Gibson UB1 Banjolele

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Hi all, I am in the market for a banjo ukulele and I tried a priceless UB1 the other day that I loved (it wasn't for sale). I found this one on reverb and it seems like a great price and in decent condition but I wonder if anyone knows about how to date it? Or whether it is all original?


I appreciate any advice! Thanks!
 
The headstock says "The Gibson" instead of just "Gibson" which would indicate that it is very old. I can't remember off the top of my head when they changed it but it must've been built pre 40s.

That one looks to be in excellent condition and the price ain't bad either. Although admittedly the tuners seem to be breaking apart...
It's good that you've tried one already. The scale length on the UB1 is sub-soprano which makes it quite tricky to play, at least for myself. It is an incredibly fun instrument however if you can deal with the size.
 
I had one once. Because, you know, you HAVE to have a Gibson.

Dohle is right about the script being the only way to date it (no serial numbers) but I seem to recall the change was earlier than the 40's, maybe 1930.

For me the neck profile was too shallow, and of course the fretboard is a little short. I owned it for about 5 years, it never was really my "favorite" and eventually sold it. I much prefer an open back uke as they don't have so much sustain.

I have quite a few old banjos and ukes, and I would say it looks to be original, except for maybe the head. But with banjos the head, bridge and tuners are somewhat considered to be "accessories." Them tuners aint gonna last long.

Price is fair in my opinion.

Bob Smakula has one in a darker color with replacement tuners right now for $550.
 
I may be wrong, but I believe it is a UB-2 because of the resonator.
UB-2 also has a slightly larger head.
 
I may be wrong, but I believe it is a UB-2 because of the resonator.
UB-2 also has a slightly larger head.
Nope, the UB-1 also has the resonator.

It's often difficult to discern from photos but that to me looks like the tiny 6 inch pot/drum head. I doubt they mislabeled the listing.
 
Hi all, thanks for you replies. I didn't go for it in the end as it was indeed a UB1 - the seller was kind enough to send me a sound sample and the UB1 really sounds inferior to the UB2 - which was actually the size I tried and loved. Looking at UB2s now and the one I tried is upwards of 2000 dollars. Out of my price range unfortunately!

If anyone is in the market for a UB1 - you should jump on this though!
 
Corey Mohan has a Gibson UB2 for sale. He is a reputable guy and good player. You can hear a sound clip there

 
Corey Mohan has a Gibson UB2 for sale. He is a reputable guy and good player. You can hear a sound clip there

Oh thanks so much! That is a great instrument and a great price...
 
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