banjo uke sidekick

oscar99

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Sep 9, 2021
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I really wanted to like this instrument, having played a uke and guitar for years BUT it is impossible to keep in tune. I might get 10 minute out it before a retune.

I have tried screwing down the screw in the pegs but I am fearful of damage them it I tighten more. Be interested in other players opinions or tips.

GH
 

anthonyg

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Yes, banjo ukuleles are somewhat MORE temperamental than regular ukuleles. Still, ten minutes between retunes isn't that bad, particularly with new strings. With new strings, it could take me a week or two of playing before the instrument was so stable that I wasn't checking (and retuning) the tuning every few songs and I'm talking about my regular ukuleles here.
The longer string run to the heel, makes the strings less stable from the start, and then the drum head has its own impact.
Yes they are fussy instruments.
 

Poul Hansen

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Nov 14, 2019
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Make sure the neck is fastened firmly as banjoleles and banjo go out of tune when pulling or pushing on the neck. Some can't even have a strap on, as the weight of the banjo will affect the tuning.
 

TCK

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A lot missing here- is your banjolele vintage or new? What scale? What strings? I will take a crack anyway and see if it helps. I have six of them (only one is modern) and this is what I do.
I will assume yours is concert scale or close as most are and first recommend (and these are the only ukes I use these strings on) Aquila strings with a wound C. These sound the best to my ear, but take WEEKS to settle in. I use D’Addario on all my other ukes which do not last as long but settle in faster (like a few hours).
Next, tune the head. G# note on tapping is what most recommend, but my ear really likes A. Find your sweet spot and always check it.
Last, if your neck is not fixed and is adjustable, make sure it is not moving.
I gig with a Maybell that is nearing 100 years old and she does fine with strings that have settled after a quick tune, even after some pretty wild temp changes (and a ride in the car often).
Setup is also pretty critical…luckily I had MusicGuyMike when I first logged on here and he taught me how to do that. I don’t think I have done enough yet to teach others.
Don’t give up, they are awesome instruments and whenever I haul mine out folks are happy to see it.
 

kypfer

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Sep 27, 2013
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To re-emphasise TCK's posting … skin tension is very important!
Too slack and you'll be fighting the instrument every step of the way!
I use Aquila "reds" #90U on my ageing John Grey & Sons soprano and they've been totally reliable, once they'd settled in, though the friction tuners did take some fine adjustment ;)