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igorthebarbarian
04-06-2013, 06:51 PM
I have a Firefly banjo uke, soprano, which I really like. It's easy to play and it has just the basic Aquila gCEA re-entrant strings on it. I like the sound and have the basic chords down very well. But it's a little small. It has a 8" pot and would like to get at least 10+

So... I see the prices for the other banjo ukes on sites like Elderly are upwards of $400 for Gold Tone's and more for some of the resonator Lanikai's, which is outside of my immediate price range.

So, my thinking is that could I just take a cheap banjo from Craiglist in the $100-200 range and remove the 5th short-string. Would that work? Or I possibly think, from reading online, that I would need a Tenor Banjo, but those are rarer and harder to come by.

Also, I'm not sure what strings I could use either - preferably GCEA or even DGBE baritone (would just require converting the chords I know).

Has anyone done this already? Any advice would be appreciated - thanks!

Lori
04-06-2013, 08:12 PM
I picked up my banjo last week, and was surprise how big it is compared to ukuleles. A banjo is much, much bigger than a banjo uke. It will be nothing like your Firefly. It will have metal strings. I suggest staying with a banjo uke... finding a used one, or check out the Eddie Finn Banjo ukes. I looked briefly at one a few years ago at NAMM, and it looked like a nice option. If you are interested, I have a Mainland Concert Banjo Uke in excellent condition that I am in the market to sell. They are not in production anymore, but you could have mine with an excellent hard case for $300. PM me if you are interested.

–Lori

Ukeval
04-06-2013, 08:18 PM
I'm using tenor banjo, short scale, and tune it either in gcea or in baryton tuning (works better in gcea).
Look here :
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?79225-The-Linen-Cap-Banjo-low-g

I found vintages tenor banjo for less than 150 euros...

Captain_Lovehandles
04-07-2013, 01:15 AM
I have a Mainland concert banjolele as well. It's a very nice instrument for $300. I would recommend it. You'll be glad you still have your Firefly, though, for those times you don't need something so stinking loud.

I'd love to have one of those Fireflies on day. I play them every time I go to Uke Republic. Sailor Jim and I each had one the other day, playing through the Elton John for Ukulele book. It was a little weird, but it added something extra to the song "Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza".

BWright
04-09-2013, 03:35 AM
Aaron Keim has done what you are asking about. There is a YouTube video of him playing it. Also a YouTube video of another person "Uke-fying" an Irish tenor banjo with baritone Uke strings.

bonesigh
04-09-2013, 03:40 AM
My firefly is so loud it hurts my ears sometimes!

igorthebarbarian
04-09-2013, 08:13 PM
Aaron Keim has done what you are asking about. There is a YouTube video of him playing it. Also a YouTube video of another person "Uke-fying" an Irish tenor banjo with baritone Uke strings.

I have seen the Irish Tenor Banjo video and that's kind of what got me started thinking about it! Loved it. Just need more details I suppose

UKEonomics
04-10-2013, 11:57 AM
If you're handy with tools (or even if you're not and you just have some patience) you could always buy one of those 10" Remo Hand Drums for a pot and a Mainland Concert, Tenor, or Baritone Uke neck and put it together for a slightly larger version of the firefly.

SailingUke
04-10-2013, 12:22 PM
If you're handy with tools (or even if you're not and you just have some patience) you could always buy one of those 10" Remo Hand Drums for a pot and a Mainland Concert, Tenor, or Baritone Uke neck and put it together for a slightly larger version of the firefly.

Did I read somewhere they are working on a tenor firefly?

jefrs
04-10-2013, 12:53 PM
I have a banjo-ukulele made by Rally the DUB-5 http://www.straus.co.kr/dub5.htm which seems to be re-sold under several different brands.
8-in pot and roughly soprano uke scale length at ~14-in. Their DUB-1, I later discovered, has a longer scale and a nice tone.
I have had it a few years. I fixed the setup, lowered action. It now has a vellum head and Nylgut tenor strings (soprano strings are too short, tenor strings are fatter). I also removed the flange and resonator (which can now be reattached by a single screw) and lowered the shoes. I would describe the head tension as tight. I was told not to tighten it too much but that tension produced unpleasant "steel drum" tones. Tension is subjective term. The tone is now rather good.
The short neck is not suited for fancy melodies but then a banjo-uke is for blatting chords out. It is very loud and has a small cushion stuffed in the back for practice.
A larger head would make it louder and difficult to hold as a banjo-uke in the crook of the eblow and the resonator back makes it quite heavy.
Tenor banjos are either 17-in or 19-in scale, steel strung with a rather different bridge and tuned in fifths as is mandolin/violin (with variations). There are shorter scale versions known as a tango-banjo, basically a steel-strung banjo-uke tuned in fifths, and an 8-string version the mando-banjo, I gather the sound of these two generally gets described as "annoying".
If you want a tenor uke scale with a 10-in pot then that would be a short scale tenor banjo with uke strings.