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Thread: Old family banjo uke -- can it be saved?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Default Old family banjo uke -- can it be saved?

    Hi, all! I only caught the ukulele bug a 6 months ago when I got my first proper instrument (a Pono tenor). But the passion has inspired me to see if I can bring back to life an old banjo uke that once (in college?) belonged to my grandfather, passed on to my father as a child, and then to me. Somehow despite the fact that it was mostly in the care of children for the better part of a half century, the bridge and drum survive. But not one of the pegs. It has a brass resonator and a skin drum and cheap plastic friction pegs that are likely not original to the instrument (and one of them broken).

    Any advice about where/how to get new pegs for this instrument? I know it is not a fancy thing, but I have been fascinated by it since I was a kid and would love to hear how it sounds.IMG_7230.jpgIMG_7232.jpg

  2. #2
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Other might can suggest good friction pegs. You might also consider Pegheds: http://www.pohakuukulele.com/store/p...d-brand-tuners
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    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, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
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    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
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    Jupiter #71, A, UG1

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    SE Connecticut, USA
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    Ordinary violin pegs will do. Or a set of inexpensive friction pegs from Stew mac.
    The broken pegs may very well be the original “Ivoroid” friction pegs from the maker. Honestly, I wouldn’t put much money into it.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Kiwaya KPC-1M; Kiwaya KCU-1, Takumi TC-1M, Takumi TC-3K, Musicguymic’s Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Oh I didn’t know about peg heads. The site describes them as challenging to install though and I am very much a rookie

  5. #5
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    Jul 2010
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    Colorado
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    And it looks like you may need a tail piece but I think, from the looks of it, it might be worth saving.
    See Stew Mac or a local luthier who will tell you what it will cost to restore.

  6. #6

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    It may be the photo but those frets look pretty banged up.i it's going to take some work to get it back together.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain-janeway View Post
    It may be the photo but those frets look pretty banged up.i it's going to take some work to get it back together.
    I confess to not being a good judge. Back when I was a kid I had it strung up with classical guitar strings and it "played" to my uninformed ears ok. Here are a couple of pics of the frets.

    IMG_7236.jpg
    IMG_7235.jpg

  8. #8
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    As with many of the inexpensive banjo ukes of the time (My Stella being a good example), the frets are right into the neck - no separate fretboard. My Stella is fine up to the 5th fret; beyond that, uh, no.

    As to tuners, those probably are the originals. You can either replace them with violin pegs, as previously suggested, or just get a set of Grover friction tuners. I'm not a friction tuner fan, but the Stella has the original ~1920 Champion friction tuners, and once I learned about adjusting them (tighten the screw, but not too much!), they work fine.

    Don't put a lot of money into it, just get it playable again, and enjoy!

    And buy a new ukulele, for what you were thinking about putting into this one.


    -Kurt
    Banjo Ukes: Southern Cross, Firefly, Stella
    Sopranos: Donaldson, Timms, Moku, Waterman, Bugsgear, Outdoor, Waverly Street, Harmony
    Concerts:Cocobolo #460 &#412, Ohana CK450QEL, CK-65D, Rosewood Vita, Mahogany Vita,
    Donaldson Custom, Epi Les Paul, National Triolian Reso, Republic
    Tenors: Kala KA-KTG-CY, KoAloha Sceptre, Fluke, Cordoba 20TM
    Bass: Fluke Timber

    Am I done?

    ...Maybe?...

    My YouTube Channel

  9. #9
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    Apr 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksiegel View Post
    As with many of the inexpensive banjo ukes of the time (My Stella being a good example), the frets are right into the neck - no separate fretboard. My Stella is fine up to the 5th fret; beyond that, uh, no.

    As to tuners, those probably are the originals. You can either replace them with violin pegs, as previously suggested, or just get a set of Grover friction tuners. I'm not a friction tuner fan, but the Stella has the original ~1920 Champion friction tuners, and once I learned about adjusting them (tighten the screw, but not too much!), they work fine.

    Don't put a lot of money into it, just get it playable again, and enjoy!

    And buy a new ukulele, for what you were thinking about putting into this one.


    -Kurt
    Thanks, Kurt, and all, for your suggestions! I will definitely be buying a new uke to go with my Pono tenor, and I agree about not putting much work or money into this old guy, which was no doubt a bargain basement item even in the 20s or 30s when it was new. I really appreciate it and am happy to be here

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Capital District, New York
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaredg View Post
    Thanks, Kurt, and all, for your suggestions! I will definitely be buying a new uke to go with my Pono tenor, and I agree about not putting much work or money into this old guy, which was no doubt a bargain basement item even in the 20s or 30s when it was new. I really appreciate it and am happy to be here
    Here's the thread about my old stella... which was $30 from a pawn shop in Auburn, NY around 1979... I bought it as wall art, not knowing I had a playable instrument.

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...ghlight=Stella
    Banjo Ukes: Southern Cross, Firefly, Stella
    Sopranos: Donaldson, Timms, Moku, Waterman, Bugsgear, Outdoor, Waverly Street, Harmony
    Concerts:Cocobolo #460 &#412, Ohana CK450QEL, CK-65D, Rosewood Vita, Mahogany Vita,
    Donaldson Custom, Epi Les Paul, National Triolian Reso, Republic
    Tenors: Kala KA-KTG-CY, KoAloha Sceptre, Fluke, Cordoba 20TM
    Bass: Fluke Timber

    Am I done?

    ...Maybe?...

    My YouTube Channel

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