Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Beginners banjo uke

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    10

    Default Beginners banjo uke

    For the last 12 months I have been teaching our two eldest grandsons,aged 10 and 6, on the soprano uke and great fun it is too. Recently the 6 year old has been picking up my Gold Tone Little Gem banjo uke and making a reasonable job of it for his age. Now it is that time of year and he has said he would like a banjo uke for Christmas !! All in favour but we are just wondering which one,I think the Little Gem may not be quite the thing for a 6 year old boy even though I love mine.We do have a limited budget and would need a gig bag as well as strap and tuner.Perhaps an open back concert or soprano would be good idea as there would be no need to project the music far Any suggestions folks or is it a daft idea. I will need a few pennies left in the kitty as my letter to Santa will be for a tenor sized banjo uke for no reason other than I quite fancy the bit longer scale !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    East Midlands UK
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Mine is called a 'Countryman' and it has a closed back, and here in the UK it retails around £130 sterling. It's a great little beast!
    All power and respect to you Concert,Tenor and Baritone players, but Soprano is what does it for me every time! (And my beautiful Sopranino!)

  3. #3

    Default

    Can he play concert scale? Maybe just give him the Little Gem? It's probably the best quality you're going to find at that price point. Otherwise you'll have to troll Amazon to see if you can find one soprano scale cheap. I haven't seen any soprano scale banjo ukes.
    Good luck
    Last edited by captain-janeway; 11-27-2019 at 03:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    82

    Default

    I highly recommend the Magic Fluke Firefly. Considering you're getting it for a six-year-old, the fact that it's extremely light compared to most banjo ukes seems like a big advantage. It's open back with very few metal parts. I don't think you'd even need a strap necessarily as it's that light. The cheapest model has a polycarbonate fretboard which might be a bit challenging for some since both the frets and the fretboard itself are black, so you might want to get one with a hardwood fretboard.

    I have a lovely vintage Gibson banjo uke but I still play the Firefly quite a bit. That's how much I like it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,327

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    I highly recommend the Magic Fluke Firefly. Considering you're getting it for a six-year-old, the fact that it's extremely light compared to most banjo ukes seems like a big advantage. It's open back with very few metal parts. I don't think you'd even need a strap necessarily as it's that light. The cheapest model has a polycarbonate fretboard which might be a bit challenging for some since both the frets and the fretboard itself are black, so you might want to get one with a hardwood fretboard.

    I have a lovely vintage Gibson banjo uke but I still play the Firefly quite a bit. That's how much I like it.
    That might be your best bet. Baz reviewed one on Got a Ukulele, was smiling ear to ear, and gave it a very good rating.
    I'm very close to considering the Firefly mini banjo.
    "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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    1,634

    Default

    I think the lighter the better for a six-year-old. The Firefly description makes me think it would be ideal.

    Some laminate banjoleles, along with all of the metal parts, weigh a ton. Maybe too much for your grandson.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,327

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    I highly recommend the Magic Fluke Firefly. Considering you're getting it for a six-year-old, the fact that it's extremely light compared to most banjo ukes seems like a big advantage. It's open back with very few metal parts. I don't think you'd even need a strap necessarily as it's that light. The cheapest model has a polycarbonate fretboard which might be a bit challenging for some since both the frets and the fretboard itself are black, so you might want to get one with a hardwood fretboard.

    I have a lovely vintage Gibson banjo uke but I still play the Firefly quite a bit. That's how much I like it.
    Hey, how is the neck shape on your Firefly? I'm afraid it might be too flat for me.
    "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
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    Hey, how is the neck shape on your Firefly? I'm afraid it might be too flat for me.
    I believe all Magic Fluke ukes have a fairly wide and flat neck compared to, e.g., typical Chinese made ukes. Mine is no exception. Definitely a more D shaped neck than C shaped.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    1,219

    Default

    There are a lot of factors in this choice. Price, weight, and sound being maybe the three biggest differences between these two ukes. The Little Gem sounds far more like a banjo than the Firefly, has many more features, and is much less expensive. (I got mine for $100 shipped. I think it was used--can't remember--but you can't tell.) Gold Tone knows banjos. The Little Gem is light for a banjo uke, but the Firefly is lighter. The Firefly is quieter as well, which could be good or bad. For most adults I'd recommend the Gem. If your grandson likes it. I'd recommend it for him as well, but if you think it's too heavy, the Firefly is a good option. A strap could help with weight. If he has been playing yours and what he likes is the banjo sound, he might be disappointed in the Firefly.
    Last edited by Ziret; 11-29-2019 at 07:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    321

    Default

    Remembering when my son was six, there's no way I'd have given him a Little Gem. The thing is heavy and it has lots of hard pointy bits. Even perfect well-behaved angels (which I am certain describes your grandsons!) would be better off with something that is less likely to accidentally become a deadly weapon ;-)

    Plus, the Little Gem is LOUD and Mom/Dad might not be thrilled to live with it. Isn't there a rule about giving LOUD gifts to other peoples' kids?

    I'd go with the Firefly or some other model that does not have metal around the rim. Check with the Magic Fluke company to see if they have factory seconds, or look for one that's used. That said, sometimes it's the sparkly look of the Little Gem and the machine-gun sound that captivates a kid, in which case the Firefly won't cut it. The safest move (unfortunately not the most convenient) is to buy yourself a used Firefly and see if your grandson likes it. If so, you can give it to him and it becomes even more special because it's grandpa's uke. If he doesn't like it, you get to keep it or re-sell it.

    Come to think of it, are you sure it's the sound of a banjo uke that your grandson likes, or is it the bright colorful plastic? A Waterman might do the trick.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •