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View Full Version : Can I fix this and is it a uke or a banjo



Ninhydrin
05-20-2014, 08:13 AM
Ok so I have found this in our loft and believe it could be my great grandfathers, it's seen better days and looks mass produced but I'd love to get it working again if possible, from the pics what do you guys think?

fynger
05-20-2014, 09:23 AM
Doesn't look like it would take much to fix up...altho i found it hard to find those bent hooks...there are other styles tho...Its a banjolele..also called a ukulele banjo or banjo ukulele.....the biggest job you may have would be to re-angle the neck if it needed it...but you wont find that out untill you put strings and a bridge on it to find out what the action is like.

Ninhydrin
05-20-2014, 09:50 AM
Doesn't look like it would take much to fix up...altho i found it hard to find those bent hooks...there are other styles tho...Its a banjolele..also called a ukulele banjo or banjo ukulele.....the biggest job you may have would be to re-angle the neck if it needed it...but you wont find that out untill you put strings and a bridge on it to find out what the action is like.

Thanks for clearing up that it's a banjolele :)
Will it be worth taking it to a music shop to see if they could restore it or is this going to be something I can do myself being non musical (for now)

Lori
05-20-2014, 10:14 AM
I notice that George Formby is on the headstock. Are you in the UK? He was pretty famous in the UK, and there are still many fans that might be interested in it. You might be able to find parts easier in the UK as well.

–Lori

Ninhydrin
05-20-2014, 10:40 AM
Yes I'm in the uk, I wouldn't think its worth all that much I think these were mass produced, although I "believe" it to be my great grandfathers and he died in 1943, I would love it to be dated so I could possibly confirm this.

kypfer
05-20-2014, 11:00 AM
I have a similar banjolele, great fun :)

First off, get a set of nylon strings (NOT steel), don't worry about the missing hooks for the time being, slip a piece of suitable material in as a bridge (I've used a piece of wooden ruler in the past, sanded to fit) and try it out. If it sounds good to you it probably is worth spending a little time on it :)

Instruments like this sell on eBay UK for around 100, yours appears to have a good skin, so a set of strings and a couple of hooks should be your only real outlay ... nice find, especially in a case :)

kypfer
05-20-2014, 11:01 AM
I have a similar banjolele, great fun :)

First off, get a set of nylon strings (NOT steel), don't worry about the missing hooks for the time being, slip a piece of suitable material in as a bridge (I've used a piece of wooden ruler in the past, sanded to fit) and try it out. If it sounds good to you it probably is worth spending a little time on it :)

Instruments like this sell on eBay UK for around 100, yours appears to have a good skin, so a set of strings and a couple of hooks should be your only real outlay ... nice find, especially in a case :)

Ninhydrin
05-20-2014, 11:14 AM
Thanks for you reply, I'm over the moon with the find and 100 is more than I thought, I will get some strings and a cheap bridge off the auction site and see what it sounds like, fingers crossed!

kwall
05-20-2014, 01:31 PM
I would deff keep it restore it etc, really nice looking. and even if it was mass produced doesnt mean it is a bad thing, lots of quality items can be mass produced.

PhilUSAFRet
05-20-2014, 03:24 PM
This is a U.S. company, but may be of some help: http://www.ukuleleworld.com/Banjo-Uke-Parts/

Find it here? https://www.google.com/search?q=george+formby+banjo+ukulele&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=cwB8U-bQAs7QsQSGtoHYCg&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAw&biw=1280&bih=542

Ninhydrin
05-20-2014, 08:27 PM
Thanks I wonder if they ship worldwide, I will have a look after work

PhilUSAFRet
05-20-2014, 11:50 PM
Don't forget to Google banjo ukulele parts in your neck of the woods.

Condor
05-21-2014, 01:12 AM
Ninhydrin, there is a specialist guy in the uk, I think the site is andybanjo.com - he does strings suitable for the ukulele banjo and gives lots of other details. These were mass produced in the 1920's and 30s, in the Formby heyday, but many have been battered and wrecked - yours looks to be in good condition apart from needing a bridge and strings, all quite cheap, in the first instance. I know Andy Banjo has a workshop and they will do a full restoration, which you might consider given it was your grandads - they are easy to pack securely and send by courier as they are very light. They are always quite desirable in decent condition with case, although not worth a fortune!

Definitely do not need to get strings or spares from outside the UK - try the local specialists first. Around 15 shpuld get strings, a bridge and postage - and see how it goes!

Ninhydrin
05-21-2014, 03:00 AM
I have found a shop 12 miles from me, it's in and should be ready for the weekend :) he said the head/neck is straight so just needs the strings and bridge...I'm excited to hear how it sounds

kypfer
05-21-2014, 09:50 AM
just needs the strings and bridge...I'm excited to hear how it sounds ... excellent :)

Just don't give up on it too soon if it doesn't meet your immediate expectations. We all know (I assume) that nylon strings take a few days to "bed in". Add to that the skin getting used to being under load again (it's almost certainly "real skin", not plastic), also, with a skin being flexible, as one string is tuned it can cause other strings to go slightly out of tune, so getting any banjo to that happy state of being in tune and staying there does take a little more effort than with an all-wood instrument, but the results really are uniquely worth it ... enjoy :)

Ninhydrin
05-22-2014, 10:42 AM
Thanks kypfer this will be my first musical instrument at the age of 37!!! I'm going to get a book and watch lots of you tube videos and maybe just maybe I might be able to strum something in tune ;)

kwall
05-22-2014, 03:36 PM
Keep us updated and dont give up