 AM
I am madly in love with the Rally banjole I bought on eBay for $123 + $60 shipping.

03-01-2011, 11:29 AM
As inexpensive as they get - very plain - very functional - nice loud sound, well made, spot on intonation.....

The Ozark 2035 - I love mine - cheap as chips


03-01-2011, 11:33 AM
That Rally is the most inexpensive new banjo uke on the market - the Magic Flea ($229) and the Mainland ($279) come in second and third on price. Gold Tones and Lanikais tend to run in the mid-hundreds, and the Bean Sprouts are all over $1K.

Vintage is all over eBay, and generally, they cost less, but you need to do some research and know what you're looking for. On vintage ukes, I'd recommend Slingerland Maybell model 20s in the range of $100-$150, and model 24s in the range $150-$200 (these are also sold as S.S. Stewart Collegians and Universities, respectively, and the 24 is occasionally found as a Bruno 'Vernon'). Whatever you do, with vintage, make sure the neck is straight and playable all the way up, and make sure that the wood is intact and not cracked. Metal being clean is a plus, but you can clean metal yourself - just make sure there is no rust. Finally, with eBay, you may get a uke that's not set up, or set up the way you like it. If you can take it to a local luthier for set up, great. You can also do it yourself, if you feel like trying it. I never found it too difficult, but I know exactly how I want the uke to play, and if you're not experienced, it will be better to invest in having a luthier go through it for you and with you.

03-01-2011, 12:09 PM
Check out Waverly Street. DaveG is a member here and I think he just got through making a few banjo-ukes.

03-02-2011, 03:04 AM
I am madly in love with the Rally banjole I bought on eBay for $123 + $60 shipping.

Is that a Taisamlu Rally? I wondered about then since I have a couple of his tenor ukes and they are really good quality. I have a friend here in Ontario, Canada who makes banjos and I asked him to try his hand at banjoleles. He now has a couple of models I'm considering but they range from $300 to $600 but he does make a tenor scale which I don't think there are many around, I think mostly sopano or concert but I want a tenor.

03-02-2011, 04:22 AM
depends on what you are wanting. You wanting something with history and vintage? Or something clean, and new? The vintage are cool, but in many cases unless ya find a really good one (expensive) the other mainstream vintage ones will require some investment to get them nice and playable. My Harmony is a student one from the 30s, and I had to spend a bit and allot of work to get it smooth and easy to play. I have about $150 invested in it, but is is cool, fun to play and historic. You can find them like that for $100-$200 on the bay, but even the players generally need some set up and action lowering to get them not so difficult to play.

That said, if you want something more trouble free and ready to play out of the box, then from what I read, there are allot and becoming even more available on the current new technology market. For that, listen to the guys and gals here that have bought some of the newer ones. But I would guess you would have to spend $200 and up for a decent playing banjole (just my opinion, may not be accurate).

Do allot of reserch and listening to those that have what you are looking for before ya buy. Because if ya get the wrong one on an impulse buy, you will regret it and have a bad experiance tuning you off of Banjoles and that would be a shame because they are really fun to play.

03-02-2011, 08:27 AM
Wow! Thanks guys for all the detailed and helpful answers! I was leaning towards a vintage one off ebay but will check out the others mentioned as they sound very promising! I play tenor banjo (badly) so a higher action isn't something that would necessarily put me off, but I will definitely bear that in mind when looking for one.

Thanks again!

Fin :)

03-02-2011, 08:44 AM
I have a Eddy Finn (Formally Morgan Monroe) open back soprano, Godtone BUC, and waiting for the Mainland concert and the Fluke to come in.
I am going to do a big article about them (Sound, quility, weight, and all that stuff)
Currently the goldtone is awesome because it has a tone ring.
I will keep yall up to date when I get them all and the article is done

03-02-2011, 09:53 AM
I just got the Mainland Banjolele, and it's awesome. Just incredible tone and action. It also looks really really nice.

Papa Tom
03-02-2011, 10:38 AM
Before I bought the Rally from Taismlu (sp?), I bought and returned a Gold Tone soprano banjolele because it just didn't impress me at all for $315. Others have purchased that same banjolele and are thrilled with it. I'm not enough of an expert to judge what's good for anyone else.

As a casual player, the Rally is perfect for me. Out of the box, it was train wreck, but with about 10 minutes of set-up, half an hour to decide I like it best with the back off and a wash cloth stuffed against the head, and a week to stretch the strings, it was magical. I only wish my winter-cracked fingers would heal so I can really enjoy it.

You being a banjo player, you might have a whole different set of standards and expectations. I only played regular (cheap) ukes before this and drums for thirty years before that!