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Oct 25, 2021 - 11:15:12 PM
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squiblax

China

18 posts since 6/6/2018

I've seen a few videos of people playing ultra tiny 5 string banjos. Not only are they super awesome just to look at, they seem like a great idea for convenient solo practice or just a fun thing to have. Unfortunately, they are also super expensive.

youtube.com/watch?v=oJib28XaurI

For some reason though, I have seen many many small 4 string banjo ukuleles for sale for really low prices and it got my noggin joggin'.

I see two ways of approaching this, either cut and rasp away the neck and headstock above the 5th fret and narrow the string spacings for the 4 strings and fit a 5 string tailpiece and bridge, or add strip of wood along the neck to accommodate a 5th string. I'm leaning towards the former.

Does this sound even realistic or possible? would the fretboard need to be completely replaced to match relative banjo tunings?

Not done anything like this before, and while yes, chinese made banjoleles are pretty cheap, I wouldn't want to buy one just to make something completely useless.

advice would be greatly appreciated.

Oct 26, 2021 - 3:34:35 AM

2058 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by squiblax

I have seen many many small 4 string banjo ukuleles for sale
 


Looking on Amazon there are the same companies exporting from China with the same small head and a very short sclae 5 string neck. Like this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vangoa-String-Closed-Banjos-Beginner/dp/B084QG1P4V

Sometimes they get get called tenor banjos.

Oct 26, 2021 - 3:42:32 AM

squiblax

China

18 posts since 6/6/2018

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by squiblax

I have seen many many small 4 string banjo ukuleles for sale
 


Looking on Amazon there are the same companies exporting from China with the same small head and a very short sclae 5 string neck. Like this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vangoa-String-Closed-Banjos-Beginner/dp/B084QG1P4V

Sometimes they get get called tenor banjos.


The ridiculous problem is, I LIVE in china. 

All these companies that make small 5 strings don't sell domestically.

I would have to order it to the USA/UK, then ship it back to China.

Oct 26, 2021 - 3:49:58 AM

2058 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by squiblax

All these companies that make small 5 strings don't sell domestically.

I would have to order it to the USA/UK, then ship it back to China.


Where would you get the ukulele banjo from?

Oct 26, 2021 - 3:52:29 AM

832 posts since 1/21/2004

I have one of those banjos that Mr. Hawkeye linked us to.  I keep it in my car.  I had to pull it out and play it for someone at a gun club last Saturday.

 

The banjo notes true, the neck is wide enough and straight, the action is good.  The only issue I have is the position marker is at the nineth fret.  I colored it in with a Sharpe and put some white nail polish at the tenth fret.  Now I can play it up the neck without having to think.

 

YMMV

Heavythumb

Oct 26, 2021 - 7:32:31 AM

squiblax

China

18 posts since 6/6/2018

quote:
Originally posted by GrahamHawker
quote:
Originally posted by squiblax

All these companies that make small 5 strings don't sell domestically.

I would have to order it to the USA/UK, then ship it back to China.


Where would you get the ukulele banjo from?


Taobao (Chinese version of Amazon)

Oct 26, 2021 - 7:34:09 AM
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9095 posts since 8/28/2013

You say you are "leaning toward the former"--narrowing the neck between the nut and 5th fret. This will not work unless you have a toddler's fingers. The string spacing would be too narrow for an adult. It would be better to add wood, but even better than that would be an entire new neck or new banjo, one already made with five strings.

Oct 26, 2021 - 8:28:19 AM
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1223 posts since 1/9/2012

As usual, a lot depends on how fussy you are. The thing in the photos isn't uke size. It's a 10" pot and a 20" scale. But the issue was the same. For me, it's totally playable and actually sounds wonderful. Lot's of people have approached the issue this way. Sorry, you won't be able to play melodic banjo and fret the 5th string.




 

Oct 26, 2021 - 8:33:53 AM
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4621 posts since 9/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by squiblax

I've seen a few videos of people playing ultra tiny 5 string banjos. Not only are they super awesome just to look at, they seem like a great idea for convenient solo practice or just a fun thing to have. Unfortunately, they are also super expensive.

youtube.com/watch?v=oJib28XaurI

For some reason though, I have seen many many small 4 string banjo ukuleles for sale for really low prices and it got my noggin joggin'.

I see two ways of approaching this, either cut and rasp away the neck and headstock above the 5th fret and narrow the string spacings for the 4 strings and fit a 5 string tailpiece and bridge, or add strip of wood along the neck to accommodate a 5th string. I'm leaning towards the former.

Does this sound even realistic or possible? would the fretboard need to be completely replaced to match relative banjo tunings?

Not done anything like this before, and while yes, chinese made banjoleles are pretty cheap, I wouldn't want to buy one just to make something completely useless.

advice would be greatly appreciated.


I built the one in the video for Russ Carson.

The first mini banjo that I built used a Dixie Banjo Uke pot assembly. I built a five string neck for it and a resonator. I copied the 13 inch scale of the original Dixie metal neck.

You can convert a banjo uke to 5 strings. I would suggest a 13 to 13.5 inch scale length if you are going to tune it to open G at one octave higher than standard. 


Oct 26, 2021 - 10:26:40 AM

hbick2

USA

466 posts since 6/26/2004

Here are a number of banjo ukes that have been converted to 5-string:

piccoloplace.org/html/piccolel...are.shtml

Oct 26, 2021 - 8:39:06 PM

58488 posts since 12/14/2005

I've seen it, and I've done it.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:09:17 AM

198 posts since 4/5/2016

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vangoa-String-Closed-Banjos-Beginner/dp/B084QG1P4V

Sometimes they get get called tenor banjos.


Do they? 

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:56:43 AM

2058 posts since 2/4/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Nate Banton
 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vangoa-String-Closed-Banjos-Beginner/dp/B084QG1P4V

Sometimes they get get called tenor banjos.


Do they? 


Yes they do. even though they are not tenor banjos.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Horse-Professional-Beginners-Strings-Pick-up/dp/B08LV7M6QP

Oct 31, 2021 - 11:23:18 AM

198 posts since 4/5/2016

 

Yes they do. even though they are not tenor banjos.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Horse-Professional-Beginners-Strings-Pick-up/dp/B08LV7M6QP


You are quite correct.  They are quite wrong.  ;)

Oct 31, 2021 - 1:53:48 PM

330 posts since 12/28/2014

You can order one of those Chinese banjos off alibaba. They don’t care they’ll send it to west peru if your willing to pay the shipping.

Oct 31, 2021 - 6:48:38 PM
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squiblax

China

18 posts since 6/6/2018

quote:
Originally posted by link-o-sausages

You can order one of those Chinese banjos off alibaba. They don’t care they’ll send it to west peru if your willing to pay the shipping.


I live in China.

Nov 1, 2021 - 1:34:59 AM

96 posts since 3/24/2020

I’d say get your banjo-ukulele first. Once you have it in your hands you can work out if option 1 or option 2 is going to work for you. I have a few of those ‘tenor’ banjo-ukes (17”scale) & the spacing at the the nut is very wide because it has nylon strings, so I suggest you get one of those & shoot for option 1. Then work out what strings you need for what tuning.

Nov 1, 2021 - 6:14:40 PM

Buddur

USA

3102 posts since 10/23/2004

You sure they allow you to play those in China?

Nov 2, 2021 - 2:15:32 AM

squiblax

China

18 posts since 6/6/2018

quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe

I’d say get your banjo-ukulele first. Once you have it in your hands you can work out if option 1 or option 2 is going to work for you. I have a few of those ‘tenor’ banjo-ukes (17”scale) & the spacing at the the nut is very wide because it has nylon strings, so I suggest you get one of those & shoot for option 1. Then work out what strings you need for what tuning.


Yeah, This is the best answer, Thanks!

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