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Sep 22, 2021 - 4:54:32 PM
3913 posts since 3/28/2008

A Little Wonder mandolin-banjo. What can y'all tell me? Would it be worth putting a 5-string neck on it? What would be the current market value?

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 09/22/2021 16:56:56

Sep 22, 2021 - 4:56:41 PM

3913 posts since 3/28/2008

Is there no way to upload photos directly to this post, or do I have to put them on my profile first and then post them from there?

Sep 22, 2021 - 5:02:34 PM

3913 posts since 3/28/2008

I've uploaded three to my profile, but only one shows up as a possible attachment. What's going on here?


 

Sep 22, 2021 - 7:39:35 PM
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Fathand

Canada

11797 posts since 2/7/2008

A Little Wonder tone ring is basically a tone hoop with a skirt. If you like the sound of tone hoop banjos you might enjoy putting a 5 string neck on it.
Mandolin banjos tend to be low priced. Can you find or build a neck and add it to this banjo for less than the cost of a similar banjo with an original 5 string neck? That will determine the worthwhileness of such a project.

Sep 23, 2021 - 2:33:07 AM
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1788 posts since 1/13/2012

Most Vega mandolin banjos have a 10 1/8" rim, which is generally not as desirable for a five string conversion.

Sep 23, 2021 - 11:06:08 AM

363 posts since 6/26/2011

I disagree with Andy here. These make fabulous little A scale banjos.
Cheers from Bill.

Sep 23, 2021 - 12:48:23 PM

grackle

USA

60 posts since 7/29/2007

I have one of these in my closet. I always intended on having an a-scale neck built for it. If anyone has any recommendations for a conversion neck, please chime in.

Sep 23, 2021 - 2:33:42 PM

1788 posts since 1/13/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Bufo Bill

I disagree with Andy here. These make fabulous little A scale banjos.
Cheers from Bill.


I didnt say they don't make good banjos... just that, among the buying public, the larger rim sizes are more desirable. The 10 1/8" size makes a fine instrument, with an appropriately sized neck.

Sep 23, 2021 - 6:03:43 PM

3913 posts since 3/28/2008

More pics here, but I can't put them in a post for some reason.

banjohangout.org/my/Ira%20Gitlin

Sep 24, 2021 - 10:16:24 AM

363 posts since 6/26/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Andy FitzGibbon
quote:
Originally posted by Bufo Bill

I disagree with Andy here. These make fabulous little A scale banjos.
Cheers from Bill.


I didnt say they don't make good banjos... just that, among the buying public, the larger rim sizes are more desirable. The 10 1/8" size makes a fine instrument, with an appropriately sized neck.


Andy, sorry for the confusion. I was trying to say that A scale banjos seemed to be all the rage, although thinking about it, that was probably a few years ago now!

Cheers from Bill.

Sep 24, 2021 - 12:20:43 PM

11763 posts since 10/27/2006

Value? I have no idea on these — not huge, though. 

It should take a 10 1/8" head as you've been told (measure and double-check). Do lubricate the threads on all those brackets before trying to turn any to break up any bimetal galvanic corrosion between the steel threads and the brass nuts. I find WD40 excellent for this—spray some into the cap and use a toothpick or Q-Tip to apply and give it 24 hours to penetrate.

Yes, they make excellent conversions to A or C scale 5 strings with a new neck but converting to a ukulele is the easiest as you only need to widen four of the nut slots (or replace the nut). Melody banjo conversion is even easier: buy a set of mandolin strings and use only half the set.

I am just not a fan of banjo-mandolins. There, I said it. OTOH, Melody banjos (4 metal strings tuned like a mandolin) and Ukulele banjos (nylon or NylGut uke strings)  are a lot of fun.

If you use NylGut strings, take care to de-burr that Waverly tailpiece (I use 1500 grit emory cloth). Although long wearing, NylGut tears if scratched or nicked, same as cutting glass by scratching it first. Nylon is far more resilient in that regard but I prefer the sound of NylGut.

Sep 28, 2021 - 10:20:47 AM
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11047 posts since 6/17/2003

They don't have a lot of value due to banjo mandolins having a very limited following. If it were me, I'd put a C scale neck on it and use it as a travel banjo; or with an A scale neck tuned to G as loaner for a child at one of your jam camps.

Edited by - gottasmilealot on 09/28/2021 10:21:55

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