View Full Version : Banjolele Identification

07-19-2014, 09:14 AM
Good evening all,

I'm new to the forum. Hello. Right, now the formalities are over with I have a question for the experts out there.

I have been lent a banjolele from my landlords (along with some other other guitars that had markings so I could research and date).

This one has stumped me though as it has no markings whatsoever:


I know it's not much to go on. Well nothing really. I'm just hoping someone recognises some features.

- Richard

07-19-2014, 10:06 AM
The only idea I can come up with is that there may be some identification inside the instrument. Unfortunately, given the nature of the construction, it looks as though one would have to do a fairly major disassembly job on it to look. The "skin assembly", for want of a better term, should be removable from the wooden body (or vice versa) having unscrewed the eight screws on the periphery of the instrument. It's difficult to tell from the photos as to whether or not the wooden pot is a totally separate piece, or if the strings and maybe the tailpiece as well need to be removed to facilitate this. Probably depends whether the neck passes through the wooden body and is affixed to the metalwork, or if the neck is fastened to the woodwork. Your call ... and good luck if you go ahead. There shouldn't be any issues to worry about if you're competent with a screwdriver, but if you've any reservations at all I'd get someone else to do the work for you. Just bear in mind ... there may not be anything to see when you get inside !

07-19-2014, 12:21 PM
A damned fine representation of whatever model lit is. Haven't seen one of these before. Pretty little sucker

07-19-2014, 12:34 PM
The best way to answer your question is to look at websites with pics of other banjo-ukes, and then compare them. But that'll take some time. Here's a few to get you started:


07-19-2014, 12:35 PM
Kind of has a contemporary look to it...perhaps made recently. Perhaps a major refurb? If it's vintage. it's amazing. Headstock is distinctive, as is the tailpiece. Most scalloped tailpieces are ridged there this one is flat. Where are you located?

07-19-2014, 10:13 PM
Thanks gents.

Well it should be older than 1979 as that's when it went into the loft apparently. Obviously this is just information from my landlords. I pulled it down with a matching pair of 1962 Crucianelli Elite guitar and bass and a mid 70s Ibanez 12 string.

I'm located in Zürich, Switzerland.

I'll try to do some minor dismantling to find markings. I can see that the neck ends in the top of the body, no through job. The drum appears attached to the top of the body and floating at the bottom and sides, although the white plug confuses me.

It has a very high action on it, I think for comfortable playing a little would need shaving off the bridge.

I'll keep updates with pictures if possible.

Thanks again,
- Richard

07-20-2014, 04:52 AM
I'm going out on a limb and guess that it's British. However I'd suggest sending queries/pics to AndyBanjo and Antebellum instruments to cover both your bases: http://database.ukulelecorner.co.uk/home/lardy-fatboys-links

07-20-2014, 05:00 AM
It is British, I've seen this model a couple of times, even in a bigger 5 string model and a mandolin style.

07-20-2014, 06:01 AM

Same as this one.... I never found out what it was either! Probably GHS, British... Came in box saying dulcetta John Grey but think that was erroneous...

07-20-2014, 06:13 AM
Thanks guys, this info is a real help. Great find. Cool to think it's British, can it really be 1920s though or have I misread? Funny to ponder how it ended up in Switzerland. Can't imagine there were many importers mid century?

I have done some minor dismantling, all that is necessary probably. No markings inside:


Apologies for the image quality. Doing this all on my phone. Impressed at the forum allowing photo uploads from a mobile device.

There's certainly a weight to this instrument. What would be the guesses at a value?

- Richard

07-20-2014, 06:55 AM
Not a huge value, unless it's a rare and sought after model. These 20s/30s BUs go on the UK eBay for the equivalent of 100-200 Euros in playable condition.

07-20-2014, 09:13 AM
Haven't seen any banjo ukes this style any better than this one.