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Thread: Banjo ukes vs. banjos

  1. #1
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    Default Banjo ukes vs. banjos

    Seeing the thread on banjo ukes that was asking about the sound made me wonder how different playing a banjo uke is from playing a banjo.

    I've been watching the Ken Burns program on Country Music, which reminded me that I always thought it would be fun to play banjo. I think I would, at this point in my life, need a kid's size banjo. (I'm a small person, and have had some injuries.)

    Probably not going to find an answer here, but if anyone has ever played something the size of the Deering Goodtime Parlor Banjo, (which is smaller and lighter than a standard banjo, from what I've read), how does the neck compare to a concert ukulele?

    What is the advantage of a banjo ukulele vs a banjo?
    Last edited by Joyful Uke; 09-23-2019 at 12:07 PM.

  2. #2

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    I play the 5 string banjo and banjolele plus ukulele.
    The main difference is the 5th drone string on a standard banjo.
    The banjo uke is much small and has only four string tuned as an ukulele.
    The banjo uke is also a lot smaller and easier to carry about.
    Really quite different and not a Bluegrass or Parlor banjo.
    Both are lots of fun, but a totally different learning scale.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katzuke View Post
    I play the 5 string banjo and banjolele plus ukulele.
    The main difference is the 5th drone string on a standard banjo.
    The banjo uke is much small and has only four string tuned as an ukulele.
    There is also a tenor banjo that I think is less commonly used. The big difference is that there are several different ways to tune the 5-string banjo with most of them in some kind of open tuning. There are also several different schools of banjo picking mainly divided into the bluegrass and clawhammer groups. I think the banjo-uke is just tuned like an ukulele and basically played like one too; it's just louder and sounds a bit different. It would take quite some commitment to learn playing banjo and it's likely a huge step up from ukulele basics.
    Last edited by merlin666; 09-23-2019 at 11:54 AM.

  4. #4

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    I posted this awhile ago going through the same thing. I like a more banjo sound and you can get close and retain lightness if you go with a Duke10 tenor. The one that really sounds like a banjo is a Deering, but to me at least, it's like having a small child sit on your lap (yes, hyperbole).
    That Gold Tone Little gem sounds pretty banjo-y is lightish, but to me the neck just didn't feel right in my hand. This is all subjective of course.
    If I played better I'd snatch up one of those Waverlys on sale in another thread. Listen to the video and see if you like it. Good luck!

    I'm loving the Ken Burns, and I can't wait for the section with Dolly tomorrow. Get to see her 10/12!

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...banjo-sounding
    Last edited by captain-janeway; 09-23-2019 at 11:51 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the link to the other thread.

    I did a chat with a person at Elderly who seemed like no one had ever asked him to compare a Parlor Banjo to a ukulele neck before. Huh, they don't get that question all the time? LOL.

    He claims that the Parlor Banjo would be closer to the fret spacing of a concert ukulele than a tenor, which is what I had hoped. Not sure if that's accurate or not, since he was confused about my question at first. But, they do have a 30 day return policy, so I would just be out shipping if it doesn't work for my hands.

    I've been listening to some videos, and think that something closer to an actual banjo might be closer to what I'd want, as I want to learn 5-string bluegrass style, I think, vs. clawhammer, (though that's pretty cool too.) Will have to give it some thought, while I enjoy the rest of the Ken Burns program.

    I know a ukulele neck is more likely to work for me, though, so I might have to consider the uke banjo instead. Or just stick to "regular" ukulele, since I still have lots of work to do there. :-)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    Thanks for the link to the other thread.

    I did a chat with a person at Elderly who seemed like no one had ever asked him to compare a Parlor Banjo to a ukulele neck before. Huh, they don't get that question all the time? LOL.

    He claims that the Parlor Banjo would be closer to the fret spacing of a concert ukulele than a tenor, which is what I had hoped. Not sure if that's accurate or not, since he was confused about my question at first. But, they do have a 30 day return policy, so I would just be out shipping if it doesn't work for my hands.

    I've been listening to some videos, and think that something closer to an actual banjo might be closer to what I'd want, as I want to learn 5-string bluegrass style, I think, vs. clawhammer, (though that's pretty cool too.) Will have to give it some thought, while I enjoy the rest of the Ken Burns program.

    I know a ukulele neck is more likely to work for me, though, so I might have to consider the uke banjo instead. Or just stick to "regular" ukulele, since I still have lots of work to do there. :-)
    Definitely post up what you find out when you get it. Compare it to the concert uke for fret spacing, nut width, etc. Oh, also the weight. I'm really curious to find out. I hadn't seen one of those Palors before. I want to learn the picking too.
    I made myself a couple of banjo ukes with 10" remo drum heads and both concert and soprano necks that I chopped off cheap ukes. I don't quite have the break angles right, but they're not half bad.

  7. #7
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    When I was in a luthier's home one day, I saw a 5 steel string banjo on his wall. It was the size of a banjouke. It was very old. I wanted to buy it, but he won't sell it.
    I wonder if anyone builds them these days?
    "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.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    When I was in a luthier's home one day, I saw a 5 steel string banjo on his wall. It was the size of a banjouke. It was very old. I wanted to buy it, but he won't sell it.
    I wonder if anyone builds them these days?
    If you find one, please let us know.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain-janeway View Post
    Definitely post up what you find out when you get it. Compare it to the concert uke for fret spacing, nut width, etc. Oh, also the weight. I'm really curious to find out. I hadn't seen one of those Palors before. I want to learn the picking too.
    I made myself a couple of banjo ukes with 10" remo drum heads and both concert and soprano necks that I chopped off cheap ukes. I don't quite have the break angles right, but they're not half bad.
    I'm not for sure buying it, but by the time the Ken Burns program finishes, I might not be able to resist. LOL.

    Here are the specs, if you're interested:
    https://www.elderly.com/products/dee...e-parlor-banjo

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    If you find one, please let us know.
    This guy makes them.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdG9izPBVZ8

    Search his videos he does a series showing how he makes them. Awsome builder.
    Last edited by DPO; 09-23-2019 at 06:17 PM.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dponeil@xtra.co.nz
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

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