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View Full Version : Banjolele Bliss - Slingerland Maybell



RichM
06-01-2012, 07:32 AM
A few weeks ago, I decided to make my first foray into the dark, dark world of banjo ukes. I've become a huge George Formby fan of late, and I wanted to see if I could recreate the Formby sound. I poked around at some of the vintage banjo ukes on ebay, but I was unwilling to go too high for an untested instrument with little history.

Finally, I decided to give the Lanikai resonator banjo uke a try. It has a vintage look and feel to it, and I liked that it was concert scale, because I thought I could use a little extra room on the fretboard. I also bought it from Musician's Friend, which has a generous 45-day return policy.

When it arrived, it was both well-made and very attractive. It had some basic defects that I would have addressed if I'd kept it (it needed a new nut and the bridge replaced). But neither of these things prevented me from assessing the tone, which was... I dunno, just not *there.* I messed with the setup as much as I could without changing to instrument, but I simply couldnt get that focused, crunchy, almost metallic tone I associate with Formby. So not a bad instrument at all, but just not what I wanted.

I briefly considered investing some large $$$ in a Ludwig Wendell Hall, one of Formby's instruments of choice. But before I did that, I decided to take a chance on a 1920's Slingerland Maybell. The Maybell isn't really a model, since all kinds of banjo ukes carry that name, from really basic student ukes to pretty nice higher-end ukes. The one I got was from the higher end, but still considerably less than the Ludwigs go for.

I got it yesterday, tuned 'er up, laid down some Formby-style licks, and...

There is was. The tone. Right outta the box.

Now, some people might think that saying "I have a really great banjo uke!" is roughly akin to saying "I have a really great migraine!" But I'm a happy uker.

Kestrel
06-03-2012, 02:37 AM
Hey, thanks for sharing that, I'm in the process of buying a wim van der leden Banjo Uke from the Netherlands, but am pleased to have learnt some more from your post.. I'm listenig to George as I write (Lancashire Toreador just now, where I was born !!) I dunno if I could acquire half of his talent, and am apprehensive about the challenge, I play piano almost daily, but am totally unskilled when it comes to handheld stringed instruments.. Thankfully there seems to be a plethora of help available...I'm in touch with several folks over the pond, and really appreciate your clarity and desire to assist with your words, thanks !!

His Sinfulness
06-03-2012, 04:35 AM
This sounds lovely - pictures, please! :)

luluwrites
06-03-2012, 05:43 AM
Congratulations! My husband falls in the "migrane" camp, or I'd be looking for one of these, too.

RichM
06-03-2012, 05:51 AM
Here she be:

3861438615

TCK
06-03-2012, 06:57 AM
Nice buy! A model 24...my favorites. I have two of them, seems every year on my birthday I buy another :) Love my resonator backed one for a nice loud bash!

RichM
06-03-2012, 07:16 AM
Nice buy! A model 24...my favorites. I have two of them, seems every year on my birthday I buy another :) Love my resonator backed one for a nice loud bash!

Thanks, TCK-- actually, your YouTube videos helped me decide to go for it.

TCK
06-03-2012, 07:19 AM
Thanks, TCK-- actually, your YouTube videos helped me decide to go for it.
Excellent! I knew there was a reason I was making those things- great old BU's for sure

His Sinfulness
06-03-2012, 07:43 AM
Really pretty, RichM. She is a beauty. :)

Jiva
08-24-2012, 01:32 PM
Oh gosh RichM, I just got a Lanikai lbuc concert banjolele on ebay...hope it isn't yucky...the price was right though...
It will be delivered on Monday...I know, 3 instruments in one month...UAS!!!
Teena

UKEonomics
08-24-2012, 04:27 PM
Awesome! I always keep an eye out for Slingerlands on ebay. Sounds really nice! I'll look twice as much now!

Nickie
08-24-2012, 05:33 PM
Oh gosh RichM, I just got a Lanikai lbuc concert banjolele on ebay...hope it isn't yucky...the price was right though...
It will be delivered on Monday...I know, 3 instruments in one month...UAS!!!
Teena

Cool, Teena, glad to find out you were'nt baroque! Congrats! I don't think the Lanaki banjolele is yucky at all!

Jiva
08-25-2012, 01:51 AM
Cool, Teena, glad to find out you were'nt baroque! Congrats! I don't think the Lanaki banjolele is yucky at all!

Hey Nickie,

It's called, "eBay made me an offer I couldn't refuse!!!" lol

barefootgypsy
08-25-2012, 04:13 AM
Awesome! I always keep an eye out for Slingerlands on ebay. Sounds really nice! I'll look twice as much now!There are a couple on right now - http://www.ebay.com/itm/1920s-VINTAGE-SLINGERLAND-MAYBELL-BANJOLELE-RESINATOR-/320969331322?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3 D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D1576810103483661315%26pid%3 D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D3%26

And I think this is one if you check out the info on Google - http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-ANTIQUE-BANJO-UKULELE-UKE-1920S-All-Original-Original-Case-/271042998937?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3 D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D1576829346480762370%26pid%3 D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D3%26 - my guess is it's a 30's model, and maybe it should have a resonator... and it ends in less than 2hrs from now!

I have a 20's Slingerland in bird's eye maple, 16 tensioners - she's a beaut!

barefootgypsy
08-25-2012, 04:16 AM
A few weeks ago, I decided to make my first foray into the dark, dark world of banjo ukes. I've become a huge George Formby fan of late, and I wanted to see if I could recreate the Formby sound. I poked around at some of the vintage banjo ukes on ebay, but I was unwilling to go too high for an untested instrument with little history.

Finally, I decided to give the Lanikai resonator banjo uke a try. It has a vintage look and feel to it, and I liked that it was concert scale, because I thought I could use a little extra room on the fretboard. I also bought it from Musician's Friend, which has a generous 45-day return policy.

When it arrived, it was both well-made and very attractive. It had some basic defects that I would have addressed if I'd kept it (it needed a new nut and the bridge replaced). But neither of these things prevented me from assessing the tone, which was... I dunno, just not *there.* I messed with the setup as much as I could without changing to instrument, but I simply couldnt get that focused, crunchy, almost metallic tone I associate with Formby. So not a bad instrument at all, but just not what I wanted.

I briefly considered investing some large $$$ in a Ludwig Wendell Hall, one of Formby's instruments of choice. But before I did that, I decided to take a chance on a 1920's Slingerland Maybell. The Maybell isn't really a model, since all kinds of banjo ukes carry that name, from really basic student ukes to pretty nice higher-end ukes. The one I got was from the higher end, but still considerably less than the Ludwigs go for.

I got it yesterday, tuned 'er up, laid down some Formby-style licks, and...

There is was. The tone. Right outta the box.

Now, some people might think that saying "I have a really great banjo uke!" is roughly akin to saying "I have a really great migraine!" But I'm a happy uker.Fantastic! I love my 20's Slingerland, too - off to the George Formby Society Convention again in a couple of weeks - it's a 40's themed meeting this time - got my dress, bought the hat this morning!

justinlcecil
08-25-2012, 08:21 PM
that is a beauty. I have a 1930 william lange "supertone" with a flanged resonator that I hold close to my heart. Banjo uke are great!