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View Full Version : banjolele.... can it be muted....???



TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 02:38 AM
Hi,
I'd like to buy a banjolele soprano open back because i like to play it jazzy ( especially with traditional jazz) ...but I'd like to now if it can be muted ( very very very much = to play it at night and to not bother neighbours)
....I tried buying a cheap electric one ( but I sent it back for bad sounding and hissing) but now I turned to a non electric one (to be more free and without cable).
But I still want to play it when i like and at night...can I put rags, soxes and whatever inside and get real weak sound from it if i need?


= I don't care if I don't get wonderful sounds for practicing, I care about not making noise during my training.

Can rugs do the job? or some other tips for stuffing it?
thanks
Francesca

Doc_J
10-20-2013, 02:44 AM
I've seen folks use blocks of sponge foam under the strings near the saddle.

kissing
10-20-2013, 03:29 AM
I think a "silent banjo" is a bit of a paradox..

Perhaps a good solution is to have two instruments - one proper Banjolele that you can play loud and proud like the instrument is designed, and one electric ukulele such as an Eleuke or Risa Uke-solid, which you can practice with silently at night.

If you're playing silently, it doesn't need to be a banjolele for you to imagine it being a banjolele...

lakesideglenn
10-20-2013, 03:40 AM
What Doc said...a little piece of foam or sponge under the strings behind the bridge works fine.

TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 03:47 AM
I think a "silent banjo" is a bit of a paradox..

Perhaps a good solution is to have two instruments - one proper Banjolele that you can play loud and proud like the instrument is designed, and one electric ukulele such as an Eleuke or Risa Uke-solid, which you can practice with silently at night.

If you're playing silently, it doesn't need to be a banjolele for you to imagine it being a banjolele...

I can't afford buy two instruments .... and I don't want an electric uke

the reason I want the soprano banjolele is because if I eventually don't like ukulele chords playing maybe I could convert it in fifth tuning (with the Aquila strings right set) ....
I'm a mandolin player...
so I just want to strum a uke with few sound as possible in the moments I need it to be so...in other moments I will play with its full sound as I will like to...

so my question is still:
can muted become not noisy in sound?
= I think that stuffing it would result less sound than with a regular uke ( in which I can't at all stuff inside the body any rugs etc)

TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 03:49 AM
What Doc said...a little piece of foam or sponge under the strings behind the bridge works fine.

with the sponge etc.... in terms of sound would it be louder than a regular soprano uke? or because it's a banjolele it would anyway be always louder?

Thumper
10-20-2013, 03:56 AM
The Zither Heaven all-wood banjo ukulele is extremely quiet if you play it with your fingers, but very loud if you play it with a pick. But it's a longer neck than a soprano - it feels longer than a tenor. I got mine from Wayfair - if you watch their website and/or sign up for their email lists, they have frequent coupon/discount deals. I got mine for about 72 bucks.

http://www.wayfair.com/Zither-Heaven-Ukulele-Banjo-XWL1033.html

Obviously it's a lot different from traditional banjoleles, but I'm really enjoying mine, and I don't mind using the tuning wrench. To me the biggest surprise was the massive increase in volume when I switch from fingers to a pick. The pick really makes the wooden soundboard wake up and "speak," but the instrument is very quiet when strummed or plucked with fingers.

Pundabaya
10-20-2013, 04:13 AM
Stuffing the back with a towel should work fine. You can get mutes for a bango, that sit on top of a the bridge, but I'm not sure whether a) you can get them in uke size, or b)whether they mute enough for your purpose.

TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 04:19 AM
The Zither Heaven all-wood banjo ukulele is extremely quiet if you play it with your fingers, but very loud if you play it with a pick. But it's a longer neck than a soprano - it feels longer than a tenor. I got mine from Wayfair - if you watch their website and/or sign up for their email lists, they have frequent coupon/discount deals. I got mine for about 72 bucks.
Obviously it's a lot different from traditional banjoleles, but I'm really enjoying mine, and I don't mind using the tuning wrench. To me the biggest surprise was the massive increase in volume when I switch from fingers to a pick. The pick really makes the wooden soundboard wake up and "speak," but the instrument is very quiet when strummed or plucked with fingers.
http://www.wayfair.com/Zither-Heaven-Ukulele-Banjo-XWL1033.html

thanks for reply and info...but I'm european and I must choose nearby to avoid shipping charges...
PLUS: i want the soprano scale to fit aquila tuned in fifth if I like in futuru to have a "mandolin" sort of banjo
I've in mind to take this one:
Anuenue because I like its look and I think it should be good quality.... I heard the sound on internet...seems good...
http://www.anuenue-uke.com/html_version/#frame_ukulele_23
the 1 soprano
Do you now this brand or have info about people who bought this banjolele....to confirm that it is good?

TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 04:22 AM
Stuffing the back with a towel should work fine. You can get mutes for a bango, that sit on top of a the bridge, but I'm not sure whether a) you can get them in uke size, or b)whether they mute enough for your purpose.

thanks... so if you say that the towel lowers ok ... then I would like very much to not spend money for mutes :)

ichadwick
10-20-2013, 05:52 AM
I've seen folks use blocks of sponge foam under the strings near the saddle.
What I do: buy bags of inexpensive sponge and cut them to different sizes, so I can mute in increments. I place the blocks under the skin, nestled between the skin and the wooden bar that runs from the neck.

Lori
10-20-2013, 06:29 AM
thanks for reply and info...but I'm european and I must choose nearby to avoid shipping charges...
PLUS: i want the soprano scale to fit aquila tuned in fifth if I like in futuru to have a "mandolin" sort of banjo
I've in mind to take this one:
Anuenue because I like its look and I think it should be good quality.... I heard the sound on internet...seems good...
http://www.anuenue-uke.com/html_version/#frame_ukulele_23
the 1 soprano
Do you now this brand or have info about people who bought this banjolele....to confirm that it is good?
I have seen Anuenue ukes in stores around here, and they seem fine. I have never heard anybody with any problems with that company or their ukes. I would buy a Anuenue Banjo Uke.

–Lori

TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 07:12 AM
thanks Lory for Anuenue feedback :) ... I also heard well and it isn't a very cheap one so should be fine...I don't want to spend too much but also I don't want a cheap one that in future may result in uneasy or hard to play for the left hand... so it's better to start with a good one to keep (here where I live there aren't many uke players and it would be difficult to find someone interested to buy a used uke).

TUMB's up
10-20-2013, 07:17 AM
What I do: buy bags of inexpensive sponge and cut them to different sizes, so I can mute in increments. I place the blocks under the skin, nestled between the skin and the wooden bar that runs from the neck.

thanks Ian for further info about shaped foam... but can someone tell me if with much foam the volume is less or at least equal to the traditional models?
... i hope should be less :uhoh:

barefootgypsy
10-20-2013, 08:10 AM
thanks... so if you say that the towel lowers ok ... then I would like very much to not spend money for mutes :)Stuffing the back with a sponge or a towel will make it a little quieter, but not really that much - it does more to modify the sound than to quieten it. The bit of sponge under the strings should be much more effective....

BigMamaJ40
10-20-2013, 12:53 PM
I have a stuffed bear stuffed into the back of my banjolele. He's cute, and although he appears to be in some pain, he is always smiling when I pull him out to show people.

And, as Lesley noted, he's there to change the sound, not necessarily to make the uke quieter. I think you need a mute on the bridge, like this|http://http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Tone-Ultimate-Banjo-Mute/dp/B0041T4DK4 (http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Tone-Ultimate-Banjo-Mute/dp/B0041T4DK4)

Or this: http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Tone-Iucci-Banjo-Mute/dp/B0041T4DJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1303617077&sr=8-1

ichadwick
10-21-2013, 03:53 AM
thanks Ian for further info about shaped foam... but can someone tell me if with much foam the volume is less or at least equal to the traditional models?
... i hope should be less :uhoh:
Muted = less volume. How much the volume decreases depends on the size of foam and where you place it. Right under the saddle mutes the most.

TUMB's up
10-21-2013, 04:06 AM
ok ...thanks for info... but I still didn't understand if a muted banjolele sounds in volume :
A) less then a normal one ( normal = traditional soprano uke)
B) equal to a normal one
C) always will be louder then a normal one

RichM
10-21-2013, 05:18 AM
If you really want to mute a banjo, focus on the bridge. The bridge transmit sound from the strings to the head; if you want to stop sound it its tracks, the bridge is the place to do it.

The foam mute is a good start; places it under the strings behind the bridge, but right up against the bridge. Your banjo uke will be much quieter, but still quite audible. You might even like the more restrained tone.

Conventional banjo mutes sit right on the bridge, which kill the vibrations at the bridge and can make a banjo very quiet indeed. Since I don't think they make a banjo mute that is sized appropriately for a banjo uke, here's a cheap and easy way to make your own: get two wooden clamp-style clothes pins. Glue a little something soft like a bit of cork or leather on the tips to prevent them marring your bridge. Clamp one on the bridge of your banjo uke (sideways, so it doesn't interfere with your strings. Your banjo uke should be much quiet. Need more muting? Clamp the other one on the other side. Your uke will look weird, but it will be very quiet.

For most people, the foam block should be plenty.

TUMB's up
10-21-2013, 08:34 AM
If you really want to mute a banjo, focus on the bridge. The bridge transmit sound from the strings to the head; if you want to stop sound it its tracks, the bridge is the place to do it.

The foam mute is a good start; places it under the strings behind the bridge, but right up against the bridge. Your banjo uke will be much quieter, but still quite audible. You might even like the more restrained tone.

Conventional banjo mutes sit right on the bridge, which kill the vibrations at the bridge and can make a banjo very quiet indeed. Since I don't think they make a banjo mute that is sized appropriately for a banjo uke, here's a cheap and easy way to make your own: get two wooden clamp-style clothes pins. Glue a little something soft like a bit of cork or leather on the tips to prevent them marring your bridge. Clamp one on the bridge of your banjo uke (sideways, so it doesn't interfere with your strings. Your banjo uke should be much quiet. Need more muting? Clamp the other one on the other side. Your uke will look weird, but it will be very quiet.

For most people, the foam block should be plenty.

thanks RichM for the way of doing the mute you added good info and with the other ones I understood how to do the muting....
but I still would like to know ( from someone who owns a banjolele and a traditional ukulele or that has some experience in such things ) if the muted banjolele then goes less in the volume in comparison.

fernandogardinali
10-21-2013, 09:02 AM
I use one of those: http://www.amazon.com/Glaesel-Violin-Ultra-Practice-Mute/dp/B0002II6V0

I think it's the best cheap option. It reduces dramatically the volume, sounds even quieter than wooden ukes.

RichM
10-21-2013, 09:03 AM
thanks RichM for the way of doing the mute you added good info and with the other ones I understood how to do the muting....
but I still would like to know ( from someone who owns a banjolele and a traditional ukulele or that has some experience in such things ) if the muted banjolele then goes less in the volume in comparison.

I don't think there is an answer to that question. Depends on the banjo uke. Depends on the "traditional ukulele" you're comparing it to. I would experiment with the muting methods that have been discussed here until you get the volume and tone you're looking for.

fernandogardinali
10-21-2013, 09:05 AM
ok ...thanks for info... but I still didn't understand if a muted banjolele sounds in volume :
A) less then a normal one ( normal = traditional soprano uke)
B) equal to a normal one
C) always will be louder then a normal one

A muted banjolele (with a violin rubber mute) will sound quieter than a wooden uke.

Shazzbot
10-21-2013, 09:10 AM
It's obvious:
Put a sock in it.

Flyinby
10-21-2013, 10:25 AM
I took the resonator off my Lanikai banjolele, and stuffed what was handy (a blouse my wife had taken out of the dryer) inside the head. It does mute it a lot, and in fact I kind of like the mellow sound. I'd say forget trying to figure out where exactly to place something, and just find an old soft shirt or something that fits nicely inside. There's even a nice metal rod going across to keep it in place on mine.

Strumming hard, with the fingernails, it's a lot quieter than either my Flea soprano or a laminated Islander soprano, there's no question. Picked with the thumb, it's a pretty soft sound (again, not unpleasant at all), and noticeably a bit quieter than the two sopranos similarly picked. I have another soprano, a Bushman-Engelman, which is pretty quiet anyway, and the banjolele still seems a bit quieter than that, though not so noticeable as with the other two.

I don't think you'll have any problem being quiet with a rag stuffed in there, assuming the Anuenue behaves similarly. If you pluck with the thumb or fingers, it's very mellow and quiet, and if you really strum hard with the fingernails, it gets loud enough that you'll be noticed, but you don't have to strum that hard, or don't use the nails.

I think the rag (oops, blouse) works well because it contacts a large area of the skin, and dampens it accordingly, instead of just working on one particular area.

TUMB's up
10-21-2013, 12:04 PM
I use one of those: http://www.amazon.com/Glaesel-Violin-Ultra-Practice-Mute/dp/B0002II6V0

I think it's the best cheap option. It reduces dramatically the volume, sounds even quieter than wooden ukes.

:) thanks very much ... from your avatar I see you've a banjolele and as you use the mute you showed me, I think I will get one :) ...
it's very important for me to have had this advice because I have to choose which uke to purchase... but firstly I needed to know the level of loudness...
so ... I think I'll go for the nice anuenue banjolele soprano :)

TUMB's up
10-21-2013, 12:14 PM
I took the resonator off my Lanikai banjolele, and stuffed what was handy (a blouse my wife had taken out of the dryer) inside the head. It does mute it a lot, and in fact I kind of like the mellow sound. I'd say forget trying to figure out where exactly to place something, and just find an old soft shirt or something that fits nicely inside. There's even a nice metal rod going across to keep it in place on mine.

Strumming hard, with the fingernails, it's a lot quieter than either my Flea soprano or a laminated Islander soprano, there's no question. Picked with the thumb, it's a pretty soft sound (again, not unpleasant at all), and noticeably a bit quieter than the two sopranos similarly picked. I have another soprano, a Bushman-Engelman, which is pretty quiet anyway, and the banjolele still seems a bit quieter than that, though not so noticeable as with the other two.

I don't think you'll have any problem being quiet with a rag stuffed in there, assuming the Anuenue behaves similarly. If you pluck with the thumb or fingers, it's very mellow and quiet, and if you really strum hard with the fingernails, it gets loud enough that you'll be noticed, but you don't have to strum that hard, or don't use the nails.

I think the rag (oops, blouse) works well because it contacts a large area of the skin, and dampens it accordingly, instead of just working on one particular area.

Thanks very much for your example with sound comparisons... I'll get me a banjolele :) :) :) ... I think I won't be a "violent" strummer... even at late night hours when I play my A style mando ( with plectrum) nobody complains so the muted uke should be a good guy too :)

neo1022
03-12-2018, 04:46 PM
Best muting method for banjo uke is "Mike's Banjo Mute" (http://www.mikesbanjomute.com).

Solid brass and aluminum bars that screws onto the bridge, muting the strings. Very well made, very convenient, and very effective. Actually gives the uke a nice mellow guitar-like sound with amazing resonance. Tones remain clear, but volume is cut way back...

Can't recommend highly enough!