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Thread: Banjo ukulele quality

  1. #1
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    Default Banjo ukulele quality

    Hi, just curious what are the differences between the mid level and higher level banjo ukuleles in terms of playability and sound.

    For instance I tried a sidekick/duke ukulele and it was not right for me, felt clumsy in my hands and was harsh sounding (for my bad playing).

    I have looked at the gold tone and deering at the mid level, and the mya moe as a better instrument, but I am used to evaluating instruments based on Tonewood, and some other things that are not as applicable I think to the banjo.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    There are a couple of "mid-level" banjo ukes that you might look at: Waverly and Firefly. Either I believe are preferable to the heavy metal Asians you mentioned..............and are competitive price wise. The Mya-Moe (formerly Beansprout) is a high end, extremely well built great player. Perhaps the finest banjole on the market. Apples and oranges.
    Last edited by stevejfc; 07-28-2016 at 07:02 AM.

  3. #3
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    I believe the Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukuleles are made in the USA.

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    I have a resonated concert Lanikai and an open back tenor Gold Tone. The Lanikai is okay for strumming, but pretty quiet (for a banjolele) when finger picked. The Gold Tone is okay for both.

    Their both nice, but I prefer real banjos.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE- Fingerstyle
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Lo F BbDF Fingerstyle
    Luna “Peace” concert - CGBD Plectrum music

    Kala tenor eight string - gGcCEEAA Strum

    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA - Wall hanger
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B Wall hanger
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano - Wall hanger
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - Bookshelf

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osprey View Post
    I believe the Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukuleles are made in the USA.
    My apologies......you are correct. I was thinking of the Goldtone, Eddie Finn, Morgan Monroe varieties.

  6. #6
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    Depending on how you define "harsh," that may come with the territory with a banjo uke (although I prefer "brash"). Many banjo ukes have small (8") heads, which may exacerbate this by really emphasizing the treble tones-- this helps the banjo uke cut through the way it does, but it's not a tone for everyone. The Deering banjo uke, in addition to be extremely well-made, has a much larger head (11"), which gives it a fuller tone with more bass. While to my ear, it's not a "traditional" banjo uke tone (think George Formby), it still sounds great and may address your issue with harshness.

    I have a Gold Tone BU-C, which I think is a good middle-of-road instrument; good tone, good construction, decent price. I also have a Ludwig Wendell Hall, which sounds amazing...but costs a tad more .



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichM View Post
    Depending on how you define "harsh," that may come with the territory with a banjo uke (although I prefer "brash"). Many banjo ukes have small (8") heads, which may exacerbate this by really emphasizing the treble tones-- this helps the banjo uke cut through the way it does, but it's not a tone for everyone. The Deering banjo uke, in addition to be extremely well-made, has a much larger head (11"), which gives it a fuller tone with more bass. While to my ear, it's not a "traditional" banjo uke tone (think George Formby), it still sounds great and may address your issue with harshness.

    I have a Gold Tone BU-C, which I think is a good middle-of-road instrument; good tone, good construction, decent price. I also have a Ludwig Wendell Hall, which sounds amazing...but costs a tad more .
    I believe the Deering's head is 12"--very large . . .
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE- Fingerstyle
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Lo F BbDF Fingerstyle
    Luna “Peace” concert - CGBD Plectrum music

    Kala tenor eight string - gGcCEEAA Strum

    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA - Wall hanger
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B Wall hanger
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano - Wall hanger
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - Bookshelf

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevejfc View Post
    There are a couple of "mid-level" banjo ukes that you might look at: Waverly and Firefly. Either I believe are preferable to the heavy metal Asians you mentioned..............and are competitive price wise. The Mya-Moe (formerly Beansprout) is a high end, extremely well built great player. Perhaps the finest banjole on the market. Apples and oranges.
    Firefly an intermediate banjo uke? I certainly wouldn't classify it as such. Re: heavy metal Asians, none of them are as heavy as a Beansprout, accessories being equal. Asian banjo ukes, with the right setup, velum, and strings can hold their own with those costing much more.

  9. #9
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    I guess by harsh I am thinking of the lack of fullness, or the aspect of a banjo ukulele that can make it sound more mechanical than a banjo does.

    These are all helpful suggestions, it is sounding like the deering might be the way to go.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Down Up Dick View Post
    I believe the Deering's head is 12"--very large . . .
    I know nothing about banjos and banjoukes, so this is a good place to ask: Does a 12" head make the instrument substantially louder than a 8" one? Or is the main impact that the sound is fuller and deeper? Or both, like with, say, tenors vs. sopranos?

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