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View Full Version : help with old banjo ukulele



ichadwick
12-25-2008, 07:39 AM
I received a small, old banjo uke as an Xmas gift yesterday. It is in need of repair and restoration, as you can see by the pics below. There doesn't seem to be any logo or manufacturer's name on it. Could it be homemade?

It has a crack across the wooden back, but otherwise looks to be in decent condition and restorable.

I'm neither a luthier nor familiar with makes and styles of banjo uke. I'd appreciate any advice or recommendations as to how to best go about restoring this little instrument.

http://www.ianchadwick.com/blog%20pics/banjolele_back_01.jpg
http://www.ianchadwick.com/blog%20pics/banjolele_front_01.jpg
http://www.ianchadwick.com/blog%20pics/banjolele_head_01.jpg

ichadwick
12-25-2008, 07:40 AM
Just a couple of additional pictures:
http://www.ianchadwick.com/blog%20pics/banjolele_rear_01.jpg
http://www.ianchadwick.com/blog%20pics/banjolele_top_01.jpg
Any advice, help or suggestion as to how I start, and how to identify this instrument will be appreciated.

Cheyenne
11-13-2011, 07:58 AM
Hey! I just received an instrument like this one for my bday. Mine looks like it has had a hard life lol. So if you find out how to repair it and bring it back to life where i can play it please message me! it has a painting on the middle skin looking stuff and the owner told me it is probably from the 1920's and the painting was added by her cousins aunt. please help me on how to restore this cute little instrument so that i can play it for her. that was the deal, i can have it if i can play it! thanks!!!
Cheyenne
i dont know how to use this site yet so my email is c.summer2009@gmail.com THANKS

ProfChris
11-13-2011, 11:13 AM
Ian,

It looks like very little needs to be done to this.

The back is not structural, so you could live with the cracks and see if they're stable. If so, play it for a bit before deciding whether they need fixing. It looks as if the back is glued on (except where it's separated) but I can't see from the picture. This would be unusual in a commercial banjo uke - normally the back (resonator) is removable. If it's not glued (run a knife blade along the seam to check) then the fixing mechanism will be inside - remove head, take off back, glue up cracks, re-attach.

To make it playable I'd clean up the tailpiece (one screw holds it on) with metal polish or car paint restoring compound (in the Uk this is T-Cut, not sure what you have in Canada). Reattach.

Buy a 1/2 inch bridge and a set of strings, tension the head until it goes "ping" if you tap it, and then play!

PS: tension the head using opposite screws, working round the rim. 1/4 turn at a time.