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Thread: What would be more fun?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default What would be more fun?

    I am a complete novice, but would love to learn to play a uke. I have researched both concert uke’s and banjo uke’s. What would be more fun to buy? I would enjoy reading some opinions.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018


    "Fun" is in the ear of the beholder. That said, I think you should get ukulele or a banjo, but not a banjo ukulele. With a banjo uke, you'll be (presumably) listening to (etc) videos played on a ukulele, but your instrument will sound like a banjo.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Wiltshire, UK


    Banjo ukes are a lot louder, so if you think your housemates and neighbours would like to share the fun, get one of those.

  4. #4


    I started on a banjo uke, but then I was primarily interested in learning clawhammer banjo. 5 years later I came back around to the ukulele which I’m playing much more than the banjo at this time. Banjo uke from my experience will be louder, more percussive, have less sustain, and perhaps draw more attention. While banjo uke is by no means a one trick pony, a traditional ukulele can be a more versatile instrument. Which appeals to you more? The more fun instrument is going to be a pretty personal thing. Ultimately I’d be happy with a quality instrument either way. When I went to a bluegrass festival this month I took my fiddle and a tenor ukulele.
    Last edited by bf_; 08-03-2019 at 08:25 AM. Reason: Typo correcto

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016


    Banjo ukes sound a bit like banjos. If that's the sound you are after, then go for it. If it's not, then don't. They would both be equally fun.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    What kind of music do you want to play? Music is in the ear of the beholder of course, but I think generally a banjo uke is a good fit for 1920s-30s jazz and Tin Pan Alley songs. Also music hall comedy songs a la George Formby. It's also nice for 19th-century folksongs and back-country blues.

    A standard uke is a better fit for Hawaiian music and styles where you want a more guitar-like sound. People don't expect to hear rock or country or hipster singer-songwriters on a banjo. Not that you can't do it, but it's swimming upstream. A standard uke is more forgiving of beginners. The tone is softer and the notes don't have that sharp attack that makes wrong notes obvious. You can strum the thing hard and not with great precision. OTOH a banjo uke teaches you better technique from the start.

    A standard uke is more versatile overall -- and you can get a decent one for less money -- but go with the sound you love best. If you choose a banjo uke, get one with an open back or at least a resonator you can remove. With an open back it's much easier to control the volume and play a wider variety of music.

    The general public -- by which I mean people who happen by when I'm playing uke -- always respond best to a banjo uke. In the USA at least, people think a banjo sound is happy. So when you ask which is more fun, I gotta say banjo.

    I spend Thursday night playing Grateful Dead songs on a Firefly. It was perfect.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Ames, Iowa


    My own opinion, a regular traditional ukulele is more versatile than a banjo ukulele. But if it were the sound of a banjo that was calling to me, I would just go with the real thing.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL


    Hal....Lots of players own both.
    I play my ukes a lot more than I play my banjouke, but that depends on what I am using it for.
    We do lots of Irish folk music, and I always crack the banjouke out for that.
    Other than that, I just play one of my ukes. For example, if you decide to play Hawaiian music, forget the banjouke.
    In some settings, like an ukulele jam session, banjoukes might even be banned, because if their clangy loudness....
    Let us know what you come up with!
    Happy hunting.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    San Francsico Bay Area


    Most of this has already been stated, but here is my story/ opinion

    I have a tenor strung with guitar strings that plays an octave lower than standard. AND I’m learning to use a bow to play on it.
    I have an 8 string which gives a fuller sound than a standard.
    I have a resonator Banjolele which is loud, clangy and fun to play - but a little more difficult.

    All three have their use and place, but those three tend to be more specific.
    And I have a standard concert and tenor which are my everyday, play anything and everything.

    The Banjolele is GREAT on San Francsico Bay Blues, but limited on most songs
    The Concert and Tenor work fine on SF Bay Blues, and are sweet on love songs and really rock out on The Rolling Stones HONKY TONK WOMAN. Something I can not see playing well on a Banjolele.

    My advice, save the Banjolele for your second or third.
    Last edited by Another Ukulele; 08-04-2019 at 08:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Sunny Jersey - where the cows come from!


    Just to reiterate what others have said, a banjolele can be a fine instrument in the right hands for certain genres of music ... and I love my 1930's "John Grey & Son", but it gets nothing like the amount of use that my "conventional" instruments get!

    My advice to anyone starting out :- try to find a good quality conventional second-hand instrument in whatever size best suits you. In the event you decide the ukulele isn't for you, the resale price of the instrument should be much what you paid for it, assuming no further wear or damage

    YMMV - Good luck!
    Last edited by kypfer; 08-05-2019 at 07:26 AM. Reason: spelling
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

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