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View Full Version : Garage Sale Score, vintage banjo uke, information wanted



blowery
06-19-2012, 05:17 AM
Got a call from a friend that there were some old instruments at a garage sale. Went to check it out and grabbed it for $20. They also had a round back mandolin in worse shape from the late 1800's I picked up as well.

From what I can tell, it appears to be a 1920's JR Stewart "Le Domino" ukulele in very good condition. Old gut strings, and I got a grover bridge as the original was missing. Still had the original canvas case. I've played guitar for almost 20 years and uke for 3.

Any more info would be great. I'm currently lowering the action and have different strings, but I'm not sure the best/prefferred way for tying a banjo tailpiece.

thanks

Tudorp
06-19-2012, 05:48 AM
Great find. I'll gladly refund your money for that? ;)

Careful lowing the action too much on a Banjo because if you go too low, you will loose alot of the sustain, and volume. You want to lower it for playability of course, but still keep a distance away from the head skin to it will ring out.

Kinda looks like a Harmony built banjole. Hadn't seen one with that domino motif, but at any rate, it's a $150-$200 find.. Keep us posted.

ukulelecowboy
06-19-2012, 06:10 AM
Wonderful find.

Regal and/or JR Stewart produced three Le Domino Ukuleles. A soprano, a concert, and the Banjo Ukulele. Although the Concert is the most rare, the Banjo Ukulele comes in at a close second. The condition looks great and the value increases if the silkscreen graphics are intact. In the case of the Banjo Ukulele, the banjo head usually sustains the most wear from playing. The graphics on your model appear in excellent. The fretboard dominoes and the reverse dominoes on the resonator also tend to disappear over time.

Hate to say this, but you might want to consider NOT playing that instrument. I know it sounds crazy but the more wear that the head sustains and thereby affecting the quality of the graphics, the lower the value.

At this point, even with the photos that you supplied, I would say it's value is between $350 - $400.

Just an observation.

blowery
06-19-2012, 06:57 AM
thanks for the info, it really is in good shape. I will try to get some better closeup pictures of it. I'm not looking to sell so I'd like to play it, but I understand what you mean by lowering the value.

They said it was in the great aunts attic. It really doesn't look like it was hardly played at all.

What is the best way to tie new uke strings on the tailpiece?

ukulelecowboy
06-19-2012, 09:51 AM
thanks for the info, it really is in good shape. I will try to get some better closeup pictures of it. I'm not looking to sell so I'd like to play it, but I understand what you mean by lowering the value.

Understood. Too bad there isn't some way to protect the banjo head from wear. Honestly, I have never seen one with the Le Domino script and the dominoes in tact on the head.


What is the best way to tie new uke strings on the tailpiece?

You can use beads. Really big knots (these can slip under tension). Or tie the strings to the tines of the tailpiece.

UKISOCIETY
06-19-2012, 09:53 AM
SCOOOOOOOOOOORE!!

Congrats! She's a beauty

Freeda
06-19-2012, 10:02 AM
These things never happen to me! Congrats on your score!

Pukulele Pete
06-19-2012, 10:38 AM
wow.........

The Big Kahuna
06-19-2012, 10:50 AM
Understood. Too bad there isn't some way to protect the banjo head from wear. Honestly, I have never seen one with the Le Domino script and the dominoes in tact on the head.

Take head off and hang on wall. Put new head on. Sorted.

Canoe Lady
06-19-2012, 04:46 PM
Very cool find! Congrats!