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View Full Version : looking at an all metal Dixie banjolele any comments?



thesillydave
01-06-2012, 08:04 AM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/250966907843

any thoughts? good? not worth it?
thanks!

thesillydave
01-06-2012, 08:07 AM
or possibly this one...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200695392694

got the uas bug again!...

Tudorp
01-06-2012, 08:43 AM
The metal Dixies,

Cool, but unless you know how to work on them extensivly, don't. if you are looking for a great sounding/playing instrument, don't. They are cool and collectible, but sound horrible typically. I have one, but had to do extensive work to it to get it to play "half" decent. It is limited what you can do to them stock, due to the neck is all cast from one piece. Even the frets, and nut, and fretboard is all one casting. The bucket, is all one cast. I plan to build a new all wood neck, rosewood fretboard and new nut and frets for mine in hopes to get better sound, playability and intonation from it. Frankly, I find the bucket is pretty much the only thing really useable. But then of course, the collectibilty is gone, because it won't be the same instrument at all. A "fair" deal for the "coolness" of it, for $50 and under. Vintage (yes), collectible (yes), fun (yes), frustrating (yes), rare (no), common (fairly), valuable (no).

I would consider the 2nd one ya listed first. If it is restored and playable, $200 is on the high side. I wouldn't go more than $150 maybe up to $200 depending on how bad ya want one. If ya want one that is easier to work with to make a decent banjole from, go with the wood ones like listed in the 2nd listing. If you can get the 1st one for under $50, it might be fun to tinker with..

thesillydave
01-06-2012, 08:46 AM
thanks Tudorp!

Kem
01-06-2012, 08:48 AM
Yeah...I had a Dixie for a while. If you want something to hang on your wall, go for it. If you want something to play, run far, far away. Tudorp now has my old Dixie, and I believe he has managed to get it to an almost playable state by replacing the bridge and fiddling with the strings, but when it was in my possession, the intonation could be described kindly as "eccentric" and unkindly as "almost unbelievably appalling." It was possible to play only a single in-tune chord on it: C6 (i.e., all open strings).

EDIT: Posted before I saw Tudorp's comment. Yeah, what he said. Same instrument.

Tudorp
01-06-2012, 08:48 AM
After looking at the 2nd one again. That looks like a really nice one. But again, top dollar would be about $200 (don't forget to consider shipping cost in that.)

Tudorp
01-06-2012, 08:55 AM
Another thing about the Dixies, The tuners are horrible. They are a hard brittle plastic, seated in a chrome cast metal seat, which really is not much "friction" at all. It is damn near imposible to get them to hold any tension on the strings unless you crank down so tight on the buttons, they nearly at breaking point. And then, ya can't tune it unless ya loosen them. The new neck and all, with new tuners will of course remedy that, but if you plan to use the same metal neck/headstock, and only change tuners, you would have to do some grinding, reshaping of the tuner holes, and even sleeve them with a wooden bushing or something to create the friction in order for them to hold tension.. Lot of work, for not enough benefit IMHO... I got the one I got from Kem to hold temporarily by making bushings and friction washers from rawhide.

hoosierhiver
01-06-2012, 09:01 AM
I've seen/heard a good Dixie before, but as previously mentioned unless you are accustomed to metal work they are a nightmare to work on. The tuning pegs are often worn out and new ones don't fit the small holes.

p.s. they are heavy

Jnobianchi
01-06-2012, 09:14 AM
Dixies are my least favorite vintage BU. For some reason, retailers charge hundreds for these, and they're really not worth it; the fretting is seldom accurate up the neck.

Now the Concertone is a Slingerland-built uke - its actually their model #0 28 or 28, depending on how it was stamped on the dowel. More on that model here: http://theukaholic.blogspot.com/2011/07/who-plays-banjo-ukulele.html I hope you don't mind the scantily clad "ukeuse".

Slingerland 28 - even with the Concertone brand burned on it - in good shape is valuable just now. I'd pay up to $250. Our colleague here, TCK- Dave Laurice - is a Slingerland collector and will have a valuable opinion on this one.

I think no contest - the Dixie, forget - the Slingerland - good one!

zac987
01-06-2012, 09:55 AM
Just to echo and tl;dr the other guys' responses:

Dixie Banjo-Uke: Avoid like the plague!

Concertone-branded Slingerland 28: Golden! Don't pay more than $250 for it, though.

Jnobianchi
01-06-2012, 10:01 AM
Yes - I just noticed that crack. That's probably not serious if it was dealt with, but that would keep me from going too high.

Remember also that Slingerlands come up for sale more often than any other vintage uke on ebay. If not this one, another one will come down the pike shortly. And it could labelled as Concertone, S.S. Stewart, or no name. Just get to know the two headstock designs and you'll always be able to ID them.

Tudorp
01-06-2012, 10:35 AM
As others said, the slingerland is a good vintage uke. It is vintage, and as any vintage, might need some tinkering. but that said, don't rule out an unrestored one, or one that needs work. These old banjo ukes are pretty easy to restore. The last time I looked into Slingerland they were commonly sold for not much over $100 for "playable" ones, but as other's suggest, maybe the prices for those has gone up some. It's not a Gibson UB1, but as far as sought after, gaining on it. (A nice UB1 would cost ya in the neighborhood of $500 or so though). The Slingerland is very collectable, but also as suggested not so rare, and they show up fairly regularly. The Gibson UB1, not so much (but do pop up every so often.)

thesillydave
01-06-2012, 11:21 AM
so, no to dixie! but, what does the gallery think of getting a banjolele with or without the resonator?
also, my favorite size for a uke is concert, i wonder if i should hold out for a concert banjolele, maybe a mainland?
but first, resonator or open back...?

Jnobianchi
01-06-2012, 11:30 AM
Dave -

Without resonator back or with is totally personal. I found, when playing with people, open back can be damped nicely by holding against your chest. To get it to cut through, you just angle it away from your chest slightly. Really makes a big difference. I have had both over the years and like them both.

As for concert Mainlands, I really DO like what I've seen of the Mainland - a Lot! Really nicely made, nicely designed and good sounding.

If you decide to stay in the vintage space, there is no such thing as a concert banjo uke before they started making them a few years ago, so, just keep in mind that many are soprano, but many others fall between soprano and concert scale length. The only other size of vintage uke was a build known at the time as "long scale". These were made by Ludwig, Lyon and Healy, Abbott, I think Keech, and a handful of others. If you found a vintage long scale uke, you're looking at a rare creature.

Tudorp
01-06-2012, 12:31 PM
I perfer them open back.