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Thread: banjolele advice please

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    21

    Default banjolele advice please

    hi, I am a clawhammer banjo player who has recently gotten into ukuleles. Being into banjo and now ukes and having acquired 2 tenor ukes, I have decided I would like to buy a banjolele. I want tenor scale. Unforunately where I live ukes are not very popular so I really cant try any banjoleles without driving long trips.
    My clawhamner banjo I use is a gold tone which I really like, so I have been considering the gold tone tenor banjolele. From the reviews and sound sample I have heard it seems like a good choice.
    But now I have seen ohana makes a tenor banjolele that is quite a bit cheaper than the gold tone. Wondering if anyone has any experience with both and how the ohana compares to the gold tone. The gold tone seems to have a nice banjo sound. What about the ohana?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    I see Mim has both in stock:
    https://www.mimsukes.com/listing/mim...e-362/16788801

    I had the Gold Tone BUT for awhile and you can't go wrong with that - though it is built like a tank. The back is removable so you have some options though I never took mine off. I see the Ohana has both open and closed back models so I don't know if the closed back is designed to be removable.

    I'd send Mim an email and see what she thinks of the 3 models and the differences between them. She might even be able to give you a playing sample. And I wouldn't get one from anywhere else. It will be setup right and good to go out of the box.
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Sumter County, FL
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    Another alternative is The Duke 10 banjo-uke. It is tenor-length, has a ten-inch drum and comes with a built-in pick-up. I tuned mine CGDA, the same as my tenor banjo, and gets a lot of playing time.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T), Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), Lanikai LU-22T (T), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T), Lanikai LB6-S (S)
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)

    Ukuleles, Guitars & Banjo tuned CGDA, Banjo-Ukes tuned Reentrant C CGDA, Mandolin tuned GDAE

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2018
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    yeah thanks Jim. I am planning on buying from her if I buy one of them. I guess I will do as you suggest and ask her
    Last edited by rickyfreeman; 12-24-2018 at 11:04 AM.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2018
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    steve, ok I was considering the duke 10 earlier but I read somewhere they went out of business. I just checked their web site and it seems they are in business. Good to know. Yeah, That 10 drum and a pickup make this one a top pick of the 3 for me and about the same price as the goldtone. I lisrened to some samples and it sounds good to me. Since you say it gets a lot of playing time I guess I might go with this one
    Last edited by rickyfreeman; 12-24-2018 at 11:04 AM.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2016
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
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    For a tenor banjo uke don't forget to consider the Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly or the brand new Outdoor Ukulele Tenor Banjo Uke as well. The Outdoor banjo uke is too new to have any reviews just yet, but I used to own both a Duke 10 and Firefly, but sold the Duke.

    Then of course there's the Deering if you have lots of money and a strong back. Love how the Deering sounds, and it probably has the most authentic "banjo" sound, but it's quite heavy and the neck felt very cramped due to the tuners being so close to the nut.
    Last edited by besley; 12-24-2018 at 12:19 PM.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  7. #7
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    Dec 2018
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    21

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    yeah I might consider the firefly.
    The outdoor one looks interesting. It has a 11 inch head like the deering but only weighs 42 oz according to the website. Except I dont see any way to tune the head if needed. seems to have a lot of bracing too. Not sure if that is good or bad.
    Yeah I think I will stay away from the deering. One of the reasons I want a banjolele is to get away from the weight of my banjo. Also I dont want to spend that much.
    Last edited by rickyfreeman; 12-24-2018 at 12:24 PM.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2016
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyfreeman View Post
    ....The outdoor one looks interesting. It has a 11 inch head like the deering but only weighs 42 oz according to the website. Except I dont see any way to tune the head if needed....
    Well their website says that it has "an internal stainless steel head tensioning system", so I wouldn't worry about that aspect. Getting a case to fit would be another matter!
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  9. #9
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    Dec 2018
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    haha yeah. thats another thing to consider

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    It all goes back to sound and feel. The closest to "banjo with nylon strings" is the Deering since it's really a shorter-necked version of Deering's 17-Fret tenor banjo. I once had a Deering concert banjo-uke at the same time as my Deering 17-fret. The sound was superb, but the weight was effectively no different than the tenor banjo.

    Had three Dukes along the way, and the ten-inch drum Duke 10 is still here. To me the sound is second-best to the Deering, but the weight is about one-third that of the Deering. I often go from the Duke to the Deering tenor banjo and back, with no clear favorite.

    Have not played a GoldTone, but have played the Firefly. I prefer being able to tune the head as they do eventually stretch, if only from the pressure of the bridge caused by the pressure of the strings. Tuning keeps the sound from being "thumpy," but some folk may desire that sound.

    I picked up a soprano Lanikai a while back during a clearance sale (the price was too good to ignore). Even with the small head (6 inches), the drum tones well. Combined with string choices determined after a lot of experimentation, the sound is in the "not too bad" range. It makes for a handy "throw in the car" instrument.

    The question then becomes one of intent. If the goal is to have a lightweight, nylon stringed banjo-equivalent instrument with a feel and sound similar to a tenor banjo, then drum size, weight and tune-ability lean toward one bunch of choices. If the goal is a more "uke-sounding" instrument with none of the banjo-centric maintenance requirements, then other choices are there. Odds are that whichever you choose, down the road there will probably be a second or third added to the stable, if only for the fun of it all.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T), Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), Lanikai LU-22T (T), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T), Lanikai LB6-S (S)
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)

    Ukuleles, Guitars & Banjo tuned CGDA, Banjo-Ukes tuned Reentrant C CGDA, Mandolin tuned GDAE

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

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