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View Full Version : California style banjo ukes



UKEonomics
06-28-2012, 05:28 PM
I'm seeing a lot of these suckers on ebay lately and wondering if anyone out there could help me decide if I should buy one or lay off. Advantages/disadvantages as opposed to a "regular" banjo uke? Personal experience with one? Some of the things that I've read seem to indicate that they were made as a cheaper banjo uke substitute which makes me a little hesitant. Thanks everyone!

mds725
06-28-2012, 07:23 PM
It might help if you included links to some of the eBay auctions you mention. People are less likely to give you their opinions about specific instruments if they're not already familiar with those instruments and would have to go look for those instruments themselves.

UKEonomics
06-28-2012, 07:47 PM
Here (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Banjo-Ukulele-4-string-Vintage-and-good-looking-/390433443007?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5ae7a58cbf) and here (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Charleston-Banjo-Ukulele-/110903507118?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19d25d38ae).

Hope that might help out a bit. Just a couple of this style of banjo uke...I guess that these are "California style"?

TheCraftedCow
06-28-2012, 07:54 PM
If you are talking about the ones which have tuner post as are found on a piano, harp, or an auto harp, they certainly are inexpensive. Having a 34 string harp and an autoharp, they are a pain in the neck to get spot-on for tuning.

Can you send us some links,please.?

UKEonomics
06-28-2012, 08:09 PM
I posted a couple links to ebay auctions with these in the post above. Here's another link - this one to a blog with this style of banjo uke...

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2009/05/c1925-california-style-banjo-ukulele.html

ukeeku
06-29-2012, 01:25 AM
I have one that I got for $15, that needed a lot of work. they are fun. Not loud or anything. the susstain is nonexsistant since it is so small. the one thing that it is fun and the perfect banjo uke for ragtime.
The last 3 articles on this page are about mine, with a sound sample
http://ukeeku.com/category/projects/

UKEonomics
06-29-2012, 06:09 AM
Thanks so much! Good info here and an all around awesome site. Seems like it has a very mellow sound, which I dig. I'm hoping to find one that's more of a project that needs some fixing up, much like the one you found. Thanks again.

ukeeku
06-29-2012, 09:55 AM
Thanks so much! Good info here and an all around awesome site. Seems like it has a very mellow sound, which I dig. I'm hoping to find one that's more of a project that needs some fixing up, much like the one you found. Thanks again.
Do you want me to keep an eye out? I see them every so often. What level of repair are you willing to do?
A cracked rim or messed up neck is not worth your time, but having to replace a head, bridge, tuners, some fret filing are fun to do. also what price? ($20 - $40 is usual)

UKEonomics
06-29-2012, 11:13 AM
Do you want me to keep an eye out? I see them every so often. What level of repair are you willing to do?
A cracked rim or messed up neck is not worth your time, but having to replace a head, bridge, tuners, some fret filing are fun to do. also what price? ($20 - $40 is usual)

That would be very appreciative. I try to keep an eye on ebay but they tend to go for a little more than I'm willing to dish out. And yeah, a cracked rim or warped/cracked neck is not something I'm willing to invest my time and money into. The repairs that you mentioned are more up my alley...one of the appeals of vintage instruments to me is getting to tinker and fix them up. If you run into something in that price range and condition, I'd very much appreciate a holler! Thanks!

Kevin B
06-30-2012, 03:36 AM
I picked one up on eBay for $35. It had no fret wear. Was built in the 20's. I added strings, carved a nut, installed cheap friction tuners and a new (cut down) bridge. It is a blast. I am building aother banjo uke and actually bought the California to use it for a donor neck. However, once strung up I knew I couldn't sacrifice it as it is too much fun and has lots of music left in it.

Kevin B
06-30-2012, 03:41 AM
39671

This is the banjo ukulele I reference in my post above.

UKEonomics
06-30-2012, 08:56 AM
39671

This is the banjo ukulele I reference in my post above.

Nice job on this! I'd love to hear what it sounds like if you might have an audio sample....